Hallo und Guten Morgen aus Chemnitz!
A long post for you today and I know that it might sound like a composition so bear with me.
In the past few days I have literally moved from my comfort zone; be it physically, socially, financially or psychologically. It is a welcome change though and one that started in the early hours of Monday morning (3.02.2014) at the JomoKenyattaInternationalAirport, Nairobi, Kenya.
I write this post not from a point of drooling but from one of comparison and sheer amazement. I am 25 and I fully understand that by now I am expected to take everything in my stride.
After the silently emotional exchanges of farewell and best wishes from family and friends, I went to the security check area where as expected I was searched for bombs , explosives and any other metallic products that were bigger that my belt’s buckle. Afterwards I went to the waiting area and in a few minutes a very beautiful lady from the airline announced that our plane was ready for boarding. In excitement, I didn’t even have time to say a final “tshüss” and it is only then I fully understood the “airplane mode” that I have so often overlooked in my smart phone.
The plane, was as I expected it would be so there were no real surprises there but what mesmerised me was the captains speech.
“Welcome aboard Qatar Airways flight number QR1342 and thank you for choosing to fly with us. I am Captain Phillip (ha ha) and I am assisted by First Officer Latifah. We will be flying for 4 hours 55 minutes to Doha International Airport with a maximum altitude of 38000 feet. The weather looks fairly good but we may experience turbulence at two points. The destination temperature is 14 degrees. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy your flight.”
Damn! In the next life I want to be a Captain just so that I can say those kinds of words. And there is a thing with their microphones that makes it sound so smooth and intelligent.
The other lovely thing is the take off which kind of makes you feel like superman. If only the whole flight was composed of take offs more like a praying mantis (I kid). The rest of the flight was pretty routine though with some turbulence here and there. There are meals and some drinks and you also can watch some movies or listen to music but that just about that. The landing wasn’t so exciting especially since I felt as if I was going deaf with all that pressure on my eardrums.
Doha is a lovely city and I loved the ocean view from above. Most of it however is covered by sand and you get the feeling that was it not for their rich oil reserves, they would be in deep shit. I stayed there for almost 8 hours but didn’t really do anything of note apart from wandering in the duty free shops and buying some 2 fanta sodas for 2 Euros!
Then came the flight to Berlin and on arrival, I fully understood the term “winter”. The temperature was 2 degrees and that’s warm for them since they experience even -20 degrees.
For some stupid reason involving my luggage I missed my train to Chemnitz at 7.48pm which meant that I had to wait for the next one which was not due till 5.48am on Tuesday. I contemplated getting a room for the night but when I went to the tourist information desk that changed.
“Hello Sir” I greeted the big bellied man behind the counter. “Hallo, how can I help you?” he replied.
I told him that I wanted a room for the night upon which he asked me how much I was willing to spend for the night. In typical Kenyan version, I told him to give me a range and he said, “10 € minimum.” When I told him that I was more in the range of 10 €, he just gave me a list of all the hotels in Berlin and their telephone numbers and told me to personally contact them. He said that he would only look up a hotel for me if I was in the 25-30 € per night range. Call me stingy but I wasn’t going to cough 30 € for a hotel in God knows where which would probably mean I would need a taxi (Most are Mercedes Benz) to and fro. Here taxis are metered (like electricity) and you can be charged up to 1€ per kilometre. I therefore decided to pop in a supermarket and bought 3 beers of Berliner Kindl and hang around the Hauptbahnhof train station .
Before long another man in the same predicament joined me and we chatted the night away. He had to take smoking breaks every hour or so though and I also had to go to the rest rooms once where you pay 1€. It is while at the train station that I noticed that even here in Germany we have homeless and mad people. Beer is very cheap (as low as 0.49€ per bottle) and therefore some homeless people come to the train station and get drunk as they while the night away. One man in particular kept uttering dirty words and when the police came to chase him away he broke down in tears and refused to be controlled. How much of that was down to the alcohol I will never tell but what was evident is that some people are struggling to make ends meet. Another man kept writing some words in a small piece of paper and would then move to a mirror and recite them to himself. My German “friend” told me that he was practicing the lines he would use to beg the next day. He was saying that he had cancer and therefore was requesting for some money for medication. I was totally shocked!
Morning came and though sleepy, I got my first experience of a high speed ICE train. I arrived at Chemnitz at around nine and after paying 10 € for a 20 minutes ride on a Mercedes Benz taxi, I got to the Wohnhotel Kappel
I have to pen off here since I am still catching up with everything.
Until next time