September 2005


Crowded Trains, Busy Day

Today has been a long, and interesting day–already.

It started at 5:30 when my alarm went off, and I thought to myself, “This really is early,” and hitting the snooze button.

Ten minutes later, it did no feel as early, but I’m at a loss to explain why. 5:40 is still early.

Regardless, I trundled off to the train station, caught the short little local train to the main train station. Much to my surprise, the 6:30 train was packed with people. I took a seat for the four minute ride so that I wouldn’t have to stand in the vestibule that was already packed. I bumped legs with a guy across from me who clearly didn’t want me, or anybody else, to disturb him.

I had a 20 minute layover at the main train station, where I didn’t do much-except eat a cheese-multigrain bread sandwich, which grossed me out because of the German predilection of using butter in every single sandwich.

The train to Jena was emptier, although the engineer had a good sense of humor and pulled as far through the station as he could, thus forcing everybody to walk back as much as possible, since the only exit from the platform is at the beginning of the station.

Work was busy, I went non-stop from the time I arrived, until lunch, where I was grateful for the break, only to go back to the project that has dogged me all week. My goal was to be finished by 2:00 so that I could catch the 2:13 train. I missed by about 5 minutes, so I had to catch the 2:40 train, which was packed.

It’s the start of a 3-day weekend here in Germany. Monday is a holiday (to be discussed later), which explained why there were so many suitcases getting on the train, and why when I asked a guy if the seat next to him was free, I had another hostile encounter where the guy reluctantly put his backpack on the rack over the seat and moved over. He then maximized his leg spread, forcing me to rub legs with him for the next 15 minutes as we went from Jena West to Weimar.

Thrilling, eh?

The rest of the afternoon consisted of a haircut and nap. In a little bit, I will be getting ready for Erfurt’s Oktoberfest and a return to ETC Test-It. My thirst was not quenched.

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