Now, my first and best thoughts about Europe so far?
It is amazing.
For starters, the people here are enormously tall (which means that I am not!). The men are absolutely beautiful. The women are too - in a stunning and enviable way. Fashion is hip and easy and not hard to purchase (or copy!). And most importantly, much to my (guilty) pleasure, there are at least 6 H&M stores in all of our major cities, as well as an average of 1.2 in every airport we pass through.
Everything is VERY expensive, but, because I can't yet wrap my head around the Euro, it's easy to fall into the habit of thinking that I'm spending dollars intead. This makes money go quickly and effortlessly out of my pocket (€9,50 for two cups of coffee? That sounds about right?!). This is the reason that after less than three days in Europe, I have spent twice as much as I had planned on spending in so short a time. But, to be honest, I don't mind.
I would murder for some red licorice. I had forgotten that in most countries of the world, licorice is only sold in the black variety, which is very yuk. When I want a sweet, though, I buy a Mars bar, which is actually a Milky Way. The Europeans have disguised a Three Muskateer bar as a Milky Way, and real Mars bars don't exist. Thankfully for my waist, I don't like croissants, although to my body's severe dislike, I have begun to eat cheese again, as a.) I am just so glad that it's not raw fish, and b.) simple dishes such cheese on toast with jam or a slice of thin crust Mediterranean pizza are just too delicious to pass up. Also, in two day's time, I have learned to drink two previously disliked beverages - coffee and beer, and now enjoy both as frequently as possible.
I was earlier embarrassed by a Western traveler (for the sake of humor, we'll call him a Canadian) who was very put off that he needed to show his boarding pass to buy a newspaper at the corner store here at the airport. He evidently thought that, by demanding his Euros back and taking his business to the next stand, that his tantrum might improve this inconvenience for further customers, or for when he walked to the next stand. As you can imagine, he was not a winner either way.
The man across from me is reading a newspaper of the nicer-looking variety. I can't read the title (well, I can understand the world 'das' (the)). I am assuming that it is a newspaper only because it looks like one in style and content (big headings with important looking people in pictures, poll charts, weather boxes, etc.). At the same time, though, is a photo of a topless model on the front page. It looks very out of place, although it evidently isn't offensive to anyone else sitting next to or around me. Whatever, right?
I am excited for Greece. The men are gorgeous, tan, and fit, with dark yes and great hair. The food is delicious - my stomach is excited to have giant olives, souvlaki, and the excellent cheeses there, including yummy feta (which is like not cheese-cheating at all, as it is from goats, not cows).
I am sitting in the Frankfurt airport as I write this. As I recently walked through the terminals and made passing glances at departure boards, I found that I was no longer a bit envious that my next destination isn't somewhere a bit more exotic than Des Moines, Iowa or Nagoya, Japan (or even Delhi, India!). Instead I am satisfied and grateful for the opportunity to see our world in this way.
Most importantly at this moment, though, I am desperately jonesing for a much-needed nap, and am hoping to load first so that I may begin that quest immediately. From this exact moment, we will have been out of Japan for 84 hours, for which for only 17 I have slept. My body is tired and wearing down, my eyes are bloodshot and red, and I have the headache of a century. I am SO tired that the moving sidewalks even seemed tedious. A few minutes ago, I half-sleepily finished a delicious deli ham and cheese sandwich and a fresh squeezed juice that cost me €11. My belly is full and I am very satisfied. I would like to get me some sleep very soon.
Now, though, before I board, it's time to head for one last quick glance at H&M (again). That should easily keep me awake for a bit...