Jan. 1, 2009
Music: miss you by yuna Ito (yuna’s my 2nd fave female Japanese singer next to Olivia. And because it’s me, it’s no wonder that they’re both half-Japanese only. lolz!)
Hah, new year and a new promise to update my blog.(should I tell you that it’s actually Jan.16 today? Ops… I’ll try to remember everything that happened these last 15 days) caution: some portions of this blog might bring out the high school blogger in me. Good bye student activism. I’ll find ways to bring back the kick-ass journalist mode.)
I didn’t celebrate new year like everyone else - out on the streets or at somebody else’s place binging on food & drinks. I spent new year’s eve packing clothes for I’ll celebrate my new year on air and in Hamburg. (‘di ba totyaL?)
Sassy as I can be, I made it to the flight to Hamburg. But because I’m the great Goddess MayheM, that wasn’t at all boring with just ”i made it to the flight to Hamburg”. That wouldn’t be me if there was no drama at all. After all it was new year, so it’s but right to celebrate the first day of 2009 with a bang.
I knew that this kind of thing would happen and my mind has always been conditioned for these stuffs. We’ll just blame it on the damn printers at the staff travel office. Rewinding to the previous day, the seldom-forgetful-me forgot to print my plane tickets. Alas, I only remembered it inside the shuttle on the way home so I ended up texting Guia to print my tickets. But then again, she went to the NYE party and I’m not even sure if she really printed them. Then came the big new year’s day flight and because we’re in the main EK hub, we have all the possibilities - like printing plane tickets in the airport. But damn staff travel office printers, that don’t really print all. And again, because we’re in the main EK hub, IT is always a few seconds call away. I got to credit that IT gurl for sticking by me during the call but it all ended on me solving the printer’s problem. It turned out that only 1 station out of 6 (if I remember correctly) prints on 1 specific printer out of 4.
Gomenasai for such a boring introduction, this would’ve been more exciting in a speech. Anyway, such grade school dilemma was solved 15 minutes before my plane will take off. Imagine that. And imagine maneuvering the new Dubai Airport Terminal 3. But I was wrong. It was actually maneuvering Terminal 3 and 1. Dang it! And I thought all EK flights are set to depart from the new terminal 3.Why of all flights my plane had to depart from terminal 1? Don’t fool me but it sure looked like Terminal 1. Have you ever tried running the whole stretch from the new EGHQ to the Flower centre? Top it off with 10 pounds worth of baggage on hand! If that airplane tail registration appeared in our engineering flight delay, there would only be one reason attached to it. The check-in guys even wondered why an EK staff was running and the last to check in to the flight. Well, just blame it on the damn printers. And because I’m the great Goddess, they all waited for me.
Minutes before landing on HAM, the senior steward asked me if I was ok. The suspicious me asked him why and he showed me his manifest with my name as an EK staff and was just wondering if I was on duty travel. “Hell no, I’m on vacation”. Nobody’s gonna disturb me about DUTY.
Hmm, I wondered if it was written somewhere on the manifest that I almost got the flight delayed. So I guess, this Euro tour would be all about running and catching flights after all.
Arrival @ HAMBURG, Germany
To my dismay, Hamburg airport is just small. Mactan International airport is even bigger. For the first time, I felt Europe’s recession period seeing baggage trolleys locked with each other . You’ll need a cent or something to unlock one from the batch and actually use it. Of course, why should I use one? I didn’t go strength training at the gym for nothing. (bogz! Dumbbells falling on my head as I haven’t been to the gym for a month)
Following my research, I bought the 1-day Hamburg card for EU 8. But I found this Information counter after minutes of roaming around the airport. Imagine again, roaming more than a kilometer with more than 10 pounds of baggage. Down to the airport’s train station and I felt the German robust innovation. I would then have my first German train ride and was excited to try it. I learned beforehand that German time is really on time and it really was. But, as I always do, compared to Singapore (or HK or MNL), there was no swiping or slot machine for the train ticket before you can actually ride the train. Hmm, I realized later on, that you can actually ride on the train for free because there’s really no control at the station. But then again, it wasn’t Manila.
I arrived at HAM main train station with the main focus of walking to my hotel by just following the direction given beforehand. But sometimes, my intuition battles with my sense of direction. I ended up, hailing a taxicab and realized that my sense of direction was actually right after winning 50 meters of battle with my intuition. Good decision though, coz the hotel was actually not for walking if you’re carrying 10 pounds of baggage. My feet needed at least an hour rest for the coming walkathons.
Appartement Hotel on Wendenstraße street was cool. It was indeed like a studio apartment complete with a modern oven where the burners are actually inside the glass where you put the pans on top. Forgive this lame description, I’m an engineer who doesn’t cook so I’m not in good technical know-how with these cooking machines. There was also a coffee machine, toaster, heater, complete utensil set and the like. Ella should stay there someday. I only used the stove to heat a cold sandwich. And because it was an apartment, there was no breakfast included in the EU41/day price. The room and lockers were big enough for me. I would have given it a high rating if not for the freaking water heater. I mean, the comfort room was good, but the water heats up for a minute only and would go back to icy cold. I’m a cold blooded mammal but I’m not yet part of the family of polar bears. My hands would still get numb with that -1 degree water. On the second day, I ended up using the water heater and all the cooking pans to boil water. Sleeping in that hotel room was immaculate but showering was hell. To think that showering is one of the favorite things I do. Huhuhuh! In fairness, the first receptionist, Barbara, warmly swelcomed me and gave me some directions. The guy who manned the reception at night told me that there would be a handsome Russian guy, who speaks good English, on the next shift. And indeed I met him and he helpfully gave me the direction to the nearest metro station. But, I can’t anymore remember his Russian face. It just didn’t register deeply in my brain.
Hovering over Hamburg
I don’t know why this is entitled Hovering Hamburg but it’s just the first word that came to mind right now. I just discovered that in my itinerary, I didn’t write a title for the Hamburg leg of the trip. Hover just kind’a rhymes with Hamburg. Well, it might have been true. I was like hovering on Hamburg on the first day. I even told myself, that it was a dead city. It was as if I was the only one alive. But then again, it was new year’s day and 4pm. Haller, it was Europe in winter where the sun sleeps at 4pm. So again, at zero degree Celsius, I promised myself to start this Euro tour no matter what. I’ve always believed in my excellent (liver expands) sense of direction so I set my mind to walk back to the central train station from the hotel. From the map, it said 2.7 km, but of course it wouldn’t be true if you trace back your previous taxi ride’s direction. On the way, I saw some cool buildings and met a couple of big puppets. I ended up at Hamburg’s main train station again after a couple of hours and not really tracing back the taxi‘s route. As I always believe, that to be able to really feel the place, you have to tread the road used by its citizens and act as if you’re one of ém. And duh, I really did walk back home for more than a couple of kilometers only to discover that there’s a shorter route if you cut it by taking the “first floor” road. That part of Hamburg felt weird coz there was really a first and second floor on the road. It felt funny but cool in the end.
I spent my first Hamburg night with a Chinese dinner. I was so excited to eat whatever German sausage Glauce mentioned in her Berlin travelblog, but to my dismay I wasn’t able to find a believable resto that would cook German cuisine. I forgot what street it was, but all restos sold obara and anaps food. Like duh, I almost ran away from that street. Not here please, don’t haunt me!!!!!!! Thank god, the familiar Chinese lanterns came into view and because I was so starved I had no other choice but eat fried noodles on my first German night. Top it off with a waiter who only speaks German and Chinese. In the middle of my meal, five supposedly German guys went in but stayed a bit far from my table. I supposed they were cute based on my 250/50 vision. The paparazzi in me so much wanted to steal a shot of them (and I thought of my gift to guia). But then again, using my digicam would be obvious and my PDA’s camera has this loud “clickish” sound that you shouldn’t really use it during paparazzi operations. I was so hungry to even try to configure it back to silent mode. So Guia, no Germans for you. Bye to the 5 boylets who were unlucky I left before them. I think they’re in college so I’d just say good luck to their studies. After a kilometer of noodles and a tank of Chinese tea, I resumed my first Hamburg night out.
I always follow the Mhuyhen’s rule to never walk back along the road I came from coz using another road would always get me back to where I came from. (Why do I always think that letting Yvette do this is like telling her to love the anapels and save the world?) So there I was applying this rule and I ended up on a street with shops like, “SEXshop, SEX____, and SEX chuvahness”. Oh hell, I’m not gonna explore this street tonight. Could this be the infamous Hamburg Red light district? I have no plans discovering it tonight so off to another alternate road. After half a kilometer, I discovered the metro station I was dying to find a few hours ago when my legs were screaming “surrender”. And there I discovered the first and second floor roads of Hamburg (of course, both were connected by a staircase). Oh well, some things are learned the hard way. And to really discover a new place is to walk along the path that’s not well taken. Yosh, tomorrow would be another day.
Just when I thought, the day was over, I discovered something in my hotel room that really shocked me. There was a liquid dishwashing soap…. Ok mhuyheN, like a liquid soap would make a whole lotta freakin’ difference in your life. Yes, it really made a difference on my first Euro night coz I dreamed of Toma. That liquid soap was named “AKUTA”. Like, haller Toma stop stalking me in Germany. (fangurl flailing again). Some people might think of this as gibberish but the fandom will understand. And so I took a photo of it. Paksyeet, I just realized now that I didn’t take a photo of me with it. If the tide changes, I might order it online for some reason. I’m sure the Germany fangurls will buy the AKUTA soap and use it like it’s holy water. If I had a big luggage, I would have brought it home with me and had the hotel wondering what I was cooking to use up all that soap. And I thought this Euro tour would make me forget about Toma for even just 17 days! Day 1 and I already failed!
Ending song: Grease lightning by John Travolta (toma stalking again)