A polite request results in a spacious bulkhead seat on the plane, and the familiar realization -- "Damn! On the road again!" -- hits upon take-off. My excitement is somewhat abated by a dreadful airplane breakfast (what do they do to those eggs, and is there somebody who likes overcooked zucchini at 7 in the morning?).
I have three hours to spare, so I hop on an S-Bahn to the city itself, only 20 minutes away. The first stretch of forest looks like green like a jungle compared to Finland, even the air is humid. Then the city appears, industrial wasteland with skyscrapers stretching off into the fog... yech.
I walk out of Frankfurt Hbf and the first drops of rain start to off, turning into a torrent when (largely at random) I stumble into the European Central Bank HQ a few blocks away. (And a tip of the hat to them, I was actually able to use my Finnish euros, even in German vending machines!) It's early on a Sunday monring and absolutely everything is closed, there's nothing I can do other than peek into churches for shelter.
I head back. On the escalator, one of those German mountain men I thought only existed in commercials saunters past, a wiry old guy in leather leggings and green felt cap who looked like he could jump over a mountain in single leap. By the time I'm sitting comfily in my train the rain has become a downpour, and even the Bavarian-accented German announcements sound weird to my amateur but Berlin-tuned ear. I spend my last eurocents on the little notebook I'll record my thoughts in until I reach Tokyo and get my luvverly little computer back.
It's oddly comforting to sit next to an immense engine emblazoned with a large Rolls-Royce logo. Then again, if you are sitting next to an oversized vacuum cleaner than sucks in air, mixes it with gas, ignites the result and funnels the resulting explosion out at a speed of 1000 km/h, it's nice to know that the thing has been designed and built literally as well as possible...
I actually managed to sleep for two three-hour stretches, a rare feat for me on an airplane -- the previous weekend's half-intentional sleep deprivation probably helped. And then I realized that the pull-out handset also has the full complement of Super Nintendo games, including all the classics like Super Mario Land and Street Fighter II! Joy!
Chicken noodles for breakfast, yum. Dinner was a bit of a disappointment though, generic fish in generic white sauce and the protein content of "salad with shrimp" really was a shrimp. Still, all in all I must say Malaysian was a pleasant surprise -- what on earth do they do in First Class, have a waitress suck on your toes?
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