Saturday, June 16, 2007

Trains and Airplanes

Taking the plane is usually a fast, and often a quite convenient way of travelling. But sometimes, thunderstorms interfere with the flight plan, and then it can happen that all flights but one from Munich to Frankfurt are cancelled. And if you have bad luck, you are sitting at the airport and wait and wait ... only to hear that you have either to spend the night there, or take a train, which, if you would have done that earlier, you have brought to your destination already since hours... That's what has happened to Bee yesterday - and that's why I'll meet her now this morning at the train station, instead of the airport yesterday evening.

Meanwhile her cellphone ran out of battery, so here is the last mail (rough translation):

    From: sabine[@]perimeterinstitute.ca
    To: scherer[@]********.de
    Subject: still in munich
    [...]
    I missed the onward flight to Frankfurt and was rebooked to the next flight. Right now there's a really impressive thunderstorm outside, one can't see anything except loads of water running down the window and an occasional lightning. Unfortunately, it seems our aircraft was struck by a lightning during touch down and it's not yet clear whether it can take off again [it turned out later it had to go out of service].... *argh* there was just an announcement that the airport is temporarily closed. Will try to find an outlet, I am running out of battery... say hello to the blogosphere ;-)

    [...]
    Best,

    Sabine


To avoid that I've forgotten how she looks like after all these delays, she has send me a recent photo taken at the Warsaw conference vine and cheese reception - one of the more important events at every conference:





Thanks to Akin Wingerter for the photo - and I am off for the train station.

17 comments:

Robert said...

Obviously, Bee was not ment to leave Munich but rather go down town to meet some fellow physics bloggers for a beer. Next weeks twistor workshop would have been a good excuse.

Bee said...

Hi Robert,

hope you have fun with your workshop! The workshop in Trieste from last week was really interesting (hope I will have some time to blog about it). Yes, I'd definitely have preferred a beer in nice company :-) If you're in the Frankfurt area next week, let me know - we can go for an Applewine...

Best,

B.

amaragraps said...

Hi Bee and Stefan, Perhaps I know that thunderstorm because I'm in Munich since yesterday (Friday) afternoon and saw some impressive rain and lightning. I'm not here for a science meeting; My godson's baptism is today. Greetings from not too far away.

Robert said...

I was in Frankfurt already twice in May so currently there are no plans for Abfallwein in June...

Bee said...

Dear Amara:

What a coincidence! If I had known, I might have spent the night in Munich instead of on the train. A complete disaster has happened: I LOST MY BLACKBERRY *argh* it fell out of my bag on the train. By now I was able to track it down and had it dropped off in Cologne (so it didn't go all the way to the final destination), and I hope it will be sent back to me asap. But I'm already having withdrawal symptoms...

Dear Robert,

any chance you'll be in Karlsruhe next month for the SUSY? Best,

B.

PS: ABFALLWEIN! Being born in Frankfurt, I feel personally insulted ;-)

Robert said...

Looking at http://indico.cern.ch/conferenceTimeTable.py?confId=6210&showDate=30-July-2007&showSession=all&detailLevel=contribution&viewMode=parallel
it doesn't seem to be exactly my cup of tea.

You are lucky with your Blackberry, I put my mobile (cell phone for you Yankees) in the washing machine. Now it's really clean.

amaragraps said...

Dear Bee: Your skill at 'tracking things down' (luggage in Palermo, Blackberry on DB) should earn you a medal. I didn't tell you I was going to Muenchen because I would not have been able to travel to Frankfurt too (short trip: I return to Italy tomorrow). I now see that we have often have signficant overlap in our travels that we should probably inform each other anyway.

The lightning that struck your plane might have been the lightning that was so close to us that my friends and I became worried and shut off our computers. It was intense!

Can you relax a little from your traveling now?

Arun said...

Dear Bee,

I generally prefer it when lightning strikes the plane before I'm boarding it, than when I'm sitting in it. I like to imagine this prejudice is universal. Given the plane had to be struck by lightning, IMO, it happened in the right sequence.

Some kind fate wanted you to have a real break and so sent your Blackberry to Cologne. I hope you read this only much after I wrote this.

Best,
Arun

Bee said...

Hi Robert:

oh, well, I've been at conferences where I hardly knew anything about the topic. It can be quite relaxing. Gave me a somewhat different look at all the games of vanity that we play on such occasions. It's kind of funny to look at that if you don't belong to the community, some things are the same everywhere. You know, e.g. that separation of the VIPs from the common postdocs who desperately try to find one second with Dr. Important. Result is often VIPs gather somewhere close by the coffee, postdocs on observation stations around them pretending to talk to other postdocs. If Dr. Important is not talking to colleagues for 2 seconds they will jump on him (leaving the pretended conversation in the middle of a sentence) trying to say something like 'I really liked you talk...' or 'I read your REALLY interesting recent paper...', making sure their nametag is clearly visible. It's a mad world...

Reg. your phone:

If nothing else, Kleinfeld [the Siemens boss] should help put to rest stereotypes about dour German execs. At a November dinner in Munich with business journalists, one Italian scribe waved his Nokia (NOK ) mobile phone in Kleinfeld's face and demanded to know how Siemens can compete with the handset industry's market leader. Kleinfeld replied by snatching the Nokia phone and dropping it in a glass of water. The message: We'll drown the competition. (Kleinfeld later gave the journalist a waterproof Siemens phone instead.)

;-)

Dear Amara:

I was only able to track down the BB because the first two DB employers told me DB does not have a lost and found hotline - that was the first thing I asked for. They were both wrong, they HAVE a hotline (its 1.28 EUR per minutes and completely useless). Anyway, the result was I called the next some stops on the train's route and asked someone to talk to the train's personnel. By the time the train was in Cologne someone had found the BB and gave it to the staff who said he'll send it back to me.

I was lucky in another regard: I had set the alarm to wake me up when I had to change trains. Since I didn't sleep I didn't need it but when I was on the 2nd train I realized it hadn't gone off. It must have gone off in the other train though, and the alarm is really annoying. So I believe someone must have crawled under the seat to turn it off. Otherwise the BB might have been lying there until the cleaning staff found it.

Dear Arun:

It took more than 12 hours to answer your comment, I consider that to be 'much after' you wrote it ;-)

All the best,

Sabine

amaragraps said...

I'm sorry you're sick, Bee. Do you know about Airborne? It's available in the States and possibily in Canada too. I used to get sick every time I had a heavy travel until about a year ago, when I started taking Airborne before and after each long plane and train ride. Traveling like what you were doing (and me too) is crazy anyway, you know. We are not superhuman (yet). To help your sickness here is a virtual rasberry and a virtual ginkgo leaf, from the garden of my Muenchen friends, taken this morning. They have high quality anti-oxidant and nutritional properties, and did you know that the ginkgo tree is a living fossil? I just learned that this morning.

I'm back in Frascati. 'Air Dolomite' handled the Munechen to Roma flight. Lufthansa's Italian subsidiaries carry the stereotypical personalities of Italian businesses, I decided. Air One, the subsidiary I usually use, is always late. Air Dolomite looks good, with little under the lid. Today the stewardessed handed out classy cards that described the high quality gourmet food that Air Dolomite serves, selected and prepared by their well-known chef. The cards didn't describe the menu for today, so I begin to anticipate the meal and get hungry. When the meal arrived, it was packaged very elegantly in nice looking boxes, while inside was essentially crackers and cheese.

I'll have to remember that about the DB hotline. I've left umbrellas and gloves on DBs before (I didn't try to track them down, though). A DB conductor told me once that they could go into business selling all of those umbrellas and gloves left on the DB trains. I don't think they have many instances of lost Blackberries, however.

Bee said...

Dear Amara:

Good to hear you had a save trip. I too was flying Air Dolomiti last week, and we were given their info sheet about the Bio Products. Sounds nice to me. Though they should improve the labels on their wrappings. The stuff was labelled in Italian only, it was a bit weird. The guy next to me had the same problem. What I thought was a yogurt turned out to be some fruit jelly and what I thought was a chocolate bar turned out to be some unidentifiable cereal mixture (I'm sure it was healthy). They didn't understand 'diet coke' and forgot my tea... I actually have to say the Al Italia service was better (plus they have these nice cookies...).

No, hadn't heard of Airborne before, might give it a try. I have a cold and feel like shit. I suspect I caught it because I spent several hours on a chilly platform in Munich. The only thing I did today was to breathe germs at my dentist and bake a cake.


Best,

B.

amaragraps said...

Bee: Of Italian labels: Globalization hasn't progressed very far in the country yet. Of Dolomiti's food: That fruit jelly was supposed to be 'fruit puree', I think (mine was apricot).

And of Airborne: It's great stuff. Maybe you can have someone in the States send you a trial, to try and see what you think. Don't try to have any Airborne shipped into Germany now, though. It will be classified as medicine, and you will get a call from the customs officers telling you that your choices are to watch them destroy it, or pay money to have them send it back. I lost a year's worth of vitamins that way in 2000 when I sent a box of vitamins to myself from California to Heidelberg. Maybe you know that melatonin would be classified as medicines too.

Visiting your dentist and baking a cake (black forest, I hope :-)) is a productive day for a sick person!

amaragraps said...

The zoll.de link that didn't work should be this one:
http://www.zoll.de/english_version/a0_passenger_traffic/e0_vub/g0_medicines/index.html

amaragraps said...

Oh, forget it, I can't get the link to show up here. :-(

Bee said...

Hi Amara,

hmm, I've had send vitamins to me repeatedly, but I've asked my husband to classify them as candy ;-) Nah, the cake was an apple cake, and it was delicious. The local speciality thought isn't black forest but Frankfurter Kranz. I made this once, it's an enormous amount if work. Best,

B.

Bee said...

By the way: My baggage arrived :-))

amaragraps said...

Oh no.. I didn't realize.. your luggage was not with you on the train between Munich and Frankfurt? What an ordeal !

The apple cake sounds yummy, the Frankfurter Kranz, with the large quantities of butter and eggs sounds deliciously decadent.. Good thing then, that it is difficult to make.. :-)