Monday, October 20, 2003

I've decided not to describe my trip. I mean, what is there to explain? There were the usual monuments and tourist traps often associated with world famous cities and towns. When I say "tourist traps", I mean areas where people, fresh off the boat, hassle you with fake Rolexes and metal bracelets (Ethiopians screaming out nee-how-mah's until their throat was sore, for example). Now, now. I know that's how they make their living and they earn meagre wages, and all that. But for me, personally, their appearance (most predominently in Pisa) ruined my perception of Europe, as a whole. To me, what significance does an ancient building still have if it's now surrounded by unrelated public decorations consisting of stands selling humping puppets and penis postcards for 0.50 Euros? But seriously, if it is to be preserved for future generations to see, give it more respect than that. Yeah yeah, I know I'm being naive for saying this. Again, I know this is how people make their living. But still ...

I liked Amsterdam. No, not for its famous red light district (although my aunts went and said all they saw was a fat man rolling himself all over a young lady: "At least the men in the audience got off." *shudder*). And also not for its bong shops (though I did stop to look at a few creative pieces ... like the one the size of a door.) But simply for its laid-back vibe. People there are warm, helpful and duh-amn tall. Average males are 6 ft and up while females are all at least 5'7". Most of the other cities didn't really make an impact on me. They just became obstacles to trek through to take me to the end of the day, where a decent night's sleep awaited me.

Though I sound more pissed than pleasant when reminiscing of my recent trip, I really am grateful that I got the chance to go. In all honesty, I liked every country ... except Italy (to be fair, only the north) and Monaco ("Excuse me. This is a private bank.") And I'd totally go again if I got the chance to go with a friend. I mean, my mother wouldn't shut up. She was the Asian equivalent of a hairdryer: too much hot air and just as loud. My two forgetful aunts who brought with them 48 bags of instant noodles, a sack of "specialty" rice and a rice cooker got on my nerves too. But other than that, the trip was a real eye-opener. I now realise, Europe is America with a longer history and BBC. Money-sucking public restrooms and better looking men and ... yeah, that's pretty much it.