Who told me I didn’t need reservations for the trains? After hanging out at the Maibach until midnight last night, I made my way to Zoolischer to catch the 00:32 to Mannheim. “Nothing Free!” the conductor yelled at me. And I mean yelled! If he’d just been brusque (like people have warned me Berliners could be) I might have just got on and dealt with sitting in the aisle or whatever. But he looked at me like I was the most insane person he’d ever met. So, there I was. Stranded in Berlin!
I won’t call it fate. As Julita said, you can call it coincidence or…
I thought I was gonna be sleeping in the station, so I stowed my stuff in a locker (bless the europeans for still having lockers!) and was just getting ready to join a clump of other snoozin’ travelers when I saw a sign for a youth hostel. What the heck, I thought, check it out! I almost had second thoughts as I climbed the stairs next to sex advertising (!), but it turned out to be a rowdy but clean joint. Julita checked in right after me. We were both tired so agreed to crash and continue our acquaintance in the morning. Can’t say I slept great, but I did sleep some, which is probably more than I would have done in the station.
We secured our respective tickets first thing, then wandered the area looking for a GOOD breakfast. Wouldn’t ya know, now I’m meeting Deaf folk all over the place?!! After we discovered Starbucks CLOSED at 8 am we thought we better get some help. When Julita asked the young man sweeping the sidewalk next door and he gestured to his ear, I exclaimed, “He’s Deaf!” And wouldn’t you know, he and I communicated just fine! “American”, I said. “German,” he said. (Surprise!) “We FOOD,” I said. He gave us directions to a place a few blocks away. Gosh! I felt GREAT! Until we got to McDonald’s.
Julita I continued our search. I just had the one rucksack (as everyone calls it here), but she was lugging her massive duffle bag. Got her workout this morning, I’m telling you! Finally, lo-and-behold, the Café de Paris. They even let us in a few minutes before they officially opened. I had an omelette to die for, with thin strips of schinken.
Turns out Julita knows everything there is to know about her current profession, but has expertise and ambition to do something else. Her current boss probably won’t make it to the golf course so often after she vacates the PC, but he’ll find someone else to yell at, no doubt.