Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Carla's Business Trip

I had to be in Cologne May 28 through June 7 for work. It's definitely lonely living in a hotel alone in a country where I don't speak the language...a big feeling of isolation. I looked forward to going to work each day just to hear people speaking in English. Every night after work I would walk all over the city exploring until all the shops closed and then I would sit down for dinner with a book. Eating alone never bothered me before but I guess that's because I could eavesdrop on other people's conversations...hard to do when you don't understand the language.

I was a little bit nervous about the weekend. Two whole days without anyone to hang out with. I was on my own in a city where I couldn't speak the language. What to do? what to do? Get my hair cut and colored, of course! I walked into the Kaufhof (a department store) and found the salon. It was quite amusing trying to explain to someone who spoke no English what I wanted. Fortunately, I could use my fingers to make the scissors cutting motion and that was understood. Now how to explain that I needed my hair colored? Just point to the 1 inch of gray roots, of course. Everything went amazingly well despite the language barrier. I got a great haircut and it cost less than what it would have at home.

I did quite a bit of window shopping with all my spare time. I learned that I have exceptionally small feet according to German standards. I struggled to find shoes my size in the women's department. I actually found more shoes my size in the children's department! Ugh, Carter and I will be wearing the same shoes. Quite the fashion statement to be 32 and have squeaker shoes or shoes that light up with every step.

On Sundays in Cologne (and probably most of Germany) everything is closed with very few exceptions. Those exceptions are restaurants, museums, and spas. I thought it would be great to go to the spa...it's not something I could easily do if Ben and Carter were here and they would have no interest in going with me. Given that customs are a little different here, I was smart and did my research online and found a thermal spa (Cladius Therme) that required bathing suits. Or so I thought! Apparently bathing suits were only necessary on the first floor of the spa, in the main pool, and the main area of the garden. Wander too far down a path or to one of the upper floors of the spa and you are likely to catch an eye-full.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you kill me. your comments are hilarious. keep 'em coming.