One of my friends had a going away party last night. Needless to say, this Thursday morning was a little more arduous than the average. 5 "International Business Development Executives" as we are known, have quit or been fired in the 5 weeks I've been on the job. I guess it's not for everyone. Afternoon reprieve came in the form of a network shutdown. When your job relies entirely on the phone and the internet little work can be done when neither of the communication vectors function.
At the afore referred-to shin-dig, I had much interesting conversation with a colleague of mine about twice my age. He is South African with a doctorate in theology. He had some interesting and informed opinions on the Palestine-Israel conflict. I also learned that he used to own a bar and live in the Canary Islands. He used it as his home based and launched deuce-weeklong missions to places around the world. He picked up a bad smoking habit after a vicious motorcycle accident in Singapore and the subsequent three weeks in a hospital with a chain smoking Mexican dude. He has now spent two years in Slovakia because his Slovak wife is getting her Ph.D. From the sound of it he is itching to move on and get out of here. I think the attitude of the people are the most difficult thing for him to deal with, sort of a slow erosive process I guess.
In a tunnel underground on the way to the party I saw a gypsy playing an imaginary game of soccer with himself and an empty beer can. There also would have been an award ceremony at the bus stop had the "Mullett Adjudication Committee walked by." The shit this guy sported was legendary.
Over shots of high potency homemade plum brandy and tallcans of Zlaty I learned more about politics in Slovakia that explained the frustration of one particular expat in the Slovak Republic. In this year's presidential election the vote coming out of Bratislava was for a change from the extremely socialist policies of the incumbent. The rest of the country voted overwhelmingly for the opposite and ended up getting their way. Apparently this president did a good job of getting Slovakia into the Euro zone but as is common of the Slovak people the concept of earning is a distant one and they are now failing in huge ways to uphold the minimal standards the EU expects. I can appreciate that the above generalizations about a people sound extremely prejudice but everyone else, including native Slovaks, within earshot shared an empathetic groan at the pandemic lack of motivation to work exhibited by the locals. I do not feel like I have been here for long enough to accurately gauge this for myself but when you look around while hearing people talk about how Bratislava is the most modern part of Slovakia it makes you wonder. I'm excited to take a jaunt into the countryside one of these days.
Playboy magazines at bagel shops, the liberalization of drinking and driving laws and the realization that if the liquor store here went on strike it wouldn't matter because you can buy shots at the bus stop, make up just a few of this week's other peculiar observations.
Have World Cup 2010 ads started playing in Canada? They are all the rage here.