June 16, 2010

Destination Deutschland: Day 1, Part 2

After sitting in the airport for a few hours, I boarded my plane to Düsseldorf, Germany at about 6 pm on Monday, the 14th. It was appalling to see how small and cramped the damn seats were. For an eleven hour flight it was ridiculous. I had a window seat right over the wing so it sucked for any views I actually hoped to have.

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My seat mate was this lovely German girl named Nin Ja. Pronounced “Neen-Yah.” She’d just come from a study abroad in Mexico City and told me that it was interesting to have that name there as it’s the same meaning as little girl in Mexico (AKA niña). Most people just called her Ninja, which I thought was cute. She was a great partner to have for such a long flight too. She told me a lot about Germany and helped me to understand what the flight attendants and the pilots were saying throughout our journey. She told me what to expect when I was served my Coca-Cola. It tastes different! It’s very weird. Compared to America soda, it tastes like non-carbonated Coke – or Coke that’s a bit watered down. And the water… I got some ice water and it was so gross. Ha. Low and behold, it’s sparkling water. Another German thing. So when I was off in the bathroom, Nin Ja exchanged my glass for some regular water. So nice!

To sum up the flight in a string of words: long, uncomfortable, interesting, strange. The time didn’t drag on too much but it was definitely eleven hours worth of international flying experience. I didn’t sleep much at all, maybe one or two hours total. They served us dinner around 8 pm – chicken, potatoes, veggies, coleslaw, bread, and some custard/cheesecake dessert. It was really good! I managed to brush my teeth, clean my face in the tiny bathroom right around 9:30/10:00. But because the attendants were serving drinks, I had to wait with about three other people before I could go back to my seat.

They played The Blind Side as the first in-flight movie and I started to watch it but eventually tried to fall asleep. I took half of a sleeping pill that my mom had given me but it definitely didn’t work. I floated in and out of really restless sleep and eventually I took the second half of the pill. It definitely did not work. I couldn't’ sleep at all. It was just so uncomfortable, no matter how hard I tried to readjust myself in my tiny cramped space. I watched a movie on my iPod, Youth in Revolt. It was funny but kind of weird. After that I drifted in and out of sleep a little bit more and eventually, was able to fall asleep for about an hour.

When I woke up, I was so nauseous. I felt so hot and sweaty, like I’d slept in a sauna. I scrambled around for my barf bag and managed to pass the message on to Nin Ja that I really needed to get to the bathroom because I wasn’t feeling well. I took my barf bag with me (much to the dismay of everyone I passed) but I didn’t end up using it. I just splashed some water on my face, went to the bathroom, and took a few deep breaths. When I got back to my seat, they served us breakfast. Ham and cheese croissant sandwich, blueberry muffin, strawberry yogurt. I didn’t have much of an appetite, I still felt very sick, but I managed to eat the muffin and some of the yogurt. I also had some orange juice. After breakfast they played another movie, some Catherine Zeta Jones movie I’d never heard of called, The Rebound. It was cute but I didn’t watch most of it, as it ended just as we landed in Düsseldorf.

I got my first passport stamp once I was through the airport! Woo!

The Düsseldorf airport was my first experience in Europe. No one around me spoke any English but fortunately, all the signs around me got me to my connecting flight. I had to go through security again and like at LAX, it was fast, efficient, and easy. It was just manned by fast, angry German people who didn’t smile. Once I got to my gate, I sat down and regrouped. My SUPER heavy backpack was killing me. I didn’t even use 3/4 of the things that I’d brought with me, so I wasted a lot of back power on that damn thing. And my feet… Oh God…

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I only had to wait about 30-40 minutes before boarding my last flight. I was still feeling nauseous though so I didn’t pull out a book or even my iPod. I just tried to focus on NOT vomiting all over the German business men and did about three power naps. I woke up just as our plane touched down in Munich. I missed the descent! Oh well, I was on the aisle anyway.

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Baggage claim at the Munich airport was so easy. Seriously, this was the most efficient travel experience I’ve ever had. My bags popped right out onto the conveyer and I snatched them up. They traveled well! Pulling them through the airport was a different story. I had to walk a bazillion miles (or so it seemed) to find a place where I could exchange my money. I was hot, sweaty, and achy. But after I found a bank and got my Euros, I was able to get a taxi right outside the doors.

The taxi ride was so relaxing. It was nice to have that break. It felt so good to just sit there in the silence with the window down and just look out the window. It’s funny because as we drove along, everything looked exactly as it does in the States. Minus the difference in traffic signs and written language, it wasn’t astronomically different. I think I was expecting quaint little German villages or something. But it was like driving through southern California plus a little bit of country side. Well, that’s not really a good comparison. But we did drive by a McDonald’s. Haha.

The family that I work for lives in the Schwabing district in Munich so the cab ride was a good 50 Euros and the Frau was waiting for me when I arrived.

Destination Deutschland: SUCCESS!

3 comments:

Kara said...

Sorry to hear about the nausea and insomnia, but glad you made it safely! Aren't German airports the most painfully efficient you've ever been in? And clean! The Frankfurt airport practically sparkled in its steel and minimalism when I flew into there...

Mikellcs said...

I've always been sick on planes in the past, but this time I took some dramamine, and oh my gosh it was so much better! Definitely have some on the way home.

Susie Q said...

I love air travel. Love it, love it, love it! Like you, I get travel sick but I just pop one of those pills you get from the pharmacy for travel sickness and it takes care of the sickly feeling AND knocks me out for hours! Two birds with one stone, BOOM!

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