Wednesday 22 March 2006

Ich bin ein Berliner

Restricted to time zones
I list travel as one of my hobbies, and surely, I do enjoy travelling. For a while, I was so scared of flying considering I have been in planes a good few hundred times since I was 4.
I confess I have not travelled out of 4 time zones in total, but those zones encompass the whole of Western and Central Europe bordering on Eastern Europe and the whole wide and diverse continent of Mother Africa.
The nearest I have been to Africa in about 16 years is the Canary Islands and that itself was an experience, for a long time I had not seen palm trees grow out of the ground, then colourful lizards, one of which had a forked tail, though I never got to take a decent picture of that seemingly baby dragon.
I am no more scared of flying; at least I believe the pilot and crew just want to get back home as much I do.
Why should I trust train drivers any better even though you can easily find me in a private First Class compartment embarking on a 6 hour journey with all the comfort I can muster.
Travel and destination
My travel is just as important and my destination, spare no expense - European as I might be - I am no backpacking hippie doing a 6-month jaunt to Goa. Just not my style.
One thing about train travel is that it offers a kind of privacy away from the mundane environment of routine home comforts, one can also get some work done.
Beyond that, it is the new experiences that affect me most. For years, I has semi-skimmed milk with my cornflakes till I had breakfast in Prague with whole milk - the bouquet, the taste, the wonder of things unadulterated - I never went back to that tasteless half-milk stuff, it is only contains 2% less fat that the real deal.
I remember the Israelites were promised a land flowing with milk and honey - there was nothing half about it. So also, I rather go without than substitute margarine for good old Danish butter.
Read and enjoy
This time, on my way to Berlin, I had to stop over in Hannover where I found a 24-hour newsagent. I thought, I would read something different, so I picked up the Spectator.
I was almost an embarrassment on the train, as I guffawed, smirked, smiled and laughed; the writing is brilliant, comical, stylistic and yet addresses serious topics in an easily accessible tone. If you find yourself agreeing to disagree, you are not at a point of throwing the magazine in the next available bin.
Another travel titbit for me. As I remember JFK when he visited Berlin, a Berliner is hardly a resident of Berlin but a sugared doughnut.

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