I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Living in first-world Europe is a bit different than living in more exotic locales. Duh, you say. Now, wait a sec, let me explain.

In most countries, it is always obvious that you are in another culture. I am sure that in India, for example, the “differentness” of everything hits you full-on every time you step outside your Drexel-bedecked bubble. Africa was like that for me–in a mostly depressing sort of way. Every time I went outside I said to myself, “oh crap, I’m still here.”

Even Latin America, which I love, looks, sounds and smells very different from home. And Prague still had enough of that post-communist vibe going on at the time we lived there to never let us forget we were in a different world. A world which was not, strictly speaking, the first world.

Western Europe, on the other hand, can be deceptive. You might say there are a lot of cognates. Things look or work more or less like you would expect them to look. Except for when they don’t. And that catches your attention in a way that it would not in a more exotic place.

Every now and then, here in Vienna, I see something that strikes me as odd. Because I apparently have a juvenile sense of humor, I snap a pic with my camera phone when I do. They’ve been piling up for a while. Here’s a few that turned out. Some were too blurry because I took them from the bus. There was one billboard with a big steaming pile of dog poop. I really wish that had turned out, because I wanted to translate the ad. I simply couldn’t imagine what one would advertise with a picture of dog poop. Maybe Toto could figure it out.

What no housewife should be without.
What no housewife should be without.
With chocolate.
With chocolate.
Oh, the irony...
Oh, the irony…
Who you gonna call?  Fugger-Putz!
Who you gonna call? Fugger-Putz!
Really not sure what's going on here, but it was in the museum district, which may be a clue.
Really not sure what’s going on here, but it was in the museum district, which may be a clue.
Yes, that is a watermelon.  And this is a retail store, not a junk or antique shop. Sigh.
Yes, that is a watermelon. And this is a retail store, not a junk or antique shop. Sigh.
At the airport arrivals lounge.  HUH?
At the airport arrivals lounge. HUH?
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One comment

  1. I guess on the last one, the room comes with condoms. Then it really would be ready. I also guess re the watermelon, that they have not heard about the jim crow days…. and they have really bad taste. did I ever mention having to tell our gardener in Africa NOT to call my husband “Master.” We settled on “Boss.” And all I can say about the top ones is I once knew a Richard who refused to be called Dick…. A little sensitive, I suppose. Ahh, now I see, Dick translates as thick….. hummmmm. Saugkraft is even better though, because it translates as suction… Double Hummm.

    Like

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