Tuesday, October 25, 2005

It's winter already?
It was 41 degrees this morning!!! It's still October. It's still hurricane season! It can't be 41 degrees.

So when it's this cold, I don't like getting on my bike. Jogging is much nicer in the cold because there's not so much wind. Maybe if I ran faster there'd be wind. But the way I run, I only feel wind when someone passes me. ;-)

Spanish class is coming along OK. It's fun and all, but last night we spent almost the whole class reviewing homework. It moves along pretty slowly, and I'm afraid that by the time the Spain trip rolls around, all I'll be able to say is "What time is it" and "The professor is tall" and "I have a hardworking piece of chalk." I still don't know how to ask for the bathroom. "Donde esta la toilet?" Or is it "Donde es la toilet?" Is a toilet always a toilet? Does it meet the requirements of geographical-location-means-verb-change? Oh drat. "Ou sont les toilettes" is just so much easier.

I wonder whether more Spaniards speak French or English?

The people in my class are a hoot, and some of them seem pretty cool. I wonder how many will take the level 2 class next semester. Heck, I wonder whether I'll be able to, with the travel schedule that looms on my horizon. I was just lucky that this semester all my business trips start on Tuesday or Wednesday so I can take a Monday night class.

And speaking of travel, last week in Boston I visited the museum of fine arts. It was terrific. I'd recommend it to anyone headed up that way. There was a free exhibition called "Things I Love" which was a collection of William Koch's art and other nifty things. Koch (I didn't know who he was, either) is a wealthy tycoon who raced in and won the 1992 America's Cup race. He sounds pretty arrogant, to tell the truth, BUT what was really really really cool is that out in front of the museum were THE SHIPS that took 1st and 2nd place in that race. The winner was Koch's ship, America3, and the 2nd place was a ship called Il Moro de ... (something in italian). Right there, in the MFA's front yard. Words can't describe. They were so beautiful.

There was also an Ansel Adams exhibit, but it was $22, so I skipped it and looked at the pictures that were made into postcards in the gift shop. It looks like it would have been a great exhibit, if I'd had enough time to make it worth $22.

But the best part of visiting the MFA was the concert. As I was walking around looking at the Asian and Islamic art sections, I could hear faint music, like bells only kind of like strings, too. Gradually the music became louder, so I went to find where it was coming from. Up in the musical instruments collection they had set up a small platform where a group of about 15 musicians were playing various ancient chinese percussion-type bell and stringed instruments. The music was different from anything I'd ever heard before. Little by little all the visitors to the museum made their way into the little room to listen. The people watching was almost as good as the concert.

This week I'm in the office (except for the lunch date in DC Wednesday) for the last time until late December. Next week: Chicago. I'd like to catch a jazz show or a few museums while I'm there. Any suggestions? I'm staying downtown just a few blocks south of Navy Pier.


Christa Saile said...

I think the Spanish people speak better English than French.

alphagal said...

Good to know. I can say "Donde esta la toilet" or "Where's the jon" and probably be equally well-understood.
I sure hope people near Karlsruhe can understand English, French or toddler-Spanish because my German is limited to the bold declaration that "I am a jelly doughnut." And I probably don't even say that correctly. Chris and Jen have volunteered to take responsibility for the German communication for the trip, since I'm sure Jim and Katrin will be pretty busy. Tony and I can't wait to meet you in March!

Anonymous said...

It sure is nice travelling with a translator. I haven't needed to use any German, except to tell the few people who initiated conversations with me that I didn't understand them. :-) "I am a jelly doughnut" would accomplish the same thing, and maybe get a laugh at the same time.

Brock Sampson said...

Nod, and smile.

PartnerInCrime said...

Oh, and nice Eddie Izzard reference with the "I am a jelly doughnut." :) I love him.

PartnerInCrime said...

My mom said that in France, she learned to just ask, "La toilette?" with a very up-question note on the end of the phrase, and people knew exactly what she was asking. I'm guessing you can probably pull off the same type of thing in Spain.

alphagal said...

Eddie Izzard- how funny, that was completely coincidental! I was going for the JFK reference when he said Ich bin ein berliner or something close to that, phonetically.
PS-- I looked it up, it's
"Donde estan los banos" (~ over the n in "banos"- sorry, can't get special characters)

Jim said...

Oh yeah - Chicago. You're going to be very close to where Katrin and I stayed; I hope they put you up in one of those ritzy hotels right there. Don't bother with the technical museum - it's outdated and pretty blah. (If you're ever in Munich, save a day for their tech museum, that one is super awesome.)
We really liked the natural history museum in Chicago, and the contemporary art museum. The parks are nice, if you want to get some exercise, and it's easy to walk around downtown. There's a cool shopping strip for you - I forget what they call it. Stop off at Tiffany & Co., but don't drool on the diamonds. :-)

PartnerInCrime said...

Ah, the Eddie Izzard bit was about JFK saying that line and how it literally translated to donut. And that he should've gone on a whole tour of Germany:
Hamburg - "I am a hamburger!"
Frankfurt - "I am a frankfurter!"
And so on. :)

Bashö said...

ALT+ yields
---- ------
154 Ü
155 ¢
168 ¿
148 ö
165 Ñ
164 ñ
132 ä
Most characters are doable even in the limited world of ASCII action. Now you can type your Spanish HW and complete your quest to be the Teacheriest of Pets ;)

alphagal said...