zondag 19 februari 2012

Every goodbye is the birth of a memory: it's time go home.

I’m writing this at the airport at the gate and eating Carols cookies! 
Thanks! they are so good omnomnomnom! Geez I am so tired!
I woke up from a strange noise and it turned out to be Robert who was sitting on his suitcase and still couldn’t close it. I couldn’t laugh but now I wish I took a picture of it hahahahaha. Went for a little walk this morning to get more snacks at Trader Joe’s (and WHEN are they coming to my hometown?) > they sell Belgian chocolate by the way! > but so do every shop who wants to be posh :-)
Actually I don’t think this report is going to work, Im staring at the screen and falling asleep. Zzzzz

Mike is cracking up
Another try. As Los Angeles is not a city to go for a walk, unless you’re in shopping area or like Santa Monica or so. I took Vinestreet and kept on walking cos I didn’t have anything better to do. Pawnshops, burger restaurants, banks, car shops, nothing to see really. At the first donut stop I got a coffee and walked back, and it started raining again. Hm!
Back at the hotel I had to do the last packing, we taped up our new bag (as it wasn’t very expensive and we don’t want it to arrive open and empty) taped up Roberts suitcase and still I couldn’t take some of the food with me so I left all the fruit and potato chips for the maid. We were worried about the extra luggage, the extra handluggage, and hope we didn’t have to pay too much extra. (we counted on 50 dollar)

One more time P-R-N-D !

Said goodbye at the hotel and drove to the airport. Now as I promised the guys at the reception, I have to recommend this hotel to everyone!! It’s a very nice place and ALL the staff is very friendly, not the scary overpolite stuff but just fun and nice, and VERY helpful. Everyone from the valetparking man to the maids! The hotel was very clean, not trash on the floor like the one in San Francisco (maybe they only have time to vacuum every once a month) and everywhere it smelled nice and clean. The hotel was decorated with movie memorabilia and it almost was a museum! I only looked at a few of them cos I’m not that much into movies but it added to the nice experience. We had framed pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the bathroom and a lot of other old moviestars in the room, and very comfortable beds. So if you’re going to stay in West Hollywood and you have a car: go to the Best Western “Hollywood Hills” on Franklin Avenue!

Oh Uwe is giving Peter a hard time :-D He is looking out of the window at the gate and went “hey they dropped your guitar from really high! But don’t worry, the guy sweeped everything together and put it back in the case” omg hahaha

Sepulveda once kept us laughing for 3 days. Funniest street ever.

highway 110 with downtown LA in a cloud

it was a 40 minute drive to LAX and we first drove to the terminal to drop all the luggage of and then they went to return the cars, while we waited outside. 

I still was worried about getting our stuff checked in and my heavy and oversized handluggage, but we got a *very* friendly man at the check in and he didn’t make a problem of anything. Also, apparently we were ok with our extra check ins, no extra fee or nothing! (the bags weren’t very heavy) Also he let us take the guitar to the gate, and gave us instructions about how to get in on the plane. He said that normally it wouldn’t be a problem, but we have to ask the crew ASAP. We just asked one but she said we have to wait for her co workers. If we cant take it with us they will check it in at the gate. Keeping our fingers crossed! Also, we got good instructions from, lets say “other guitarists” how to take it on a plane.

The crew just walked in and the others saw we have a female captain! How cool!!

* I am home now, and just slept 12hrs. This is how the rest of the story went.

After a while, someone else announced that you're only allowed to take one piece of luggage with you and if it was too heavy or oversized, they would check it in, so we took a deep breath and approached her with our problem. We explained it was an very old irreplacable guitar with emotional value. (not: "ohno, if this thing gets lost or damaged when you check it it, just buy us a new one!") She was very friendly and said she was going onboard to ask, after taking a look at the guitar and our other stuff. We were a bit nervous, but she came back with the news that it was no problem, that we had to go on board before the others (but after the busload of wheelchairs) and that they were waiting for us. Wow! 
I just HAD to give the others of our group an evil grin when we walked onboard in front of the first class passengers :-D While walking to the plane we told eachother next time we'll bring a guitar again, or just an empty case hahahaha!!
So, we had all the time and space to settle down at our seats. We were even allowed to stow the guitar in the overhead bin! (also; the plane wasnt completely full) so guitarists I would say; fly Lufthansa. I would really like to thank their very very friendly crew once again. 
Now the last obstacle was the "extreme tight" German customs at Frankfurt airport, but first another 11hr flight.
I changed seats with Baltasar who I promised a window seat, so I ended up in the middle section. There was no one sitting next to me so I had a bit of space, much apprechiated on a long(er) flight. On the other side of the aisle was Peter Sutter, and Robert in front of him. 

Robert was just within reach 
I loved everything about Lufthansa, apart from the food! But thats not why you make a flight, so I decided not te be bothered with it. Also, the drinks are free (whee!!) :-D and a few drinks helped me calm down my nerves a bit. For some reason; my fear of flying gets worse and worse. I especially get a nervous break down when the plane starts bumping around due to turbulence. But thoughts like "there is ten kilometer of nothing but air between me and the ground" doesnt help either.
But, its not as bad as other people have it and it doesnt stop me from getting in a plane. The first time I flew, from Amsterdam to London on my way to Boston, I had a horrible bumpy turbulence flight, and when I waited for my connection in Londen, still shaking on my legs, I decided that there were two things I could do: take the bus back home, or get myself together and take my flight to Boston to see John Fogerty, what I did.
Anyway, I raised a few glasses with Peter Sutter and Jurgen a few seats in front of me (Jurgen to Robert: "I'm going to sleep now, but can you wake me up when I get thirsty?" hahahaha)  read my book, wanted to finnish my crochet but I couldnt as I ran out of yarn (duh!) and went to sleep. First time turbulence woke me up I directly grabbed Robert next to me, but Robert wasnt sitting next to me!! Thank god no one was sitting next to me and I just grabbed a pillow!!! Second time I woke up was (according to Robert, I missed it) because of a huge airpocket, and I'm still glad it only woke me up and I wasnt awake when that happened.

Well, enough about planes and flying and everything. When we touched down in Frankfurt we were early, and there was only a bit snow. We went to collect our bags, always a scary moment too, the longer it takes for them to show up on the belt, the more my mood goes down. Uschi and Ottmar had to go home allready and said goodbye to us, and when our bags (and all of them, and none of them opened or damaged) finally arrived we stacked them all on a cart and went for customs.
Three men where standing there with their arms crossed, I tried to act normal (but what is normal?) looked at them and they quickly looked at us, and we were through!
Ha! was that the supertight German customs that stopped everyone? We laughed about it and felt releaved.
(Tom and Peter Sutter also got through with their new guitars -ours was 2nd hand- they didnt even bother Tom, and if i understood correct, they did stop Peter but didnt wanna go through all the paperwork/mess when they found out he's from Switserland)

The releave only lasted a few moments, because then I saw Martina's face. She was standing next to her dad and her daughter who came to collect us (we were going home with them where our car was in their garage) and the first thing I thought was that someone died or that their house burned down.
It wasnt that bad, thank god, but still nothing you wanna hear when you come home from a long trip and want to go home: they had tried to steal their BMW, that was parked in the street of where her dad lives (in Frankfurt) and they didnt succeed and the car completely locked itself off!! so we couldnt get in anymore!
She hadnt even processed the news yet, when the next came: the waterworks pipes at home bursted because of the frost!
The last thing was the same where I still was worried about too.
Anyway, we went to Martines dads place in Frankfurt to look at the car.
Her dad lives in one of those beautifull old appartement buildings, in a very nice old appartement with high ceilings and wooden floor etc. Nothing extreme with stained glass or anything, but just a very charming old appartement just like I love them. I was jealous right away.
Phonecalls had to be made, and a lot of them. They started calling the police, the insurance and the BMW service and we heard them tell the same story over and over again to people that didnt listen or didnt know what they were doining. Phonecalls came back, more same stories, it wasnt looking very good.
The first ones who showed up, and very quickly too, was the police. They told that within the last two years, 2000 (yes 2000) BMW's from this and one other series has been stolen, so they wanted the CSI to have a look at it. ("CSI Frankfurt, hahaha!" well the fun quickly wore off)
Uwe and his daughter, Svenja; waited outside in the cold for them and the BMW guy to arrive and Martine waited upstairs with us to answer calls.
We were all so tired and wanted to go home so badly! Robert and i felt asleep on our seats a few times and in the end i just took a nap on the small sofa.
The BMW guy arrived but couldnt do anything before the CSI guys arrived. The CSI guys took their time, Martina called a few times to ask where they were and everytime they were "on their way" so we wondered from where they were coming; or if they were maybe coming on a bicycle.
FINALLY they arrived. They started their investement and we could see them check trashcans etc too for thrown away tools.
"Stuck in Frankfurt" would have been better...
Then the BMW guy was allowed to try to open the car, but he didnt manage to, at first. Time went by and he decided to try through the trunk.
At last, finally, after FIVE HOURS, the redeeming phonecall arrived: THE CAR IS OPEN.
Thank you, Lord. (actually we allready lit a candle, maybe it helped :-)
Because the car had used all its power to keep the car locked, the battery was flat, but when that was charged again, we could finally get on our way.
I was also happy that I had my wintercoat back, that was on the backseat, and Uwe was more then happy that he had all the keys from work back, that were in the glove compartement.

I felt asleep in no time and woke up in Saarbrücken. Thats the way to travel when you're exhausted! - esp when you're going to Saarbrücken :-D
We stuffed our bags in our car, said goodbye and left right away.
The first part went ok.
The tricky part started near the Ardennes where it all of a sudden started snowing like crazy!! Thats really the last thing you want to go through when  you're exhausted. There were no gasstations to stop (as its the middle of nowhere) and we made one or two stops at dark unlit small parkings, no places to stay the rest of the night.
It got better when we entered Belgium, cos the highway lights were on, but still it was very scary.
And we were only going 50 kms an hour, we werent getting home very quick like that either...
Felt a bit better when we past the city of Verviers, where we go a lot to see bands. We were getting closer to home. Then, when we got out of the "hills" and entered Flanders, the snow changed into rain, the road changed from an all white blur into black with white lines and a shoulder, and releaved I felt asleep again till Hasselt. We made it!!

It was allmost midnight when we came home, but at least we came home, in once piece.
I hope Uwe and Martine will get everything worked out with insurances, with their car and the waterworks.

I wanna thank everyone that made this trip one of the best of my life, esp: Tom, Jürgen, Peter Sutter, Michi, Baltasar, Pete Brown, Ottmar, Uschi, Uwe, Martina and most of all my dearest sweetie Robert!

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Howdy my friend
    I want to thank you sooo much for your great job you did for us. It's always nice to read it again and again. It feels like I was with you :)
    Nice pictures and details too!
    lots of love

    1. hahahaha Pete I am glad you like it, thanks for the nice words and the good company!!