“Sorry your bag didn’t arrive.” - email from British Airways
Tl;dr: Woke up bright and early, got an Uber and a train to the airport, cutting it close as usual, made friends with a Chinese lady searching for our bags that did not arrive in Berlin, found my Airbnb, tried to nap, shower, and figure out when my bag would arrive. Realized my friend Sunshine was in town and crashed her plans for the evening (at a fancy hotel).
I was pretty dang tired after a few too many glasses of wine the night before.
We had to finish them though. You cannot let perfectly good wine go to waste. I tried not to wake Frau Jess as I snuck out of her room and into my Uber. He took me to the train station where I caught another train to Heathrow airport. I was cutting it close as usual, but I made it on my flight. Just a quick hop over to Berlin for a few days before the Spanish sunshine beckoned me. The flight was a little delayed, so I did some life admin while we waited. I still didn’t know where I was staying that night, so I quickly booked an Airbnb while sitting on the plane. It looked like it would do. I just needed something for one night and I’m not picky, so any bed would do at this point.
I also got a message from my friend Sunshine. I had seen her post something on Instagram saying “Berlin” in it. I was like, “Woah, wait, what?! Are you in Berlin, Sunshine?” In true Sunshine fashion, she didn’t answer me for a while (she was on a plane). She was like, “Yes! Let’s hang.” You may recognize her from my early funemployment days. She’s an Aussie mate of Biscuit’s that also lives in NYC (when she’s not jetting around the globe with her Austrian boyfriend). This was great news.
I passed out on the flight, taking my normal hunched, backpack-hugging, trey-table-resting position and slept the whole way. We landed and proceeded out to Berlin’s dinky Tegal airport to fetch our bags. They are pretty efficient, I’ll give them that, the Germans. Right when you get out of your gate, theres a border control person right there and then a baggage claim belt just for your flight. No need to walk two miles through an airport to get your shit.
My shit didn’t arrive.
It was just me and this asian lady waiting for our bags. I read a sign that told us where to go if you were missing bags. “Go to Gate 15.” Ok. We were like, “Hey, are you waiting for a bag?” “Yep.” “Yeah, me too.” So then we spent the next hour together trying to find where to go and who to talk to to get our bags all sorted. We tried gate 15, but it didn’t look right. Then asked someone else who told us another terminal, then waited in a line to get a guy from British Airways that told us to go back to gate 15. Finally the guy there helped us, after waiting in another line. We had to fill our some papers, and I gave him some attitude because he was wasting my time. My bag was on the next flight that was landing in just over an hour. It would be delivered to me that afternoon (so they said). I was like, “Well I could wait an hour, but they said they’d deliver it, so I’d be happier waiting in bed at my Airbnb since I’m so dang tired.” This was my thought process, so this is what I did.
My friend from Hong Kong told me that she was visiting her daughter who was studying abroad in the UK. We had some quality bonding time running all over the airport together (talk about getting your steps in), and at this point we had to part. We both wished one and other a great trip and an even better life. Then we slowly and tearfully let go of each other’s hand, still reaching towards each other with our hand-holding arm in a dramatic gesture as we walked opposite directions. Then I got the bus to the city.
An aside about my phone plan.
Thank God for Google maps. I basically sat on the bus watching the blue GPS dot approach the location that I needed to get off the bus and walk to my Airbnb. I purchased some extra international data before leaving for my trip, which was a very smart move. I wasn’t going to be in any specific country long enough to warrant getting a local SIM card, so this was the easiest and best option. There may be other options, but I think for limited use, just top up your existing phone with an international data allowance. It’s good for one month, the exact length of my trip. I know you are intrigued by my phone plan, so just let me know if you want to know more. I’m with AT&T, and yes, I’m still on my parents plan. My brother got cut off when he got married, and this is why I am not married.
I thought I did Airbnb efficiently, but I picked up some new tips from my stay in Berlin.
This woman runs a tight ship. The apartment had three bedrooms, all occupied by separate guests. She allowed bookings day-of (like mine), which takes some great preparation to do. She sent over detailed instructions on how to get a key out of the lockbox, let your self in, then put the “going in” key back in the lockbox, and collect your actual key in your bedroom. With three rooms, separate guests in each one, and people checking in and out at different times each day, she had this down to a science. For people leaving late in the day, they could leave there bags, then fetch them with the “going in” key. This may not make sense to you logistically-challenged people, but it was eye opening for me.
My room was great. It did the trick. Now, if I only had a bag, my clothes, and toiletries, it would have been perfect. It was a hot one too, and I was feeling pretty dirty. Luckily she had extra shower shit in the shower, so I figured I’d kill some time and would wash my hair. I’d even blow dry my hair. This is how you know I was really bored. I really didn’t want to put my only set of clothes back on, so spent most of the afternoon in my room in my towel. She also had a spare hairbrush which I got completely stuck in my hair twice. This was scary. I panicked both times, but slowly unraveled my mess.
I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to hit the town.
I was getting antsy. “Where’s my god damn bag?” I tried to nap to kill some time. It rained and I listened to the drops hitting the windows. I message Sunshine, “Hi, I’m here! Let’s meet up.” with no response. I thought she was ignoring me. I found out later that she was sleeping, since she took an overnight flight. I tried calling the airport six times to check up on my bag — no answer. Ugh. Finally I heard back from Sunshine. She was like, “Come over to our fancy fancy hotel for a drink.” I was like, “Fuck this.” to waiting any longer for my wheely clothes-filled cube, and put my stinky clothes back on to go to the Soho House (a fancy fancy hotel). I arrive at the Soho House, doing my best to look cool (luckily I had my hat) in the lobby next to all these other cool, rich people.
Then here comes Sunshine, sunshiny as usual, strutting into the lobby, greeting me with a huge kiss and smile, in a long, bright blue, vintage dress.
She is a hoot. She was like, “Miz, where else in the world can you dress like this?” in her Aussie accent, answering her own question with an excited, “Berlin!” I love it. She embraces life and all the things she loves. It’s infectious and I love being around her (check out her new yoga retreat business too). She escorted me upstair to their fabulous room. It was incredible and gorgeous. I felt so lucky with my timing. Her boyfriend, Mr. Austrian, greeted me in the room, and let me know that a bartender would be arriving soon to take our orders. Of course, I was totally on board for this. We caught up on my funemployment adventures, their upcoming travel plans, and generally talking about how cool their hotel room was. Then our bartender showed up, rolling a stocked drink cart into the room.
It’s not every day that this happens, so you must embrace it and order an old fashioned asap. When a bartender walks into your room with a stocked cart, guys, this isjust what you do. I even got two. I snapped a few photos of the room. Sunshine and Mr. Austrian live in style, but do it humbly and generously, and I totally respect them for that. They have been more than generous to me.
Then my friend Peep showed up. First, a backstory about Peep.
You may actually think I’m crazy after this. We met at a nightclub in Berlin two years ago. I was sort of alone. I had been visiting Berlin with two girlfriends and they left the night before me. This was like two years ago. We stayed on a house boat hostel. Yes, a boat, by the Berlin wall. I thought I’d spend my last night sulking alone in my teeny little boat room. Instead I ended up meeting two crazy American guys, getting drunk with them on the boat, and going out with them. My the time we were going out I felt like a third wheel, like I was cramping their style, but I went along anyways. We tried one club, and didn’t get in (I blame them). Berlin is picky with who it let’s in. The rule is to NOT be dressed up or look like you are trying hard. Just be your cool self.
Next we walked towards another club, Club der Visionaere. Nearby we met a rowdy group of Austrian and German composers (yes, like classical music composers) coming out of a gas station convenience store. They were high on MDMA for sure, and they loved us immediately. We all went to the next club together. The thing was, the American guys didn’t get in again. I spent about one second being like, “Uh ok, well should I go in without them?” Then being like, “Fuck yeah, I’m going! Later bros!” Then I partied away all night with these crazy composers and ended up meeting Peep. We had a little fling. I won’t lie about that. We stayed out all night and he went with me to the airport, where I was disheveled as fuck and almost missed my flight home. It was magical. Then we stayed in touch, and I did something crazy again.
I went to meet him in Turkey and we traveled for nearly two weeks together. I had met him for like 12 hours, but I wanted an adventure. That it was. We ended up just friends, which is what we are meant to be, and had a really nice trip. We also argued some, as you do when you spend nearly two weeks with someone. I have some of the best memories from Turkey though, and we met some fucking awesome people and went to this super random rural wedding where we stayed with the family of the groom (so many stories here). Ok, so that’s the back story on Peep. Now I was planning to stay at his family’s house for the next two nights in Berlin.
He had some fashion week party to go to with his other stunning friend (#malemodellife), so I was stuck in this luxury hotel with my awesome friends (oh no!). I was glad he got to stop by though. I got to pretend that I always hang out in luxury hotels with fabulous friends. We’d be seeing each other the next day.
The rest of the night went like this:
Mr Austrian’s friend came by, a German guy who runs his own furniture company (also awesome). We headed out to dinner. They were kind enough to let me crash their plans. The restaurant was fab. I had a good buzz going from my two old fashioned, and we continued with a cocktail at the restaurant bar. We got seated outside, and met the German friend’s American gf. She was rad. Like Sunshine, a totally bundle of energy and joy. I love meeting people like her. She’s working in Berlin for the mattress startup Casper. She misses NYC though, and we talked a lot of about the differences, positive and negative, between Germany and the US. The food was also amazing, so this helps.
By the time dinner ended it was approaching 1am. I grabbed a cab back to my Airbnb and hit the sack. I still had no clothes, but hopefully they would arrive the next day. I brushed my teeth with my finger and some toothpaste like a real classy broad.
I was sending positive vibes into the Universe for my bag to arrive safely in the morning.
- Funny story first thing in the morning. Read it tomorrow. I don’t want to spoil it.
- Waited for baggy
- Got baggy
- Met Peep for yoga
- Yoga in German at this super cool Adidas place
- Lunch cooked by German mom
- Went to watch soccer at a public viewing
- Went clubbing by myself. OMG. Yeah, really.