Archive for August, 2008

Once Again, Not a Real Entry

Sunday, August 24th, 2008 by janice

Sorry. But this did make me laugh so hard I cried so thought I’d share for you cat people out there.

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

BB,

Janice

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Frankfurt

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 by janice

So Saturday morning I got up early-ish and went back over to the Markt Halle to get some snacks for the train back to Frankfurt. Walked about for a little while longer, grabbed one last crepe from the cart and headed back to the hotel. Grabbed my things and headed over to the Hauptbahnhof to get my train to Frankfurt.

Train trip to Frankfurt largely uneventful. Had to go through the airport to get to my hotel shuttle and it looks like the strike is over because everyone was back behind the counters and there was no sign of the chaos some had been reporting. I wonder if it ended in time for Shingo to have food on his plane.

After checking in and settling my things, I headed back out to the airport to grab the S bahn into Frankfurt am Main. That’s the other cool thing about European public transportation – a train station at the airport – what a brilliant idea! Where is the LA train station? Downtown of course. Wouldn’t want it anywhere near the airport. Gods, people might USE the train or something! *sigh*

Spent some time wandering around the Konstablerwache market. Had an honest to god Frankfurter with pomme frites and corn and an apple wine for lunch. No, kids, these are not your Oscar Meyer hotdogs. 😉 It was very good just.

Headed over to the Städel Museum, located right on the Main in Frankfurt’s own museum row. I could have spent all day in museums. There was also some sort of flea market going on along Shaumainkai strasse which runs along side the Main. The museum is great. Has a lot of German, Flemish and Netherlandish paintings along with Italian art back to the 1300s. Got into a conversation with one of the guards while there in his halting English and my halting German, which was kinda cool. After a couple of hours I got tired of class and culture and headed over to the Frankfurt Zoo.

BTW, navigating the Frankfurt bahn system is a bit more intimidating than Stuttgart. It’s a very large city so it has a LOT of trains. And trying to figure out how to get on the right trains going the right way was a little bit challenging. Managed not to get on the wrong one even once though. It’s also more expensive than the Stuttgart system. An all day pass cost me twice what the one for Stuttgart did! Yeesh!

Anyway, made it over to the Zoo, which has it’s own U bahn stop right out front. The zoo is celebrating it’s 150 anniversary. Think about that… They are clearly working on modernizing this zoo as there is construction everywhere. But you can still see a lot of what have to be either original exhibits or very close to it as you walk around. The giraffe, rhino and hippo houses are clearly quite old as they are still concrete floor with metal bars. The giraffes now have a great big yard to go out to however they clearly need to do something for the rhinos and hippos. They have yards but extremely small. On the other hand, the ape and monkey houses are great. There are orangs, gorillas and bonobos in the new ape exhibit. The German word for the great apes is Menschenaffen – literally people-apes. In other words, these apes are almost human. Pretty cool, neh? I could have spent hours in there alone. The apes were all obviously well cared for and apparently pretty content. I’ve never seen great apes so active at any zoo. Even the gorillas and orangs, normally pretty quiet at most zoos I’ve been to, were climbing around, eating, grooming each other etc. The bonobos were too funny. They had just gotten a bunch of apples and oranges. Several of them were sitting snacking contentedly while some of the younger ones chase each other about performing feats of acrobatic prowess on the tree limbs and ropes. And making enough noise to get some of the oragns and gorillas to shout the ape equivalent of “shut up you damn kids!” No examples of the bonobo “negotiation” (i.e. sex) that often accompanies food, but I may just have missed it. There were however pictures of bonobos have sex “missionary style” – I love the Germans. They have pics of various animals’ sexual behavior all over the zoo. Won’t see that in America!

The big cat exhibit were interesting. The zoo has big yards for them as well but they also have these smaller cages that they have one or two of the cats in for an hour each day (the time is posted so you’ll know.) This affords the visitor a VERY closeup view. I’m a bit torn about this one as it is very cool to see them that close (got a few pics on the camera phone.) On the other hand, even an hour in a cage this small (about the size of my European style hotel room) seems, well, maybe not exactly cruel, but not the kindest treatment either.

On the other hand, by and large the crowds were much, much more respectful of the animals than one normally sees in American zoos. I don’t want to bag on my fellow citizens too much but let me just say that the parents at this zoo had much better control over their kids than one typically sees in the US these days, at least the part I live in. There were of course the usual kid antics but yelling and screaming at animals was immediately stopped, most kids who were old enough to really control themselves obeyed the signs such as “Quiet please” and I was rarely pushed away from the window or fence of an exhibit by some 10 year old who hasn’t learned the phrase “excuse me.” I will also say that the zoo was not very crowded – it might have been different if there were more people there. However I think the most telling thing is that the wandering peacock walked right up to me without any fear. I could have reached down and petted him if I had wanted too. I hope the snap I took on the cell comes out ok because that was seriously cool!

After the zoo closed, I wandered back across the Main, walking along the river for a while on the tree-line pedestrian path – also very pleasant – in search of a German restaurant Darren had gotten a recommend for. Took me a while to actually find it but it was well worth the searching. (I’ll find the name again later. It’s been a long week!) It’s communal style dining – which is pretty common here – so I was a bit leery at first but the food was good and the atmosphere is fun.

Came back to the hotel, called my dear husband and yammered at him endlessly about my day. (He’s so patient!) then back to the room to putter around on the computer for a while. Now I am just hanging out for a bit before heading over to the airport. I’m all checked in so this darn flight better go! I’ll be very happy to get home, let me tell you.

Well, catch you all later.

Blessings,

Janice

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This Should Count as 2 Posts in 1 day, Right?

Friday, August 1st, 2008 by janice

Since technically I posted at 7am CEST and 11pm CEST on Friday…

The posting dates are in PDT though so I guess the site disagrees with me. 😉

Anyway, last day of trainings, Glory Be. I’m really tired of hot stuffy rooms and cafeteria food. Though we actually went out to Turkish food again. Really, really good.

Long Friday though. Had to be in early to get a Subversion repository for my Bosch associates back home then run off to class. Called the airline at lunch again just to be sure I still have a flight (so far so good though Shingo-san is on a plane tomorrow for 11 hours without food service. Ach!) Met with Juergen (IT manager for ETAS Europe) briefly when I happened to luck into the birthday celebrations for another IT co-worker (Happy Birthday Karin!)

After work I put Joe on the ICE back to Frankfurt with instructions to tell me how to get to the hotel tomorrow. Dinner at a nice Italian place in Markt Plazt called Empore. Yum! They server fresh products from the Markt Halle we went to earlier in the week. (Going there tomorrow to pick up some snacks for the train.) Then strolled through Koeningstrasse and the rest of the downtown area just enjoying the cool evening (yes, the weather finally broke.)

Tomorrow I’m off to Frankfurt and will take a whirlwind tour to a few choice places (hopefully) after getting checked in. Then finally homeward bound on Sunday (knock on wood.) Yey!

Still miss my hubby, my cats and my own bed.

Blessings all,

Janice

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