Fair warning: we're very near the one-year anniversary of my big trip to Oz and NZ. This means that in the coming month, you'll be subjected to a fair amount of whiny nostalgia. "A year ago today, I was [at Cain's Ballrooom in Tulsa/in a rock pool in Sydney/jumping off a bridge in Queenstown] instead of [working/being at work/working from home]." Etc.
As the anniversary approaches, I thought it might be fun to publish - in installments - an account of one of my first trips abroad. From long before I'd ever heard of a blog, much less written one myself. Germany and Prague was actually my second trip to Europe, but it was much better documented than my first. (The first time I was too busy freezing in the wilds of Lapland to take good daily notes.) This was a trip Lindsey and I took to visit our friend Michelle during Christmas break from college in 2000/2001. Michelle was studying in Berlin at the time. Her family lived in East Germany for a few years when she was little, and we were to visit Leipzig for New Years. Prague was to be a side trip. Lindsey and I compiled these notes each day. Some names have been changed to protect ... me. So here we go:
- B asks if she should remove the straps from her bag at the check-in counter at O'Hare. A hopelessly distracted, inept female German airline employee replies, "If you wish." Moments later, the employee loading the bags onto the luggage carousel requests that the straps be taken off the bags.
- The same employee fails to check L's passport, or ask for any kind of ID.
- L's new pet lemur, as yet unnamed, frolics wantonly about the airport and airplane, nosing through luggage and scampering along the seats. [For Christmas, I gave Lindsey a stuffed lemur purse. Because lemurs are awesome.]
- B posits that it would be fun if airlines had mystery planes which, for a certain price, took people to undisclosed destinations. Such as Liberia. L further suggests it might be even funnier if all mystery planes went to Liberia.
- On the plane, B accidentally grabs seltzer water when the flight attendant offers the drink tray. Upon realizing with dismay what is in the cup, B convinces L to drink it, though L doesn't like seltzer water either. A minute later the stewardess returns with the drink tray. B thanks the stewardess and grabs another cup of seltzer water.
- Apparently everyone tools around the Frankfurt airport on bikes
- In Frankfurt airport a girl with a stuffed frog and really short legs stares ceaselessly at L's luggage.
- Our plane to Berlin goes from 0 to 30,000 feet in approximately 5 seconds. We climb into the air vertically.
- M meets us at Tegel. We can see her waiting outside the glass arrival area. She appears to have brought a boyfriend along, but it turns out to be someone from The Program [more on that later] whom she met there by coincidence. Suuuure.
- We meet Zoologischer Garten (a.k.a. Zoo Station) for the first time. As big U2 fans, we are pleased.
- We eat at an "Italian" restaurant near M's dorm. M has weird pizza, while B and L eat their first genuine German schnitzel. M teaches us how to tip and pay a bill in Deutschland, which we promptly forget.
Day 2 coming soon. If I follow through on this plan, that is.