Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Rough Beginning on a Familiar Journey

How many of my readers ever had a car breakdown on them on their way to the airport? By my count, this was the second time it happened to me.

After having Christmas Eve lunch with my brother, his finance, and my mom, we all ate at the Korean restaurant. I was attempting to leave early to the airport. With my luck, as some of you know, I was going to make sure this time that I had no problems. Half way between getting to the airport and my childhood home in East LA, the car started rumbling. I thought hmmmm... My mom says, "What's that?"

I said, "Seems like a loose motor mount."

At that moment, the passenger rear tire explodes. The car is now driving on its rim. My mom pulled over to the center divide. Bad idea.

I said, "Mom, weren't you supposed to have those tires replaced?"

She said, "I forgot."

"How could you?! Aye. Did you think that tires just magically become new again?"

We were in a dangerous place. In retrospect, we should've pulled over to the right hand most shoulder. But now, you could feel the cars zooming past us. My only thought was that I was going to make it to the airport. The flight was purchased with miles. Thus, I knew they would be unforgiving about letting me catch another flight.

I called triple A first. I called my younger brother second. I have only one hour to make it to the airport. It'll take about 25 minutes to get there. It'll take my younger brother another 30 minutes to catch up to us.

There I was, in the car frustrated with my mom stuck in the middle of the road. After 15 minutes, I called my younger brother.

"Where are you?"

"I haven't left the house yet."

Damn it! I thought. I'm never going to make it now to the airport. I went outside and try to hitch hike with the speeding cars. My mom said, "Get back in here. You'll die out there."

I'm mad inside of the car again. None of this would have happened if my mom just got her tires fixed. I refrain from taking my frustration out on her. I have to stay calm. I have to stay cool. I have to figure out how to get to the bloody airport before I'm stuck in LA and my air ticket goes to waste.

15 minutes later the AAA guy comes. He says, "Hey, it's Christmas Eve. I don't know if I could find a shop to repair your tire. Not at this time." It's already 5pm.

I keep calling my younger brother every five minutes. He finally makes it, but only gives us 10 minutes to make it to the airport. He says, "Hey! Don't ever pull your car over into the divider. You know how many people I know that I died in there."

I just nod. I keep looking at the time. I'm not going to make it. I'm not going to make it I keep thinking. He gets me to the airport with only 45 minutes to catch my international flight. Will they let me check in my luggage? The supervisor says, "You're lucky. You only had 2 minutes left."

They do! I go out. Thank my younger brother. I make my flight. I have a full row of seats to myself. I'm off to London.

The flight is 11 hours long. I take a few sleeping pills knock out. It's an empty flight. Next thing I know, I'm in London. It's been 10 and a half years since I stepped foot in this airport.

I eat some food. I down a bier. I fall asleep. I have to catch my flight to Frankfurt.

From Frankfurt, I do what I did two and half years ago. I catch a train to my host brother's city of Goettingen.

I arrive at Goettingen, late at 11pm. I lost a Christmas somewhere. But I made it, I made it safely to Germany with 20 hours of travelling.

I stayed one week in Goettingen. More on that later.

When leaving, I think took a car ride from Goettingen to Munich. This car ride is call share a ride. Because petrol is so expensive in Germany, you can go on the internet and look for a ride with someone else sharing your same origin and destination. I found a ride to Munich, for the New Years with a German couple. He was a big red haired guy that was 6' tall. He definitely made me feel like a dwarf.

And from Munich to West Bavaria, the countryside, I took the train. I found a Bavarian from Kempten to keep me company on the train as we spoke together in English.

My little host brother Tobi picked me up from the Kempten train station. I was back where I was again two and a half years ago.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to Northern Italy.

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