Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Euro Trip '07 - Part 1: The Beginning... (Revised)

I'll start from the beginning as to how I got involved in this.

One day in December of '06 I received a random e-mail from a professor at Ventura College advertising an educational European Tour for the summer of '07. I was initially unimpressed until I read that one of the sites to be visited was the BMW Headquarters in Munich. The thought of getting out of the country for the first time (and going to BMW HQ) while earning units soon won me over and I decided to sign up. It was an excellent decision in hindsight.

Flash forward 6.5 months and a few papers later and I'm at my pre-departure meeting for the trip. I don't know anyone else here but notice that there are some fine looking women in the group (and some not so fine... x_x). I listen to the introductions of everyone around and take note of the two other engineering majors in the group, Mature and Bandana. These guys will become my good friends for the trip and we will drink a lot together. I also meet Great White. He's been doing major volunteer work and is going straight to Africa from Europe to help kids with AIDS or something to that effect.

When the meeting is over and I leave, I suddenly realizes that I am embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that I will always remember. I guess my Spidey-Sense was tingling. A week later and I'm packed and ready to go. I've got all the essentials: toiletries, cloths, money, iPod and PSP. I decide to wear my metal-clasping jean T-shirt through the first leg of the trip.

Metal-Clasping T-Shirt through International Airports POST 9-11.

Yeah. That was fun. As I approach the security checkpoint, I remove everything from my person sans pants, socks and shirt and step through the machine: Beep Beep Beep! "Sir, please step aside." This big 6"3' oafish security guy with slightly buck teeth pulls me aside and has me spread my legs apart and hold my arms out. Without a belt on, my pants are rapidly subduing to gravity and I struggle to find a balance that allows me to stand still while keep my pants up without holding them. I somehow manage this feat and the guard gets to work. He begins to wave his metal detector wand around my Metal-Clasping T-Shirt when he reaches my breast pockets, and their metal clasps and for each one he says the following:

Guard: "Alright man, c'mon...watcha hidin'? Give it up, c'mon..."
Ian: "It's my pocket clasp. My pocket is empty."
Guard: "Aw, my bad man. Alright, alright."

We repeated this small talk for each and every clasp on my shirt, and the metal teeth of my pants' fly. Needless to say I was annoyed but who wouldn't be? However, the smile on his face post-patdown made me wonder if his mind really was on the job...

Another hour or so goes by and I board the plane. British Airways. Nicest coach I've rode in, but it was still coach. I had very little foot room as it was and my carry on luggage crammed below my seat didn't help. I might have stored it overhead had I been in an end seat, but I was in the right-middle in a row of four (For orientation -> O-O-I-O). I sat in between two people that would be on my trip. To my right was an older woman, Lady, around her 50's and to my left was Faded1. Faded1 and I would be drinking together for the first time this flight as the stewards passed those small bottles of alcohol (single-serving minis, here on just minis). To the left of Faded1 was a hot Latina chick (single-serving friend) going to Madrid that happened to be about our age. This was the first time I would envy Faded1 being closer to women than I on this trip. I did my best to stay in the conversation with the Latina chick as much as I could during the 8-hour flight, but I ended up talking with the older woman mostly and/or entertaining myself with my PSP/iPod.

We flew through the night and I didn't get a wink of sleep. I always have trouble sleeping in moving vehicles.

We land in the London airport just slightly ahead of schedule thanks to the tailwinds and I depart for the first time in a foreign land. Too bad I got another flight in 2 hours to Frankfurt, Germany. Having some time, I wander the airport where I spy a "wrong side drive" Ferrari F430 on display for a raffle contest. The woman practically begs me to buy some tickets but I show no interest. I would've liked to talk to her about other things, but remained focused on the time left until I had to get to the security gate.

London Heathrow Airport likes to keep things interesting there by not announcing the gates until 45 min. before loading. Those silly Brits. Naturally the path to my gate is jammed by a "surprise security check" that delays myself and at least half the group from boarding on time.

I remove my shirt entirely this time, exposing my white clasp-less undershirt.

Everyone is in a panic of missing their flights (myself included), though security guards assure us the flights will wait. Whether they all did or not I couldn't say, but mine did so whatever [read: fuck everyone else - Germany here I come!].

This flight is only an hour and a half, and I sit next to the window and Faded2. This will also be the first time I meet Faded2 and Faded3, both friends of Faded1, and we all have minis. After arriving in Frankfurt, we rendezvous with most of the group and meet our wonderfully talented tour guide, Pimp and bus driver Tight. Tight became one of my driving idols for his miraculous maneuvering of a giant tour bus through the oh so narrow streets of Europe. I spy this hot chick in the group that I noticed prior through loading gates standing close to a goofy-lookin' guy. "The fuck? How does a guy like that get a girl like that? I hope they're brother and sister... Whatever."

The two are Red and PartyBro, whom I become good friends with. PartyBro and I will be drinking a lot together this trip. In fact, there are fewer people I didn't drink with this trip. Although at this point in the story I am only involved with Faded1/2/3, and barely remembering Bandana and Mature's names.

We get on the bus to wait for the remaining members where I meet Yacks (and yes she does end up yacking! Fortunately for me I wasn't around her when she did) and the three South Carolina Girls. I try to strike up a conversation with them whereupon I learn they are from South Carolina, and that they are 16 with chaperons. I am 20 and fearing any further involvement end my conversation.

As the group is compiled I end up sitting next to Bipolar on our bus [Roaming Home]. Now Bipolar is barely average looking, so I figure I can practice my charm on her. Just beginning into the conversation she starts up about her boyfriend whom she loves sooooo much. Rather than being detoured by this, I keep going anyway but it's all for not. She shares her crappy rap music from her iPod and I'm annoyed. I try to find solace in the highway we're on since it's the famed German Autobahn. There are plenty of cars passing us but none are of any particular interest to me. I'm now annoyed and disappointed. Bipolar soon tires of sharing her bad music with me and I get a chance to enjoy my own music while trying to rest. Good ol' Eurobeat while riding down the Autobahn. It take a few hours before we arrive at our small town bed & breakfast and I try to get in some rest. I'm unable to fool myself.

When we arrive we get all head inside the small inn where dinner awaits. I sit with some random people from our group for dinner and make friends quickly. We are fed a great potato soup and some strange meat patty. It tastes good so we assume it's a sausage; if it wasn't then i don't wanna be corrected. Room assignments are passed out at the end of dinner and we're all grouped in pairs. It's about 10:30 p.m. and we have to wake at 6:30 a.m. I hate waking early.

My roommate is Suave for the night. He's a tall guy and it's obvious he knows how to hookup with the ladies, so I figure I'm in good company. We move up to our room where I'm struck hard by Jet Lag and the lack of sleep in the past day. I don't even care that our beds are pushed up against each other as to almost be confused for a queen size bed. It's 11 p.m. and he's going out to check out the bars with some of the other members of our group. We agree that if he does hookup to try to bring one back for me. I fall asleep wondering what I'm missing.

This is a quick rundown of what I missed:

The group moved up and down the wide open streets and found a sketchy bar down a dark alley where the creepiest, dirtiest Germans go. Great White(he's important later) meets a weird guy in the bar wearing a dark trench coat who's selling some hashish. The "large" group of about a dozen people freaked out the guy. He responds by doing a downward cross-slash with his two sharpened-pinky fingers towards Great White, lightly cutting his stomach (accidentally), and shouting, "Slizer!"(We would quote this throughout the rest of the trip). Tiger Shark(also important later) gets angry with the man who promptly apologizes for the little incident. great White orders himself some absinthe to lighten up a bit. He's curious about the drink having heard the stories of the "green fairy," but proceeds to drink the freshly extinguished, sugary liquor. He burns his mouth on the hot liquid as it goes down and soon afterward is messed up. Apparently they served the good stuff. The group somehow manages to altogether stumble back to the inn around 2:30 a.m. I know because I awoke when Ivan came back. He wasn't noisy drunk or anything, I just sleep lightly in a new places.

To be continued in Part 2: M√ľnchen Paradise!

1 comment:

Reifmama said...

"Good ol' Eurobeat."