Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I have been wanting to go to Bratislava since I first arrived in Vienna. It's only 50 km east of Wien so it was my one goal before I left: make the trip there before I leave because Nuremberg is so far west that I know I'll never go after this summer.  Erica and I quickly made plans to go and off we went.  The trip would have been REALLY fun had I not received awful news halfway through....but more about that later.

Mishka and Jerry (our native hosts, whose names I am completely misspelling for pronunciation purposes) proudly showed us around and....made us a terrific Slovakian dinner, which took hours (3 hours, total!) of preparation. I have been so humbled by the gracious hospitality I am constantly being shown in these countries. I'm such a fan of Eastern Europe - I never would have guessed.

They also took us bowling (I don't really like bowling but the shoes I got to wear were actually really cute) and then they took us to a We paid 10 euro to drive the go-carts and then.....we entered what can only be described as a warehouse-turned-go-cart-track. Erica and I were terrified. In fact, I wish someone had taken a picture of our facial expressions upon entering this place (or a photo of the place itself). There was no "track", but rather tires lined-up strategically throughout. There was a sign in Slovakian indicating what each flag means, ie "if a blue flag is waved at you, it means _____."  There were 7 different flags that can be waved at you while driving. Since Erica and I couldn't read the sign, Mishka translated for us. Our eyes widened more and more with each rule; "If the blue flag is waved, it means you have to reverse and go the other direction"..."If the orange flag is waved, it means you have to let the person pass you on the left"..."If the purple flag is waved, it means you have to let the person pass you on the right"..."if the red flag is waved, it means you get kicked out because your driving is a hazard to the other drivers"....halfway through the translation, Erica and I simultaneously said, "Yeah, we're not going to do this." The other 3 thought we were kidding and when they noticed we weren't putting our helmets on, they realized we were being serious. Mishka asked us what was wrong and Erica said, "Well, to be honest, this is an abandoned warehouse, through which people are driving what appear to be homemade go-carts at ungodly speeds, while the mechanic in the corner is working on said go-carts with a BLOWTORCH, which, personally, I find unsafe, especially considering that sparks are flying around while gasoline drips from these go-carts, on TOP of which, I also find unsettling that some of these drivers appear to be no older than the age of 3 and we're just not comfortable with any of that." Everyone then looked at me and I said, "We're American. There are some things we can't handle. This is one of them".

Jerry and Mishka shrugged, Erica and I happily forfeited our tickets, and the rest of the group made their way around the track (and did, in fact, survive).

Afterward, Jerry asked us, "Are you sure you don't want to give it a try? You already paid the 10 euro" to which I replied, "I am already going to have to call my parents tonight and tell them my house was robbed last night and I don't want to have to tell them that, hours after my house was robbed, I died driving a go-cart in Slovakia."

Erica and I ended up giving our tickets to Jerry and Mishka as a "thank you for hosting us" gift, so hopefully our 10 euro wasn't wasted.

They were still slightly confused, though, and I realized this when they asked me over dinner, "But what were you girls expecting?". I said, "I'll tell you what I was expecting. I was expecting Perfect Swing; a wholesome little place in middle America, where children have to be a certain HEIGHT to drive these cars, and the go-carts' speed does not exceed 20 mph." Jerry looked at me and said, "Oh, yeah, you can't find that here".

Jan said...

Ha Ha funny go cart story. You were smart. That was too many rules to remember since you couldn't read them. That city looked pretty, as do all of the ones you visit!!

JMay said...

all your lil adventures are so fun!

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