Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dakar to Stuttgart

There might be some bigger contrasts going from Dakar to Stuttgart, some I have even experienced (like Calcutta to Amsterdam), but the change in scenery is pretty incredible and profound.

The NL Senegal program was a bit of a blur, I will leave it at that.

As befitting my incessant travels, I received a ticket into the first class lounge at the Dakar airport.  I tried to bring my group in but to no avail.  So instead, I smuggled water out stuffed in the pockets of my coat.

With a few remaining questions ("No, you can't bring a baobab sampling back to 'Murica") answered, the team boarded their 1am flight home.  And I killed some time back in the first class lounge as I waited for my own 2am flight out, sipping an armagnac to celebrate the conclusion of a tricky residency.

I slept through the first class flight to Portugal, and meandered through the immigration line into Europe.  I caught the connecting flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt, and killed some time waiting for my train to Stuttgart.

As I was sitting on a bench, waiting for the train.  Two old German ladies sat next to me and we got to chatting.  They were out on their adventure from their village, to see the busy-ness of the city. They sat back on the bench and rested their legs, and one lady swung her legs back and forth in a manner that belied her years.  They were on their big adventure for the day, and I was almost done with mine.

I hopped the speeding train from Frankfurt passed Manheim Station ("By Jack, I swear to Kerouac"), marveling at the quietness and smoothness of the ride.

From the train, I hopped the U-Bahn (the tram) through Stuttgart, marveling at the spires and capelas that had replaced the mosques.

And like that I was in a completely opposite world of quiet precision to replace the boisterous colorful life.  Trading sand and dust for snow and fog.

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