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22.11.06

The Germans: on efficiency

posted by Jamila

I'd like to say a word about my encounters with the Germans.

Let me frame this story by reminding my reader that I currently live in Italy. To get to Germany, more specifically the airport in Frankfurt, subjecting myself to Italian transit was necessary. This led me to the Pisa airport where my travel crew arrived promptly to our flight. An hour to wait. My memory of this hour continually centers upon the bizarre machine full of stuffed animals and a claw that would sporadically play techno music to lure prospective players. After countless techno outbursts from the claw machine, not to mention several failed attempts at the game (and a lot of wasted money, frown), people rushed to queue for our flight even though boarding was not announced. It was here, in this queue, that my travel companions and I fell asleep on the tiled floor as our flight was continually delayed.


the techno music-playing game at the Pisa airport


After about the fourth time of waking up and recalling my odd sleeping circumstances, one of my travel companions nudged me and said she thought our flight was canceled. At this point, everyone else began to realize that the screen above our gate flashed "cancellato." I looked around for one of those female attendants who had been pacing around the gate earlier, but they had vanished. And so, both the intended Frankfurt flight passengers as well as those of two other canceled flights descended upon the ticket booth in a mad rush that embittered the desk clerks, who yelled at the travelers, who yelled back. There were old people trying to cut in line, people yelling, women crying... complete madness. After munching on a banana, I decided that this was ridiculous and we should leave the Pisa airport. So we did. We waited until the evening and hopped on a night train, instead.

At some point during the night train, the attendants switched from Italians to Germans. I looked out my window and saw the familiar landscape that always lurked in my assumptuary image archive: church spires, rolling green pastures, misty mountains. Suddenly my mouth was watering for a sausage. "You all have sausages in there, I know it!" I lamented, pointing a finger out the window and into a cozy German town. "The thing is, they really do," my friend assured me.


our train ticket from Munich—Rothenburg


After descending the night train, we purchased a new itinerary that would lead us to the town of Rothenburg. Ordinarily, we receive a ticket stub in Italy and wander around the station until we realize we have missed the train or manage to find someone who seems to have a vague idea of which train we should board. The ticket man at the Munich station handed us one sheet of paper that listed our trail of 4 trains consecutively. Departing station, departing time, departing gate, arrival station, arrival time, arrival gate. Each train gave us 4 minutes after we arrived to board the next. And through this efficient little system, we managed to descend and board all four times and finally make it to Rothenburg, a place we had almost given up on while chewing that banana in the miserable Pisa airport.

The following days were filled with all sorts of delights that cannot be found in Italy. But most important of them all: efficiency.


[photo by Stephanie Wendelin]

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2 comments:

@ 12:21 PM, Blogger dick clinch said...

Do they have Thanksgiving in Germany and Italy, or is that just a day they skip...

 
@ 12:27 PM, Blogger Colozzi said...

It's an American holiday, so they skip it rightfully. Some restaurants cater to Americans and serve a "Thanksgiving dinner," though.

 

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