31 October 2004

Okay, let's get this over with once and for all. Or: Chapter 4: Conclusion

Are you all as tired of waiting as I am of procrastinating? Let's dive right into it!

Munich was an experiment in extremes. After 9 days in confined spaces with my family, I LOST IT.

We were driving toward Munich and I was supposed to be navigating. I was trying really hard, but that's difficult to do from the back seat where you can't see any of the road signs. My brother started to criticize me from the FRONT passenger seat and I FREAKED OUT. I have never been so close to an expletive-laced tirade at my family than I was in those two hours that we drove around, lost. I gave up when my brother made a comment about how it was "only stupid directions, you're not talking someone out of suicide." AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I can still feel the rage, deep down. At 28 and 25, respectively, I thought that maybe my brother and I could behave like adults. I shut down until we got to the hotel. Then mom tried to talk to me and I (somewhat hysterically) explained that suicide was not a polite metaphor for navigating.

Mom intervened. Michael apologized. I accepted, but was still angry. And... here comes the migraine!!!

It wasn't all bad, though. After some laid-back shopping, I had a rest and felt better. We went out for Thai food (I swear, Europeans have the best ethnic food).

The next day was fun! We went to Legoland!!! We had to drive an hour to get there, but it was great. No Disneyland, but still a lot of fun. Mostly, it just looked cool. There were Lego statues everywhere. Everything was constructed to look like it was made out of giant Lego blocks. It was awesome.

We drove back to Munich, changed and went to the Haufbrau Haus -- one of the more famous beer gardens.

"Nothing like sharing a litre of beer. Wait, make that 4 litres...." Posted by Hello

After another HUGE meal, and laughing at the accordion/guitar duo, we made it back to the hotel (somehow...).

The juxtaposition of extremes continued with the next day's trip to the Dachau Concentration camp. It was the first "political camp" under the Nazi regime. It started filling up after someone burned down the German parliamentary buildings and a bunch of laws that sound eerily like the Patriot Act were passed. The horrors mount from there.

It's hard to talk about. It was really upsetting that people could do that to each other. Everyone needs to go to one of those things to realize that there's no way, under any circumstances, that that treatment can be justifiable or acceptable. The Germans have living reminders through these memorial sites. It's so easy to forget about it over here, where we consider such treatment to be so extreme as to make it nearly impossible in this setting.

I could talk about this for ages. The documentary I saw on site, the "shower room", the crematorium, the pictures, the towers.... It's awful. I don't know how people live in that town and drive by it every day.

Summation: We drove from Dachau back to the Czech Republic. We stopped overnight in a small spa town called Karlovy Vary. It took us forever to find our hotel (again), but we took it easy when we found it. We wandered around a bit, took in some supper, watched as the English Channel was dumped on the town in a fury of thunder and lightning. The next day, Mom, Dad, and I went to one of these mineral spas. All the water is mineral water that bubbles up from below the earth. Wherever there was a natural spring, they plopped a spa down on top of it, and they do fun treatments with the water. I had my gums irrigated, and a water massage. Soooo relaxing. Michael took in a movie at the international film festival that was taking place. We saw John Cleese and got a picture with him. Then we drove back to Prague where we slept and boarded a flight back to London.

In London, I split from la famille and took a plane to Paris, while they went home. I spent ~5 days with Daphne and had a great time. It was relaxing after all the previous running around. I went to the Musée d'Orsay, did a Bateau-Mouche tour of La Seine, saw but did not go into Le Moulin rouge, and climbed a thousand steps to tour L'église de Sacré Coeur, and did some mad shopping.

All in all, it was a great trip. It wasn't always easy, and there was sometimes tension, but I actually enjoyed spending the time with my family. I really enjoyed the experience and seeing all the cool things there were to see. I'm so glad I got to do it, and I'm sorry for those of you who had to wait so long to hear about it in its entirety.

That's the end. Now I can blog about real things without impunity. Like tonight's Matthew Good concert.