It’s amazing what we get used to and don’t notice anymore or ever. Being so happy to see my friends, who came and picked me up from the airport, I didn’t notice anything special until the next day.
First: buses. They were SO dirty! Now, I hadn’t particularly taken notice of the muddy Tri-Met buses before I left, but when I got back I certainly did. Having taken a bus a few times, I can testify that Tri-Met drivers are polite, helpful and humorous! As are most bus drivers I’ve met anywhere in the world, unless the end of the shift is nearing.
You know where you find dirty public transportation in Europe? Yep, the former Communist countries. It wasn’t quite so bad in Prague this time, but it has been more than 20 years since they “got their freedom” back, as they say. Having given this phrase some deep thought, I now interpret it as “got our pride” back.
I’ve been on a few buses in Europe, mainly tour buses which are sparkling clean. But then, those buses are privately owned and must compete with other privately owned tour bus companies. The train tracks between Prague and Munich apparently were not in service, so we took a Deutsche Bahn bus back. They had smartly-uniformed stewardesses to look after us. Way cool!
Scary note: Czechs younger than age 30 don’t refer to the past, especially their freedom. They are also no longer interested in practicing their English. This seems to be true everywhere in Europe. Older people (60+) still love to speak what English they remember (quite a bit actually) any chance the get.
Second: radio. Almost all of my favority talk radio shows are gone – moved or maybe deleted from schedules. The big guys are still there, but the up and comers seem to be missing. I do remember some signs of nervousness among the hosts at the beginning of the year, then almost tearful expressions of gratitude to their new or returning sponsors.
I suspect the behind-the-scenes battles have been fierce. I had noticed many, many govt-sponsored ads before I left and smelled a rat. What the govt gives, the govt can take away. I was hoping the stations and networks weren’t getting to dependent on the ads. They were so stupid – addressing listeners as if they were children; and carrying subtle messages that govt programs were the solutions to ALL problems.
Third: news. News? What news? Whether newspaper, radio, TV or Internet – real news is getting harder and harder to find. Oh, sure, you can get sports news and endless sports “commentary,” you can get celebrity news; health and lifestyle news, but what’s actually going on in the world that can or will affect your life? Scarcely a word. You have to go to the website of a real newspaper to get anything at all.
So, there you go. My final rant. Any further posts will be political and/or financial.