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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bonjour, Nice. Comment ça va?

10:47 pm CET

Well, today was certainly an experience. I woke up at 5:30am to do some last-minute things and I was out the door by 6:15 (a bit later than I had originally planned, so--of course--I was freaking out the whole time thinking I was going to be late). In my preoccupied haste, I (again, of course) forgot my breakfast in my room, and by the time I remembered it, I was already halfway down the hill. To make my already heightened anxiety worse, I had to spend precious minutes waiting for the tram. I got off at Ferenc körút, transferred to the blue line metro, and when I got to the end of that, I went to find the bus that would take me to the airport. I missed the first bus because I had forgotten that the schedule is different on Sundays, so I had to wait about ten minutes for the next one. By this time, I was an internal mess, even though I knew it would be fine.

When I got to the airport, I blew through security (the security guy who liked to play the "Guess the Nationality of the People Whose Stuff I'm Scanning" game was highly amusing) and found the gate with ease. I still had about half an hour till boarding, so I heaved a sigh of relief and rested my anxious brain. When it came time for boarding, everyone on the flight took a bus on the tarmac to the plane. It was more or less a clusterfuck from there to get on, and I boarded before not one, not two, but no fewer than five Chasidim. And guess who got to sit next to the oldest one? Yuuuuup.

When we landed in Dusseldorf, all I could think of was that line from the Springtime for Hitler song from The Producers: "I was born in Dusseldorf and that is why the call me Rolf." It made me smile while I walked through the airport searching for my gate, which wasn't too difficult. It's more like a mall than an airport, though; so many shops! When I found my gate, I was a little nervous because there was nobody there. I figured that all the desk attendants were taking a lunch break or something. All at the same time. And people kept showing up and asking me if this was the gate for Nice (all of this was happening in German, but I nodded anyway since I understood the gist of what they were saying, which prompted more German and an embarrassed "sorry?" from me when I couldn't keep up the façade). Eventually, the lady working the desk showed up and confirmed that it was, in fact, the gate for Nice. We boarded soon after and, surprisingly, there was practically no one on the plane. I had a whole row to myself, and it certainly felt nice to stretch out my legs. The guy in the row in front of me looked and sounded like a German Michael Caine à la Miss Congeniality. It made me laugh all the way to Nice...

We arrived in good time (it was around 3:00, just as I had expected) and I soon got a cab. I chickened out on speaking French, but the driver spoke good english, so it was ok. He was very friendly and told me several places to go and things to do. He, apparently, has a cousin in Grand Rapids, which was an interesting connection to have. We chatted about the States for a while and I told him about Budapest, and after a while of talking and staring with wide eyes out the window, I made it to my hotel. As soon as I had checked in, I practically collapsed in bed and passed out for several hours. Since waking up, I have planned my day for tomorrow and fiddled with the TV a bit, but other than that, the rest of the day has been for recuperating. Tomorrow will be filled with walking and exploring, and it should be awesome.

Assuming it doesn't rain too hard, that is.

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