Here's how Riley began packing for our trip: mountaineering gear first. He's still hoping to climb one more mountain this year (Mt. Rainier just wasn't enough) and wanted to make sure he could get it all in before packing his regular clothes.
- He pointed out how he could tell who was a local just by the way they walked, similar to a "lumbering farmer."
- He explained the financial dominance Luxembourg now holds in the world, superior to Switzerland, he claimed, and how their financial dominance makes up for the thousand years they were constantly invaded and controlled. ["For 1000 years, everyone else f@ck us. Now, we f@ck everyone. Isn't that how you Americans say it?"]
- He also pointed out how Luxembourg was impacted disproportionately, based on relative populations, from the influx into EU countries of North African refugees. He continued to comment how the tight Luxembourg government monitors the mostly Muslim immigrants and keeps thing under control: they have a list of who comes into the country; they watch who goes into the three new mosques for religious services; then they track those who don't go into the mosques. "The people who go to the mosques-they have values. We watch the ones who don't go to the mosques."
- Finally he summed up his country's relationship with neighboring countries: "The French, we like them but we don't respect them. The Germans - we respect them but we don't like them. The Italians - we like them AND we respect them."
Quite a character as you can imagine. Considering neither Riley nor I knew much about Luxembourg when we arrived, we thought we got quite the education, however unexpected.