June 15, 2010

Destination Deutschland: Day 1, Part 1

Wake up: 5:00 am.

Okay, I lied. I actually let my alarm go until 5:25.

Once I was up and out of bed, I jumped straight into the shower. Long, hot, relaxing shower. Wake up, wake up, wake up.

I had all of my bags packed, my clothes set out for the day. It was a pretty easy morning but I had to catch the shuttle in San Luis Obispo at 8 am so I needed to be up early. We were out the door by 7:15 and after a quick stop at the ATM, my mom and her boyfriend had me on the road to the shuttle pick up. Once the bus showed up, we said our goodbyes and then I was off!

The ride itself wasn’t so bad. It was just me and one other couple. They were on their way to a Hawaiian vacation (I was only a little, teensy bit jealous!). The husband offered me a lot of fun facts about Germany. Free market: free downloads of Microsoft? I guess. I’m not really sure what he meant. Ha. But he also said that if I ever wanted to get my own apartment in Germany, it would be relatively easy. No credit checks, deposit on the spot. That would be awesome, especially if I decided to stay. I managed to watch an entire movie on iPod while we drove. Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging. I loved it. It’s one of the cutest movies I think I’ve ever seen. I totally recommend it if you’re into preteen, girly movies and once upon a time I was a preteen girl, therefore I loved it. Anyway, that’s besides the point…

The shuttle ride took us to Santa Barbara where we transferred to an AirBus (aka Greyhound) and it was relatively empty so I got the back seat. THREE SEATS! Woo. And I was right by the bathroom so it was easy access for the five times I had to pee. What’s up with that? Weird. I slept a little bit but kept waking up every time I drooled on myself or whenever my head tried to bob lower than was physically possible for my neck. Mostly I just did crossword puzzles and listened to my iPod. The Operation by Charlotte Gainsbourg is my new favorite song.

The bus dropped me at the international terminal in LAX around 12:30. God, my suitcases were each like one million pounds. So I got a cart (minus $4.00, damn) and ventured tentatively into the International airport.


It was overwhelming - how incredibly different (chaotic, busy, stressful, strange) it was compared to what I’m used to encountering. I’ve never flown international before so it was a new experience for me. The intercom was speaking in ten different languages (never in German…) and everyone around me was speaking something different. The linguistic diversity was incredible. It was amazing just watching all of the people and wondering about the places where they were going. Are they Americans? Are they going home? Were they visiting family? I liked to imagine that I could make it all up for them.

I got in line at AirBerlin with my cart and my oversized baggage. The ticket counter opened at 13:30 (aka 1:30) and it was about 1 o’clock when I got in line. I waited there with, I swear, 50 German people. No one around me had American accents and most of them were speaking German to each other. And they were all staring! It was so weird. I wondered if I wasn’t supposed to be showing my shoulders, if my blouse was too low cut, did I have something on my face? And so I texted Christina (my native German family friend) and she told me that German’s just like to stare. Oh, okay. Ha. I’ll take note of that. But it all worked out in the end because my handsome German husband showed up and kept distracted with his handsomeness.

I got my bags checked ($65 for two oversized bags, AWESOME) and was set loose into the airport. I managed to walk around with my 14 hundred pound backpack until I found myself lunch. Ten dollars later, I sat down with the most expensive McDonald’s meal I’ve ever purchased. I found a relatively quiet corner of the “food court” where I could sit down and lighten my load for a little bit. I made a few calls, enjoyed my food, and then regrouped for my venture to the gates.


DSCN2164AirBerlin 7431 – Duesseldorf, 5:45 pm

Security was surprisingly easy. I don’t know what I was expecting. Security checkpoints are never much fun but this experience wasn’t bad at all. I’m used to showing my ID all the time but now, it’s just, “Do you have your passport, m’am? Boarding pass?” Oh, okay. Sure! The handsome guard said I had a beautiful smile. That made my day, especially since I was starting to get a headache by that point. I took of my shoes, threw my stuff through the x-ray; I passed with flying colors. I saw my backpack on the x-ray when I came through to the other side and it was crazy.  So much shit in that thing. I’m surprised he didn’t stop and look through it. He did zoom in on the contents a couple of times though. I swear, I’m not carrying any guns! Or bombs! He agreed because I got all my crap and continued. Goodbye security, hello LONG ASS WALK to my gate. For this reason, I love moving sidewalks. It’s like having super powers or something.

Gate 102 was at the very end of the terminal… of course. Why wouldn’t it be? I managed to isolate an outlet and here I am – on my computer writing about my ever so interesting (or not) travel details. It’s nice though because I still don’t have to board for another hour and I’ve already written a whole post, uploaded my travel pictures, charged my iPod, and I get to listen to really great music. Angus & Julia Stone, currently. Check out the song, Big Jet Plane. It’s gold.

Sitting here on the hard ass floor (ow, my butt!) is unfortunate but necessary. This place just doesn’t have enough power outlets. You’d think that in such a technologically driven society, we’d upgrade our airports to include more outlets. Eh, oh well. Everytime that an airplane takes off, you feel it through the whole building. These airplanes are HUGE. I’ve never been so close to an airplane of this size. It’s amazing to think that they can stay in the air for so long. My flight is about 11 hours. I can’t even fathom it. Those poor pilots. What an incredible job they have, intense dedication and training.

Anyway, that is all for this update of Destination Deutschland. Ha. Aren’t I so clever? No? Okay. Ha. I will write another post when I’m in the air. Although I won’t actually post it. In fact, you’re probably going to read these well after they’ve been written. Unless I can figure out to break the wifi barriers at LAX. Or just pay $8 for an hour of Internet….

No, thanks.

More later – Part 2: An 11 hour flight, barf bags, and Ninjas!


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