It’s been several years since I travelled internationally, and this is the first time for business. Arriving late into the Frankfort airport resulted in a shoving match and apologetic line jumping through bookou customs and security, and the 100 meter dash to the very last gate at the very last terminal of the airport, only to have missed my connection.
Germans are so well known for their engineering and design, that when met with a poorly designed facility one is shocked, if not down-right flabbergasted. The space in-between gates at Frankfort airport is about a quarter mile for every gate. At least, that’s how it felt when I was juggling two coats and a giant bag with a laptop to my gate. Additionally, the moving walkways were lifted above the main floor by a foot, and only as long as half the distance in-between the gates. It was like running up & down speed bumps on steroids. It completely slowed me down, yet the lack of stamina to persevere on the hard airport tile floor kept directing me back to the moving speed bumps. Wish I had kept up that treadmill practice…
Nevertheless, all was not lost. It turns out my connecting flight was Business Class – woohoo! I got to sit in the Business Class lounge, away from the riffraff, and watch the Winter Olympics on German TV to my heart’s content. The best part was the monitors were on silent. In fact, the lounge was about as quiet as a library in a school for the deaf. I had forgotten how Germans, and many other Europeans, are very quiet, soft-spoken people. No loud blathering on about marketing projects, and sales figures from egotistical businessmen (and I say men for good reason) in this place.
But, wait! What’s that I hear? It’s the lowered English murmurings of several American businessmen griping about their crappy little tech company, while simultaneously trying to pump their meager penises into giant baseball bats of power. At least it was at a decibel that could pass as mouse scratchings, which is what it was equivalent to in value.
No matter, for it was time for another mad dash to my connecting gate. I thought I had left enough time, but forgot the quarter-of-a-football field length in-between gates. My arrival was met with delays because a gigantic storm had blown in anyway. No worries, away to the Business Class lounge where beef broth, snacks, and tea awaited.
After several more delays resulted in cancellation, the only thing I cared about was getting to a TV in time to watch the Canada vs USA men’s ice hockey final at the Vancouver Olympics. My chipper attitude did not wane, as I knew I’d see the game somehow.
I elected to try the train station, which was equally as much a madhouse as the airport. Apparnetly the storm was so bad, it collapsed a wall or ceiling at the long-distance train station at the airport, and prevented most trains from leaving the main station anyway. This was highly irregular for Germany. My conclusion is that one or even two crises can be handled with ease. But, throw 3 or more consecutive crisis at a nation and all hell breaks loose. At lest there was no looting and pillaging, a dishonorable act indeed for a proud nation with many national social systems.
Grouping up with a lovely gal from Mexico & a faucet salesman from Lebenon, we stumbled our way through the chaos, into the main train station, and managed to find a train to Nuremberg. I elected to try & find a seat in the 1st Class car, since my ticket allowed for it, but no luck. At least there was more room for my bag.
A kind German interpreted the ridiculously loud & incomprehensible public address system, where the announcers stated the didn’t know anything about every 10 minutes. Although the announcement when on for several minutes, our friend’s translation lasted only seconds. We all had a laugh at his ability to boil down the incomprehension.
Finally we were off, and despite my desire to stay awak to battle the jetlag, I conked out when a seat became available, only to wake up just in time, and forget to meet my Mexican friend. In my just awoken-stupor, I bee-lined for the taxi stand. Thankfully, I checked in & made it in time for the game, having only started 10 minutes earlier.
The rest of my night was consumed with wine drinking and ice hockey game watching, only to cry tears of sadness at our loss. After such a long & crazy day, preventing me from spending the afternoon with some friends in Nuremberg, I only had a USA hockey team silver to show for it. Wah.