Monday, August 20, 2007

My brush with the dark side

After a few days of a little bit too much togetherness, I decided yesterday that I needed to spend the day alone, preferably out in the countryside and possibly in a lake. Because the previous two days had been a blur of too little sleep, crappy food, and too many group outings, I was tired. Like the kind of bone-tired, I-am tired-of-speaking-a-foreign-language-and feeling-like-an-idiot-all-the-time tired. So I headed out to Friedrichshagen, which my Lonely Planet guide promised would offer a flea market (yes), cute cafes (yes) and swimming (only sort of).

The flea market itself was good, and my cafe lunch was passable, if laden with too much cheese. I perked up a little bit when I hit the shore of the Müggelsee, which offered a view of a historic brewery:

And loads of cuddling Germans enjoying the sun and lakeshore.

After a brief passage through a tunnel under the lake, I emerged on this strange and huge island, which was teeming with bicyclists, old people strolling, and legions of Germans sunning themselves. Although I had brought my bathing suit, the rustic nature of my surroundings prohibited a discreet change of clothes--plus, I feared that a thief would make off with my bag while I instead I just walked around and took sneaky and overexposed photos of older gentlemen.

(Just as a side note, I do want to state for the record that I love this type of older German gentleman. You know, the type that walks around with a little man purse, earnestly debating his equally earnest and aged pal on some matter of great national importance.)

While this was somewhat fun, I quickly became bored, and after consulting my Lonely Planet guide yet again, decided to set off--on foot, which becomes crucial to this tale--for the next town, which promised a lagoon and canals--so much so that it was allegedly nicknamed "The Little Venice" by locals. While my guidebook didn't say how far it was, it was only one subway stop, so, I figured, how far could it be?

About an hour later, as I dragged my even-more-tired carcass to a bus stop, I realized that it was really freaking far. Like miles. And I had only walked about halfway. And the busstop I had miraculously found was inoperational. So, I had a choice. I could give up and go back, or forge ahead and hope I didn't die for lack of food and water.

It wasn't so bad, really. I was by the lake, there were tons of other people around, and the weather was beautiful. After another 40 minutes or so of walking I came to another--operational!--bus stop and chugged into town where I immediately ate an enormous ice cream sundae and about 20 glasses of water. Then I decided to find these canals.

Well. Let me say something to the writers and editors of the Lonely Planet guide. I am pretty sure that this:

is not the equivalent of Venice, Italy. Venice, California maybe. But c'mon! If the canals are all on private land, and one can only access them after walking for 27 hours, if this really an appropriate recommendation for tourists? I think not.

Even worse, as I trudged back to the S-bahn, pausing momentarily to take a photo of this church:

I was almost abducted by a German pervert. There I was, innocently walking along, when suddenly this 50-something dude pulled up in a car and asked if I wanted a ride. Of course I was like, "Er, no," thinking maybe I looked so worn out after all of this walking that the dude had just taken pity on me. Then he said, quite insistently, "But where are you going?" "To the train station," I replied, "and I can walk." Then he got nasty, insisting that I get in the car, and hitting the gas on his car in this crazy and loud manuever that caused passersby--luckily--to take notice and stare pointedly at him, which led him to drive away in a panic.

So, that was my day. I was momentarily really, really pissed, bemoaning the fact that I seemingly can't go anywhere in the world without some creepy dude trying to dismember me. I wanted to go home. I was sick of Germans. But then I got on the train, put on my non-iPod (down with the Apple monopoly!) mp3 player, and watched the end-of-the day sun hit all the pensive Germans in the face, and I felt okay again. But just a warning to the good people of Ransdorf, Germany, and particularly the residents of Shöneblick Strasse: there is a pervert in your midst. He's about 50-55, small and lean, with brown hair and beard. He has a small tattoo on one of his arms, and was driving a tan station wagon. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Anonymous said...

Scrawny Bits is keeping track of you!!

Queencarlotta said...

Good to know! Especially because I am certain that SB could kick any German pervert's ass in a nanosecond.