Day three

Part One

It’s been an interesting time here. After working with our client today, I excused myself for some rest and went to my room to watch local coverage of the Giro d’Italia. Great stuff. In the US, we only get to watch the Tour. The Giro is a fascinating and a very different beast. Levi Leipheimer had a horrible crash at the front of the pack, ending up struggling to finish with the peloton. Great excitement.

Greg and I went to a local bar/restaurant tonight. It was just five or six blocks from the hotel. He chose it because of its “dive” appeal. That’s a Greg thing.

As it turns out, we were the only ones that spoke any English. And the menus were all in Lithuanian. We could figure out a few things… they were at least in a similar order as American restaurants. The top was made up of appetizers, clearly. The next, salads. Then an amalgam of things that might be fish, might be pork, might be beef. Who knows? What we do know for sure is that everything will be served with potatoes…somehow, some way. It’s thier thing. We end up asking the waitress to just choose something for us. She winces… doesn’t smile. It’s not a Lithuanian trait. We try sign language… “you… pick… something… for… us….” Now it’s a grimace. Maybe we insulted her, I’m not sure. Greg decides, just like the SNL skit, to repeat the same thing, just at four times the volume, “YOU…., PICK…. SOMETHING…. FOR…. US?” runs away angry and comes back with the burly bartender. “Jeez,”I think. “It’s way too early in this trip to get in a fight.” Somehow we manage to communicate that we’re hungry and that we want him to pick something. I’m not sure if he thinks we want to buy him dinner or if we’re looking for some other type of excitement. We also ask something like, “YOU BRING US LITHUANIAN DRINK?” He comes back with these huge glasses filled with something that looks like brandy and tastes like a cross between an Anise based liquor and kerosene. PERFECT!

Finally he says, “Oh, yo! Porka!” We take this as a good and universal sign for some kind of pig product. This, being Lithuania, is a pretty good bet anyway, but exactly which part of the pig might end up on our plate is still questionable.

The choice ends up being appropriate. It’s a slab of pork-steak with a piece of ham on top, with a sauce made of pork sausage. As the French might say, this is throwing “Cochon to the wind.” Also some steak fries and a salad. All-in-all, it’s not bad and Greg actually eats it! Amazing. Half way through the meal, I go to the bar and point to the draft handle saying “TAURAS.” Hell! It’s named after a car made in Michigan…well almost. Must be the right thing. We leave feeling sated and culturaly enriched. We nail a good ‘ol US Dollar to the wall along with all the other higher valued denominations, (Yen, Euro, Canadian Dollars, etc.) and make our way to the dark street.

I ditch Greg on the way out of the restaurant and go for a Palladino stroll. First thing I come across is a movie theater. I love the poster for Indiana Jones. Check out the spelling… Indiana is spelled perfectly, but “Jones” is a different story altogether. walk ends up being two hours in length and takes me through the breadth of Vilnius neighborhoods. I finished up the night at a bar watching one of the weirdest cultural conflagrations I’ve ever witnessed. Sitting in Lithuanian hotel bar, watching the Championship League Football game between Manchester United and Chelsea with about 50 tourist from around Europe. I ended up calling my friend Dennis back home in Traverse City, just for some sanity. So here I am drinking SVYTRUYS” beer, listening to an all English soccer game, broadcast in Russion (from Moscow,) in a Lithuanian bar, with a mixed group of English, Irish, Russian, Japanese, and Polish soccer fans. Whew!!
Back at the Pub, it’s the first time watching the Premier League championships, and the first time doing so at a European bar. Man.United and Chelsea are into overtime and it’s a shootout. All I’ll say is one team just won, and GOAL, GOAL, GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m afraid there will be some brawling in England tonight.

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