May 30, 2003

Lithuanian Food of The Day 9?

OK, so I'm not going to Swindon...

As you will recall, dear reader, at about midnight last night I was asked to book a flight to Swindon for the weekend. I was up until 3am getting everything ready and generally being pissed and stressed out.

At about 9am this morning I was packed and working in the customer's test lab alongside my bags. I got a call from a manager (who was about to get on a plane to fly from England back to the States) saying that I probably shouldn't go to Swindon. To confirm this I needed to get ahold of a coworker in England who hasn't got a mobile phone, hadn't yet been seen at work, and wasn't answering the phone in the hotel. Instead of getting lunch (second skipped meal of the day) I hopped in a taxi and headed for the airport to buy a ticket and wait for the call. As we were about to pull into the airport he finally called and confirmed that I did not need to be heading to the airport. The "taksi" driver seemed to take it all in stride, like this happens all the time, and executed a u-turn in the front entrance of the airport.

I recently finished Scott Carrier's "Running After Antelope." The book combines stories he's written for magazines and public radio about both his life and his crazy notion of running down an antelope. Part of his book concerns a group of native Mexicans (either the Tarahumara or the Seri, or both..I forget) whom he had read about and who are considered to be the best runners anywhere. When I got back from the gates of the airport and checked into my new hotel I turned on the TV and what should be on the DIscovery Channel? A program about these folks, "Greatest Runners In The World." Unfortunately it had been dubbed into Lithuanian.

So back to food: this city has way too many Italian restaurants. It also has many types of coffee, as many varieties of bottled water as you could ever hope for, but only four types of pop: Sprite, Fanta, Coke, and Coke Light. Many places have only Coke and Fanta.

We stopped by "Hyper-Rimi" yesterday for the second time to buy water and miscellaneous foodstuffs. I always find it fascinating to visit supermarkets and convenience stores in foreign countries because it's the one place were you can be sure that 90% of the people in there are just plain locals going about their lives. No tourism layer in between you and the people. OK, it's not that noble a pursuit..I'm really in there to get some decent water and some Pringles.

Anyway, this was the most American-like grocery store I've ever been in outside of the US or Canada. They even had horrible American easy-listening music playing. Most of the brands were unfamiliar, but the only glaring difference I saw was an entire aisle of hanging sausages. Every kind you could imagine. The other difference was the price of cigarettes.

I haven't been taking nearly enough pictures. Here are a couple from yesterday evening. I almost with I'd brought a tape recorder.. A lot of the sounds of this city are as interesting as the sites -- there are church bells reverberating around Old Town as I type, and last night these three teenagers were laughing and tripping their way up a street while singing what sounded like opera lyrics..and singing it well.

Hill of Three Crosses.

The main cathedreal in Old Town, Vilnius. I'm not sure what its name is..

Hopefully the upgrade tonight (around midnight) will go well and the weekend will be peaceful. I'm desperate for a good night's sleep.

Posted at May 30, 2003 08:11 PM, Categories: Beardcore
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