Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

January 20, 2016

My Travel Experiences in Frankfurt and Beyond

Why can’t there be a standard for everything? I mean, why not? For instance, English people want to be different and they have their weird ways such as driving on the wrong side of the road. But, I digress. What I really want to talk about is my experience in Frankfurt, a place I have never been before.

After deplaning from my Turkish Airline flight from Ankara via Istanbul, I passed through passport control; so far so good. I waited to get my luggage, which was somewhat delayed, but I had no hassle. As I was going through customs, I asked the young lady in uniform packing a gun holster on her side, “Can you tell me where ground transportation is?”

“Do I look like an information officer? I am a customs officer.” All the while she spoke, she was blowing her cigarette smoke towards my face.

“Yes! Yes! You are a customs officer and a very rude one at that.” I replied and hurried up just in case my confrontation was unpleasant to her. So went my first encounter with a female German Customs Officer.

Then, I tried to find the shuttle to my hotel. But it seemed impossible to figure out due to all the renovations and construction going on. I knew I could eventually find out, but that would take time, and I was simply quite exhausted from last night because I could not sleep. Exasperated, I finally decided to take a taxi.

When I told the taxi driver I only had US dollars and no Euro, the driver suggested that I go inside and exchange some Euro for the fee. I did that, but when I came out, that driver was gone. My new taxi driver took me to the hotel. I remember booking this hotel with my wife and I was sure it indicated that the hotel was within walking distance.

Hah, far from it, unless they meant 14 miles was within walking distance. We finally arrived at the hotel and the total was 14.65 Euro. I handed the driver 20 Euro and waited for my change. The driver was puzzled, expecting a tip. When I realized what was happening, I gave him the remaining change as well as the change I got from the exchange office.

I approached the registration desk and fortunately was greeted by a very pleasant receptionist. I signed in, filling out my address and all the other required info. I was assigned to room 224, which I assumed was on the second floor. I got into the elevator, pressed the #2 button which took me two floors down. I quickly realized that I had pressed the -2 button. I re-pushed the +2 button and as I came out of the elevator, I noticed all the room numbers with in the 300’s.

How could I be on the third floor? I got back in the elevator and noticed the buttons were 0 in the middle, +1 and +2 above and -1 and -2 below. Technically, there was no third floor. I took the elevator back down to 0 and returned to the receptionist. I asked her, “Is this ‘Candid Camera?’ I pushed +2 and it took me to the third floor.”

She smiled and said, “Push the +1.” Now, I have always respected German engineering. In my mechanical engineering career I have seen some spectacular engineering works done by Germans. Okay! I finally found my room and tried to push the card in to open the door. No way. There was no place where the card could be inserted.

I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to go to the receptionist again. Think! Think!’ I shouted silently. I took my glasses out so I could see; although it was still hard because the place where the card was supposed to go was dark plastic. Finally, by accident, I figured out that I had to insert the card vertically. So, finally I was inside my room 224, which turned out to be a pleasant room with a king size bed and all the amenities.

The first thing on my mind was that I was desperate to go to the bathroom. When I was finished, I looked around to find where the button to flush was. To no avail, I could not find the button. Okay. Okay. Why do Germans make everything so difficult?

I can say on one hand, I consider them to be very smart people, but being smart means making everything difficult? I don’t know. I would say yes and no. I can’t find a simple fricking flushing button in a German hotel. I got up after the toilet ritual, staring at the toilet trying to figure out how to flush it. I couldn’t find anything remotely looking like a button.

Think, Behcet. Think! I was actually shouting at myself. I guess my intellect was wandering around because I was in desperation. Then I noticed something on the wall that looked like an outlined tile. Now, think about it. All the tiles are the same but one tile was outlined with a dark perimeter. I pushed the tile and the roaring sound of water indicated the flushing.

During all my years in England, I always thought the English people were arrogant and tried to be different than other nations. But, with my experience here with Germans, well, I have changed my mind. Germans are more arrogant and ruder, although they may be smart and hard working.

When I went down to have dinner, a young lady approached to take my order. I asked her, “What is the strongest beer you have?” Well, it turned out that their beer was not so much different than ours. It did, however, made a strong impression on me, more so than I had had during my younger years drinking German beer.

I literally got drunk, but, it was a pleasant ‘drunkenness,’ and when I checked the bottle I found out that the beer contained 11% alcohol…well, no wonder. I ordered a hamburger with fries and another beer.

The waitress returned with a large white cloth. Literally, it must have been 30” by 30” and covered half of the table. I was debating about whether this was a napkin or a table cloth, but since there was already a white linen tablecloth on the table and since I had nothing else to use…I have no idea why Germans think that they need such a large napkin to use during dinner.

My food arrived and another interesting thing was the way the French fries were served. They were placed into a conical cardboard contraption, then into an apparatus of steel wired housing, covering almost every inch of the plate. The hamburger was on the side. I found this to be not really ecstatically pleasing or of any practical use.

It just seemed simply like a cumbersome and unnecessary thing to do. I think a hamburger on a plate with French fries is still the best, though - one compliments the other. Again my impression of Germans was wrong. All these years I thought of Germans as practical, smart and efficient. I had this notion working with German engineers and how smart they were. Now I am disappointed.

The next afternoon, I boarded my flight that would take me back across the pond to home. As I settled in, the flight attendants offered orange juice and Champagne. “No, thank you,” I replied. I planned to wait for my wine. Time passed pleasantly and I noticed time to destination was 05:15. The flight data read: ground speed 872 km/h, tail wind 53 km/h, and outside temperature about -87 degree F.

We were at an altitude of 10,362m high (about 34,005 feet). Distance to destination 4,174 km and the distance from origin 2,044 km. One more item I liked to include was the Longitude 20 57` 24” w Latitude 56 9` 35 – obviously I did not write it down properly.

I want to say something very important. While I was enjoying my favorite wine, I felt as though I was in the ‘Twilight Zone.’ I think most people get drunk after a few glasses of wine. For me, when I am happy and traveling from Europe to New York in business class on Delta airlines, I feel very sharp in my head. Drunk? Maybe. Tipsy? I would say, a little, but very, very concentrated.

As I lifted my head up, my flight data showed: Time to destination 04:03. We were now half way across the Atlantic Ocean. I began to notice every minute detail around me. I chose another glass of Pinot Noir; perfect for the main course of Fillet Mignon with exotic side dishes.

The flight attendant who was serving me was blond and thin. The only difference between her and my wife was her hair; hers was short, just coming down to her chin and straight all around. It was pleasant and I think when I get home I am going ask my wife to grown her hair out like that.

Later, when I went to use the bathroom, I whispered in the flight attendant’s ear that she could pass as my wife’s twin. She smiled, but did not know what to say. I returned to my seat, sat down, closed my eyes and entered my ‘Twilight Zone,’ imagining that I took her to a private room in the aircraft and made love to her. For a moment, I couldn’t differentiate between her from my wife; it was like making love to both.

This was my imagination; I was free thinking, then I drifted away. Rudely, I was awakened when the aircraft hit some turbulence. Briefly, I felt my wife slap my face and chide me never to bring her (the flight attendant) into my imagination ever again. But, I didn’t think about that, as I was wide awake again. Only another 03:13 and I will be home to my beautiful wife.