Friday, May 25, 2007

When Relatives Visit

My aunt Sue and cousins Lori and Lindsey left yesterday, after an 11 day visit. Here was our itinerary:

Sunday, May 13 (arrival day): drive up the Rhine to look at castles, with a stop in Rudesheim
Monday, May 14: Thorn, Netherlands
Tuesday, May 15 - Friday, May 18: Berlin, with a few hours spent in Düsseldorf on the way back
Saturday, May 19: Cologne
Sunday, May 20: Vianden, Luxembourg
Monday, May 21: Brussels, Belgium
Tuesday, May 22: Delft, Netherlands
Wednesday, May 23: rest day, but we spent a few hours in Sittard
Thursday, May 24: back to Frankfurt airport

The weather was pretty chilly the entire time they were here. The nicest day was, of course, yesterday. HA! But we did have a couple of warm days so they could wear the summer clothes that they packed.

Since I've been to all but two places on the list before (Delft and Vianden were new to me), I'm not going to do a write-up that's like my previous trip reports. Instead, I am going to post memories about specific things during their visit.

So...without further ado...

Vending Machine Sex in Düsseldorf Airport

I hope my cousin will forgive me for posting this, but she shouldn't be embarrassed by this story, because it says more about my character than it does about hers. Anyway…

On their second full day here, we left for Berlin. I booked us a flight from Düsseldorf Airport. Once we found our gate and had a seat, Lindsey and I had to visit the restroom. As we were washing our hands, I noticed the vending machine hanging on the wall. Sure, it sold your typical assortment of condoms and tampons, but it also sold thongs (of the panty variety), and something called a "Lustfinger," which was basically some rubber spiky thing that fits over your finger. Use your imagination.

Being the immature sort that we are, Lindsey and I were laughing quite heartily at the vending machine offerings…particularly at the Lustfinger. We came out of the restroom and I looked at Lori (who is attending a wedding this weekend and was going to the wedding straight from Germany) and said, "I know the perfect gift to get your friend who is getting married." Lindsey was almost choking on her laughter when I said this. Then I explained the Lustfinger and told her it was 3 euros. We all pitched in some euro cents, but Lori was afraid to go in the restroom alone to buy it. So I went in with her. She started to put change in the machine, but we heard someone coming in. So we looked away and pretended to wash our hands, cracking up all the while.

Finally, Lori bought the thing, and we walked out of the bathroom laughing hysterically. She stuck it in her purse, expressing gratitude that we had already gone through security.


At the end of the trip, as we boarded the plane in Berlin, I noticed a stack of German Playboys sitting there with the newspapers, free for the taking. HAHAHA. That's the first time I've ever seen an airline give out Playboys with their free reading material. But they didn't leave out the ladies…no, they didn't have Playgirl (not that I would've wanted one anyway)…but they gave out free chocolate on the flight! This is Air Berlin, by the way, for anyone who is interested.

A Couple Pickpocketing Attempts?

I've lived in Europe now for 3 1/2 years. Never in that time have I encountered pickpockets. Yet while my aunt and cousins were here, I may have encountered them twice.

The first time was in Cologne. We were getting ready to leave, so we were standing at the platform in the train station, waiting for our train. Suddenly, I feel a hand graze my butt, and I look to see some shady looking dude in a dark coat hurrying down the steps. I mentioned it to Lance, and he was ready to chase the guy down and clean his clock. But instead, Lance examined my backside.

"Did you have your back pocket zipped when you put your pants on this morning?"

"Probably. I never use my pants pockets."

"Well, it's unzipped. He was probably trying to steal something."

So, apparently, the guy wasn't trying to get his jollies. He was just trying to get some quick cash. But I guess I will never know.

Another strange encounter happened in Brussels. Lori was in a souvenir shop, and Sue, Lindsey, and I were standing just outside the entrance. We were on a pedestrian street, and there weren't very many people, so there was plenty of room for people to get around us. Suddenly, this guy just walks right SMACK into my aunt, like he never even saw her. He seemed stoned to me, so I doubt he was a pickpocket. But once he shambled away, I told my aunt to check her purse and make sure nothing was amiss. They have weird tactics like that to divert your attention so you don't see them taking things from you.

Anyway...weird. At least there was no butt-touching, that time.

As for pictures...they were all compiled collectively into one online photo album, which is my aunt's. Because several of the pictures feature her and my cousins, I'm not posting them, out of respect for their privacy. I have a CD of the photos, so at some point, I am going to get them online, at least the ones that they don't appear in.

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