March 11, 2008

10:38 AM

We've traveling through the Swiss alps riding in first class aboard BB TRAINS.
Not sure why I told you this bit of information, but that's the name of the train company just in case you are an expert on European trains. Destination for today:Salzburg, Austria. It's really hard to describe this spacious venture through scenic heaven. Snow capped mountain tops, rolling green fields, and leafless trees ready to spurt new growth in a months time. Though our journey is almost 6 hours in length, I'm excited to relax and enjoy the experience. We're definitely a motley bunch compared to the rest of the 1st class passengers, but who cares?

Dang, Hiro just found another part of the train that has separate rooms where you can pull out the seats to form a bed. Hope it's ok if we move in here. AHHHH... All is fine, the ticket lady just came by and gave us the OK. We just had some kind of passport control check from the POLIZIE, which I'm guessing means we just entered Austria. And now the train is traveling in the opposite direction, so yup...that's pretty fun.

We spent the last 36 hours in Zurich, Switzerland. A beautiful city full of energy,'s so insanely expensive. For example: A SUBWAY SANDWHICH FOOTLONG w/CHIPS & DRINK costs 20 SWISS FRANKS. That's over $20 US dollars. What about the cheapest of the cheap you ask. Well, ok..I went into McDONALDS to see what their prices were like and a BIG MAC DEAL w/Fries and COKE cost 12.80 Swiss Franks. Yes, about $13 US. Can you imagine paying those prices in the US? But people get paid a much higher wage, plus health care is free, and their education system kicks ass. So perhaps it evens out in the end. But! if you were to visit Switzerland, you'd spend a fortune on food. It's such a beautiful place, but as a tourist, I'd rather go to Thailand and spend $2 on a huge feast. Hmmmmm.....

We ended up going to the grocery store and purchased:
1 huge loaf of bread
6 tomatoes on the vine
2 cucumbers
2 packages of Hummus
1 sliver of Brie
1 tube of mustard
4 Kiwis

The promoter for the show got us two rooms at the EASYMOTEL.COM. Yes, that is the name. Super small rooms, but there's a toilet and shower in the room and it's very clean. Plus, I got my own room this time since Chris got his own room in Exeter. Anyways, we ate food in our room and crashed out for a couple hours before our show. By the way we're all still sick, but getting better.

Let's backtrack to Sunday night. We arrive in Zurich at 8:30 PM and get a hold of a guy named Ian whom Hiro and I met and stayed with in September of 2006. Another great person, who melts away all of our stress from the day as we end up in the comfortable surroundings of his home amongst a warm meal and and a space for each of us to sleep. I end up watching BOOGIE NIGHTS on my computer and fall asleep somewhere mid fluff in one of Dirk Digglers many adventures. I woke up at around 10 AM and find out Hiro has gone to the hospital. Was he really that sick? Both Chris and I definitely feel better, but poor Hiro. Ian tells us not to worry, that Hiro went cause it was free and wanted to take advantage of the situation. And he was right. We met up with Hiro hours later and indeed, he seemed ok, so wheeeew.

We met up with my friend Benno before the show. His wife just gave birth to their first child Emily. Just 31 days old, we got to meet her over some tea and then our quick visit ended as we had to get to the club. Hiro was still not himself. You can usually gauge his health my the amount of pictures he's taking and yup... not many photos taken, so I tell him it's ok not to go to the show and get some sleep in the hotel. We bid farewell to Hiro and Chris and I venture on as a duo this evening. The club feeds us.... you guessed it...PASTA! and Chris has about 30 minutes to digest his food before he plays.

Back at the club, the place is filling up quite nicely, but the smoke is blinding. COUGH COUGH. Not the best ingredient when you're nursing a cold. I opt to stand outside for the duration of the SUNDOWNER set, still able to hear him sing, but avoiding smoke for as long as humanly possible. After the last song is played, I rush up to set up and ask Chris how it went. His response "Not so good cuz". Shoooootzzzz. Lots of crowd banter during the performance made it hard to concentrate, but I forged ahead. With a smile firmly planted, I rocked through my set and even got an encore. Really? Me and encore? And then sold a ton of cd's. Strange eh? Whenever you think people are disinterested, they'll confuse you with the purchase of your music. Nice...

We were back at the hotel by 11:30 PM. Having the solo room, I took a wicked hot shower and then lay naked in the comfort of my solitude. Unfortunately I couldn't get to sleep as I tossed and turned throughout the night. There was no thermometer in the room and it kept getting quite warm. I'd take off the blanket and wake up freezing. Ugghh.. Not good when you're trying to fight a cold.

So here I am, I've managed to make this newsletter last 3 hours. Of course, I didn't write continuously. Stops to stretch, use the restroom, eat, talk, and just daze out at the scenery helps, but only 1.5 hrs remain and we'll be in Salzburg. That's where they filmed SOUND OF MUSIC. Did you know that?
Be well.
Mike Park