Friday, September 29, 2006


That's right. 38E. All you AAers know what that means. I was stuck in Chicken/Yankee/Coach for nine and a half hours on a 777 sandwiched between four people, two to each side. Seventh to last row. And some people pay for this.
Things being what they were, I was plenty grateful to even board the flight. DFW-FRA is not supposed to be a high traffic route. The three cabin configuration should ensure AAdvantage people get their upgrade and non revs and Paris Hilton get first class. So what happened? Oktoberfest, Sunday, high load factors, who knows the fact is Lupita and I were the last two people to board and the only nonrevs. Thank you D1.
I was dead on my feet so slept through most of the flight anyway (thank god for that) but my bottom was sore halfway through, somewhere around New York. Those Coach seats are hard.
Aaaanyway, we got to Frankfurt as planned, crossed the street to the station, and started looking for our train. We had hours yet. Gleis: anden, or platform. Gleis 8. No Gleis 8 in sight. Gleis 3,4 5,6,7. No gleis 8. Frankfurters are not a very helpful lot. At least not the ones that are supposed to help us. Deutsche Bahn Lady sent us back to the platforms three times. Finally, a Lufthansa girl told us we were leaving from Frankfurt's Main Train Station, not the Airport Station. Take a subway, any line from here going north will get you there. A business man at the subway stop helped us buy our ticket.

So Frankfurt Main Station. Habhenhohf or something. Trains arriving and departing every two minutes. Long Haul and Regional. Twelve platforms. People travelling on business, visiting family or friends, backpacking through astonishing level of economic activity. Where are all these businessmen going? What are they doing? Is everybody visiting their grandmother or maiden aunt today? We are in the European Union. NAFTA/TLCAN is peanuts compared to this. No borders, just treatys. Trade agreements instead of visas. Long live commerce.

Our train was certainly impressive, an ICE. We booked it over a month ago and we already had our wagon and seats assigned. Get this, a little electronic screen above the seats shows our route. Frankfurt-Weimar. So does everybody elses, so the ticket person knows if we were supposed to get off two stations ago. Or if the seat is supposed to be empty. It's not the Orient Express but it certainly beats two hours of security lines at the airport. No wonder everyone's taking the train (BTW, Frankfurt airport, awful. Looks like Monterrey's Central de Autobuses. The train station, on the other hand, 19th century building with glass dome.)

We finally get to Weimar in the afternoon, after 24+ hours of travel. The hostel looks nice enough on the outside, but it's just an old house converted to make some business. My pillow smells of unwashed bodies. Our room is half empty though, so that's a blessing, and some of our hosts are cool. We will visit Buchenwald, a concentration camp, tomorrow. Not exactly my choice but not bad either. Beauty rest is top priority for the moment.

More to come...Weimar and next stop, Athens

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