PART NINE: FROM MUNICH TO VERMONT
JANUARY 20, 2003 MUNICH TO NEW YORK
During the night we crossed a number of borders, and at each point I would be awakened and show my passport. It was never inspected very carefully and only took a moment. I am not even sure how often it happened. At least we entered Austria and then Germany.
I was concerned about getting off at the correct stop, so I had set my timer to wake me up before MunichÕs main station. I arose, gathered myself together, and packed while letting the music bring me into consciousness. I talked to the conductor and he assured me that I would know when we got to the right stop.
<== iBook entertainment on the night train
<== iBook entertainment on the night train to Munich
I watched the German countryside become much more urban Munich and the train stations began to look more like major commuter stops, although few got on or off. The general commotion in the cabins around me made it clear that we were nearing Munich's main stop.
I trundled off the train and began wandering around the main Munich train station. It was gleaming and modern, and not that crowded even though rush hour was coming up. I noticed a hug change from Slovenia Š this is a multiracial society. Citizens of European descent were making their way to work alongside citizens who (visually) seemed to be of African and Asian descent. I found an information booth and they guided me towards the train that would take me to the airport. I found it easily and was soon aboard it and experiencing the morning commute to work of normal Munich citizens. Colorful newspapers splashed news stories alongside scantily clad buxom females in a strange pastiche of journalistic styles. It was about ten stops until the airport.
I exited at the airport along with most other people and tried to find the check in desk. I found Lufthansa and stood in line, then had my bag scanned by a huge machine and then tagged, only to be told when I got to an agent that since I was flying directly to New York I had to go to a special area and be scanned and checked in there.
<== Inside my sleeper compartment
<== Inside my sleeper compartment
I found the separate area (in section B of the terminal) and checked in, got a seat, and handed over my luggage. There was no problem with my not taking the Belgrade to Munich leg of my trip, so Bojana had done a good job with getting my tickets changed.
I had a lot of time to spend in the airport (about six hours) so I had breakfast (quiche, bratwurst, and water), read newspapers (International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, etc.), worked on my journal (trip too long, I was way behind), and even caught a short nap.
Soon the boarding announcement came and I saw that the flight would be very crowded. I checked through and found my seat. I had my iPod, my iBook (with movies on CD), my book (The Challenges of Ivan Illich), and a determination to not let the crowded 8+-hour flight get me down.
| In the Munich airport |
The flight was uneventful (my favorite kind) but the time went by very slowly. The person in the seat next to me got up often, so I took the opportunity to stretch my legs, because they really needed it.
We landed at New York's JFK airport and claimed my bag and made my way through immigration and customs. I called my hotel (Doubletree) and they sent a shuttle to get me. They arrived shortly and I made my way to the hotel. It was a fine hotel in a not so fine neighborhood. I checked out the restaurant and found it incredibly overpriced, so I walked a few blocks for a hamburger and came back. I tried watching cable news but found it so distasteful I switched to NBA basketball. I worked on my journal (still very behind) and then went to sleep. I was back in America.
JANUARY 21, 2003 NEW YORK TO VERMONT
I arose in time to take the shuttle to the airport for my flight to Burlington. I had a decent but overpriced breakfast at JFK and after a bit of work on my journal I went aboard the brief Jetblue flight to Burlington. I love Jetblue, comfortable, inexpensive, and prompt.
The flight landed in Burlington and it was cold. Really cold. It seems cold all over the world except for the Primorska seaside. I arrived at my office but thought that I should immediately go to my home to turn the heat up from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to a more acceptable level. It took quite a long time to free my car from a huge pile of snow and ice. I went home, adjusted the heat, and then stopped at Healthy Living MarketÕs organic food bar for a lunch salad before arriving back in the office at my desk. Now I was home.
The longest debate trip of my life was over. It was Tuesday afternoon, and I realized that I was scheduled to fly to Atlanta to attend the National Debate Coaches Association and the Barkley Forum for High Schools at Emory University, and I was scheduled to leave on Thursday afternoon.