Chapter 2. The continuing saga. Still Thursday 18 June 2009, now 1:44 pm local time, YVR

 

I have found a bathroom that allows me to bring all my lime green luggage in with me ….. you know how that is for women … <smile>. I am frequenting the lovely room and they keep it pretty clean here. I have had a wee bit of lunch, Canadian style “greek”cuisine of salmon and greek salad, diet coke. Who knows when I will get to eat what I can actually read on the menu again!! Travels and eating for gluten free diet is always a challenge even in my own country – can’t imagine in Europe. I am thinking maybe I will find a good weight loss strategy after all … except chocolate is probably just as wonderful no matter where I find it!

 

People watching is interesting here – people coming and going, here and there, up and down, sit and walk, looking – always looking. I wonder if all people are searching for the same thing in airports? Is it something to grab their interest? Is it a bathroom? Is it a familiar face? Is it the dreaded security section or perhaps more exotic interests like duty – free shopping? I have not yet gone through security and the office for KLM does not even open for another hour. I did ask for clarification at the ever-so-helpful information desk. I like the well placed and highly sought after info desk …. makes travels more friendly and less “I am all alone and lost” kind of feeling.

 

I wonder the route my airplane will take as it heads to Amsterdam?? Let’s not get too ahead of myself just yet. Remember to stay in the present .. take it all in. A constant reminder in my head. Breathe, don’t forget to breathe. It will be as it will be, the task this trip is to notice.

 

I am seeing some familiar faces as I sit at this counter looking out into the foyer, I wonder if they are lost or just spending time like me …. round and round we go …together … turning with the earth in preparation for air travel to another place.

 

Some with matching luggage, holding hands. Some barely acknowledging each others existence, some bubbling over with excitement, some looking a bit bored and lonely. What an intriguing place to share space with humanity.

 

There is a very large screen just off to my right, up high on the wall with scenes of Canada I presume and the odd add for Olympics to come. Fireplace, food preparation, no sound – just the visual. I wonder who has that job?? to decide what is or might be a pleasure for folks as they walk around in circles? There is that same couple again ….. see how much I can notice when I just watch.

 

I think I might do the same in a while … stroll around in circles …. <grin> maybe they know something that I don’t …..

 

It will be late tomorrow night local time in Germany when I land. I wonder how long I will travel. That whole time zone thing is very trippy (pun intended) and kind of interesting. Do we age differently if we change time zones?? how is it with the body to go across the date line? Will I notice? Feel refreshed or feel like I have lost a day sleep? Maybe there is nothing to notice … just to sit with what is and

 

**** a person just stopped and started talking to me …. about travel and places, german and french, difference and the same. He asked if I was working … that is how it started. I said “no, writing to my home” was what my unexpected voice responded. He is a security person here – from Africa, lives in Tsawwassen.

 

I guess in a manner of speaking, I am working. I am learning, I am traveling and learning. I am on my familiarization cruise tour compliments of my new part time job. Yes, I am working. Yes I am learning. Yes, this is my life. How unexpectedly sweet my life is …. all parts

 

Sending these notes to friends and family – keeping them for my own record of my travels for when I am old-er I may want to re-read and re-experience the moments I carefully am saving in my mind.

 

Like making a movie – to be watched and re-watched. Everyone will have a different version of the story and I will have made it, written it in my own world as it came to me. As I sit and watch. I am the main character but all have a part of importance.

 

Watching shoes, people, time, faces, energy, direction, expressions, eyes, the screen, the food, the foyer, the stores, the info booth, young people and not-so-young people. It is all here at YVR any time for anyone – make that everyone to enjoy. What a glorious place and a wondrous life

 

I am busting with gratitude, filled with awe, many questions … many moments to capture.

 

Thank you thank you – for all that has lead me to this space and this time – for coming with me and for guiding me with your light.

 

 

It is my third entry and second day of travel, and as yet I am still without more than moments of stolen sleep. I have been most of this day in the Amsterdam airport, following an all night flight from Vancouver…. and waiting for my last flight to Nuremburg.

 

Last night – the flight was long, the plane was nice and the service was amazing. KLM was the company and although they had no prior knowledge of my food allergies, tried to accommodate as best they could. Wine was free!! Amazing what free wine can do to make the weary traveler feel just a wee bit more cared for! Good for them! And a special decaf coffee with Bailies, complimentary of course!

 

They gave me yogurt and salad and then some to take with me this morning as well. It was a huge plane and filled every seat. Mostly families traveling, I sat in the middle section, back of the plane, on an aisle (there was no real options, the aisle was my choosing) with almost no leg room. It was challenging. Movies were fun, and somehow in that very very small space I lost my Westjet headset that I had carefully packed for use with the lap top. I guess it was absorbed by the larger European plane …. I now have a two pronged one compliments of KLM however, won;t work on the lap top. It is a mystery to me how the Westjet one got lost …. it is not like I was walking around or anything … sat still for 8 and ½ hours …. maybe it got lost in the time zone change??? over the dateline?? It seemed we just left, headed north over Edmonton, and very cold temperatures outside according to the plane information provided … maybe over Norway?? I had to move my watch time 2 hours back when we arrived …. 10 hours later here ….. and there was almost no darkness last night outside the windows!! Magical night for sure.

 

And now in Amsterdam, the Netherlands –

 

I found a comfy lounge chair to sit in all day and read. I watched the weather and planes outside, listened to announcements in foreign accents and generally had peace around me. Not being adventurous on my own, I did not step out and wander much …. just a few moments ago I found a sign that said there is a meditation center here and wireless connection. I have decided to write an entry, and maybe go find a few minutes of meditation in this large spacious airport – before I seek out my next terminal. There are duty free shops everywhere – lots of cities being announced, peoples names called out who are late for their flights …. with notice their bags will be taken off the plane. That would just be nasty!!!

 

Places include, Milan, Rome, Paris — oh the places people are going!!! Lots of English spoken here – and of course, Dutch. Memories as I wander …. wooden shoes, tulips, gouda cheese … all and more being sold in this airport. Memories from a time long long ago, and not so far away .. Germany and Holland in 1967 with my family. Familiar sites nevertheless. Chocolates, of course are international!! the packaging might be different but the contents I certainly recognize. The duty free shops offer perfumes and make up in familiar names, even crocs (shoes) are sold here in many colors!! I look for a suitable bag to drag home as a new addition to my luggage, but nothing jumps right out at me. Hard to sort out prices as well… I keep trying to recall 1.6 Euro …. so it means doing the math and takes the quick mindless purchases to a minimum (lucky me!!). Perhaps shopping in Europe will be much less painful than I had first predicted!

 

I see Guerlain products and recall becoming a fan many years ago with my friend Verona …. then I found them at Walt Disneyworld at Epcot center in the France pavilian … and now … in Amsterdam airport in the duty free shops. I love the flood of memories of previous stories.

 

OOOOOPs, someone who is late for feparture to Prague, and another one for Lisbon … “or we will proceed to off load your baggage” ….. the kind announcers say over the loud speaker for all the folks to hear.

 

Well, I must go find that meditation space just to say I did it … maybe have a moment there. Then on to find my departure gate …. I would not want them to off load my lime green baggage!! I guess at least then I would know if for sure it is really and truly following me around the world and will be at my final destination when I need it the most.

 

The end of another page. A time zone of 10 hours ahead of all of you … who says tomorrow never comes!!! it did for me last night ….. <grin> And I am living my tomorrow today!!

 

 

 

 

Hi all – and with much love from Nuremberg Germany, although every little thing indicates I am in Bavaria … part of Germany??? Geez, maybe I should have done some prep geography work before I Came?? <grin>

 

It is 10 hours or so later here than for you …. Saturday morning and I just woke up. Not exactly refreshed yet, but better than the exhausted state I was in when I arrived. WOW!! that was a trip! All good. Just exhausting.

 

Beautiful city, I am right at the gate of the old city and it is Saturday morning …. I am thinking Markets??? or that is what I hope to find. Beautiful hotel, my own slippers and lovely comfy bed, thick robe …. high shower head!!! (most of my family can appreciate that little extra necessity!). Marble bathroom, huge actually.

 

I have arrived without a comb ….. so far that is all that is missing. Internet is outrageous in this hotel, as is EVERYTHING price wise. I think this a comparable to Empress, Banff Springs and Hotel Vancouver if I think about it. A bit behind …. Vancouver has hot spots for free internet and this hotel uses cable and costs more than a Euro a minute …. so won’t be doing any skype from here, I am thinking!!! <smile>

 

But if I write some each day and send it on email perhaps that will work for now.

 

Know that I miss you all, love you tons and will keep in touch. I have my cell phone on today but not sure what good that is??? looks like it is roaming or something ….. not sure how it works wherever I am … (Germany?)

 

Weather is a bit overcast, they tell me it has been 30 some degrees everyday up until yesterday when it was 18 and raining ….. everyone seems to speak some English and that makes it feel much more comfortable at least so far. Took taxi to hotel ….

 

I need to get some real food – living on nibblies that I brought with me, I see a McDonalds so I may head out for an egg mcmuffin without the muffin <smile> and I hear there are 3 Starbucks in the city so I am bound to find one!!! A cup of tea would be nice. I found a Starbucks in Amsterdam only just before I flew so have a mug for Steve ………. I will need a bigger suitcase if there is a mug everywhere I go <smile>.

 

I will craft a father’s day email tonight ( or whatever that translates to in your time … I am confused already ) so mom can take that and read it to dad. Or I guess she can take these diary entries as well. Not sure if it makes sense but …….. I am not editing, just writing like I talk.

 

I am a bit shaky I am thinking due to the change in daytime wakeful hours, and a long time without a sleep yesterday …. so hoping that will pass. Breakfast is calling …. I can see the golden arches from here so hopefully will not get lost. HUGE big building right across the street and the bus central and subway station just out my window …. I can see the old city as well … it is a huge corner so I am sure I will find my way around.

 

My travel friend will arrive tomorrow afternoon, till then ….. happy sleeps everyone … please all call each other, stay in touch and share the love I am sending to you all.

 

I miss you very much, thanks for the wonderful support. Kisses and hugs all around. Pam / Mom xoxo

 

5th entry, end of day 3 …. light bulb ON!

 

Greetings diary. I just woke up from a power nap … a few hours ago I was so incredibly sleepy … so laid down in the wonderful soft bed with thick duvet (yes, I put an extra duvet on because it was there …. ). I have a thing about being warm when I sleep …. it was heaven but woke up too hot. So, not sure what the perfect balance is. I am thinking that the perfect sleep is with a quality duvet, just one, window open to the sounds of the world outside. I heard the far away “nee nar nee nar nee nar” – again, memories of my past (LB – short form for the light bulb just came on when I typed that). The sound was emergency vehicles but the alarm sound they use is different in Germany than we have in Canada. I had forgotten that until I heard the sound again.

 

Perhaps this trip needs a name …. Magic and Memories, Pam’s search for Paris!

 

I think it is important to let the name come to me … not to try to force it. This one seems perfect for now. The plan, the purpose and Paris might be another chapter, however, I am still caught by the magic of a few moments in a meditation room in the airport, and memories of being here as a little girl of about 9 years of age. The wonder of wooded shoes, the greatness of gouda cheese, always delighting in chocolate.

 

There is a store here that sells tiny miniature settings for doll houses … I think of Kaitlin and how she and I could have spent hours in that store, if she would have come with me as a little girl.

 

Shoes gallore, makes me think of Sheena …. I found a store called Lucky Shoes where the rock bottom prices were still cut in half …. 10 Euros for leather shoes!! I think Sheena must have found a lucky shoe store when she was in Sweden??

 

I think of the girls all the time, anyway, but these are just a few of the moments I wanted to share on this email. With such love and gratitude for each their uniqueness and what joy they have both brought to my life. Motherhood comes over me like waves on the shore …. to be felt, savoured and let go.

 

Mom would have loved the people, cobblestone streets, castles, and Swarovsky crystal stores!!! Mom, this shopping is amazing (LB)!! Stores that sell clothes for the real woman … not just size 2!! Stores with hundreds of people in them …. even a Woolworth’s!!! It was many years ago that I shopped in a Woolworths … (did not ever care for Woolworth’s, actually so decided not to enter today as well — good choice!!)

 

But there were many other choices.

 

Steve, I have a Germany mug for you … beautiful – that makes 2 so far! (I definitely need new luggage before I come home). I found a Starbucks bear with a T-shirt that said Starbucks, Germany on it, a little ball hat, jeans and a t shirt. I have him on my list to go find again tomorrow!! I found 3 Starbucks here today … I walked miles. Very easy town to get around .. follow the steeples, and the people.

 

Lots were generous with speaking English .. the smaller boutiques not so much. I found a wonderful place that is below a massive tower outside my hotel room (one of the trips back to my hotel for using the facilities <grin>) that has all handcrafted items .. no one there spoke English! I found some beautiful glass works jewelery …. I have gained such an appreciation of such things now! Learning from Tony and Carolyn. The glass was somehow attached to silver links and came in the colors I wear … golds, and turquoise and lime green combo, I let it stay in the store.

 

I have many conversations with myself about enjoying it without owning it! Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t …. you will have to guess which is winning!!!! <big smile>

 

Back to the “facilities” (LB) update – I was in one department type store and on the very top floor (many of the stores, like in Vancouver, are built up and down …. good exercise for the determined!!) There was no fee for use. I was relieved (pun intended). Trying to keep hydrated. I have a 1.5 litre of water with me at all times …. which has its challenges if I stray too far from my hotel. I am trying to drink lots now as the day draws to a close. As does my page ….. end of the day, end of the page.

 

There is no shopping tomorrow in Nuremberg, the shops are all closed. I believe my new friend Elwyn will be arriving (which means she is traveling already ) around 2:30 ish. I will stay close and then we can explore the river and roads, buildings and architecture, coffee places etc after she arrives.

 

For dinner I found a lovely little vender selling fruit and bought a modest container of blueberries, sweet tasty and very large round blueberries. Then I went to the store close by – groceteria, seems like part of a chain maybe?? and bought some cheese. Wish I would have brought more of those crackers I can eat as I am almost out … and not sure what the ingredients are in other languages!! Oh well, I will find something I am sure. On Monday I will be on the river cruise ship and I am hopeful and confident that my dietary needs will be more than looked after then!!! Cruises in my life are all about the food!

 

The women are so dressed up here … well, some are. Lots of tourists in dresses, clerks in slacks, sweaters around the shoulders, like out of a magazine … lots of details. Lots of scarves everywhere. I have been watching shoes mostly but now really noticing that women are more “out there” (LB) and wearing more scarves with personality …. that say something about them. It is fun to notice!

 

I also noticed that sex seems to be more ….. hmmmmmm ….. a commodity. I suppose it is also that way in the big cities in Canada too, but here on brochures for escort agencies the pictures are pretty riskee (spelling?) of nude women … as I walk down the streets, store windows advertising sex objects …. lingerie and items that suggest a sexual nature in the windows. Come to think of it, mostly down this one particular street so perhaps it is that I took a wrong turn??? I was listening for languages and heard a bunch of guys talking about it, in English. Just young men. They did not seem too impressed, but then there was always couples coming and going out the door ways??? hmmmmm. I don’t think I will wonder about that too much more …. it was a passing notice .

 

I did not make it into the huge train station right across the street … I can see a Burger King sign through the doorway so tomorrow I might venture over there and just see if they sell anything else!! <grin>. Lots of familiar burger places … ahhhhh the American influence!!! And all inside old old big buildings, maybe would be considered ancient in Canada, the tall rock towers, church steeples and huge massive doorways and high ceilings.

 

The weather was wonderful all day. Not too hot, but hot enough, bit of cloud, but always sunshine. It foretells of wonderful weather this whole week end.

 

I asked at the front desk what my upgrade was …. apparently I asked for a double room and got a junior suite. I guess it pays to come late in the day when all the regular rooms are taken <smile>. I am very pleased with the room – it is very beautiful and I have taken many pictures of it … old and classy. Rich wood colors, marble, huge bay window overlooking the city streets. I will remember it!


Pamela MacDonald

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