You don't expect Slovenia to be sunny and warm. But then (as I like to say) you don't expect Slovenia. It catches you by surprise. Though a country with 50% forests, I saw only the capital, Ljubljana, a gag-worthy name for a city, but it's inhabitants are anything but. A surplus of rollerblading and biking beauties glide by, licking ice cream cones with foreign tongues. Here and there a fortune-telling type of indeterminate age pedals her assortment of bric-a-brac, but the bulk of the women (of whom none are bulky) are models. Or clearly could be. I sat for coffee on a late afternoon Tuesday, surrounded by gorgeous young women and men, none of whom were over the age of 30. I pictured a ritual slaughtering on one's 31st birthday. There'd be tears, hugs and fond farewells. Perhaps a final meal, a glass of ghastly Slovenian red, followed by the inevitable execution. The youngsters would turn turn, misty-eyed, to the hooded executioner, who'd give a fortune-teller's shrug that would say it all: "I got to live, but hey - look what I have to do for a living - oy!" (Or whatever the Slovenians say)
Back in LA the clouds have gathered, or is it the smog? Hard to tell. As the plane touched down I felt the bag of uncertainty rest back down on my shoulders. Though a little lighter. It didn't hurt that my flight back was cushy and smooth. Nor was I troubled by the sight of Scarlett Johanssen sitting, cross legged, 3 seats away. It's been a promising week, this past week. And promises, even empty ones, can do wonders for an alien.