Foreigner’s Logic (only an american?)

I went back to Gare Nord today to do more wireless work, and all the restaurants are closed – midday Saturday! Which means no power. ­čÖü Quickly Googling via battery, I thought Aha! Schumann! Very busy, there will be open restaurants there Not. This is reminiscent of arriving in Brattleboro 12 years ago and finding only a McDonald’s open for an 8 pm dinner! Not. Schumann was as quiet as Gare Nord.


I didn’t get as lost today as I did last week, booking my room for Strasbourg. I’d been looking for weeks to no avail. Someone mentioned Kehl to me – right across the Rhine in Germany. Google came back with two availabilities, I took the less expensive one and ouila! I had a room! When I arrived in Strasbourg I went directly to Parliament to deal with the ID badge. I called the Peanuts Hostel to get a sense of how long the bus ride would take me, and how late I could catch it. Do you know I had booked a room 8 hours away in Kiel – near Hamburg? I was incredibly fortunate to have an interview that same evening with someone who knew somebody else with a hot last minute tip.

It was bound to happen: last week I approached an EP interpreter with my standard, “Parlevous Inglais?” and she said no, proceeding to run through the list of languages in which we might be able to communicate: I don’t remember them all, but there were about three that rolled out quickly (French, Dutch, maybe German?), then another 3 or 4, ending with Slovak. I tried ASL but of course that was no good. I felt bad! As someone said, I needed an interpreter (!). It was a disconcerting moment; different than when it happens on the street when I’m asking for directions or some such. Probably not because it was related to the research, but because she (unlike some stranger on the street), a professional interpreter – really wanted to bridge the language gap, and I couldn’t.

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