Thursday, July 1, 2010

My last two posts have both been very thought-out and well-worded, so I think it's about time to just open my thoughts and let whatever's sick of being in there vomit on out. And first out of the bullpen is this: You know what's really, really great about liking grapefruits? THEY'RE ALWAYS REALLY CHEAP. So I adventured out to Nah Kauf tonight, which sounds like just this really happenin' club or what have you, but actually it's a supermarket, and not even a very good one at that. Because that's what Rob Agocs does on his Tuesday nights. Alright. So I got in there, looking for items to purchase whereby I might embark on a culinary adventure later on in the evening. And suddenly, I see oranges and grapefruits right next to each other. "Hmm," I said to myself. "Methinks yon orange or yon grapefruit might ensatisfy what frivolous needs I have to-night for a culinærrieye ad-venture!" I glanced 'pon the prices, and was shocked to see such a difference!

Seriously. The oranges were 2.99 euros. And the grapefruits were a) about twice as big and b) 0.59 euros. At that price, I'll take a grapefruit any day. Grapefruits are completely awesome.

I'm kind of stuck in a battle tonight between crappy pre-packaged food and fruit. See, while on my adventure at Nah Kauf, I purchased four items. But I feel only one of the items can reign supreme. I bought a container of peaches, a thing of pre-packaged breaded chicken-style foodstuffs, a grapefruit, and those glass noodles, dried and in a bag. I've split them into those two groups, naturally. So far I've tried the grapefruit and the chicken things. Grapefruit had much more flavor, so it won that round. Then I had a peach, and I considered opening the glass noodles and just munching away, but then I decided I wasn't a total slob yet.

So lemme talk about Dresden for a bit. From the outside, it looks AWESOME. Like, you're sitting on a train going eastward for about two hours, passing by billions of empty fields and wind turbines on the horizon (why are they always on the horizon? It seems like they specifically move for me so I never see one up close, which is kind of weird, but I guess kind of flattering too) until you find a sign that says the city of Dresden is coming up in a little bit. And then after a little bit, everything starts getting urban. And kind of gritty, like you might get looked at angrily by a passer-by if you're too loud or something. And there's a bit of graffiti around, but not enough to make you think you're gonna die.

So finally, you get off at the train station, which has like 400 floors, and you navigate the maze of hallways and catwalks without getting hit by trains, and finally, you reach the outside world. But before you step out into the street, you have to be careful that the savage city doesn't kill you with it's vicious streetcars running loose all over the roads. Efforts have been made to capture these beautiful but fierce creatures, but they were simply not meant to be domesticated. The Dresdners have learned to try to live as peacefully as possible with them, but danger still lurks around every corner. There have been reports of packs of these streetcars hiding in tall grass around the city, waiting for an unsuspecting pedestrian to go by, at which point they pounce and feast on the unfortunate person. Usually, though, the predators can be found grazing peacefully on asphalt or other food sources readily available around the city.

So the hostel in Dresden was really kind of cool. It was built right above a Communist restaurant, and I'm not kidding about that. Everything on the menu cost 8 euros. The service was extremely slow, as there was only one cooking station available. And each of the 22 cooks had to switch off every five minutes. No, I'm lying about all of that, but it was still a Communist-themed restaurant. There were three floors to the hostel, and I lived on the top. For each of the three places I've stayed in in Germany, the following set of instructions can be used to get to my room:

1) Enter the building.
2) Go up the stairs as far as you can go.
3) Turn right at the top of the stairs.
4) My room is the last door on the left.

It's getting a little weird. I booked a hostel for my long weekend next week, and I'm eagerly waiting to find out what my room assignment is. I'll be extremely happy if that set of instructions also applies to that hostel.

Oh, you know what else is weird? And seriously, all of this is starting to make me feel like I'm in a Truman Show-esque situation. But the name if every city I've been to so far on this trip, and every city I'm scheduled to be in on this trip in the future, has two syllables. Really. Here, let me list them:

1. Frankfurt
2. Weimar
3. Leipzig
4. Erfurt
5. Jena
6. Naumburg
7. Nürnberg
8. München
9. Berlin
10. Potsdam
11. Frankfurt
12. Dresden

You may have noticed that I listed Frankfurt twice. That's because I'll be in two different Frankfurts on the trip, about 70 miles away from each other. Moreover, what further contributed to my paranoia was the fact that I mysteriously got sick on the very day we were scheduled to go to Eisenach, which has three syllables, and I had to stay home. Strange...

In any case, back to Dresden: Sure, the city is most likely very fun, and the people are very nice, but I was unable to see any of that due to the CONSTANT TORRENT OF TOURS AND MUSEUMS scheduled through the program. The same was the case with Berlin, but because I had a friend in Berlin who knew what to do in the evenings, it wasn't nearly as bad. But Dresden... Dresden was awful. Wake up in the morning, around 7, and spend the next 8-10 hours walking around on guided tours through museums or trying to navigate the confusing, hot streets to get to the next meeting point for a walking tour. While culture is important, it's not SO IMPORTANT that one has to constantly endlessly be force-fed the same art or history in different museums for hours at a time. I would have loved to simply go and figure out how the city works by myself, but by the time all the tours and museums were over for the day, I was always exhausted. And that's not how to get an emotional understanding of a city, the same kind I was able to get with Weimar, or even Berlin to some extent.

Oh, and the churches.

Have you heard of something called Graham's Number? This number completely re-defines "large" numbers. Let me try to explain it. And I totally "didn't" go to Wikipedia for this. So using Knuth's up-arrow notation, we can express numbers like 4 cubed as 4^3. And if we wanted to express an even larger number, we can use something more along the lines of 4^^3, meaning 4^(4^4). Or 4^^5, meaning 4^(4^(4^(4^4))). Furthermore, we can use more up arrows, making such crazy expressions as 4^^^3, which is 4^^(4^^4), which is... (4^(4^(4^4)))^^4^(... 4... er, something. Anyway, Graham's number can be represented by the number 3, followed by 7 trillion up arrows, followed by another 3. 7 TRILLION. Let me put that in other words. For those of us who don't know what a Planck Length is, it's the smallest possible length that exists in the universe before physics starts to not apply. It's so small, that one time I saw this animation online that was a logarithmic scale of the universe with a little scroll bar thing on the bottom, and I was like "oh man, that's really really small, like smaller than you can believe small." Lemme dig through the Internet... ah, here it is. Scroll all the way to the left to see it. It's cool. Anyway, if the known universe was divided up into cubes of edge 1 Planck Length, and each of those cubes contained just one digit of Graham's Number, (note: one digit) then we would still need something like 10^170 universes to represent the number of digits. That's like, indescribably big. Like, makes me want to vomit big.

But that's how many churches there are in Germany.

Seriously. They could do away with the euro and just pass around churches. I have to wade through them on my way to the bus stop in the morning. And on days when those in charge are feeling particularly lacking when it comes to the number of churches in the area, business stops, schools close, and traffic shuts down because of how many churches there are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. What's that? Your church burned down? Just go in the back and take one of those. Oh wait, they already replaced it with four more. I'm looking at the window now and I see no fewer than 7 churches. It wouldn't surprise me if there were 8 or 9 by the time I finish writing this post.

Which reminds me, I've been writing this post on and off for three days now. I should probably go ahead and click the "publish post" button before I accidentally delete all of this. Or before they build a church between me and my computer and I can't reach the touchpad. Uh oh, I think they're starting.

1 comment:

  1. Hurray for Pompelmuse! And LOL about the infinite number of churches in Dresden. Tee hee, don't wait too long... one might spring up between you and the keyboard. And weird coincidences both about you visiting only cities with 2 syllables, and your room location being the same in every hostel! Love you, and be careful going to Oirland!