Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the collector

Day 17

ahhhh Vienna...

we woke in splendour
to a complimentary breakfast
served in our room
we ate like kings
and piggies
hot chocolate
fresh-squeezed orange juice
fresh fruit and omelette's
Gavin had “pancakes”
which was actually the best French toast i've ever tasted
of course he wouldn’t touch it and ate
guess what?
bread instead
now that's our Mr. Bread!
Jayme and i were now ready to have a nice relaxing day
in Vienna
but the first nagging thing on my mind
was calling the promoter of my show
to let him know we wouldn't be staying at the hotel
he'd arranged for us to stay at
from the instant i first spoke to him
he started making plans to hang out
he wouldn't take "no" or "maybe" for an answer
it was nice
but also slightly weird
i hung up the phone still feeling like
the hang out situation was unresolved
even though i'd told him we were fine spending the day
on our own
we then walked out into Vienna and fell immediately in love
it's the most beautiful major city i've ever seen
Jayme agreed
it basically ate Paris' lunch
the architecture was unbelievable
clean and friendly and even in the tourist area not over-crowded
we walked toward the center taking photos
of cathedrals and buildings
i also began being pestered every ten minutes via cellphone text
by our eager wanna be friend
to come and please spend the day with him
it was seriously distracting
i just wanted to get him off of my back
so i could relax
after talking it over with Jayme
we reluctantly agreed to meet him for lunch
(this is a personality flaw of mine coming to full fruition)
we met up with Klaus and his daughter
in front of the main cathedral
and headed with him out of the city center
he insisted that we not eat in the tourist area
even though he said he wasn't hungry
it was "too expense there"
as we passed by the many cool and scenic outdoor cafes
my heart sank a bit
i knew this was a bad idea
we followed special K with more than a bit of trepidation
all the way out of the city center to a tiny café
25 minutes away
the setting was horrible
but we were tired
and starving
Jayme had some kind “Italian” dish
which consisted of dumplings swimming in some kind of milk
that was probably supposed to be sauce
Gavin started yelling, “what is that smell???!!!”
as soon as my dish was brought to the table
my lunch was horrible too
some sort of turkey curry
i had two bites
the worst meal of the entire trip
it ended up being about 22 euros too
not exactly cheap
we were now firmly in the grasp of "the collector"
it turns out that K has been collecting musicians
since the '70s
and he's quite a pro at it
"no" is simply not a word he understands
we agreed to follow him to a local park
only because it was in front of one of the churches Jayme wanted to see
we let the kids play for a bit
and then suddenly, his daughter had to pee
K insisted we come to his place
which was only “5 minutes walking”
we hesitantly agreed with silent glances at each other
of course, Klaus’s place was 20 minutes away
once inside his flat i was immediately taken aback by his
huge vinyl collection
probably the biggest i have ever seen
literally thousands of records
the man had truly dedicated his entire life
to collecting
and i was honored to be a part of it
but i also now wanted to leave
it was already 4:00 and we still had so much more of Vienna to see
G had a perfectly timed bathroom accident
and we practically ran from Klaus’s back to the city center
we were able to walk around for about another hour and a half
before we had to head back to the opera house
to stand in line for “standing room only” tickets
for that night’s performance
we'd read in our guide book
(and been told by our friend, Sarah Jane)
that if you got in line at a side door 80 minutes before a performance
you could get opera tickets for only 2-3 euros!
that was a steal compared to the 100 to 200 euro seated tickets
we had just enough time
to run back to the hotel and get dressed up before the show
i wore my suit and tie
G his "Charmis" suit jacket
Jayme looked fetching in her new mod dress
we had so much fun at the opera
it was packed in the standing area
but we found a place with a view and watched about 30 minutes of the performance
before Gavin had had enough
he was very polite and quiet though
we had to take turns holding him so that he could see
but it was still enjoyable
i have no idea what the opera was about
there was a king, a queen, some priests and a be-heading
but i really didn’t care
the stage setting was incredible to look at
and just being inside this famous opera house was impressive enough for us
we ran out of the opera and crossed the street to the famous Sacher hotel
home of the Sacher torte
and ordered one Sacher torte
one apple streudel and some drinks.
the restaurant was playing dance music
and G money could barely contain himself
he jumped out of his chair
and started to boogie
he had us and everyone else in the place doubled over with laughter
he even whipped out his famous “thumb move”
and did a little Michael Jackson crotch grabbing
i have no idea where he got that from
but it was a hit to the serving staff
we still had a little bit of time left to walk around the city center
before i had to run back to the hotel for Klaus to pick me up
he'd kindly offered to take me to my show
to save me from taxiland
Jayme badly wanted to re-visit the church she was in
when lunch with Klaus interrupted our day
on the way we met a nice (?) clown
who we'd managed to avoid earlier in the day
and Gavin picked a balloon shaped like a big flower
the clown was a little baffled that Gavin hadn't chosen the balloon sword
so he gave him that too
G was thrilled
we then got him some strawberry gelato
and he was in kid heaven
we made it back to the beautiful church with about 5 minutes to spare
just enough time for us to go inside and take some photos
about 30 seconds in
as we were standing in the back waiting for Jayme to take photos
a loud bang
that sounded like gunfire
stunned the silent church-goers
screams and gasped followed
with everyone in the previously instantly turning around
to glare at me and my son
standing in the back
like two sheepish criminals
yes, poor little G had somehow managed to pop one of his balloons
which promptly scared the living %$^&!! out of everyone in the place
my wife pretended to have never set eyes on us before
and we high-tailed it out of there
as Gavin burst into tears
the priest and the altar boys came running out from a hidden door
near the front
in a full panic – thinking there was some kind of terrorist activity taking place
“das luftballoon, das luftballoon” was the last words i heard
as we exited in shame


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