Search This Blog

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Another note on Austrian pronunciation: do you know what an Ohrschluck is? How about an Arschloch? In Austria, they're the same thing: an asshole.

At one point in my meanderings around Vienna this year, I somehow made it to Westbahnhof U-Bahn station at the rush hour, to spot a young man with a backpack run out of the southbound U-3 train and headlong into an older man using a cane. This older man proclaimed, in a dignified and quiet manner, the Viennese pronunciation of a common German-language vulgarity, which I took to mean "ear drink" quite literally.

"How quaint!" I thought. "How remarkable. I wonder what Ohrschluck could mean?"

It was not until I got home, and - in vain - tried to look up this "colloquialism" to realize that the stately, cane-wielding gentleman simply elongated his "a's" and his "o's" to the point of incomprehension (for a non-Austrian). I should have guessed!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Don Quixote (the ballet)

Another of the great attractions I took my parents to was the Wiener Staatsoper. Since I figured they would rather see a ballet than an opera in a foreign language (and the only other thing playing was Wagner - yuck). Plus, my parents have taken up ballroom dancing, and become avid dancers. A ballet is right up their alley.

I myself love the ballet as well, and I wish I had gone to more while I was in Vienna! Though I am ridiculously uncoordinated, I did take ballet lessons for several years as a little girl. I decided I would make a magnificent ballerina - if only I didn't have to be dictated to and oppressed by the rhythm of the music! Ah well.

Don Quixote is a great comic ballet. I've seen Swan Lake at La Scala in Milan, and the Nutcracker a million times every Christmas season on TV, but that is the extent of my live ballet experience. Vienna does the Nureyev choreography, and it was truly magnificent. I can't help but feel I've missed out on something, going to all those operas all year instead!