If Eden is my home then I am east of Eden now. Yet, I have the feeling one day went missing. Where did it go?
I remember I got up early at 6am on Tuesday. We piled into the van and I was driving across the border. Bea in the passenger seat and Dixie went to sleep on the floor between the seats. Lucky dog.
After 3hrs. we arrived at the Saint John Airport. I hugged Bea and saw her drive away with Dixie.
I was on my own!
While hanging out in the airport I was pondering how close I had been to canceling this journey. 3 days of a head cold had literally knocked me out and I had needed 3 more days to recover. But was this infection really gone?
The "Prop" on the tarmac
We boarded on time and taxied to the runway. Turboprops are ear-deafening loud, especially under start conditions. I wonder why the airline isn't handing out hearing protections to the passengers.
Like I feel it could qualify as a security measure.
Dreary winter landscapes below
Reaching cruising altitude, the hostesses started their walks up and down the aisle. And that was when I saw Brunhilde. I called her that, as she seemed to be the valkyrian incarnation of Brunhilde, the heroine of ancient German Nibelungen saga, a female warrior whose strength became famous in the most brutal wars of their time. Honestly, that lady's blond-topped head had just inches in clearing under the ceiling. Likewise she barely passed between the overhead bins with an inch or two to spare. Her shoulders bearing similarity with those of a Mohammed Ali. When she looked at you, you couldn't be sure whether she was friendly or would launch into attack mode the next second.
I made myself invisible in my seat.
The turboprop arrived Toronto in a drizzle. The airport being busy, I had to wait at a Tim Hortons for a sandwich and a coffee. 2 hours went by before I was finding myself at the gate for my first overseas flight to Frankfurt after six years. I was bound east to visit my dad, my family and friends of long-gone days.
Decorational arrival, departure display at Toronto Airport
The flight lasted around 7hrs and at 05:30am we broke through the dark cloud cover, diving into a drizzly morning over Frankfurt. Frankfurt is the biggest airport hub in Europe and according to the size are the taxiways after landing. We rolled and rolled ...and rolled. This went on for a couple of miles until I finally heard the PING, signaling that seat belts could be removed and we had reached parking position. Two older guys from Tsjekkia, just returning from Cuba, had kept me talking company, yet I was drained physically and dead tired after the ordeal.
Checking out my next boarding card I saw I had less than one hour to transfer to my flight gate to Hamburg. One hour at the Frankfurt airport for a transfer is like somebody gives you only 3 minutes to boil an egg which has to be perfectly firm when you take it out. With other words: Mission impossible. And cheating is not allowed.
My main baggage was checked through to Hamburg, yet I had to pass through customs myself. Looking at my Canadian Passport the officer recognized my German citizenship of birth and let me go.
What followed, next can only be described as a strenuous hike up the stairs and down the stairs, looking out for the blue signs leading me towards terminal A. I was following a group of people who seemed to take aim at the same terminal, and when they gathered in front of an elevator (the only one I saw) I joined them there as well. We were spit out at a platform and no more blue signs. A uniformed guard was hanging out there so breathlessly I approached him asking for terminal A. He pointed to a row of doors off the platform. A little electric train was just pulling in there and I jumped aboard hoping the best. Sure enough, the first stop it made was Terminal A. From there, I saw more blue signs and after another 15 minutes of hasty walking I arrived in the gate area for domestic flights.
Feeling a human need pressing on, my eyes were searching for the appropriate location. Up and down the area I went, finally asking a Lufthansa lady for directions. She pointed me across the hallway to another gate. I finally found it, hidden away in the rear corner equipped with the tiniest of gender-specific sign pointing left and right.
An Airbus was taking me and a bunch of business-attired men and women to Hamburg. The flight is very short and seems hardly worth all the stress hurrying through Frankfurt International Airport, but if you think of trying the autobahn instead, you'd be spending another day on the road.
After the stressful military-style march through the airport, I was now nearing the end of my energy. Would I still be capable of reaching the express bus from Hamburg Airport to Kiel?
I was in luck. After picking up my checked suitcase, I got outside. The weather in Hamburg was as drizzly as it had been in Toronto and Frankfurt, but it was noticeable colder. I was back at the coast.
I looked left and right and lo and behold...there was the bus waiting. I quickly made a phone call to my brother who would be picking me up in Kiel.
The bus moved through heavy traffic like a snake would move through a pile of mice. I didn't envy the driver. Obviously not paying attention to what was going on at his right side, a truck driver almost pushed the bus off the road. The driver sounded a long and mighty horn and that might have saved us from disaster. I noticed all this through the haze of emotional stress and exhaustion. I must have blacked out for a few moments but I remember seeing a white, soft and fluffy bed which beckoned for a wonderful sleep. Possibly, I had entered the land of hallucinations.
My relief was huge when I saw my brother walking over to pick me up in front of Central Train Station in Kiel.
I had arrived,
I was East of Eden. Now all would be good.