Doorknobs and Bathtubs

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


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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

TIME/PLACE: Thurs 9/28, 9:58pm, train from Paris to Madrid
SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: "Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams
LAST FOOD CONSUMED: The same garlic salami and "butter cheese" I've been carrying around since Munich, but with some Pain D'Espices (Spice Bread) that I bought right before getting on the train. Didn't know it was spice bread, but it wasn't bad with the meat and cheese. I also had a can of Carlsberg beer on the train, and at a cafe right before I pounded a pretty good Karlsbrau, a beer with lemon and a glass of Gewurstraminer wine which sucked. But that's what I get for drinking a German wine made in France.


Tuesday morning I was planning on packing at a reasonable hour and going to Munich airport to see what sort of last minute flights to Paris I could find. I awoke around 9:45 due to the St. Paul Church chimes, but I was being slow and methodical as usual for me in the morning. I needed to go pee, but wanted to get as much packing done until I was ready to burst.

When I finally went to the bathroom, I found that the door was locked. This wasn't good. This meant that my bathroom stuff was in there, this meant that I couldn't go to the bathroom or shower, and this meant that Simon might be in there, at worse knocked out unconscious. I knocked a couple of times but no answer. I was worried.

Eventually I realized that the outside of the door had a flathead screwdriver slot, and using the can opener on the Swiss army knife I had with me (coincidentally one that I would up with from Megan's work), I managed to get the door open, which revealed Simon's hairy leg propped up from within the bath tub. Apparently he had come home drunk and crawled into the tub. Fortunately, I didn't have my glasses or contacts on (they were in my bathroom kit in the bathroom) so I couldn't see anything too specific. Meanwhile, I wasn't having any luck waking Simon up.

"Simon."
"Wurrgle?"
Simon, get up. I gotta pee."
"Snrrggle, wurh."

I heard the water begin to flow into the tub, and figured that was a good sign, so I went to go finish packing and eat a roll.

A while later I went to go shower and, to my surprise, Simon was in the same position, but this time surrounded my water.

"Simon, go to bed!"
"Yeah, I will."
"Don't fall asleep in the tub, you'll drown."
"No, I won't."

Eventually he got up, and by this time I had written two post cards, an extensive thank you note for Simon and a small one for his roommate who's bed I'd slept in. I showered and made my way down the stairs, dropping the key in the mail box on my way out.

****************

Choosing to walk to the rail station, I bought the aforementioned Turkish salami, cheese and bread, and managed to get confirmation at the Marriott that there was a last minute fares booth at the airport. I still had some credit at the Easy Internet across from the Hauptbahnhof, so I checked e-mail and wrote down some addresses from my e-mail address book, and then headed for Munich airport on the subway.

Not only was there a last minute fares booth, there were rows of them! But the lowest I could find was 180 Euros leaving at 5:30. It might have been worth it since the train ride from Munich was 120, but it would have meant having to find a room in Paris at night, which wouldn't be any fun. So instead I utilized the post office at the airport to send a medium sized box of stuff back home (my pack doesn't feel any lighter, though) and then went back to Munich where I bought a rail ticket, made calls to the relative I was hoping to see in Paris (left a message) and, in a vein attempt to locate a French girl I met in Venice, called two listed numbers of people with the same last name (they hung up). So now it was 3 and I had until 10pm to get to the station, and I decided to go visit the site of the 1972 Olympics.

Upon exiting the station, there was a map which showed an extensive area where the Olympic events were held, but it wasn't clear how to get there. Meanwhile, right next to the station there's a brand new arena that's being built, sponsored by BMW, which makes sense as they have an office tower just across the highway. Walking to the right past the stadium I found blue signs pointing towards the Olympic village, and indeed there's a large space needle type of tower that was built for the Olympics (Olympic Tower it's called), so I knew I was in the right place.

There was a very light drizzle as I walked around, enough for me to wear the hood on my sweatshirt, but no need for an umbrella. Considering the fact that this was the only day of the trip thus far that I had encountered any precipitation, I was feeling good about the timing of my vacation.

Each building of the Olympic halls have a unified architectural theme, that being formed plastic sheets that unite together to form sweeping roofs and shade structures. It was a very forward-thinking design for 34 years ago, and it still holds up today. I was able to go into the swimming hall, which wasn't that impressive inside, but my brief glimpse of the top seats of the main stadium made it look pretty intriguing.

Of course, I was also interested in finding the building where the Israeli athletes were kidnapped, but had no idea where to look. I might have found it as there's some nearby condos that might have housed the athletes, but what I did find for sure was a monument at the end of a bridge across from the main stadium complex that was simple and elegant: a wide slab of stone with the names of the murdered athletes in Hebrew script, and the name of the German policeman (I believe) who also died during the ordeal.

*************

With some more time on my hands, I saw on my map of Munich (that I had to pay 30 cents for at the Munich train station tourist info office. So far, Munich is the only place where I've had to pay for a map) that there's an obelisk near the Museum of Natural History, and I sure like obelisks. So I got off at the nearest metro station and found a slew of Greco-Roman style buildings framing the obelisk in the distance, which made for good picture taking.

My last desire before leaving Germany was to have a glass of German white wine -- Rielsing or Gewurstraminer. I figured there had to be some upscale bars around that area, and I was right. After taking pictures of the Indian versions of lawn jockey statues in a jewelry store window, I found KostBar, and found the hosts to be really lovely. I didn't catch the guy's name, but I did meet Andrea ("Andi") who poured me a pretty good Austrian Rielsling (Arnold Pfischer, I think it was), and even a bonus taste of tempranillo, as we were talking about all things Spain. She had lots of advice and was very easy-going. I gave her a one Euro tip, and she thanked me, saying that Americans usually don't tip. Which is weird as back home we tip a lot, more than the rest of the world, I think. I said goodbye to her colleague and waved goodbye to Andi through the window as I made my way down the street.

At the station I arrived in plenty of time, finding that I was bunked up with two drunk Brazilian guys just back from the beer tents. The one guy, Maoru, was nice, but his feet reeked, and in the middle of the night he insisted in having a loud conversation with his friend. I couldn't believe he could be both a nice guy and completely inconsiderate as to wake me up. But I guess that's just one of those cultural things. So I arrived in Paris Wednesday at 7am, not having slept much and having no idea what I was going to do. All I knew was that I left a message with my relative the previous day saying that I'd call at 10am. And it was with that in mind that I stepped off the train at Gard L'Est into the Parisian dawn.

Ryan
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