Saturday, July 14, 2007

Glass Ship

I enjoyed a last breakfast with Open End staffers, sharing some sense of satisfaction that Europython had been a success, though we hope for more volunteer support next year (even child care?).

Arising from our conversation came this idea of a map giving visual expression to the "linguistic distance" between European languages. For example, a Swedish speaker is likely to understand Norwegian and vice versa, but Finnish is another matter altogether, perhaps as distant as Lithuanian. Maybe such a map exists?

Faced with another day for tourism, I chose the "glass ship" as my objective, thanks to Alexia, who discovered it on the web. I pasted the coordinates into Google Earth and hours later was ogling the real deal. More weddings in progress.

Travel in Europe has become so easy these days. ATMs give me money, the hotel gives me free wireless Internet. What more could I need? There's no sense of "roughing it" in Vilnius. The World Livingry Service Industry (WLSI) is a reality here.

One thing though: Google Earth is significantly out of date, was missing this whole bridge across my good friend the Neris:

bridge under construction

bridge now complete
In the evening, I donned my best clothes, like I wore for my talk, and sauntered over to a restaurant with outdoor seating. As the clear skies turned from twilight to darkness, with street lights coming on towards the end, I enjoyed spicy soup, spaghetti with sea food and wine sauce, and a couple Submarine brand beers.

Having left my change in my other pants, I didn't have quite the right amount for a tip (we tend to leave ~20% in our family, in honor of Carla, Dawn's waitressing sister). Rather than asking the waitress to break a twenty Litu, I left a dollar bill with the coins, hoping she'd appreciate the exotic iconography, which she probably doesn't see every day.

Back in my hotel room, Tara and Alexia both started chatting with me via Gmail, plus with each other. Then Tara figured out how to use Google Talk to make it a three-way conference, complete with smilies.