Saturday, 18 March 2017

Seattle to Bonn (or Sleepy in Seattle,returning to the Fatherland, and meeting NICE people)

8 am?  
I slept 11 hours !
Where am I? 
Oh right, Seattle.
Not bad for a cheap hotel in which they don't even allow day-time visitors, LOL.

My flight is not until 4 pm, so I get to enjoy the fact that Netflix offers different choices in different countries.  Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen with Owen Wilson) is great to watch and so is Paris by Night  (Une Nuit; French cop movie).

I check out at noon after realizing that I won't be able to finish Gwoemul (The Host, a hilarious Korean monster movie) before I leave.  I'll have to re-watch it on the return trip through the US, LOL.

It's actually SUNNY outside. What a pleasant surprise. But it's also COLD !

Since all I had to eat all day were two slices of toast, I hobble over to Denny's. Denny's is not really my first choice, but all the restaurants at SeaTac Airport are behind the security check-in and I'm willing to bet money that SeaTac does NOT have a smoking lounge ;-(

This area is NOT going into the right direction. The Teriyaki & Sushi Hut restaurant at the hotel right next to Denny's was just torn down (the construction equipment is still on the site) and this Denny's does NOT serve alcohol.  I actually miss Canada for a second there, LOL.  Surprisingly, the menu of Denny's USA is the exact same as the one of Denny's Canada.  And I'm surprised, the food actually tastes BETTER than the one in my regular Canadian Denny's !

Then it's time to head to the airport and get myself a boarding pass. Condor check-in is uncomplicated and quick. And I even get an aisle seat.  2.5 hours until take-off.

Security is fast.  Like almost everyone else, I have to take my shoes off, but all in all it's over quickly.

At Alaska Lodge I finally get the glass of Chardonnay that Denny's couldn't provide me with.  Not too bad and not too expensive, considering I'm at an airport. And I don't have to eat food to drink ;-)  2 hours until take-off.

I buy new reading glasses.  It's about time, the old ones fell to pieces during my last Seattle visit 6 weeks ago.  Trump's travel ban 2.0 has been stopped by judges already ;-)  Too bad that Canada's travel ban on me is still in effect ;-( The application for renewal of my PR card now has been processing for 3 Months and no end in sight.  1 hour until take-off.

Condor ain't all that bad.  NO free peanuts.  Since I had assumed that they stopped serving food all together, I had ordered for CAD$22 each way a Premium hot meal.   Well, they didn't stop serving free food, but before they clue in that I get a premium meal, they bring me a regular dinner. Simply pasta with an undefinable red tomato sauce.  YUK !  A disgusting schlop !

Old bun !

My premium meal gets me smoked salmon, a giant prawn, cheeses, and beef on rice with carrots.  My $22 even affect breakfast. While everyone else gets a sponge bun, I get a real fresh Focaccia bun AND a croissant AND yogurt AND cold-cuts and cheese.  Everyone else just gets a pack of jam with their sponge bun.  

I arrive at Frankfurt airport and right away notice that the smoking tanks in the luggage area are no longer there! Ts Ts. After I get my luggage, I walk right through customs with my 2 carton of cigarettes.  See I bought a carton of Pall Mall for US$ 25 at SeaTac, but then they only wanted 25 Euros for a carton of Winston on the plane.  I couldn't really let that offer go unused ;-)

 The Currywurst I eat at Frankfurt Airport Fast Train Station is out of this world. NO, it's not that the taste is so overwhelming.  The frigging thing is 12 inches long !  And it doesn't have enough curry powder in the sauce.  But I'm ashamed to report that I eat 11 of the 12 inches of sausage.  This is probably a good time to repeat that old wisdom:  Eskimos have 100 words for snow and Germans have at least 12 words for constipation ;-)

PLEASE someone tell me that there is a basis for that spelling and that consequently Germans have not become even more strange !

Frankfurt airport long-distance-Train Station

 I sleep through most of the almost 2 hour train ride along the Rhine to Bonn, which is unfortunate since this is one of the nicest train journeys I know of. 
 Fame of the amazing view from this train has spread all the way to Hong Kong and Berkeley ;-)

Bonn.  Former German capital (I still don't like the idea that they moved back to Berlin after reunification) and more importantly birthplace of Beethoven !

An older German holds a construct of two paper cups towards the street. while leaning against one of the fancy shops in Bonn's Old Town.  He is not actively pan-handling, but it's bloody obvious what he is trying to accomplish.  His paper cup construct is empty.
A begging young foreigner strikes the pose a man strikes when proposing to the woman in his dreams. Only this man has a paper cup in his hand and not a diamond ring.  It's heartbreaking !

It's after 8 pm and I feel peckish. I guess that the Currywurst went down already. NOT wishing to participate in one of the 12 kinds of German constipation (Did that when I was younger) I head to an Asian restaurant, Shokuyoku, just around the corner.   

But WTF, the menu I just looked at on the internet, doesn't seem to exist anymore !?!  No worries, I order Yaki Soba, Fried Shark, and a lamb skewer.

Of course, this being a place where you write the number of the dish on a piece of paper, which is then picked up by the server (Think DimSum), the dishes don't exactly arrive in the order that I imagined ;-(  The first bite reveals that the shark is YUMMY and that the lamb is dry and tough ;-(

This is exactly the time when I get a message from Freedom Mobile formerly Wind Mobile.  It's Shaw or Rogers who bought them ;-(  And they are re-negotiating with their international partners and apparently as of May 1st will temporarily NOT support roaming in certain countries. Germany happens to be one of the affected countries.  OMFG, Canada is SUCKING more and more !  

No, I don't wish Grandma ill, but I know that once she is gone, I will only spend a minimum amount of time in that realm of paranoid wetness !  The really sad part is that the population, maintaining the ability of looking at themselves in the mirror in the morning with the help of the firmly held belief that they are BETTER than Americans, has NO clue how they are gouged by both government and business.  But then how would they?  Most Canadians have very limited experience of life OUTSIDE Canada.  Yes, let's be honest, 10 days in an All-Inclusive in Puerto Vallarta or Varadero aren't really enough to show you what's going on in the world, eh? Oh, right, in some previous post I promised NOT to rant about Canada anymore. Oh no, actually that was VANCOUVER, and Yes, I'm not going to follow Lot's wife's example ;-)

'tis ok.  Neil Young noticed it decades ago:  You pay for this, but they give you that.  No wonder he never came back from LA !

4 am. There is something strangely familiar about that time ;-)  3.5 hours until breakfast

I manage to doze off until 5 am.  5:30 am. 2 hours until breakfast.

Notice how travelling to and in distant lands can turn into one loooong wait ?

Time to do something with this time.  

On the map, I've noticed that I'm only 200 meters away from the River Rhine.  
Even though in the last half hour I've heard various very strange if not vicious voices coming from the street ...
.... I remember that I'm not old enough yet to become timid and hide in my shell or my hotel.  

I'm back in my hotel at 6 am. 1.5 hours until breakfast.

But I notice that German Netflix carries the first two seasons of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.   YEAH !    Time to re-watch the Cambodia episode (for the 10th time?) !  HERE is a link to that episode on German DailyMotion, not sure whether it plays anywhere else in the world.
George's watch has stopped repeatedly during the last two days (Vancouver to Seattle to Germany). I can't blame him; I don't want to be in Germany either !  

But maybe it's a sign that after one year I should start wearing one of my own many watches again?  ( I had that battery installed 370 days ago in Los Angeles).

After all,this watch has been in Canada, the US, England, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Germany,  Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong, and China during the last year (OMFG, LOL !!!!!)

7:30 am.  Breakfast time. Finally ! ;-)

The spread and variety of things I could eat is amazing. And everything tastes SO GOOD ! But that's also the problem with breakfast in Germany:  You have to know when to stop !

8:30 am. 2 hours until I meet Toni & Klaus.  See what I mean about all this waiting?

10:10 Toni & Klaus are here to pick me up.  We head to 2 different places (the 2nd one an old theatre turned book-store !), eat, drink, and chat for almost 3 hours.  

Thalia Book Store (not my pic)
And as is usually the case when I meet with nice people, with whom I get completely absorbed by the conversation, I forget to take pictures. So there. No pictures of Toni & Klaus.  NEXT TIME !

I only had 2 glasses of wine, so it must be the jet-lag. I fall asleep about 1 minute after my behind touches the seat of the train chair. I have an aisle seat and I wake up to the young woman at the window trying to wake me because we have reached her stop. WhAt? I dimly think,let her pass, and fall asleep again.


I arrive at my destination train station and it is POURING so hard outside, the taxi driver is even hesitant to open the car door from the inside because her arm would get drenched !

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