Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's unusual for a train trip to Paris to begin at the Munich airport, but it's also unusual to spend two nights at airport bars on an overland trip, and here we are. When I booked this ticket, I didn't bother to distinguish between Munich's train stations. Sitting far away in Seoul, I had the vague sense that many European and Asian cities have many train stations. A difference in Munich between Hauptbahnhof and Flughafen makes no difference, really, except that it does. I have a ticket that goes from Munich - Flughafen to Paris Est.

The comedy is this. The departure time is 1:22 and the arrival time is 9:50. I figured out that Flughafen was the name of the airport this morning, and thought I'd arrive here early in the evening and spend a few hours relaxing at the airport. When I got here and it was just an airport, not an airport next to a train station, I got an uncomfortable feeling that there was no train for Paris leaving from the Munich airport. In about twenty absurd minutes, I unraveled the horrendous mess in which I find myself.

I left central Munich for the airport at about 9:20, paying 9 euros to travel here outside the city. I've killed one of the three hours I will wait here. At 1:22, I will take a train right back to the centre of Munich. It will arrive a little after 2 am. There, I will wait for an hour. At 3 am, I will get on a train headed for Mannheim. So, in conclusion, I could have saved six hours, nine euros and the overpriced cup of airport coffee that I am sure to buy, by staying in central Munich and forgoing the first leg of this journey. But I didn't, and now I have to lounge in this airport while looking suspicious as always.

Parenthetically, my appearance coupled with the bizzare means of traveling I employ, in turn employs security agents and the like around the world. In two days, I've spent a grand total of less than ten minutes inside the vast lobby of Munich's central Hauptbahnhof station. Both times I've entered, I've seen all-too-obvious plainclothes police officers (hint: they're the guys that look too smart to be dressed like lost tourists) making a beeline for a passport check.

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