Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28, 2100 -- Frankfurt, Germany

Normally I post to the blog early in the morning European time, but because I had a train to catch from Luxembourg City to Frankfurt am Main in Germany, I sped things up this morning and got out of the hostel early. Bus service to the train station is sparse on Sunday mornings, and today is Sunday. I'll post this when I arrive in Frankfurt, although I'll have to pay for Internet access there. In Luxembourg, it was free.

It turns out that I got to the railroad station in plenty of time. However, I had to change trains in Koblenz, Germany, which should not have been a problem, because I had 18 minutes to make it down the stairs over to another platform, and back up the stairs to catch my second train. However, there was a  problem! The first train was already 17 minutes late before it crossed the German border. The train driver made up some of the time, and when we got to Koblenz, I had four minutes to make the change, just about adequate in the rush of people from the first train who were running trying to make their connections.

I made it up the stairs to the second platform just as the train was pulling in, and to my good fortune, the railroad car where my seat was stopped right in front of me. These InterCity trains stop for only two minutes to let people on and off (1:30 minutes if they're behind schedule), so there's not a lot of time to hunt for your car if you're not on the correct section of the platform when the train arrives.

To wind up this long-winded story, I got on the second train and had almost reached my reserved seat when the train pulled out of the station. I'm sitting on the train writing this now to post later when I arrive in Frankfurt.

Something is going wrong, because the conductor just asked over the PA system if there is a doctor aboard the train. (I never did find out who needed the doctor.)

Yesterday it rained in Luxembourg, so I spent the afternoon indoors working on my Arizona Road Cyclist News newsletter. A young Turkish woman asked if she could sit at the table with me and chat about American politics. That's always a red flag, because most Europeans and almost all Turks picture American politics as being even much worse that it really is.

First she wanted to know why only "Anglo Saxons" were in the American government. I explained that there is no Anglo Saxon identity in the USA, and I called up pictures of Obama's cabinet and showed here that they are a multi-ethic group. Of course people who think in stereotypes aren't dissuaded from their opinions by facts. She then insisted that most Democrats are abandoning the party and joining the Libertarian Party, and after I showed here that the Libertarian Party garnered about four tenths of one percent in the last presidential election, she complained that I wasn't respecting her opinions. I gave up. She had to leave for the airport and her flight back to Istanbul in any case. Why are people's opinions of value if they run contrary to facts. If I have an opinion that the Earth is flat, should it be respected?

Well, we are traveling up the Rhine River Valley, and I should be looking out the window at all of the castles we are passing.  As said, I'll post this when I get to Frankfurt.

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