Around we go!

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, August 11, 2008

Guten Tag!

You figure after being awake for over 30 hours that I'd have a good night sleep. But no! I was hoping to at least check out the neighbourhood but I was exhausted last night and so went straight to bed.
I woke up at 10...then 1 and then finally it was morning...7h30. They serve a continental breakfast in the hotel lobby. This place is so cool. It feels like you're in heaven because it looks like what the movies portray heaven as looking as. Everything is white. White walls, ceilings, furniture and all the dishes. You even get served by gorgeous angels. Well, my vision of what angels look like. Very, very cool. Check out their website Guess that's why I picked it from all the hotel choices I had seen.
After breakfast it was time to go get my motorcycle from the cargo area of the airport. I ask the front desk clerk if it would be possible to get there by train. She doubted it. Taxi time. She calls one. Lucky me. He's originally from Turkey, still has difficulty with German, speaks decent English and has been to the cargo area of the airport. Less than an hour later (and 50E or $80 bucks )we find the building I have the address for. The driver only had to stop once and ask for directions (Frankfurt has a huge controlled access cargo area) to the building. The driver has to get an access card to get to where we have to go and the card ends up not working at the gate. Back to the security building. Finally we get through.
The guy at the shipping company speaks some English. I pay the fees. He makes 4 copies of all the forms then sends me to a different building to get Customs clearance and tells me to come back. Lucky for me that building is only 100 metres away. The taxi is long gone. I was told to turn right as I entered that building to find the room. I wait 10 minutes or so before someone takes my forms. Oops! Wrong room. Imports are next door. It would help if they put English on their signs. I wait there for at least 5 minutes before someone helps me. There were 4 other guys who saw me but they all continued doing whatever they were doing. The guy who helps me doesn't speak English. He asks for a copy of the motorcycle insurance (I understood after some sign language and a few different spoken words). Takes a few copies of the forms I had and tells me to go get my motorcycle. Wow! That was easy.
Walk back to the shipping company. The first guy gives the forms to a woman next to him and she then gives them to me and points to a sign that says TOR 19. Yea! So where's that? I'm looking at a map of the airport trying to find a building that says TOR 19 when she comes back and says it's the building next door and 19 is the door or gate number. Duh! Guess I should have checked my German phrasebook.
I get to the loading dock. It's busy. Guys with forklifts are moving stuff around and delivery drivers are picking stuff up. Finally a forklift operator takes my form and comes back with my motorcycle. He doesn't speak English. He wants to know what to do with the motorcycle. More sign language. "No, I don't have a truck to put it in. Put the pallet on the ground and help me roll the motorcycle off. I'm driving it away!"
15 minutes later I have the battery reconnected, the windshield on, and the GPS installed. I'm good to go. Now to find a gas station. The "less than 1 gallon" of gas that was supposed to be in the motorcycle for shipping won't last long. GPS's are awesome. Closest station is 2 kms away. Well. Not quite. Being in a controlled access area means that the closest might not be accessible by the most direct route. Gas filled up and back at the hotel 3 hours after I left to get my motorcycle.
Park the motorcycle in the hotel's garage and then it's off to explore Frankfurt. Step outside then realize that maybe a map might come in handy. Step back inside and ask the front desk clerk for a map. She isn't just pretty face and helps me out again. First stop...lunch.
I walk a while and then find a restaurant. It's about 12h30 and the restaurant is busy. I get a receipt with number 27 on it. What's 27 in German? 20 is zwanzig and 7 is sieben. Should be zwanzigsieben. Right? Ah...WRONG! Actually I think it's siebenundzwanzig. But who knows what it sounds like when they're calling it over a loudspeaker. I have trouble understanding them calling numbers in English in a busy room over a loudspeaker. I notice the guy who ordered before me go get his food. So I walk up and show my receipt to the guy at the counter. My food is ready.
I stood out like a sore thumb sitting alone at my table in my t-shirt and shorts. Frankfurt is a financial center and I was smack dab in the middle of it. All the guys had ties and dress shirts on and a lot of them had suits, and the women were all dressed to the nines. And I hadn't the faintest idea what anybody was saying. No more listening in on other people's conversations.
Well. That's all you get of my first day in Europe as I blew the power converter that I was hoping would keep my laptop battery charged. Since the battery is dying I must go and try and find a converter that works or this might be my only post of the expedition.
I'm back online...for now. The hotel had an adapter I could use.
Lesson #1. Question-How to get a gorgeous, young, front desk clerk into your room? Answer-Blow the wall circuits in your room.
I hadn't planned on getting a young woman into my room the first day in Europe. So why make plans when things work this well. She didn't stay long. But hey! I'll take whatever I can get. Maybe next time she'll stay longer.
Now where was ich (I). Lunch over I wandered around the city. I took a quick look at the map and then tried to get lost. But I seem to have this uncanny ability to make my way back to where I started and to have seen all that I want to see in the interim. I wandered through some residential, business, shopping and historical sections of town. I strolled along the river and then made my way back to the hotel through the Red Light district. Now, what more can a guy ask for on his first day in town then to get propositioned a few times, be invited in to see some strip shows and watch a bunch of druggies shoot up along the street. Yep! It was an interesting afternoon stroll.
Now back to my electrical issues. For some reason the power converter I have (that I had used last year in Italy) blew up. Literally. I was typing away when I smelled something burning. The converter was smoking and extremely hot. I quickly unplugged it. After uploading the first part of this blog I went to the front desk and asked where the nearest electrical or travel store would be. No need for  that. They have a box full of various converters. I take one and my laptop battery won't charge. I go back down and get another. Still doesn't work. Hmmm? Try a lamp in that wall plug. Doesn't work. Try the plug in the bathroom. Laptop works there. Oops. Guess I messed things up with their electrical system. Went back down for a 4th time and tried to explain the problem. The young female desk clerk understood and called maintenance. The male desk clerk thought I was having problems with the wall adapters. Maintenance told the female desk clerk to go to my room. Not too sure why. But heh! I'm not going to complain about having a young, gorgeous female in my hotel room. No matter what the circumstances.
I live a charmed life!

Auf Wiedersehen!
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