I am sitting in the Vienna airport, in a little pretzel cafe, and I have hit a wall – figuratively. Although it’s quite possible I did literally with a suitcase of some sort at one point in time. Oops.
Imagine this: Sleep deprived, I look up to the window in front of me and see all of the reflections of what is happening, behind me outside. Being extremely sleep deprived and thus extremely tired, when I looked up I wasn’t processing that little fact and believed there was an actual car driving through the inside of the airport, across the bridge from me. “Thud” “Thud” “Thud” heart palpitations went into to full swing. It took me about 10 seconds to realize that I was just seeing reflections.
At this point I realized it was time to go find the prayer room that was marked on one of the elevator signs. Some internal encouragement and rejuvenation was in order.
Once located and I had sat down, I became so peaceful I fell asleep enjoying the quiet and ability to forget everything going on around me. Not to worry though, nothing got stolen and I slept on top of all my stuff. You’re welcome Mom and Dad.
Now, this all happened after I got some “cash” or euros, stored my bag in Vienna, and went to the bathroom to freshen up.
First, the money exchange. I exchanged $50 and got about 27 in euros. Boy do I feel jipped. But, that’s not the worst, I accidentally ended up taking about 150 euros out of my bank account…yeah, I think I’m good with “cash” for the next four months
The storing of my bag. To fully appreciate this experience one should know that I perpetually am having issues with technology. It’s so frequent my family jokes my presence puts a curse on all technological equipment within 50ft causing it to stop working.
Well…my technology curse follows me over seas (I am never going to get away from it). After waiting in line for 30 minutes, the minute I put my bag up to be weighed, everything stopped working. So, across the airport I went. All the while crossing my fingers this is what the security person told me to do. I only understood “Terminal 1” from all the words he said to me. Luckily my daily quota for causing issues had been met. Now to remember my suitcase is in Terminal 1 and keep track of that receipt.
Let’s discuss the bathrooms. How do I put this into words?
It was like I entered a Utopian bathroom, all of the bathroom doors look the same, occupied or empty, all the doors stay shut. Not used to such a Utopian place, I looked like a total idiot trying to figure them out. I was the butt of quite a few jokes in that bathroom for those 3 minutes. Successful at last, I was able to change my clothes and freshen myself up for the day.
Discovery #468 (something like that): Cafe’s here have a smoking part.
Walked into one and couldn’t figure out why it smelled so much more like cigarette smoke than the first half I had walked through. Standing in the middle of the cafe trying to figure it out, I had a moment where all of a sudden the extra sliding door made sense. It’s a smoke screen of sorts (obviously).
I wasn’t walking through a literal fog, but the slowness of my brain processing sure made me feel like I was.
Anyhow, that was Day 1 in Europe. Now, on day 4, I have more embarrassing moments and so many more discoveries. And I haven’t even seen most of Europe. I’ve seen the inside of train stations, trains, airports, airplanes, and now a retreat center.
Culture shocked? Probably, but sure feels like it isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.