The man behind me on the bus is eating a tunafish sandwich and listening to cumbia. I'm going to have to get accustomed to this all out assault on my senses when I get to my destination, but for now, I'm still on the flyaway bus headed to LAX.
The radio is playing a station with the likes of Jamiroquoi and Whitney Houston. I try to read my book but decide to give in to the moment and stare out at the 105 freeway. Heading to LAX always makes me happy.
I'm proud of the international terminal we have at LAX. There's a great mix of local LA joints like Larder at Tavern, Ink.Sack, and Chaya. I opted for a beer and a view, so I sat at the second floor sushi bar with a Kirin Light. In true OCD fashion I checked (for the 10th time) to make sure that my shifts were covered while I'm gone and there was nothing else I needed to take care of. The great thing about being a paramedic is that I can give away and swap shifts pretty easily to take these time blocks to travel the world. The bad part is that I can rarely ever get any of my nine-to-five (i.e. responsible) friends to come with me. That leaves me to travel the world alone, save for a few times with girlfriends.
I've never worried about traveling alone but this time, enough people were surprsried about me rolling solo that it made me second guess myself. Perhaps because of the percived danger of where I'm going, but I booked it and never looked back. People are too flaky now, may it be from a Tinder date to lunch with an old friend. No one commits and plans ahead and when it comes to travel, I'm more of a doer than a talker.
So maybe it's confirmation bias that everyone around me seems to be in a couple. Could be. Either way, this is what will drive me to talk to and meet people on my adventures. Just like I always do. May it a be a 3 month trip in Europe or a 4 month trip in South America, I always meet a cast of characters as we make cameos in each other's life movies.
On the way to my plane, I see a currency exchange kiosk and stop to chat:
ME: Do you have any Egyptian Pounds?
HER: No, sorry.
This made me strangely proud to be traveling to a country where it's not popular enough to carry their currency. I still don't have any EGP to pay for the taxi to my hostel, but I do have euros and dollars (currency that the world has faith in) so I know I'll be fine. Right?
I didn't sleep much on the plane. I kept jerking awake for about 5 hours in between passing the time watching Kong Skull Island, Table 19, and Baywatch. Time for my layover.
It was 13:45 when I arrived for my layover and with 8 hours to spare, I decided to head in to Munich.
I took the S8 train from the airport which brought me to Marienplatz and a few escalators later I was greeted by sunshine, church bells, and the fairy tale architecture of the Marienplatz.
I knew it was Oktoberfest but I forgot it was Saturday, so people from all over the world, especially Bavarians came with full drindl ready to drink giant steins of beer and eat pretzles bigger than your face.
Didn't see this coming but a woman in a drindl really does it for me. Maybe it's that 1/4 German in me kicking in, or maybe it's just the fact that I really like women in dresses and find that less often in LA these days.
The most famous pub in the world, Hofbrauhaus, was hot and sweaty so I only walked through and watched all of the people laughing and drinking away. I was going to stop for a stein but when I kept sliding on the floor from all of the beer, I decided to go to my other favorite German hall, the Chinese Biergarten.
How we don't have one of these in America baffles me. Go to this place once and you'll truly start to question if America is the greatest country in the world. Imagine Central Park with a large section of tables where people go and drink beer, buy food, bring their own picnic, and listen to live German music in the beauty of nature. That's fun for the whole family, your whole fraternity, or your whole firehouse. My kind of place. Open air and laid back.
I got a liter of beer and a bratwurst with curry ketchup and fries and sat down at a table next to what happened to be Spanish bard med students.
On the train back to the airport I ate a pastry and watched all the drunk Germans, drunk Italians, and drunk French people laughing. Which reminds me, drinking alone blows. Time to go meet some new kids in Cairo.
Hopefully the taxi takes Euros.