Day 54: Laying Low in Bratislava

At just an hour and 20 minutes, the bus ride between Vienna and Bratislava was the shortest ride we’ve taken on our trip between cities. I sat next to a woman who was nervously clutching the purse on her lap and across the aisle, a textbook frat boy. Oxford blue long sleeve shirt rolled up above the elbows, khaki shorts, leather penny loafers without socks and a neatly trimmed quaff just starting to show signs of thinning. He wore a permanent smirk for our entire trip. Probably for his life.

Bratislava is a more subdued European capital than its big brothers and sisters of Vienna and Prague. In either of the aforementioned places, you’re more likely to bump into more tourists than locals, so Bratislava feels like an ‘authentic’ town where people actually live and don’t just cater to visitors. The smaller size means it’s a very walkable city. Here are some of our highlights:

  • Walking across the Stary Most bridge for view of the city and Danube
  • Sampling craft beers at the ‘Craft Beer Bar’.
  • Enjoying some of the best Ramen in Europe at ‘Ramen Kazu’
  • People watching on Venturska walking street.
  • Having the duck confit at Bratislavsky Mestiansky.

Bratislava was our last stop as a family of three before coasting into Budapest tomorrow to stay with our Saigon family, the Macs, for two weeks of catching up, playing cards and lots of laughs. It’s been 2 years since we’ve seen these good friends of ours, and we were so eagerly looking forward to a reunion we seriously considered just leaving our pre-paid hotel a day early.

Ava’s Digital Story: Avigail’s Story

Bratislava did give us time to complete a big literacy project. After a month of drafting and revising, Ava finally finished her narrative essay, inspired by her trip to the Jewish Ghetto in Riga, Latvia. Aside from all the grammatical benchmarks, one standard still remained, which is using technology including the internet to publish writing an to interact with others.

W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

For this standard, digital story creation comes in handy. A digital story is a multi-media creation that uses photos, videos, along with narration, sound effects and music to evoke a richer experience. We used iMovie and published to youtube in the hopes of getting some viewer comments either there or through wordpress (hint hint) to interact with others.

Layering media such as narrations, sound effects in ‘iMovie’

Although digital story creation can be time consuming to teach and make, it’s generally worth the wait as students learn that ‘literacy’ has come to encompass digital literacy skills as this medium is now a mainstream form of communication. Here is a guide I made to walk you through the process.

Here Come the Malarial Side Effects

Today was another important date for us, as we started taking our malaria drugs to prepare for a 5 week trip through Tanzania and Kenya straddling late August into September. We got our last few vaccinations in our final weeks in Korea but we had to start taking Malaria drugs (Mefloquin) two weeks prior to arriving and 2 weeks after leaving. I wasn’t looking forward to the after effects again and we felt nauseous all day after taking our first pill this morning.

The last time we took Mefloquin, Lisa and I suffered from horrible, long term hallucinations which is a typical side effect. It was always the same- we woke up in the middle of the night convinced that we were covered in spiders and would hyperventilate ourselves awake while frantically fighting off the imaginary arachnids slowly bringing us from nightmare to sweaty lucidity. Although the episodes faded away over time, their intensity didn’t, and it wasn’t until 2 years later that we were back to normal. Just the other day, a Cambridge student interning in Madagascar opened the door of her light engine plane and fell to her death. Anti-malarials are the suspected culprit. I hope the medicine doesn’t hit Ava too hard.

At least we’ll be with friends.

Related Posts

Day 50: Sampling Intercourse in Vienna

Day 38: Poland Part 2-Auschwitz Birkenau

Day 22: Teaching Tolerance in Riga, Latvia

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