From: h8596jak@ella.hu (David Snyder)
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 18:43:38 +0100 (MET)
Subject: We're back!
To: "Elisabeth F Snyder, Tech Ed, Anchorage, AK" <efsnyder>

Hi Mom,
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you since we've returned but somehow I haven't had a minute of free time since
we returned due to some massive amounts of lessonplanning and various social obligations. Our trip to Serbia was quite an
adventure.  It began one hour out of Szeged when we had to bribe the border guards with a bottle of whiskey (picked up
at the duty free) to give us visas that would cover our whole stay.  It was snowing heavily and then became very foggy, so
it took us 13 hours to go 500 km, real slow going.  Everyone on the bus was having  good time though since a fair number
of them had been drinking since 6 in the morning.  And not just the students, but also some of the middle aged, respectable
types
who came along.  Our hotel turned out to be fine.  Patty and I got our own room with a private bath.  It was spartan, but
clean.  The food they fed us was alright too.  An all you can eat breakfast consisting of various eggs and greasy fried things
and a 3 course dinner that was a different Serbian specialty every night.  Not bad at all, but I don't think I'll be eating eggs
for
a while, got kind of burnt out on them. The hotel was about 40 minutes down the mountian from the resort, but the bus
took us up there every morning for no charge.  The road was pretty precarious but I enjoyed the view of the valley and the
excellent folded sedimentary rocks on the cliff-side.  Kapoanik was a very large resort with 13-14 lifts and tows along
both sides of a very long ridge.  It was by far the highest point anywhere in that part of Serbia.  The snow was good, but
some places didn't have quite enough.  This, combined with no real safety precautions led to a major accident.  (this
makes a good story) Me and some others were skiing down the less popular side of the ridge to a lift that we saw was
running from below.  Somehow me and another Hungarian guy named Zoli ended up quite aways in front of everybody
else.  In the near distance we saw what looked like a good trail heading towrds the bottom. I went first and before I
realized what was happening I found myself skiing not on top of snow, but rather on top of rocks that were barely covered
by snow.  It is, of course, impossible to turn on top of rocks, so as the bottoms of my skis were being shredded (luckily
not mine) I was increasing in
speed, unable to slow down.  At this point I still hadn't actually figured out that I couldn't turn on rocks so after a few
seconds I found myself hurling through the air, crashing hard onto the rocks and rolling for 20 feet or so.  It took me a
minute to realize that I was not badly hurt and as I looked up I saw that Zoli was coming down not too far away from me.  
I
motioned violently for him to slow down, but either he didn't see me or it was too late.  Before he realized what was
happening he was flying through the air too. He was not so lucky as to land rolling, but rather did a headplant right into the
rocks and slid for 10 feet or so.  He slowly began to get up and I could see that blood was gushing form his forehead.  I
ran over too him and as I got closer I could see that a huge chunk of skin had been torn away and a gaping wound
exposed his skull.  I ordered him to lie down and yelled at the others who were just arriving to get help, which was not so
easy considering our location and the lack of snow cover beneath us.  They did so and avoided the area that we were.  I
proceeded to wonder what to do.  It wasn't the sort of wound that you could put pressure on to stop bleeding, so I
figured that if I cooked it down with snow it may help, not knowing if that was the right thing to do or not.  The snow was
at least fresh and clean if nothing else and could lessen the pain and swelling.  So there I was, lying on the rocks, packing
snow against this guys skull.  I don't know how long I did that for, but contrary to the common perception, the moment did
not last forever, although it was several minutes at least before some help arrived. I never told Zoli how bad the wound
was, not wanting to put him into more shock than he was already in, but I just told him it was bad, but he would be alright,
hoping that that was the case. When the help arrived I took my leave and headed down the mountain and back up the lift
to find Patty waiting at the top.  (She had wisely chosen not to ski this route with us). I was not altogether undamaged.  I
still have some major bruises on my left arm and right leg, as well as some large scrapes on my left knee.  I also hurt my
left palm, probably a bruised bone and I still can't put too much pressure on it, although it is healing and didn't slow down
my skiing.  Zoli ended up with 25 stitches in his head with no anesthesia, thanks to the UN sanctions.  He was out of
commission for the rest of the week.  I skied a bit more conservativley for the rest of the week, with visions of bloody
scalps haunting me. So, this was the most exciting thing that happened, it would have been serious lawsuit material in the
US, but no such thing exists in Yugoslavia of course.  Zoli could have been a rich man!  We enjoyed the rest of our stay,
and our best day was actually the day that we took off from skiing
and just hung out in the hotel.  I walked a mile or so to the nearby village, which oddly seemed to be completely
untouched by tourism.  It was very quaint and I took a few pictures.  Otherwise we read and played scrabble. We made
lots of new friends, mostly students at the university here.  We are all planning to get together at the Hip Club on Saturday
for a photo exchange.  Patty and I actually both caught colds about halfway through the week, which was a blessing in
disguise becasue it gave us an excuse not to drink ourselves into oblivion on the last couple of nights like the rest of the
gang.  Marc was pretty disfuctional for a couple of mornings. All in all, we're gald we went.  It was pretty fun and not too
expensive. Marc said that it was better than skiing in Slovakia because the lift lines here were shorter, the service was
better and the mountain was higher.

My only complaint was the lack of safety standards, but those shouldn't be expected too much in this part of the world.  
The weather was usually good too.  They did have to shut down the lifts one afternoon because of high winds, which
meant that we just entertained  ourselves in one of the numerous mountain pubs for a few hours.  It tended to be foggy, but
on Friday
the weather was absolutely gorgeous, it was warm, the snow was fresh, and the sun shone intensely.  The valley bottom
was covered with fog, so for us it was like skiing on top of the world.  Spectacular!

Now that we're back in Szeged it is foggy and rainy and work as usual.  I am teaching an additional English class at school
now, so I'll make a few more dollars per month.  We are now seriously thinking about our spring break. Cyprus is looking
like a good destination.  We will go to Budapest next weekend to try to locate a guidebook, if we can't find one we might
ask
you to send us one.  If you want to send us that package you wanted to send with Janice, go ahead, but if it is heavy don't
worry about the books.

Methinks that is all the news for now.
Love David

Liska letter sent the next week 2/27/1996

Hi!,

I have some exciting news...not exactly a surprise. David called us from Hungary

on Sunday morning to tell us that he and Patty are engaged! They will get

married sometime this year. Not sure when, or even where. It depends on whether

they stay in Europe for another year or come back to Alaska at the end of the

summer. I tried to call you this weekend, but you were all gone. Anyway, will

keep you posted about details as we hear them. We are so happy. We are also glad

that you have met Patty, the newest addition to the clan. Dick finally came home

from Madison last Thursday night after being gone for 6 weeks. We are going to

pop over to Hawaii for 10 days from March 9-19, and then he will go back to

Madison to sell the house and do some more cleaning out. His mother will move to

a retirement home.

Love, Liska
THE FRIEDRICHS FAMILY WEB SITE        Contact:   Marty.Friedrichs@Gmail.com