September 02, 2004
Ignoring both his denial of desert and his misuse of "comprise" (properly, a law faculty comprises its members, not the other way round), two notable quotes from Dean Harold Koh's introductory remarks:
Ideas are not butterflies; they are butterfly nets. (Attributed to someoneorother).
In fact, if there is an epitaph for your generation, it will certainly be: They died with their options open.
[N.B. This post has been corrected.]
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I'm now bunkered in New Haven (maybe, with luck, I'll be settled in a week or so), but it looks like Peter has generated our highest-traffic day ever in my relative absence, so maybe I'll keep silent a while longer.
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Some things I have learned over the course of my elliptical orbit of Eastern Europe, some valid only for solo lady travelers:
Always order the dish with "special gravy."
Never change money at the train station. In fact, never change money if you can avoid it. ATMs and credit card charges get better exchange rates. Spend your leftover currency on some groceries before departing a country. Enter with nothing. This keeps you from being lazy and taking taxis from the train station, too.
Well, don't enter with nothing. Carry some Euros. Nobody wants your ratty old low value dollars.
Never let anyone carry your bag for you. Never accept assistance at a train station from someone who is not a uniformed employee. People who feel the need to state that they aren't going to rob you have guilty consciences and are not to be trusted.
Always read the documentation for your tickets, rail passes, and visa requirements carefully. Crooked train employees will try to bully you by asking you if you have things you don't need. Answering correctly and with assurance will avoid many problems.
Don't brush your teeth with Romanian tap water.
Beg, borrow, or steal a copy of Thomas Cook's Summer European Timetable: Independent Traveler's Edition. This will save your life.
Always write down the train number and time and place of departure and arrival on a slip of paper before going to the ticket desk. Many clerks will not understand English or whatever butchered attempt to speak the native tongue you produce, so handing this over will save time and further embarassment.
Wear skirts and have a light sweater to throw over your shoulders for chilly churches. Do not wear dresses, as this interferes with access to your money belt.
Always carry your passport and other vital documents in a money belt under your clothes. Sleep in it. Love it. You think I am fooling around, but getting robbed in your sleep will teach you not to do anything less.
The WCs at museums are usually cheaper, better stocked, and cleaner than the ones at youth hostels or train stations. Take advantage of this.
Stay on your budget, but don't be silly. How often can you get a venison steak dinner for less than five bucks? Granted, this is expensive compared to other food in the Czech Republic, but compare it to the alternative.
Don't be afraid. Follow your impulses. Will you ever come back here again? If not, make the most of it.
Send lots of postcards.
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