German dude! That's right folks, I am now officially GERMAN! Besides, now G-man now has two meanings!
We finally made it to the open market yesterday, and all the local vendors were saying hello in german when we walked past! Something in our looks (mom told me it was my haircut and glasses) made the vendors think I was german! (I mistaked this though - half the time the vendors would say "Dober dan", which means good afternoon.)
And Jia? She must be the only aisian in Ljubljana! We get stares, looks, and glances everywhere. Like I said, the entire city are as white as mushrooms.
After the market yesterday, we watched the Ljubljanica river while dad inquired about an ice show at the nearest tourist office. I frantically dashed to stop Jia from jumping in the river, and we gasped at the ten-foot icicles hanging of the bridge. Then a man walked by who must have had the mother of all frogs in his throat, because as soon as he passed us - HOOAARGGGGH!
Then, because we had slept till noon, Avery and I didn't fall asleep until one in the morning. Now we are enduring self-inflicted torture as we get up and nine so we can go to bed on time tonight.
Our first question today was - What's the public transportation situation here? Our legs are great but they can't get us everywhere.
After a long walk we made it to the central bus station. After almost passing out from the exhaust fumes we entered the tourist office and acquired alot of useful information. Then we got another look at slovenian culture.
There were a couple vending machines in the lobby. One was what you'd typically see in a train station - chips, chocolate, cookies, and gum. Another was a drink dispenser. And the third was an apple dispenser. After putting in 0,30 euro (about $0.45 cents) you pushed a button and slid open the door of the apple type you wanted and pulled out an apple. I almost got one to try the machine out.
Our initial plan was to go to a supermarket (probably just a giant Mercator), but the lady at the tourist office told us that a conglomeration of Broadway shows were on nearby in english. Nearby insn't correct, a ways might be more accurate. After a lenthly walk that left us footsore we arrived a Tivoli hall. We asked around, and heard the concert was tomorrow. Mom didn't really listen. Two more accounts of no and she still sent dad and me off on a scouting mission. Nope, the show is on tomorrow.
The buildings around Tivoli were really grungy. No design at all. Mom told me that was the result of the communist era. After WWII, the leader of the Slav resistence party, a man named Josep Tito, came to power as a communist leader under the shadow of the Russians, half his own leader and half a puppet. Under him, lots and lots of dingy apartment buildings were built for people to move into.
Many ethnic peoples were pushed into the new county Tito built, called Yugoslavia. And they all hated each other. After Tito's death, war broke out as each ethnic group tried to split and form their own country.
Slovenia ceceded just as the war started. Walled by mountains from the rest of Yugoslavia, and not very big, no one tried to fight for it. Slovenia was not much affected by the war, and so it is a rich and prosperous county today. The indoor swimming pool at Tivoli reflected that.
Today was pretty much the same. Mom gets up at noon, and we walk around, get some more information, and come home. The jetlag is getting annoying, so we are going to force ourselves to get up at nine tomorrow so we conk our at seven tomorrow night.
Did you really expect me to stay gone forever? Honestly.
Now, time for a little lesson. Don't worry, it will make your brain grow!
Slovenia is nestled to the right of Italy, below Austria, and on the top tip of the former Yugoslavia. It's population is 2,053,400 approximately. It is a very biodiverse land, with coasts, plains, mountains, and forests. It covers 7827 square miles.
The main ethnic group of Slovenia are the slovenes (I don't put the italics to insult your intelligence, however). They have lived in Slovenia it's whole history, and they have been relatively un-diluted, as Slovenia is boardered by mountains and sea. The native language is - you guessed it - Slovene. It is the most difficult language in the world to learn.
Bored yet? Well, if I must...
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah! The luggage came yesterday, with nothing stolen (I was really afraid my pocketknife might kick the bucket). We had all our clothes back and all the other things that had been there, including the power adaptor. We found a european - to - american adaptor in the flat to, and with a three-to-two converter we now had two functioning outlets for our computers. Batteries fully charged!
This was our first day here! Think of the opportunities! We could tour, see the sights, visit the castle, eat, shop!
9:00 - all awake and moving around.
9:30 - breakfast.
10:00 - getting going
11:00 - asleep (???)
14:00 - waking up.
15:30 - almost there
16:00 - Finally! We're out! That jetlag is powerful stuff! Not to mention that because of the time change Monday ended six hours to soon for me. I thought yestreday was tuesday!
Ljubljana is a beautiful city. The leading architect .lived a hundred years ago, and died in 1957. His name was Jose Plecnik. I don't have the proper accents on this computer, but his name is pronounced Joshay Plechnik. He traveled all over Europe, incorporated all the architecural styles into his head, and designed his own bridges and buildings for Ljubljana. The city is literally his city.
We unfortunately missed the open market (we still hadn't found green veggies). We saw the castle from a distance (something to see) admired buildings with extravagant molding on the outside. We then ate at a pizzeria recommended by the apartment owners.
The pizza was fine, but there wasn't much else on the menu, and I'm sure that was in the book for americans who want their pizza. And coke, don't forget coke. They had that too.
We needed more food for home, and this store was even smaller than the first one. The stores are called Mercator. And if you think that Mcdonalds are prolific, then you should see these. They are literally on every block.
Weirdly enough, the food in the Mercators have better tasting food then the nonorganics at home. That being said, most of the inhabitants of Ljubljana are pale as mushrooms and alot of them smoke. It is kind of the opposite of the US - Slovenians have better food for sale and a better health care system, but Americans actually seem to be healthier and eat better (more fruit and vegetables). Funny, huh?
Well, I think that's all I have to say.
Wait! I forgot.
Slovenia is the largest producer of wheat, stained glass and -
No, I'm just kidding. That's for tomorrow!
Log on tomorrow for the next post (if you dare). Good luck, and good night, and good eating, and etc. etc.
NEVER expect international travel to go smoothly. We did alright, but - in charlotte they held us up about a visa that we didn't have because we would get held up in Germany. Weirdly enough,
the SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT said that we didn't need one until we actually got to slovenia. So we had to change our connecting flight and go through a big rigamarole just to board the plane.
Thats a german trash bin, by the way.
The Germans really like their beer. That quart mug was next to an already emptied one. Quite alot, huh, for ten in the morning german time!
Frankfurt went pretty smoothy. For smaller flights, you take a bus to your plane. That was cool because we saw the whole airport (it was HUGE). Then we boarded and saw all six checked bags on the same luggage cart forty feet away.
Then the Ljubljana airport. It was quite funny - there were little five by three glass boxes for smoking dotted around. Similar divided trash cans, too.
But then, not ONE of our checked bags came around on the baggage claim belt. At least our mom had told us to put toothbrushes and spare clothes in our carry-ons.
The connecting flight
Ljubljana was covered in snow. After a short drive into the city we came to our apartment. the landlord, Gorazd (mom calls him Gorashki in private) showed us the flat. It's nice, with bunk beds and a computer.
We had a bit of trouble. Europe uses difference power plugs than we do, and we had only one adaptor in our checked luggage that wasn't here yet. The old computer here was not able do much, as I said, and all ours ran out of battery fairly quickly.
Our first slovenian food came from the dinky little market accross the square. Not that good - the US equivalent of a gas station store. but we were sick of airplane food.
...the minimarket on the other side
The room had a pleasant air, and we were all so exhausted that we slept well.
The adventures continue in the next post! Will the luggage be found? Will better food be eaten? Will they even survive? The adventures continue on the next post of Living Slovenia!!
From the pertness of my writing you should gather that I am still able to think, access a computer, and type. So I made the journey safely.
Charlotte to Frankfurt was on SMALLEST international airplane I've ever ridden on. Now I'm convinced that you should ALWAYS fly a non-domestic airline.
The flight was eight to four, so what did we do? SLEEP. And for those who don't know, that's really really hard on an airplane. They provide a pillow and a blanket, but it does little to ease the ride. But then, if you can't sleep, all international flights have a good selection of movies and games. So I was well occupied.
So, after a VERY uncomfortable flight of eight hours we landed in Frankfurt, Germany (is that where frankfurters come from?)
That was a nice airport. Instead of garbage cans, they had cans divided into papers, packaging, glass, and unavoidable waste. Bet THAT cuts down on massive airport trash output. AND it was kid-friendly. There were huge lines in customs, but they took one look at three kids and led us to a special line for families. There was only one other family in that line. So we didn't miss our connecitng flight.
The Slovenian Airway company is called Adria, which (to me) is alot cooler than US Air. Talk about comfortable seats! Sadly, that flight was only an hour long. If you get a chance like that, sleep. I did, so now I can stay awake long enought to write and post.
Good luck to all back in the US!
Good-bye from the Slovenian Dude, the G- (or S- and G-) man, Garrett.