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I done fucked up.

May 29, 2014
By Asmodeane in Posts

There has got to be a first time for everything, right? So last monday was the first time I was ever late for boarding a plane.

What I saw of Berlin

What I saw of Berlin

I landed in Berlin and had about 45 minutes of layover time, and went to my gate to ask when I should be there in order to be on time yet not too early.  The flight attendant at the gate told me to be there in half an hour, that would be enough. So I went to a bar, naturally, one with free wifi. Opened my laptop, ordered one beer. IRCed, facebooked, did whatever until I suddenly notice that my half an hour is up, and I am three minutes late. There were no announcements about gates closing, no last calls, nothing. Apparently they don’t do announcements at Berlin Tegel, at least not in the pre-security check section of the “donut”. So I’m not too worried. I do a fast walk to the gate only to be told that sorry, you’re nine minutes too late. Please report to AirBerlin counter. I duly did, only to be shocked into a modicum of sobriety by the pricetag of 400€ on the cheapest flight to Cologne on the same night. I whipped out my long suffering VISA, sighed, and paid up…

This guy at least worked for his cents.

This guy at least worked for his cents.

I went back to that same bar with free wifi, bowed by the terrible fiscal consequences of my misdeed. 400€! That’s more than I paid for my laptop a few days ago! I was ready to howl with rage… Until it dawned on me to check the prices for train & bus tickets to Cologne. I found that it would only cost 40€ to leave Berlin that same night and arrive in Cologne the following morning, so I went back to the AirBerlin counter and requested my money back. The cashier told that it was impossible, but saw my expression and relented. He looked around and asked, lowering his voice: “Did you already check in?” I said no. Well, fine, he said, and started clicking away at his terminal. After a bit of sighing and brow-wiping he cancelled my ticket and (hopefully) payment, I hopped in a cab and went off to Berlin’s bus station.

There I attempted to buy a ticket from the only booth that remained open, but was told that I am out of luck, and would have to try getting a ticket from the driver, provided he had any free places. I bought a couple of beers and settled in to wait for the 23:45 bus, that I think went via Hanover and Dortmund. The wait was fun, I read my kindle and chatted with a guy from Riga who was on his way home from London, where he worked for a year as a bartender. Time flew, the bus came, there were places (I had two seats to myself so could even sort of sleep at night), and hey, I was only 50€ down and a cool experience richer, even if I slept throughout (with the exception off rolling off the seat when the driver pressed the brakes with too much enthusiasm) the night journey… Still, I hope I won’t be late for the plane on my way back, will be harder to catch a bus from Berlin to Helsinki.

As for Germany… Well fuck. It was rainy and gray. Annoying relatives alternatively filled me with annoyance and anxiety, the same boring old town, only moderately nice thing being cheap beer. The only thing that changed since last November was that there were more beggars on the streets. Both Roma and young local(ish?) punk losers. And people actually gave them money, which baffled me. I don’t think anyone does that in Finland any more. I can’t wait to go home tomorrow. Luckily I’ll be off at the break of dawn…

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