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Randy Ford Author-Get set for a good hard luck story

Wien (Vienna)

July, 1971

      Get set for a good hard luck story.   “Hard luck story” was an understatement.   By then a number of things compounded our problems: a gibbon, no money, and a telegraph strike back home.   It didn’t help that we were in a big city.   German which we didn’t know, studying it would later save us.

      But the city of Vienna, which was to become our home, had to be taken on foot.   We didn’t have enough money to ride the tram; we could’ve easily ended up without a place to stay.   Physically, we had to carry our suitcases between places; I would go ahead scouting for something, leaving Peg, gibbon, and our things in a park for hours at a time.   There was nothing else we could do, so to speak, after being evicted.

       We thought we were set in a hotel room until Peg started a job she had lined up.   The contacts she had made in her German class had paid off.   There had been more than luck involved in our job search and taking German was where we started.   We had not counted on the hotel manger suddenly telling us we had to move because “a tour group had the whole place booked up.”   Pleading our case, explaining we were on a tight budget, did no good, so we were forced to take the next cheapest thing available at about $1.20 more per night.   The increase was barely acceptable when we were quickly running out of money.   The value of the money we had increased accordingly, and I still planned to pay for my German lessons from the money we had left.   Then before we could unpack, an employee of our new hotel came up and told us they didn’t allow pets in their “house.”   We felt this was unfair.   Our problem with it was that they had seen the gibbon when we checked in and moving again would involve another long walk.

      The next place was more expensive ($4.80 per night) and an hour’s walk from our German lessons.   It really shot our budget.   We tried to move again, after a week, back to the cheaper hotel.  We checked out, walking all that way with our heavy bags.   (“You wouldn’t believe the distances we walk these days.   This ain’t no small town!”)   We should’ve known.   We didn’t see a problem coming: that they had a problem with the gibbon from the get-go.   We were desperate and didn’t see it.   We were desperate without enough food.   We had money back in the states, but we were desperate because we hadn’t counted on there being a damn telegraph strike.   With desperation came random folly.

Randy Ford

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