Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day with Summer

Joana was nice enough to invite me to tag along on a family shopping trip to Grand Forks, ND. I was hoping to find some tofu but no luck. At least we have Summer. She's adorable.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

High Spirited

First day of topless weather...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ham Sunday

Holidays are for grandkids. Admittedly some of them are cuter than my cats. A coworker was nice enough to invite me over for Easter dinner so I took the opportunity to snatch a few photos of the little ones. People here are very family oriented and they take a lot of pride in populating mother planet.

I love this photo of the little girl clinging to her daddy. The outside world may be foreign and exotic but she feels safe, protected and content.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Afternoon River Walk



So Far So Good

I've worked out for six out of the last seven days. My body hasn't had this much exercise since I ran track in fifth grade. I've never done weight training before and now I wish I had started sooner. The adrenaline rush from all the workout is really quite something. The low carb and low sugar diet is barely discernible since I'm a meat lover and not all that crazy about neither of those. My weight has been pretty stable since I was 13. I weighted 113lbs back then and probably 123lbs at the heaviest in my early college years. This morning I weighted in at 117lbs, a couple of pounds lighter than in the middle of the winter. I'm not trying to workout to reach a certain weight. I just want to look good and feel good.

The squats are kicking my butt and every part of my upper body is sore. My legs are pretty strong but I've always been really self conscious with my upper body strength, or lack thereof. Today I need to take a break from weights. Luckily my gym membership allows me access to the hot tub and pool at the hotel across the street. The facility is actually quite nice. I soaked up for a while and then went to the gym for some cardio. Now I feel good and relaxed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

30-Day Challenge

I've missed Rochester since I left last fall so a visit over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend will be long overdue. Frankly I'm more excited about visiting Rochester than all the anticipation I had for the last trip to Munich. I can't wait to go to Wegmans!

When I was younger I could eat anything and not worry about my weight (and I ate everything). Not a whole lot have changed except there are a few pairs of old pants I can no longer fit in. I've had the good fortune of having Dan O. as a good friend, who has taken many wonderful photos of me for the past 9 years, some for creative projects and some just for fun. As I get older I feel more inclined to capture and preserve the image I see now. Dan has agreed to meet up and once again do another photo shoot.

Between now and my flight on May 26th, I plan to go to the gym 30 times and be on a low carb, low sugar diet. If this works it will be the longest time ever in my life that I've lived without rice! Not a easy accomplishment for a southern Chinese girl. I'll be doing cardio and light weights. Not sure if I'll see any difference in a month but it will be the most workout I've ever done in that time frame. If nothing else, this will at least be a good project to focus on to get to the summer (if it ever gets here).

A coworker said if I loose any weight I might not have boobs anymore. Well I don't have that far to go but luckily it's still not flat enough to land a plane yet!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring...NOT!

Something is seriously wrong with this place!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Long Way Home

6am and I'm finally home after a very long day of traveling. In 2 hours I'll be back to work again! All my flights were on time and I started driving out of the city around 8pm. The drive took a lot longer than usual because I had to pull over a couple of times to rest. When I got closer to Bejou at 4am I was further delayed by the sight of aurora borealis.

I had read that northern light is more visible around equinoxes so I made a mental note to look for it after the trip. When I first saw the light it was very faint and I wasn't sure if it was just a thin layer of cloud. I decided to get off the main road and drive down a gravel path to get a better view from a dark spot. The light intensified overtime, moved slowly like one of those lava lamps and then flashed quickly as if there were gusts of wind.

I had packed my tripod for the trip and now I can finally put it to use. It was a struggle trying to set everything up in the dark. Having never experienced with long exposures under total darkness I had a really hard time of getting a good shot. Still, it was interesting just to watch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Leaving Munich

I'm not good at saying goodbye. Some would call me sentimental. But to travel and to explore also means to constantly watching people, things and places gradually diminish in the rare view mirror and eventually disappear into the horizon knowing many of them I will never encounter again. That is how memory works. Everything fades over time. Every experience is unique and precious. I'm not going to be a writer. This is my attempt to capture, share and preserve the moment.

Rose is the best travel partner ever not only because we have a great time together but we can also have guilt-free timeout when we do get tired of each other. There is no compromise when we travel. We are always gracious and when things don't go as planned we just laugh it off.

Fortunately saying goodbye to Rose has gotten easier over time. I still remember meeting Rose for coffee just before I left BA for the first time on a rainy afternoon, I cried like a baby. The second time, Rose left BA and we said goodbye at the EZE airport, more tears. Third time was the charm, we said goodbye at the train station in Düsseldorf, no tears. This is our fourth goodbye and I'm finally beginning to enjoy it a little. We had breakfast together at the hostel and then I had to leave in a hurry to catch the airport shuttle. We said goodbye in the hallway next to the elevator not much more different than people saying goodbye to each other everyday at the office. It's completely comforting to know that we will meet again somewhere around the world and when we do we will share a wonderful experience together.

The bus ride to the airport was much more pleasant the second time around. No puking, no tears, no sadness, just pure joy and satisfaction of a wonderful trip now completed.

I won’t ever be rich but when I get old I need to be able to say that I’ve lived a rich life. The trip turned out better than I could have imagined. Sure, I had “misplaced” a hundred bucks but it’s a small sacrifice to the travel deity, who has been especially kind to me. Overtime I’ve learned both for travel and in life that one should always be overly gracious for everything. I conclude my trip with a big smile on my face and like Rose said, “I don’t think I can improve on that.”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Castles and Meat Overload

Hohenschwangau

Neuschwanstein

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mozart and SOM Tour


Meeting Rose in Salzburg

Rose joined me today for the rest of my trip in Salzburg, Fussen and Munich. We met up at the Salzburg train station around 9am. I arrived from Vienna just a few minutes before her train from Dusseldorf. If Rose was a guy I'd say that's romantic but we refer to it as being civilized. Rather than visiting each other at our boring place of residences (mine especially) we choose to get together in beautiful places around the world! How civilized is that! I gave her a big hug on the platform with a huge smile.

The weather wasn't as great as I had hoped, cool with a light drizzle but nothing mattered because Rose and I are back on the road! Rose has been especially supportive since I moved to middle of nowhere and made the point of talking to me on Skype almost every week so even though we haven't seen each other for two years it felt as no time has passed. The train station is not far from the old town, where our B&B is located so we opted to take an early morning walk. Traveling light is a beautiful thing. We stopped into a small cafe/bakery half way there for some much needed caffeine and snack. I updated her on my adventures in Munich and we sorted out our game plan for the next couple of days.

The B&B Rose booked for us was amazing. I wasn't impressed with the pictures online but upon checking it we were both thrilled with everything about this little place. Chriskoenig-Colleg, dating back to the 1300s, was originally built to host the Archbishops' out of town guests. The location just under the imposing Salzburg fortress in the heart of the old town couldn't have been more perfect. The place was so quiet we found ourselves whispering to each other. The room was small but has all the essentials and no TV or Wifi. We're in a convent! This totally completes the Salzburg experience!

We have just under a day and half in Salzburg and the clock is ticking. On our way to the visitor center we stopped in Salzburg Cathedral, where Mozart was baptized and Anton Diabelli sang in the boys' choir in the 1700s (according to Wiki). Although this glorious Baroque cathedral was originally built in 1628 on the foundation of an even older dating back to 774, the structured looked new because of reconstruction after significant damage during WWII. When looking from the right angle, the statue of Mary, looking away from the church, is being crowded by two angels just under middle arch on the church facade.

We then wasted no time to get to the visitor center in Mozart Plaza to get our 24-hour Salzburg Card, an all access pass to all local attractions. With the funicular out of commission, we got a serious workout climbing up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The view from the top was incredible!

I felt like I was in a movie set inside one of the largest Medieval fortress in Europe. I could see in my mind merchants gathering around the courtyard, blacksmith, guards, children at play and thousands of townspeople taking shelter within these walls during foreign invasions.

The king's quarter was like a Medieval dream. I've never seen anything like it and was shocked at how well preserved everything is. The dark walls and ceilings were fully decorated with glittering stars and ornaments. The rest of the fortress hosted a few other exhibits that didn't quite interest us. On the way down we were once again distracted by the amazing sight. We are blessed to hit Salzburg at the perfect time. April is the very beginning of the tourist season. Although there are a handful of tours around town, mostly students, the place still feels calm and intimate. Salzburg is also a perfect size for two very ambitious travelers on a tight schedule.

With a bit time to spare before our river cruise we popped into the Panorama Museum to see the masterworks of Johann Michael Sattler. The highlight of the exhibit is a 360 degree panorama of Salzburg in 1829, not much as changed in this charming place.

The sky had completely cleared up by the time we started the cruise on the Salzach River. I struggled to stay awake under the warm sun and slow motion of the boat. At the very end the Capitan twirled the boat to a short waltz as tourists watched from the shore in disbelief.

Paris has the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Barcelona has La Rambla and for Salzburg, it's the Getreidegasse. This famous little pedestrian street is filled with global brands such as Louis Vuitton, Zara and of course, the No 1 US export: McDonald. Fortunately the historical street scene is preserved with iron signs that more or less what signs looked like back when most residents didn't read.

Getreidegasse 9, the most well known address in Salzburg, is were Mozart was born and lived until he was 17. We were too late to visit for today so it will the first thing we do tomorrow morning. Small crowds were gathering at every ice cream shop we passed by and I was ready for a caffeinated drink myself. We slowly worked our way to Alter Market where as we peeked into the calm historical interior of Cafe Tomaselli I violently bumped my gigantic head into the glass window like a dumb bird! Rose swiftly dragged me away from the window and we laughed until we cried. Completely embarrassed by what just happened, we walked across the small plaza and grabbed an outdoor table at a different cafe for a drink. Ah, this is life!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last Day in Vienna

No visit to any major city is complete without a walk among its most famous dead residents. I started this morning with a quick trip to the Central Cemetery, the final resting place for many of Vienna's greatest artists including Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss(es), etc. I love visiting cemeteries. No more sufferings or struggles, just serenity. A sense of relief, a refreshing break from the bustling city.

Back "home", twin cities means Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here, we have Vienna and Bratislava. I was hoping to catch a boat ride to Bratislava but the return trip wasn't early enough for me to come back in time for tonight's concert. Instead I opted for an afternoon cruise on the canal. With a little over an hour to spare before boarding, I headed straight for the most famous schnitzel place in town: Figlmüller. Sure it's a bit touristy but since I only plan on having one schnitzel on this trip I might as well make it somewhat meaningful. The fried pork cutlet came out way bigger than the size of the plate. I've never even seen a piece of pork that big! That's enough fried pork for a family of three. After just a few bites I felt quite defeated and wrapped up the rest to go.

The afternoon boat ride was a real snoozer in every sense. The highlight of the day didn't come until the very end.

I can't imagine a better ending to my short visit to Vienna than attending a Mahler concert featuring the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. The performance was outstanding. I've studied it, analyzed it in theory class, listened to recordings but never appreciated it until seeing it live tonight here in Vienna. I am exhausted from all the sightseeing. I know there are so many more things I want to do and see but for now I am content.

In an effort to change my career path back in high school, my mother used to say, if you have a good job, make good money you could go to any concerts you want and not worry about playing anything. My mother is an intelligent and rational person but what she said there never made any sense. It's like asking a young kid if he'd rather go to a Steve Taylor show or be a rock star himself. I paid good money to be here for the concert tonight but I'd switch places with anyone on the stage in a heartbeat. I'm not sure if that'll ever change.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 2 in Vienna

I had to restart this morning because I didn't realize I had left my SD card for my camera back at the hostel until I got to Schonburnn Palace. Luckily with the 72-hour all-you-can-ride transportation pass, there's only a short delay in time (which I can make up with speed walking!).

Unfortunately I just don't have enough time to document everything I've done on this trip. I'm still backtracking to the earlier posts. The internet at this place also hasn't been working very well. In short, I visited Schonbrunn Palace this morning, spent less than a minute at the Schubert museum, had Chinese for lunch, walked around the old town in the afternoon, saw the crowd jewels of the Habsburgs and went to my second concert at the Musikverein in two days! Minetti Quartett: Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Webern and Mozart. Great concert! Feels like I have to get it all in like a camel before I go back to the social/culture void of the American heartland... Will have to fill in the details later. At the speed I'm going it's entire likely that I might forget! AH!



Tomorrow I'm thinking of taking a boat ride to Bratislava! And there are still so much more I want to see here!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vienna

People usually have strong impressions of Paris or Rome but I haven't been this excited about being in a place since Rose and I went to Bariloche, Argentina.
For a musician to never come here is like being an artist and never see Paris. I grabbed a quick coffee/breakfast at the hostel and off I go with Beethoven playing off the ipod. Walking straight down Mariahilfer, from the West train station, where my hostel is located, I was first greeted by a statue of Mozart with yellow flower bed in front in the shape of a treble clef. The old city is enclosed in a circular boulevard and it screams imperial grandeur. Vienna is overwhelming. So many things, so little time and so many distractions in the way. Buildings with heavily adorned Baroque facades reminded me of a richer and cleaner Buenos Aires.

Stopping by the Tourist Information center is a must no matter where I go. I love the logo. Vienna: Now or Never!

By noon I was finally able to take a breather in the Secession building where Gustav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze is on permanent display. Unless you're really dying to see Wagner's interpretation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony through Klimt in the form of a dozen of floating naked figures, the small gallery is not worth the $5 Euro student ticket.

Yes, I go everywhere with my student ID. I'm still paying off my student loan, there's no reason why I shouldn't take advantage of it. In face, before I graduated I requested a backup copy just in case I loose one while traveling around...

Just down the street from the Secession Building is Theater an der Wien and the Naschmarkt. The Theater was first opened in 1801 and was where Beethoven's Fidelio first premiered.
The Naschmarkt is a feast for the senses. Here you can find everything from fresh seafood, meats and vegetables, to herbs, nuts, olives and cheeses. Alone the narrow alley way are also numerous small eateries offering a good variety of food such as hummus, falafals, Japanese, Asian, etc. The smell of this place is just incredible. I walked from one end to another and finally decided to sit down for a quick plate of goulash. The dish came out boiling hot, and oh wow, you don't need teeth to eat this thing!
By now I know I need to have a game plan or I won't be able to hit all my top sights in Vienna. The Pasqualati House, where Beethoven used to live, is on the top of my list for places I have to visit, so off I go straight to Molkerbastei 8.
Beethoven moved 70 times in his 30 years in Vienna so it's safe to say the man has been around the block a few times. Beethoven lived in this building on and off between 1804 and 1814 and composed some of his most important works including symphony #5, 7, and 8. The museum is very sparsely furnished and with nothing original. I suppose it's nice just to be at the actual site and walk up the same set of stirs the crazy ill-tempered Beethoven once did. Luckily pianos weren't that big two hundred years ago, otherwise they'd have a hard time moving it up the spiral stirs. Back in his time this was considered the same as a penthouse suit on 5th Ave. overlooking Central Park. There are four big rooms with nowadays with nice views of the Vienna University and Rauthus Square.


The weather cooled down in the afternoon and became very temperamental. The wind picked up and the sky changed constantly with cloud, rain and sun. In an effort to stay dry, I hopped on a tram to loop around the old city. The sun was playing peekaboo with me and would only come out when I get on the tram. The rain shows up as soon as I get off and try to take a few quick pictures. Finally by 4pm I decided to duck into a museum. House of Music sounded kind interesting but 9 Euros and an hour half later I was really a bit disappointed. This place is probably neat for kids and people with no music background. Otherwise unless you really had to see glasses from Brahms and Schubert, this place is a waste of time. The only thing I found to be amusing was to conduct the Vienna philharmonic on a simulator at the very end of the exhibit. The simulator is only able to detect rhythm through movement but no dynamics (although the orchestra plays perfectly according to the score). When you stop in the middle of the song an asshole from the string section would jump up and insult you! I'd seriously consider getting some sort of game system if this was available to public!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rained In

The rain seems to have followed me from Munich to Vienna. After a little blogging and some Turkish food I decided to call it a night and start my exploration tomorrow. I can't believe I'm actually in Vienna!

Train Ride

I woke up this morning to the sound of falling rain drops like one of those relaxation settings on a clock radio. I smiled, what a lovely day to take a train ride to Vienna, the imperial city, once the music capital of the world.

Work gets in the way of travel. Sometimes I manage to forget the thrill of being on the road but as soon as I embark on a journey, however short or insignificant it may be, I am instantly reminded of who I am and what I live for. At the hostel there are countless others like me and when I'm on the road I never have to defend myself for traveling.

These are the moments I live for. Some little girls dream of fancy weddings. I never had such fantasy growing up. In fact I don't recall feeling very strongly about becoming anything in particular until my high school years. The only thing I did know before then was that I wanted to travel. I can pin-point to the exact moment when that seed was first implanted in my then impressionable young mind.
I had just turned 5 and my father was preparing to move to West Berlin. Before he left he promised me that someday he'd show me the world.

Although that promise was never fulfilled, those words alone have sparked my imagination as a child. Years later my fascination with history and music further kindled my curiosity to travel.

It is true that I've never dreamed of a happy-ever-after story but I do enjoy watching those sappy wedding shows on TLC from time to time. I find it intriguing to hear young couples talk so highly of each other with what seems to be profound geniality, respect and affection. Phrases like soul mates, best friends, meant-to-be sound so implausible that I can't ever imagine using them to describe anyone.

On the last season of America's Got Talent, there was a couple of ballet dancers married to each other. They managed to advance pretty far in the competition. One evening Nick asked the girl how she felt. Tears ran down her face as she responded “when I was a little girl I wanted to dance and fall in love. Now I can do both.” For the first time today I understood maybe just a little of how she must have felt. This is what I've always wanted to do and I am doing it!

My mother, like all Chinese mothers, is a tough lady to please. Besides, people are often their own hardest critics. When I talk to the right people they help me to feel a sense of accomplishment. In reality, there are very few instances when I feel truly proud of myself. The only such moment I can identify with absolute certainty was when I saw my professor in the green room after my senior recital. Til this day I can't distill all the emotions that ran through my mind. Everything just came out in a big burst of tears. Today I feel a little bit of the same sentiment as I watched rolling hills in the countryside become blurry with tears.

Life would have been entirely different had my father stayed in China. Life might even have been different if he never uttered those words to me me. I'd like to think this is what my father would want me to do and I'd like to think he'd be proud of me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dachau


I didn't plan to visit Dachau, wasn't sure if I would be mentally ready to make the trip. Being that it is a significant stop for majority of the tourists coming through Munich, I decided to give it a go. Dachau, now a quiet residential suburb outside of Munich, was the site for the first Nazi concentration camp built in 1933. This is where all Nazi officials for other concentration camp received their training. It's said that none of the other camps would exist if it wasn't for Dachau.

Once off the subway, there's a bus that takes visitors direction to the "Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site." I find this label to be quite troubling since memorial sites often refer to monuments built after a tragic event but this is the actual site with actual buildings where the victims lived! Having the word "memorial" in the name almost seem like an attempt to soften the harsh reality of what happened here.

I have to admit that at beginning of the visit it was difficult to feel the harshness of the site on a peaceful quite sunny day in spring. That calm feeling was quickly jolted away after viewing a chilling documentary video of Dachau. With the showing of each horrifying image the room felt cold, dark and suffocating. As soon as the tape stopped everyone intuitively stepped outside to take comfort in the sunlight. This being of the lesser horrifying Nazi camps, I don't think I could have handled Auschwitz. My heart was heavy for the rest of the visit.


Below is the "waiting room," where victims were told to get ready for the "shower."


The gas chamber: "The room was disguised as 'showers' and equipped with fake shower spouts to mislead the victims and prevent them from refusing to enter the room. During a period of 15 to 20 minutes up to 150 people at a time could be suffocated to death through prussic acid poison gas (Zyklon B)."

The death chamber: where the dead were brought in before being cremated.

Crematory. Mass graves were later used due to limited coal and more bodies.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Munich

Munich is a great city for walking. Pedestrian streets are everywhere in the inner circle. Everywhere you look there are crowds of gatherings, cafes pouring onto the streets, cyclists, street performers, vendors, tourists and locals. The deserted streets were most shocking thing to me when I moved to the States and it's something I'll never get use to. Being ambitious as I am, I took advantage of the glorious weather and walked just about everywhere in downtown.

In the afternoon I took the subway to visit the BMW museum, which was quite expansive! Here you can hop in a couple dozens of top of the line BMWs in the showroom.

In the midst of all the power and luxury, it was the little Isetta that really caught everyone's attention!

On the way back from the Museum, I got off the subway at Odeonsplatz and found these two featured artists in the Palace gardens. Will someone please call the cute police?! These two were making a killing!

Some imaginative parent got the right concept with the right instrument and right place! No other instrument would work nearly as well.

By late afternoon I was completely exhausted from all the walking and carrying around my camera gears (and no sleep). Since I had planned to go to a milonga tonight I decided to get back to the hostel to rest for a couple of hours before heading out again. I didn't have time to sit down and get some real German food so I went for the alternative Turkish food in a small eatery owned by a Chinese lady just around the corner from where I'm staying. I'm pretty sure Mideastern food in Europe is as ubiquitous and convenient as Mexican food in the US. The marinated sausages cooked in tomato sauce over fluffy rice reminded me of the Self Serv eateries in Istanbul. Quick, cheap and tasty!

The milonga wasn't anything to write home about. I got to Laura's Tango Loft at 10pm, had 3 sets of mediocre dances and left at midnight. Frankly everything is disappointing after having lived and danced in Buenos Aires. The worst night of dancing in BA is still better than a good night of dancing anywhere else. BA is like that first lost love, you compare everything else that comes after to it only to find out there is replacement. As much as I loved the city I know life is not easy there. Unstable economy, tough job market, political instability, uncontrolled inflation, corruptions, etc. There is day and night difference between being a tourist there and being a real local.

Instead of taking the subway back I decided to walk. The air was cool and pleasant, perfect for an evening stroll. The streets were still busy after midnight and all the bars were hopping. I craved for a cup of cafe con leche, like ones I used to have at the milongas in BA, but I didn't see anything quiet and inviting. Time to call it a night.

A Shaky Start

There is a time on every trip, usually towards the end of a plane ride, when I get the feeling that I'd give anything just to be on my own bed. Vacation is a luxury; traveling is hard work.

Everything went as planned from TRF to MSP. The park and fly hotel was much nicer than expected and I had a good night of sleep before my flight. Unfortunately, the pleasantness ended there. Caffeine withdraw gave me a terrible headache and it got worse after my connection in Newark. The flight into Munich was half empty so I was able to stretch out and lay down on the seat next to me. Even that didn't make me feel any better. landed I had a cup of coffee half hour before the plane thinking it might make me feel a bit better. Wrong.

Nauseous is a feeling I was accustomed to as a sickly child but surely I haven't felt this bad in a long time. The plane was getting ready to land so I couldn't get into a washroom. I held down just long enough for the landing and made a straight dash to the bathroom to throw up. Ok, will this do the trick? NO! I felt so weak I could barely left my arms up. When I finally got into the terminal I had to empty out whatever else I had in my stomach, which wasn't much. I took my time to clean up a little while dreading at the thought of waiting in lines to get through Customs. Only, there was no wait. By the time I finally dragged myself to the clearance area there was no one left by me and ten customs officers waiting to stamp my passport. The airport wasn't confusing but I was completely thrown off for not being able to do the usual routine of following the crowd. I walked a circle in the clearance area looking for an entry slip only to not find any. Geez, those Customs officers were looking at me like I'm crazy.

As soon as I walked through the nothing-to-declare gate I was greeted by a small crowd and an overwhelming smell of ham sandwiches and pretzels. Once again, I had to go throw up like a pregnant lady. I have to get to the hostel asap! Quickly Rick Steves to the rescue, arrival in Munich, "hop on the Lufthansa airport bus, which linkes the airport with the main train station." Thankfully I was able to dig up 13 Euros leftover from my last trip, just enough for the bus ride. The smell in the airport was so intolerable there was no way I could have gotten some exchange or found an ATM or to get to the train. I gathered whatever strength I had left and went straight outside for some fresh air and the bus ride. The ride from the airport to the main train station is 45 minutes. Once the bus started moving so did my upset tummy. I can't believe this. "I'm not going to make it through 45 minutes," I thought to myself. I held up for as long as I could and my god, when the bus finally pulled up in front of the station I puked all over my pants (and was lucky enough to get the rest in a plastic bag).

I wanted to travel light this time so I had exactly one pair of spare pants in my carry-on. I just didn't think I would need it this soon into the trip! I tried to clean up a little before getting off the bus only to find out the bus driver had already left and I was locked in! AH! This is so absurd, it's almost funny.

It was a very easy walk to find my hostel from the train station. The short walk and fresh air made me feel infinitely better. I checked, washed the stains off of my ESM sweatshirt and now am taking my time to document the unglamorous side of travel. Thinking back, I've gotten sick on lots of flights but never this bad. Not all trips are easy but they are always worthwhile. Time to let the adventure begin...