Austria, let me dip into your history and rename you Curse of Austria. I spent a week in your Alps, respecting your strange high-altitude customs and walking-stick ways, and nothing went right. Every morning came with a dismaying message, a customs issue, a sick/lazyass interpreter, an inacessible laundromat three towns away, a dialect of German so frightening that the rest of the continent dropped it circa 1500, an expert who consulted brochures during his interview, a heavy fog that descended from the clouds just as we reached the helicopter - and worst of all, utterly bloodless interviewees, survivors of an avalanche that took away their homes and families, from whose voices and eyes no emotion ever slipped. How did I emerge alive? Why am I not dead right now, a crushed mush of pulp under a downed helicopter (we went up a couple of days later), a bit of goo in a crinkled Saab, a weeping wounded mess in a Rankweil gasthaus downing Mohren Brau and pissing off the locals (not dead but good as)? How did I survive and escape to sweet civilized smokestacked Stuttgart? Oh full-day rush hour, oh jammed autobahnkreutz, oh Japanese businessmen and efficient business Englishspeak, I missed you, even you I missed, oh yes.