Layover in Babyland

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, September 16, 2006

SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots
LAST FOOD CONSUMED: Pria "Chocolate and Peanut Butter" nutrition bar

After getting off the plane, getting my passport stamped (always a big favorite on these trips), retrieving my backpack from the carousel, changing sandals for shoes and rearranging everything, I left the terminal, entered the train station and proceeded to be flummoxed by the ticket machine. Peer -- who along with Hisae (and Uli, who I plan to see later on in this trip) I met at my alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder -- had written out very good instructions, but the ticket machine wasn't as forgiving to non-German speakers. While there were instructions in English for the first step -- locating your destination code -- there were no further clues for choosing the type of ticket. And since the amounts displayed on the machine that I kept coming up with were 2 Euros more than what Peer had said it should be, I stood around with my enormous pack on my back until I saw someone I thought I could ask.

"Guten tag, spracken zie English?" (Good day, do you speak English?)
"Nicht," he replied. (Nope.)

But through my pointing to the subway stops on Peer's instructions, he was able to print me out a ticket.

I then proceeded to completely forget the first law of subway travel: make sure your train is headed in the right direction. (Twice.)

See, Track 1, which is where I was instructed to go, has both the S-bahn (subway) and regional trains stopping at it, and like a dummy I got on the first thing to come along -- a regional train that went to Frankfurt Main and then stopped. My instructions said there should be at least four more stops. So I sat on the train while everyone else left. A rail employee walked right past me when I said "Guten tag" and then I was left alone, trying to figure out how to open the doors of the train which were sealed shut. Took me a good 45 seconds of feeling helpless.

I then went to a tourist office, was told how to get down to the subway, got on the right line but the wrong direction and went right back to the airport where I started all over again, but by then I was so familiar with what I'd done wrong that I did it right and got to Peer & Hisae's no problem.

They live in a nice, new building on a street that translates to "rabbit path," which I think is very cute. I got in the elevator, noticed the big mirrored wall and took a self portrait with my still camera with the flash off. Then the doors opened, I looked left, then looked right and there they were at their entryway, right next to the elevator. I took their picture but without the flash it came out blurry. I hugged Peer and Hisae, who was standing a bit behind the door, revealed 12-day-old Celina, who she was playing peek-a-boo with by holding her in her arms behind the door.

We talked about old times, Peer helped me plan ahead for my trip, Celina cried a lot (but not when daddy or mommy bounced with her on an inflatable exercise ball), then we ate very good Italian take-out from a place run by an Italian family (pretty common here, not so common in L.A.) and I became massively tired and sacked out at 10:30. Which was fine with the new parents as they haven't been getting any sleep either. (I thank Peer & Hisae profusely for allowing me to stay during this crazy time in their lives, and I'm very happy to have met Miss Celina. I didn't think Peer & Hisae could get any cuter, but now with Celina, this is one cute family!)

Okay, I've got two hours until I go back to Frankfurt Airport and fly to my next destination, Berlin.

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