Digital Tavern: Europe on $5 a Day, 1974

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My Y-chromosome friends seem to have been heavy into sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll in the early 1970s, but I only discovered that stuff later.  In the summer of 1974, I had just graduated from college and was working as a waitress at a seafood restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland.  We only made 80 cents an hour, but tips were good, and we could keep all we made.  I was saving up for a trip to Europe in the fall. 

 

Years earlier, when I had entered 9th grade, my mother had bribed me to take Latin.  She said that if I would take two years of Latin, she would send me to Europe.  I ended up taking four years of Latin and six of French, working as a waitress every summer in college and as a dorm desk receptionist during the school year.

 

I saved as much as possible, so at the end of summer in 1974, I was ready.  I had airplane ticket, three-month Eurail pass, a copy of Europe on $5 a Day, and backpack, as well as my subsidized savings.  My travelling partner and I had decided to start our travels in Munich, Germany, at Oktoberfest. 

 

I wasn’t much of a drinker, but not averse to beer.  I remember giant halls of loud celebrants and many mugs of frothy beer sloshing around, maybe with singing.  I also remember being too sick the next day to do much of anything.  I wasn’t hung over—didn’t drink enough for that—but blamed jet lag and the heavy German food.  In any case, my roommates in the youth hostel took care of me.  We exchanged addresses and one of them later facilitated my move to New York City.

 

The Eurail pass was a great concept, allowing us to take trains everywhere in Western Europe for no additional charge.  We slept on a lot of trains, carried food staples, and stayed at a lot of youth hostels.  Standard fare was bread, cheese, butter, chocolate and wine, because the water was unsafe to drink.  Al and I quickly learned that we had different priorities for our travels.  He liked going to American movies, and I wanted to explore castles and museums.  When his friends joined us, along with my sister and college roommate, the guys and girls parted ways, all on friendly terms.

 

But I was going through a dark period, a “What am I going to do with my life?” funk, and I just wanted to be alone.  I had never been on my own, had always been told who I was, what I was like, how to think, dress, and behave, and I was tired of it.  I wanted freedom, no ties, no responsibilities.  A social butterfly then, now wanting to shift into solitude.

 

It was not to be.  My new companions wanted to go to discos in Barcelona, and my former roommate was a chatterbox who had majored in French and was quickly picking up Spanish at the discos. 

 

It’s funny what you remember.  In Spain I remember seeing skinned rabbits and other animals hanging whole in the butcher’s window.  A seafood soup in Madrid that came with shells still on, clam shells, shrimp shells, at the table next to me.  In Barcelona men didn’t whistle at attractive women.  They hissed.  I thought that strange.

 

 I remember coin-operated showers in the youth hostels, which made use of tankless water heaters, a great invention and I guess standard in Europe.  I’ve always wondered why they haven’t caught on in the US.  I remember small cars that could park vertically in horizontal parking spaces.  Then there was the terrible (and only) case of bedbugs from a youth hostel in Venice, Italy.  I remember lots of good food at small, local restaurants, where strangers were seated together at long tables.  The food in Italy and France was the best.  Florence, Italy may have been my favorite city, with all the color. 

 

By the time we got to Florence, I decided to lose my companions in the train station, and so I did.  I spend the rest of the time travelling alone.  I toured so many castles and museums that they began to blur in my mind.  I spent a lot of time drinking hot lemonade and eating pastries and peach melba in bakeries.  I gained weight.

 

I was harassed by men, everywhere I went.  Later I figured young American women, especially those travelling alone, had a reputation for promiscuity in Europe, but I was too dumb then to figure it out.  I had to learn to be rude, a social skill that no one taught me at home.  I ended up hating men, an assessment that was only partially softened by the perfect gentleman English friend at the end of the trip.

 

My Eurail pass expired in December, just before Christmas, and I was low on money.  In Paris, the Sorbonne’s message board had an ad for an “au pair” posted by a Parisian woman.  She wanted someone to be companion for her 13-year-old daughter, and by the way, she wanted to spend the next two weeks at her second home in Aix-en-Provence.  There would be light cleaning involved.  She hired me but said there was no room in her car for my backpack, so I would have to leave it in her Paris apartment.

 

I fell for it and signed on for what would become an adventure unto itself.  Suffice to say I was enslaved to a harpy clean-freak perfectionist who had marble floors that she wanted mopped every day.  We finally returned to Paris, and I was booted out at 11:30 p.m. with only a check and no cash.  Things looked grim, but I survived, only to be robbed a few days later in broad daylight while sitting on a park bench. 

 

Now I’ve been robbed too many times to count, but the method varies.  This time a group of guys surrounded me, acting flirtatious and friendly.  One distracted me while another lifted my wallet from my purse.  I didn’t discover it until later.  Fortunately for me, a roommate in my youth hostel had recently been robbed, too.  She said I was a “shit collector,” but she walked me through the process of getting a temporary passport and replacement travelers’ checks, of which I had lost about $60.

 

That’s when I decided I’d had enough of Europe and decided to go home.  My plans to live abroad would have to wait.  The rest of the story is another story.

 

 

Comments

Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 19, 2018 - 11:10pm
Small town US values don't prepare one for international travel. But you learned a lot and survived. 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 19, 2018 - 11:26pm
Jeffry,
That was only the beginning.  I've been to lots of places since then, but never to Thailand.  There's no place like home, but if property taxes keep going up, I may need to find a home in another country.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:57am
Yes, it's quite clear you are well traveled. 
 
Thailand is great for me but a difficult jump for most from the states.
 
It's certainly much less easy here for westerners than before Yingluck fled a prison sentence joining her also EX-PM convicted brother in exile.
 
 
Doug Plumb Added Sep 20, 2018 - 2:39am
What is this "Digital Tavern" stuff all about ? I guess I missed that post. I see multiple posts on here "Digital Tavern". Can someone pls tell me what this is about, or who started it so I can read about it ?
Stone-Eater Added Sep 20, 2018 - 4:07am
Katharine
 
Nice to see that you also did Europe by train :-) Hm....I was never robbed except in Thailand. Not in Africa, not in Europe. But everybody has bad luck some time, right ?
Stone-Eater Added Sep 20, 2018 - 4:08am
Doug
 
Opher started that series by telling a story about his youth in the 60/70's. No politics, no rants. And it caught on :-)
Flying Junior Added Sep 20, 2018 - 4:25am
Katharine,
 
You must have been quite wonderfully fierce in your youth.  Many kudos.  I would still love to see Barcelona.  But the era of 1970s discotheques and Egon Ronay's Europe on $5/day will never be seen again.
 
Your post has inspired me to recollect my six weeks in Katlenburg/Lindau in 1977.
Neil Lock Added Sep 20, 2018 - 4:51am
Katharine: A great story.
 
As it happens, I too was travelling around Europe in late summer and autumn 1974, and on much the same budget as you. But I was on a bicycle, rather than in the train. I spent most of my time in Italy, and I certainly stayed in that dreaded youth hostel in Venice (no bed bugs when I was there, fortunately). It's even possible we may have met :-)
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2018 - 8:25am
Ocean City, MD brings back childhood and teenage memories.  Once we hit high school its where we went to raise hell.  We had lots more freedom back in those days.  Today I can't imagine a helicopter parent allowing a few car loads of teenagers making the trek to Ocean City by themselves.
opher goodwin Added Sep 20, 2018 - 10:34am
Katharine - you had some guts travelling on your own! What an experience. Did it sort your head out?
I've never been robbed but have found myself in a number of hairy situations. But we live and learn. It's all part of life's rich tapestry.
Glad you shared that story!
opher goodwin Added Sep 20, 2018 - 10:37am
Doug - it was actually an idea from Burghal. He said it would be great to meet up in a tavern, draw a beer and share some tales. So I did a tale from my youth. So Doug, come into the tavern, pull up a seat, pour yourself a beer, draw yourself next to the roaring fire and tell us a tale.
Leroy Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:17am
A great adventure story, Katharine.   Sounds like you got more of an education in life than you anticipated.  My sister went to Europe at about the same time, also a bribery.  She was to accompany an older sister to take her mind out the guy she wanted to marry whom my parents despised.  She ended up defying my parents and marrying the jerk anyway before the trip.  My other sister held my parents to their promise and got a free tour of Europe.
 
"I remember coin-operated showers in the youth hostels, which made use of tankless water heaters, a great invention and I guess standard in Europe."
 
I never figured why we don't see them in the US either.  I first saw them in Japan, I believe it was.  I installed one in my home shortly after my old water heater started leaking.  It was the best thing I ever did.  It controlled the temperature to whatever I wanted.  My shower was consistent each morning.  Loved it, and it used a third of the gas.  Of course, the gas company jacked up the price because I used so little, so I didn't save any money.  You can't win.  A gas type is so rare here in the South that the company in California that sold it to me online referred me to another customer as an installer.  I installed my own because I didn't think any local plumber was qualified, but I am no plumber.  It is not as straightforward as one might think, especially when replacing a tank heater.  
 
I remember traveling around Europe in the summer when I was in my early thirty's.  You would be sitting comfortably on the train when at the last minute, hundreds of youths would pour into the train.  I swear on one trip they were layered three deep on the floor.  They would crash wherever they could find a place.  In a French train station, there was a bunch of youth's sleeping in sleep bags on the floor.  Some old French guy was cursing and kicking them.  They could make a pain of themselves.
 
Five bucks a day?  That had to be hard to do, even back then.  I imagine that they had no vending machines back then, so you were forced to eat or drink at a restaurant or cafe.
John Minehan Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:38am
In the fall of 1988, I was a Battery Executive Officer ("XO")for a Division Artillery Headquarters Battery ("DivArty HHB") in US Army Europe. ("USAEUR").
 
The DivArty HHB was coming off of a very successful Return Of  Forces To Germany ("REFORGER") exercise.   Our Battery Commander ("BC") wanted to take the Soldiers in their families on a Battery Trip to Oktoberfest.
 
At the time, I had only been sober since March of 1986, right before I went to a Firing Battery, so I volunteered to stay at home station in case anything happened (ranging from WWIII [unlikely] to Red Cross Messages [which were unpredictable] to serious incidents [which were thankfully much rarer in a DivArty HHB than they were in a Direct Support Field Artillery Battalion firing battery or Fire Support Element ["FSE"]).
 
Thankfully, nothing happened.
 
Our Communications Platoon Leader came back with a photo his wife had taken of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" motto on the gates of Dachau. 
 
It was a stark reminder of why the US Army had more than two Corps Equivalents deployed in Europe 43 years after WWII.  However, it was not true, as some wags suggested, that "Arbeit Macht Frei" was the DivArty motto.        
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:42am
Stone-Eater,
I've loved trains ever since and wish the US had more user-friendly train travel.  People have become so addicted to cars, but the highway system is funded by taxpayers, while the rail lines are privately owned, so there's unfair competition.  I've written about this before, repeatedly, so won't bore you now.
 
Europe wasn't the first time I was robbed, nor was it the last.  No one has ever violently assaulted me, although I have been threatened.
 
Thanks for your comment.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:46am
Jeffry,
If you find a better place to live, let me know.  I'm drawn to South America, especially Peru, because the food is the best I've ever had.  There's no accounting for governments anywhere these days, though, especially in countries that have resources (including human resources).  Maybe a country with no resources is the way to go.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:47am
Doug,
I guess you got your answer.  I hope you will join the Digital Tavern.  This post is more personal than any I've done, but it is cathartic.  I appreciate all the generous responses.
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:49am
Katharine now I remember the summer of 1974.  I spent about a month with my best friend at the time staying at his parent's trailer in OC.  My first summer of beer and bong hits.  IIRC his father was very liberal on buying us beer (and somehow we survived to adulthood). Of course at times we stumbled into local seafood restaurants stoned and hungry.  Maybe you were our waitress?  Who knew?  What was the name of the big seafood place at the time?  I can't remember.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:50am
Doug,
re:"What is this "Digital Tavern" stuff all about ?"
 
Tell us a tale!
 
Mustafa
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:54am
Flying Junior,
I remain fierce but subdued.  Alas, those days are gone forever, which makes it fun to re-visit them with people of (more or less) my generation.  Looking forward to your tale of Katlenburg/Lindau.   I didn't know where it was so looked it up.  Maybe my train passed through it, but I don't remember.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 11:59am
Neil,
Indeed, we may have met.  I feel a kindred spirit.  Those were great times, weren't they?  I met some colorful people, fellow travelers, from all over the world.  Not much money, but didn't need it, because they had so much spirit.  It's sad to hear about how unsettled Europe is now.  I caught it in a peaceful era.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:01pm
George,
Really?  I worked two summers at Phillips Crab House.  It was a popular tourist place, with lines for dinner around the block.  Maybe you ate there.
George N Romey Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:03pm
That's the place!  Yes I did eat there but was a loudmouth 15 year old stoned out of my mind and drunk.  You were probably happy when we left but we'd always tip well (my father told me to always tip waitresses well because they didn't have much money).
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:06pm
Opher,
I've been travelling and living alone almost all of my life.  I've come to accept the sad fact that I'm probably a loner.  Seems it takes more guts to live with another person, and I admire those who do it well and actually like it.  
 
I've spent my life trying to sort my head out, but it keeps getting wobbled by new realities.  That's one of things that makes it interesting.  
 
Thanks for inviting me to join the Digital Tavern.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:07pm
Katharine, interesting story, a sort of bitter sweet coming of age. 

Funny having someone  wanting to go to American movies there, but such things are common I think. Another very common thing is sticking close to your American friends, but you did not do that. It appears you paid a bit of a price for that but possibly there was real upside in that you discoverd much more about yourself.
 
Did you enjoy speaking French there after so many years of study?
That for me is one of the real thrills in travel, speaking in their tongue.
 
Hope your view of men has softened abit more since then.
About half of my favorite people have Y chromosomes.
 
Mustafa
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:18pm
Leroy,
The tankless water heater story is a long one in itself.  I had this idea of getting off the grid.  I have propane gas tanks.  I had one gas tankless heater (Bosch) made in Germany, with a flint-started pilot light.  It was great.  Then I decided to upgrade so got a new one from the only plumbing supply business in town that had them.  He only sold Rinnai, which I think is Japanese, and I had to locate a plumber who could install it. 
 
Turns out the thing is digitally controlled, which means every time the power goes out--which it does frequently--it doesn't work.   Never mind that my well pump is electric, too, but this idea of putting electric controls on gas appliances is yet another control game the utilities use to hook people forever into their grids.  (According to me.)  My gas stove came with digital controls, too, so the oven doesn't work when the power goes out.  (I can still light the burners with a match, though, thank goodness.  What will "progress" think of next?) 
 
I remember similar experiences at times on the trains, especially in Spain.  I may have been one of the people sleeping on the floor, at one point, if I could find room on the floor.  I also remember the smoke.  Everyone seemed to smoke unfiltered cigarettes.
Michael B. Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:34pm
Katherine, for some reason, it's easy to see you embarking on this adventure, lol. Consider yourself lucky! Europe is pretty much a culture shock to most Americans, despite being "Western." I enjoyed the rampant nudity in general and toplessness in particular. Another thing I found interesting; show a movie that has a lot of sex, nudity and violence in it; in Europe, they'll edit out the violence and retain the sex and nudity, and here they do the total opposite. Strange, huh? Speaking of which, did you go topless there? LOL
 
Your robbery bit reminded me of a day I spent in Frankfurt am Main unsuccessfully looking for work. In the span of a couple of hours, I saw a purse-snatching, two men fighting over a whore, a squad of junkies shooting up and partying in a park, and a soccer riot. Later that evening, I heard some older German woman named Frau Schad (whom I called Frau Schaden, Schaden being a German word for "damaged") complaining about what a vile, crime, and vice-ridden place America was. I told Frau Schaden that she didn't get out very much these days, did she?
Michael B. Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:38pm
@ John M. - John, I've told you before, very, very few people here besides me speak and understand Pentagonese, lol. I also was in that REFORGER when I was in How Battery 1/3 ACR. Instead of Oktoberfest, I went to San Antonio, TX, where I set a record (I'll spare all of you the details) that stands to this day, and probably always will, lol.
opher goodwin Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:39pm
Katharine - a great contribution. Pour yourself another drink.
John Minehan Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:53pm
"John, I've told you before, very, very few people here besides me speak and understand Pentagonese,"
 
And the Army Field Artillery dialect. too, no less.
 
The BC was a good guy, not least, because taking about 200 Soldiers and their wives to Oktoberfest after the Soldiers got back from 3 weeks of REFORGER was a calculated risk that did not go bad.
   
John Minehan Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:54pm
As Dr. Otto's post indicates, there is real value to good luck.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:54pm
Michael B.,
Sounds like you went to a different Europe.  I would be fine with topless if other people weren't so screwy.  One of these days, I plan to write about how no culture that I know in history has a healthy attitude toward sex.  Not that I know better, but it seems the religious/cultural attitude that pleasure is sinful has caused untold grief, and wars.
 
It does seem Europe has (or had) a more relaxed attitude about nudity than the US.  I recently read a biography about Ben Franklin.  He fit right in to the "libertine" society of Paris, but John Adams was horrified.  
Katharine Otto Added Sep 20, 2018 - 12:55pm
Opher,
Thanks.  I'll drink to that.  Here's to your health.  
Michael B. Added Sep 20, 2018 - 1:34pm
@ John M. - That's extraordinary! Unimaginable in all units I was in, although one time several others and I got five days of free leave in Garmisch, I forgot why. It was an odd group, but we had a lot of fun. The normally hard-assed ex-Drill Sergeant FDC NCO was "in charge" of us, which we didn't look forward to, but he was a totally different person when hanging out.
Michael B. Added Sep 20, 2018 - 1:34pm
@ KO - Same Europe, different time, lol. Agreed, sex fucks a lot of people up in countless ways. My problem is usually the lack of it, lol. Agreed, people have a weird outlook most of the time. Colonel Kurtz summed it up succinctly:
 
We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!
Stone-Eater Added Sep 20, 2018 - 1:37pm
Katharine
 
Maybe a country with no resources is the way to go.
 
Yep. The more resources, the more others try to get hands on and the more unrest in the future. Might happen to Senegal because they start to exploit offshore oil in 2020...
 
It does seem Europe has (or had) a more relaxed attitude about nudity than the US. 
 
Sure. We're not burdened with too much religion and prudery ;-)
opher goodwin Added Sep 20, 2018 - 4:54pm
Katharine - bottoms up! That's what my dad used to say when he had a drink!
Leroy Added Sep 20, 2018 - 5:13pm
"Turns out the thing is digitally controlled, which means every time the power goes out--which it does frequently--it doesn't work..."
 
True, but it draws so little power that it is easily resolved.  I use a battery backup (UPS) on my desktop.  When the power went out, I just plugged in into the UPS.  Problem solved.  I'm sure a small solar system would work for the control power.
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 20, 2018 - 6:06pm
"I was harassed by men, everywhere I went."
 
My sister related the story about her and her friend being pinched on the arse.  I'm sure they were indignant at the time, but, oh did she enjoy telling the story.  She was, in reality, flattered that a European male would pinch her on the arse.
Doug Plumb Added Sep 20, 2018 - 6:37pm
I've never travelled other than to a hotel room and that has always been of necessity. I like my own bed and don't have this sense of adventure.
 
re "Not that I know better, but it seems the religious/cultural attitude that pleasure is sinful has caused untold grief, and wars."
 
I don't think anyone thinks that pleasure is sinful unless it affects happiness. The pleasure many people have negatively effects happiness. We also confuse good for nice.
 
re " I recently read a biography about Ben Franklin."
 
I started the first autobiography, Jean Jacques Rousseau, but never finished it, but intend to - he like Franklin, began to travel at a very young age. I think Franklin left his home at the age of ten didn't he?
Doug Plumb Added Sep 20, 2018 - 6:40pm
I have stories, but you all have seen them already or experienced them.
opher goodwin Added Sep 21, 2018 - 10:43am
They are still good for sharing Doug - pull up a chair.
wsucram15 Added Sep 21, 2018 - 12:15pm
You know I never got robbed on the road and back then I had cash given to me monthly but I was very smart about where it was hidden and I was as generous as possible.  Also I always had guys around, would have fought you to the death and always carried a knife my brother gave me.  All of this happened after my rape..btw.
I mellowed out after I had kids, a lot.
I didnt get robbed until I was in my 30s and coming home from a night out at a show with a friend of mine, they used knives.  My friend fought but I had to tell her "hey the 5.00 in your purse isnt worth my throat getting slit so can you just give them your purse?"
They took both purses, checked my pockets, etc.. and got about 100.00 but never got the money actually on me, which was an old trick I knew, but it was all I had left for the week.  Oh I was mad.
Never used cash after that.  Ill get that money back if you take my cards.
Cash will get you hurt.. and stuff is sometimes replaceable.  Im learning that lesson now.
 
But Katharine..get and learn how to use a gun, well.  I know it might not be your thing, but you dont have to like them, just use it to save your life if need be.   Also if you are fit, a defense class with the right teacher is good, but you need to be fast and move well.
 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2018 - 4:36pm
Michael B.,
What are you allowed to write on your airplanes?
 
Stone,
Best to hope for a drop in oil prices, so that it won't be cost-effective to explore.  
 
Yes, Europe sent all its religious outcasts to the US, the ones that didn't get beheaded, that is.  
 
Opher,
Bottoms up.  Chug, chug, chug.
 
Leroy,
A solar installation and battery backup would be great, but it shouldn't be necessary.   That would be the ultimate plan for my well, but it requires planning, such as where to put all that stuff so it would be safe from weather, including hurricanes and flooding.  
 
I didn't find it at all flattering.  Maybe at 66 I would now, but back then I just found it annoying.
 
Doug,
You don't have to travel to have stories.  Some of the best ones happen at home.
 
The difference between pleasure and happiness seems arbitrary.  Both can be considered sinful, depending on your religion and its rules.  I don't have a good definition for what constitutes happiness.  Do you?
 
Jeanne,
I don't like guns.  My father had three of them, and I got rid of them, because I considered them thief bait.  Besides, I can't even keep up with keys, much of the time.  
 
I prefer cash to credit cards.   Credit cards and ATMs get stolen, too, or in my credit card's case, get commandeered by automatic deductions that you can't stop without cancelling the card.  My ATM was stolen and used before I realized it was gone.  I carry cash but not a lot of it.  I no longer travel and rarely leave home at night, so burglars, thieves, and murderers would have to find me, and that's not so easy.  
 
Two black women tried to mug me in broad daylight, on Park Avenue, when I lived in New York City.  They said they had knives, but I didn't see them.  I refused to give them my purse, thinking the money wasn't a problem, but I'd just replaced driver's license and other paperwork since my last theft and didn't want the hassle of replacing that stuff again.  I talked them out of it by saying there were too many people around, and they wouldn't get away with it.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2018 - 4:39pm
John Minehan,
All told, I've been amazingly lucky, considering all the risks I've taken.  I didn't know they were risks until afterwards.
John Minehan Added Sep 21, 2018 - 5:33pm
Isn't that the basic reason People take risks? (As well as a good way to learn if you can still walk away afterwards?)
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2018 - 10:14pm
John,
Do you mean that people are too stupid to know they are risks until afterwards?
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2018 - 10:24pm
Jeanne,
Since posting the above, I've tried to count all the times I've been robbed.  There were six notable times, but additionally, when I lived in Macon, GA, I was robbed every time I left town, for almost four years.  I found out later it was a crack-infested neighborhood, and people probably watched my house.  
 
However, a gun would not have helped in any of those cases, because the robberies and burglaries happened when I wasn't present.  In two additional incidences of attempted mugging, I foiled the attacker.  The first is noted above, and the second was when a man tried to snatch my purse in a touristy area in downtown Savannah.  I screamed "Thief! Thief!" and a man standing a few feet away, outside a restaurant grabbed the thief from behind.  The thief broke away and ran.  I kept my purse.  I contend a big mouth can provide the best defense possible.
John Minehan Added Sep 21, 2018 - 10:28pm
"Do you mean that people are too stupid to know they are risks until afterwards?"
 
I think that, "If I knew then what I know now" boils down to "I'm smarter now," rather than "I was stupid then." 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 21, 2018 - 11:46pm
John,
I wish I could say I'm smarter now, but I'm too smart to take that risk.
Michael B. Added Sep 22, 2018 - 12:29am
@ KO - Michael B., What are you allowed to write on your airplanes?
 
That's a good question, and introduces the topic of "Nose Art". Nose art is any decoration of a particular airplane outside of official markings, and has been around as long as the aircraft that they're painted on. It is usually associated with military aircraft, with "The Flying Tigers" probably being the most famous example. Generally speaking, the rules are relaxed during wartime, but overall, the nose art reflected the thoughts and desires of the crews and their desire to make love and not war, with names like "Ima Vailable", "Night Mission", and "Dinah Might", and others somewhat more explicit. However, during peacetime, the command tends to discourage such expressions, lol.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 22, 2018 - 12:46am
DTF comes to mind
John Minehan Added Sep 22, 2018 - 11:07am
"John,
I wish I could say I'm smarter now, but I'm too smart to take that risk."
 
We are never wiser than when we realize how much more there is to know. 
Katharine Otto Added Sep 22, 2018 - 9:16pm
Michael B.,
Now I'm better informed than I was before.
 
Burghal,
What is DTF?
 
John,
I'd be happy to know what I've forgotten.  I found a term paper written in college, about early Buddhism in China, and was amazed at how informative it was.  I remembered nothing about it.  I've thought about synopsizing it for an article.

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