Sunday, November 01, 2009
We haven't been everywhere so we can't say for sure, but hotel breakfast lounges must be universal in their sleepy feel. In our hotel, the beds are French (no snuggling allowed), the breakfast fare is decidedly German (fliesch und kase), and the radio station plays tinny 1980's pop in English. The walls in the hallways and the breakfast lounge are decorated with fuzzy murals that feature swans, domed buildings, and green scenes. Resin knick-knacks of squirrels and mice sit at each table. Our table this morning hosted a mouse sitting on top of a pinecone and the poor chap was missing an ear. People perform their sleepy ballets around the food stations and barely talk to one another. This seems true everywhere. It is strange for us to not strike up a conversation with the person next to us. We're used to that, but since our vocabulary is limited to the very basics, we're quiet. (This morning we think we said "you're welcome" when we should have said "sorry." Oops. We got our coffee anyway. Stupid, dream-hazed American.) English is a Germanic language. German should not be so difficult to figure out, but we find ourselves feeling like our tongue and brain are wrapped in rubberbands. In the morning it is an exciting challenge, and by evening even the simplest social transaction is frustrating.