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Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2007

Dave!The down-side of living on the West Coast is that the East Coast is 4-1/2 hours away. So any trip to Europe for us automatically adds at least 6 hours once layovers are factored in. The lucky news for me is that NWA airline partner Continental Airlines flies a Seattle — Newark &mdash Cologne route that works out really great if Cologne, Germany happens to be your destination (which mine is).

The bad news is, of course, that you have to stop off in Newark.

Now, before anybody jumps to the conclusion that I am slamming New Jersey, nothing could be further from the truth... I like The Garden State just fine. I just loathe Newark International because their internet service sucks donkey. Naturally, you have to pay for it. So on top of being shitty, almost unusable internet access, you pay through the ass to use it. I f#@%ing hate that shit.

As we landed, I stared across longingly at the New York City skyline and toyed with the idea of catching a taxi, running into the city for a bagel, then rushing back the the airport (hopefully) in time to catch my flight. But the idea of missing my flight and being stuck at Newark was enough to kill that thought real quick.

The nice part about the 4-1/2 hours of airplane travel is that I had time to be completely mesmerized by Barack Obama's book... The Audacity of Hope. Despite the title, the book is kind of depressing. Not because of the content, which is absolutely brilliant, but because Obama is such a tease. He teases us with a future that is all at once hopeful, exciting, wondrous, and so very achievable... yet sadly out of reach given today's political climate. Even if we were lucky enough to have this amazing man as our president, I shudder at the battle he would have to face (against Democrats and Republicans alike) to set us on such a path. I ache for a leader as described in this book... willing to dismiss absolutes and focus on a world of give-and-take for the benefit of all our citizens. But compromise is such a dirty word in politics today, and part of me dies inside knowing that the audacity to hope is more like an audacity to dream.

But revolutions do happen from time to time.

Please let this be our time.

I am not looking forward to the next 8 hours of airplane travel time. For some reason I am feeling a bit queazy, and not at all in a mood to fly again. Hopefully I can get a little bit of sleep, but the cruel reality is that it ain't going to happen. In all these years of travel, I have not yet learned how to sleep on a plane.

Wouldn't it be cool if they would give you a shot to knock you out for the flight, then another to wake you up when you land? I think I've seen The Fifth Element too many times...

Categories: Books, Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Jacob says:

    Hi Dave!

    Since you are going to Germany I wanted to recommend you visit the Neuschwanstein Castle. Its the actual castle that Walt Disney used as inspiration for his Magic Kingdom castle. Its in the province of Bavaria. Its absolutely amazing and the vistas to and from the caslte are breathtaking!!!

    I took a tour out of Munich 3 years ago with an outfit called “Bike-Tours” (the logo is a white bike and navy blue background). They are very papular because its a full day trip that includes a bus ride to bavaria (roundtrip, of course!), A bike ride surrounding the mountain on wich the castle rests, an easy hike up the mountain, crossing the marienbrucken bridge (oldest iron bridge in germany from where you have a great view of the castle), and the tour inside the castle. The guides speak fluent english. Its well worth adding it to your schedule!

    Have a great trip!

    Mexico City

    P.S. Dont forget to eat a schnitzel!

  2. Nez says:

    If it’s any consolation, the “Garden State Diner” in Terminal C is excellent.

  3. Jhianna says:

    Oh yeah – love The Fifth Element and any flight overnight or more than 4 hours has me thinking the same thing.

  4. Kapha says:

    I too wish for the ability to travel The Fifth Element style.

    It certainly would be nice for the bubble of un-reality surrounding DC to burst in a good way. Would be even nicer to see it happen very, very soon. It may well become a necessity.

  5. diane says:

    Friend of mine has a recent entry on this same book. My thoughts are in her comments. (not that you have time to read the entry, but for anyone else that might be interested in the book)
    I’m lucky enough to conk out pretty easily on flights, but for the rougher times, I am all about 2 Dramamine. I wake up just when we’re landing!

  6. thethinker says:

    I love the Fifth Element.

    I’m not so worried about whether Obama or one of the other hundred Democrats in the running eventually become president. So long as Bush is on his way out, I can rejoice. And, by 2008 I’ll actually be able to vote.

    Good luck with the 8 hour flight.

  7. adena says:

    I can’t sleep on planes, either.

    32 hour flight to India + No sleep= Slightly Homicidal Adena.

    Hope you have a great time in Germany! I love it there!

  8. Laurence says:

    We have never seen too many times the Fifht Element !!! 😉

    P.S. Have a safe and nice trip !!!

  9. Avitable says:

    That would be awesome – I always loved that part of The Fifth Element.

  10. claire says:

    The A-Team was kinda like that too. 😉

  11. nancycle says:

    A true story: A steward drugs a crying child on the plane, gets caught and airline gets sued. How’d he get caught? The mother who’s previously inconsolable child suddenly was off in la-la land, noticed sediment at the bottom of her child’s apple juice, became suspicious and had it tested. I think HE should have taken the pill. What a jackass.

    Happy travels~!

    A plane sleeper. 🙂

  12. Joefish says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of oratory. Inspiring people goes a long way, and Obama really knows how to work a speech. He could end up a surprisingly effective president.

  13. ms. sizzle says:

    the audacity to dream. sigh.

    i can’t sleep on planes either unless i take a dramamine and drink copious amounts of wine. that made the flight from california to england seem mighty quick.

    safe travels!

  14. I’m glad that you didn’t hop into a cab. What with the way your week has been there could be no good that could come of it. I’m thinking it would be something akin to ‘Esape from New York’.

    Does it make me a dork that I can’t wait to hear about Germany? I’ve always wanted to go, to see the sights and so I could eat a Kinder Egg, which we cannot get in the states.

  15. Dave2 says:

    Jacob… I have been to Germany many times, and was lucky enough to visit Neuschwanstein a few years ago. I wrote about it and have pictures here.

    Nez… I think I passed by it a couple of times trying to find a working wireless access point… but, alas, was not feeling well enough to eat.

    Jhianna… I think that I would like to be put to sleep for any plane trip over 30 minutes! I am greedy that way! 🙂

    Kapha… If things keep going as they are now, I think there will be rioting in the streets. Change is coming… I just continue to hope for positive change.

    Diane… Hey, I felt pretty luck that I found time to write an entry today! 🙂

    TheThinker… Well, out of those signed up to run so far… Obama has my vote! Of course, there’s two years yet, and anything can happen…

    Adena… I (heart) Germany too. For a while there, I was coming once a year, but missed out last year. It’s all work, of course, but Cologne is a very nice place to spend time for whatever reason.

    Laurence… I have lost count of how many times I have seen it! 🙂

    Avitable… It’s hard for me to find a part of “The Fifth Element” that I DON’T like… it’s a spectacular film.

    Claire… I must be remembering that show all wrong? Though they did have to drug B.A. to get him to fly, didn’t they?

    Nancycle… Hey, pass me that bottle! I won’t sue, promise!

    Joefish… Obama is an incredible man and, from reading his books and watching his interviews, I think he would make an exceptional president. I guess we’ll see…

    Ms. Sizzle… Usually pills will take me out pretty quick! Except on a plane for some reason. It’s very depressing. 🙁

    Frances… Oh yeah! I love those things! Didn’t they have them here in the USA but, since parents don’t supervise their kids here, one of them choked and died on the toy inside the chocolate egg?

  16. Bogup says:

    Obama wrote a fine book, but there are a lot of inspiring (0bama’s) and insipid (Jimmy Carter’s) books written for the sole purpose of inviting support for one’s Presidential campaigns. He is an intriguing guy and I only hope he doesn’t get ripped by the Hillary campaign machine.

    As for sleeping on a plane, have you tried Melatonin? For some it just doesn’t work, but for me and many others it is a godsend. During a trip, and getting back on normal time is terrific. I use it all the time.

    Lastly, thanks for a great blog. Cool stuff and interesting. Safe travels…

  17. amanda says:

    I just finished “The Audacity of Hope.” What an amazing, eloquent guy. He definitely has my vote for the primaries.

  18. LarryB says:

    Dude – I can’t sleep on planes either, so I fully understand.

    BTW, I find EWR to be pretty decent as big airports go. It’s my preferred NYC airport, and I actually fly SEA – EWR with some regularity. I want to go to Berlin this summer and plan on doing SEA – EWR – TXL with Continental. Customs in EWR sucks, though – angry foul-mouthed customs agents 🙁

    There are actually decent places to eat in Terminal C, including the new Portuguese place and the Garden State Diner, where I had a nice Chicken Ceaser salad last week, and a decent Pizza Burger (a really NY/NJ diner classic) the month before. If they’re fresh, get the fries at Nathans. They’re vegetarian, unlike the franks. You can also get decent vegetarian food in the Au Bon Pain. (I’m not a vegetarian, but I am vegetarian-sensitive.)

    Thinking of vegetarianism, how are you faring in Germany? It’s not the most friendly place for non-meat-eaters.

    Oh, and if I’m flying across an ocean, my answer is three 15mg Temazapam capsules and a double bourbon. If I wake up afterwards, it’s all good.

  19. kapgar says:

    I really need to read Obama’s books. Actually, right about now, I need the motivation to read any book. I just have no drive to read. It’s become a bit of a personal struggle. Has been for several months now. Grrrr…

  20. Scottie says:

    I read this entry today, Tuesday November 4, 2008, as Barack Obama is elected president… that’s just too good to pass up mentioning…

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