09 October 2004

Finally . . . the climactic end of my trip

(Transferred from my old blog on 18 August 2008.)

On my train, I was really worried about my pass, because the train arrived in Hannover at 23:24 and the next train left at 23:50, starting a new day, and I had already used up my last day on my eurail pass. I didn't know if I needed reservations on it either. Then this lady sat next to me and we talked for the whole time until she got off in Wurzburg. Maria is from Afghanistan, has lived in Germany for 12 years (she doesn't like it), and has family stuck in the war. She asked about my family and said that it was a typical size for an American family, right? I told her it was actually quite large because Mormons have big families. She asked what we believe. I showed her my Book of Mormon and explained as much as I could in German. It was amazing the way I could find ways to say things. She couldn't believe that we didn't have sex before marriage. I told her we only held hands and kissed. She kept exclaiming and shaking her head about it. "Not even with your boyfriend?" I found ONE contact card in my bag and gave it to her. I was thinking this was great, which it was, but I think she was a little bit crazy. She broke out her tabloids and let me have them to read (oh boy) and showed me the horoscopes. "Do you believe in - - - - - ?" "I don't understand. What is that word?" She grabbed my hand and pointed at it. "You will have ten children . . ." Uh - oh. Then she saw a pic of the Clintons and George Bush. She asked the question. The inevitable, the dreaded, the opening to an argument. I was very vague (especially since it was in German), and eventually changed the subject. She said Julia Roberts was expecting twins and talked about some tennis player who slept with another woman one time and now had a daughter with her.

Maria told me that Sri Lanka is amazing for a pretty vacation and my shoes were good for working. What size? And I (pretended) read until it was time for her to go and thanked her for the chocolate and reading material. Phew.

In Hannover, I got even more scared, because I realized I only had 15 Euros. What a scary feeling. I prayed and prayed that all would work out. Finally I decided to try the travelfunds American Express that had not worked. It bought me a ticket to Hamburg! I think I will need a loan for school, I am very poor now.

Once I got to Hamburg (having troubles with my huge bag the whole way), I found the airport express bus stop. It said 5 Euros. YES! Then this guy came up and said the bus didn't come until 4:40 and I was in danger because the red light district was across the street. He told me to take a taxi. I asked how much. He said it was about 18 Euros for him. I didn't know what to do, but as soon as I pulled my bag around the corner, he had a taxi for me. They put my bag in and asked, "Is your boyfriend in here?" The whole way to the airport, I prayed that somehow it would work out. I don't know why I didn't say anything about the money. Little traffic, green lights, etc. That happened, but when we got there, it was 18,70 Euros. Yikes. He didn't take cards even if I thought my American Express might work. I pulled out the 15 Euros and looked through my change, but I only found a one Euro coin and a lot of pennies and 20 cent-ers and 5 cent-ers. I showed him. He dumped out the kroners and shook his head. Then, I thought of something. Bea had not allowed Ryan to pay her back for the Luxemborgerli with his money and had put it in my purse, saying I would need it sometime. I didn't recall how much it was or if it was still there or if it had really happened, or even if it was in Euros, but I dug around in my purse and found it - a 2 Euro coin! That's 15+1+2+change. I was so grateful to HF! Then, the driver gave me a 50 cent piece for one of those carts to push my luggage around on.

Only one terminal was unlocked, and there were people wandering or sleeping on the benches. I've never seen an airport closed at night. Weird. I wanted to go to the bathroom or use the phone, but I didn't want to leave my baggage "unattended". Also, I wanted to stay awake the whole time so I could get a head start on Utah time. Some creepy lady suddenly jumped up shouting something about gossip and not being stupid. She came and sat across from me. Great. When I went to try to use the phone, she followed and hovered around with a black cat she pulled out of her purse. It was really making me uncomfortable, so I brought my bags over to where the terminal I needed started, and she showed up again. She walked right up to my bags, leaned over, looked at and smelled them, and then asked me if I spoke German. Where was I from? I asked her the same, and she said, "Germany" in a very short manner. Then she stuck her face right in mine and kept asking, "What about Utah?" So I kept asking, "What ABOUT Utah?" Finally she backed off, looked at me, and yelled, "I'm NOT STUPID!" I followed the next people through all of the construction in the cold - 4 AM Hamburg air, found a good place for my bags, used the toiled, and put on some pants. When I checked in, the lady asked if I had a spraydoeserin. I said, "Was ist das?" But instead of trying to communicate, she shook her head and asked some other guys to look at the x-ray of my bag. I hate when people won't give you a chance. Somehow I got the bag up onto the scale and they didn't say anything about its weight - 33 kg.

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