Wow, sleeping on the plane, sleeping in the afternoon, and now another 7 hours. That should be enough sleep. In particular since I'm taking a train later, LOL.
Booking.com still doesn't work. They better fix their problem soon. I realize how dependent I have become on this site.
The breakfast room of this giant cheap hotel is EMPTY. Even the buffet is loaded only sparsely. What about all those tour buses that are parked outside the hotel? I was expecting hoards of Chinese tourists descending on the buffet offerings.
Talking to the buffet guardian brings clarity. The hotel is usually empty on Weekends (no business travelers?) and all those buses are parked outside because the drivers of the EMPTY buses are staying in this hotel. Go figure !
When I tell the receptionist that I just had breakfast and still had to pay for it, he first asks whether this is my first time in this hotel, and after I tell him that I'll stay here again in 4 weeks, he says it's on him.
I follow a hunch and say Tesekku"r, which produces a small bow and a hand on the heart gesture.
The German hotel landscape has MUCH improved with the spread of Turkish hotel ownership !
I'm NOT taking a taxi to the train station at the airport. My train leaves at 9:58 and the bus leaves here in town at 8:58 but it's raining. The hotel's airport shuttle seems to be the best median solution.
|What am I doing here? THIS is what I'm trying to get away from !|
The process of looking out the window of a train travelling along the Romantic Rhine Route somehow calls for a glass of wine. German trains have Bistro Cars but not only are they trying to make money from that wine but I also had 30 minutes to kill and there is a Rewe mart in the train station. So my backpack now is loaded with 3 piccolos of white wine, a pack of salty pretzels, as well as some sweet buns. That should get me through the 3+ hours of train travel ;-)
I've secured myself a window seat on the right side of the Northbound train. Some people will recognize how relevant that is ;-) A train PA announcement informs me that THIS train is missing its Bistro Car. LOL. Good thing I bought my provisions at Rewe !
During the regular train stop in Koblenz (very mixed memories of 15 months in the German army), the PA announces that the departure will be delayed due to SOCCER FANS on the rampage along the track. I'm already relieved that the soccer fans are causing problems OUTSIDE the train this time and not INSIDE like the last time I took this train in May.
What's that expression again?
I like my coffee black. Black like the German soul.
The train passes through Cologne. I spent my childhood here and my teenage years. Times I remember with feelings of mostly horror. But the city was not to blame for my fucked-up formative years. That honour goes to the woman I'm going to visit in an old-age home tomorrow morning. But there is no point in dishing out blame. And I feel no need for it anyway. It was what it was. The point of this article is the usual: Where is HOME? Cologne was home once. But with my Spare Mom gone, Cologne is just an empty shell now. A gentle smile passes across my face when I recognize the city, but that's all. It's no longer home for me and it's no longer home to people who are important to me. I've let go.
Maybe in the future I will cease to harbour feelings of disgust and revulsion for my present home? Somehow I doubt it. While I had a rotten childhood in Cologne, neither the city nor its inhabitants were to blame for it. Whereas in Vancouver, the city and the ignant merciless majority of its inhabitants are the root of the evil that call Gulag.
I'm in Mom-Town. Radstation, the e-bike rental place is closed on the weekend. The last public transit bus left 5 minutes ago and the next one won't run for 45 minutes. I call the taxi company and they tell me that it would be a ONE HOUR wait until they can drive me.
WTF? Third World conditions have spread to Mom-Town.
Mom's old-age home is located RIGHT ACROSS the train station, as is the Ice-Cafe.
Hmm.... Choices .....
Good thing I'm already stuffed with the wine and pretzels I consumed on the train, LOL.
In retrospect, the little devil was right. Nothing has changed.
It's all about mother. And she's using other people and their lives to make it all about herself.
Sad, because that makes her one of those people who SUCK the good energy out of a room and its other occupants faster than an ice cube melts in hot chicken soup.
I arrive at the hotel. As usual, the door is closed but by some magic the door bell connects to some cell phone somewhere on this planet and a voice tells me which code to punch into the automatic key dispensing gizmo.
I let myself in.
After 2.5 full days of traveling, almost half the clothes I carry with me are dirty. Time for sink laundry. My hotel is particularly suitable for this since they have a giant liquid soap dispenser at the sink with a functioning plug AND one of those heated towel-rack things. Even wet pants or a hoodie dry overnight.
OMG, tomorrow is SUNDAY, which means that the closed doors of LIDL will be barring me from buying wine. That means that either I'm not having any wine tomorrow or that I'm heading there today before it closes. I don't even have to listen to the angels and demons on my shoulder to know which one it will be.
When I leave the hotel, I finally figure out WHERE that loud talking noise was coming from that I was hearing through my window. It's 4 Guys and a Case of Beer sitting on the front steps of the hotel. Ohhhhhhhh, I HATE the low-lives of Germany.
I'd actually prefer it if they were wandering the streets with a crack pipe instead of a beer crate. They'd most likely be much more quiet !
I'm back in Pagode Chinese & Mongolian Restaurant. Don't laugh, there just isn't any other decent restaurant around here.
Duck Hong Kong style? LOL, oh, why not, Alan will get a kick out of that.
The previous owner/waiter or waiter/waiter pair is no longer here. They're 'working somewhere else' I am informed after asking.
But there is something new: the restaurant has WiFi now! Smells like new owners.
When I say Xie Xie after the waitress gives me the WiFi code she follows up with a giggle and a smile.
This will do just fabulously !
Back in the hotel, I watch another episode of The Expanse on Netflix. Good TV? That's almost an oxymoron but this stuff is GOOD. Click on THIS LINK to listen to a 1 minute audio file of the theme music.