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September 21, 2003

The last night in Berlin

What better way to spend my last night in Berlin than in an internet cafe run in conjuction with a Dunkin Donuts? It's funny, isn't it, the places life brings us.

It's 1 AM and I am trying to stay up late to 1) start to adjust to Colorado time, and 2) be able to sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep on the plane, because planes have tried my patience of late and I don't want to go crazy.

Today was a travel day, just a short preview of what's to come. I spent the morning in Majadahonda (my 'home town' in Spain) trying to find some abanicos (fans) for friends because I think fans are a wonderful invention that Americans just for some reason haven't latched on to. The only ones I found were ugly, so I settled instead for some churros--really greasy, crispy, fried batter which gets dipped in hot chocolate to make up a typical Spanish breakfast. I'm not bringing the churros home to the States, though. I brought them home to my host sister, and we ate them up yum. This week is all about unhealthy but really tasty food. Fats and sugars.

I bussed to Madrid and took the metro (subway) to the airport, and from there flew to Amsterdam. I think both airports suck. Well, the signage in both airports sucks. In the Amsterdam airport, I was followed by a random man who was also on my flight to Berlin. On my way to use the phone, he saw me pass and said 'You are very nice' and followed me up the stairs. As it turns out, I wasn't very nice to him. He appeared beside me at the phone booth as I tried to place a call to my hotel in Berlin to tell them I was delayed. You have telefonica? he asked, and the operator had just picked up and he was hard to understand besides, so I thought I could ignore him and act busy and he would go away. Four operators and a nice chat with the receptionist at the hotel later, he was still there. You are very nice, he said again. You are with telefonica? I don't actually know what he was asking, but that's what it sounded like. Maybe he thought I worked for the phone company. No, I said, I am not from here. From Berlin? No. You are German? No. Where are you from? The United States, I said, and he was happy. I would like to talk to you, he said, if you have time. I wondered how I could be very, very busy while waiting for the delayed plane. I have to check on my plane, I said, and went back downstairs to the gate. It was his gate, too. He followed. He was smiling.

I watched the news. I was very, very busy watching the news. What do you want from me? I wanted to ask him, but that would mean getting up and going over to sit by him. And, still adjusting to English--his broken English, at that--I just couldn't be bothered to attempt a difficult conversation. Some people are strange. Maybe to him his behavior is perfectly normal, but that's strange, too. I was edgy for quite some time, until the waiting area started to fill and there were segments about natural disasters on the news and enough time had passed without my new friend trying again to approach me. Through the flight, I schemed about what I would do if he tried to follow me to my hotel, how I would find a policeman and would ask if he spoke English and he would and I would ask him to accompany me to my hotel because I was being followed by this man, and I would be able to point directly to the man because he would be following right behind me happily because he's weird like that, and he still wouldn't take the hint, and then what would I do? I wouldn't want to be stuck in the hotel, I'd want to at least go down and eat, so what then with the policeman? Can you hire out policemen in Berlin for the evening? As it turns out, I haven't seen the man since we got on the plane. Man in an elegant khaki suit, eyes of clear brown, calling eyes, eyes of sand and camels and desert wind. At least there's the eyes. Other than that, though, he was weird.

I leave the hotel tomorrow morning before the free breakfast, and head off in bus to the airport. A day of flying, and I'll get into Denver around 7PM. Ah, back to work. Hopefully, before I get wrapped up in the next something, I'll have some time to post some entries from these past two weeks, because I definately have some stories and pictures which I'd like to share.

For now, though, a donut, and I'll return to the hotel. Hope all is well with all of you.

Posted by beth at September 21, 2003 12:06 PM


man, you have one active imagination! but at least it is an amusing and creative one. but i guess an imagination is the same as creative. now you have me curious about this person following you. it's that "pretty girl" in spain thing about you! :-)

Posted by: wilma - mother of beth at September 22, 2003 3:54 PM

It's great to be hearing about your adventures again. I was thinking about you quite a bit yesterday (it was national talk like a pirate day, Argh!)

Posted by: Susan Berens at September 23, 2003 3:17 PM

I'll be in CO - mostly the mountains - from Oct 2-6. Send along your tel #.


Posted by: Julie at September 24, 2003 1:55 AM

Hi Beth,

How are things going, Alan Skinner Here Water Plant Mechanic from McMurdo, thanks for those rare crystals from the top of Erebus they have got quiet the exam here at home.

Anyway I did not winter in Mactown, the medical wizards sent me hone in March. oh well, I have had some fun since leaving the ice. I spent one week in Z-land and then headed to Aussie land and spent 18 great days in Melbourne, Sidney, and Carberre.

The last time I spoke to you was in the computer room at the CDC in Chech. I showed you my pics of the wood case I made for Alisa Camplin the Freestyle Aerialist friend of mine from Australia that won the Gold medal in the winter Olympics.

Yes I went to Mt. Buller in the Out Back and spent 6 days on the ski hill looking at the Aerials site and hanging out. (No snow of course it was fall there) and very nice. The resort management even took me up in there helicopter for a ride, great fun.

When I was in Melbourne I came out of the Imax theater downtown and there standing in the hallway was an electrician I worked with on the Ice, yea holy batman, we hung out together and drank those Aussies under the table.

If you ever get to Aussie land, you have to go to Mansfield, north of Melbourne this is where they shot "the man from snowy river", I fell in love with the place, just Awesome.

Web site of some of my pics, ...... http://www.spokaneastronomical.org/antarctica.htm

Well when I got back home, my set up with getting jaded in Mactown must have paid off because I was asked to go on an expedition trip to the North Pole With NASA to Study "Geophysical Interface Dynamics of the Arctic Oceans". so I left in April and went thru Norway to Svalbard island and on to Ice Station Borneo. All this was with the Russians.

Check out the web site for details.......... this trip was with 25 people, ..... yea very crowded.

All this video in the web site is shot from the trip.


Great fun, but very short, those three weeks on the ice went by fast, we spent a week in Longyearbyn, which was our base camp (town) and partied with the Norwegians, god it was just like Mactown, except better.

I have been home here in Spokane since May and have not found a job, very tough here at home. I might go back the the ice next spring. Raytheon went to six month contracts and I now have my Water License so I am worth Gold. Have not heard anything from Dave Weimer the Power Plant Opertor I think he is climbing in Z-land.

When you were in Z-land did you see any Hobbits ??



Posted by: Iceman at September 29, 2003 10:13 PM