Good thing I have taken photographs of the bus schedules, because the buses don't run often, in particular today on Sunday.
|Miss my bus and wait 1.5 hours for the next one !|
The next 1.5 hours turn out as what I'd like to call a Walk and Whine Visit. No need to report; I'd rather forget.
I've sent an e-mail to Vietnam and the almost instant reply brings tears to my eyes.
Not tears of sorrow but the other kind.
As if missing the climate, the water, the friendly people wasn't enough, I learn that there is a 2-year-old German-Viet boy who calls my name every time he sees lights in the windows of 'my' room in the hotel where I stayed 3 times.
Don't worry Timotheus, I'll be back !
Another Hong Kong Style duck . They are really listening to me this time when I tell them to make the sauce spicy ;-)
Tomorrow is 9/11. The daily telephone call to Grandma doesn't get answered today. I call back twice. No answer. Let's hope she is sitting in the sun on her chair in the garden.
Grandma is not answering the phone.
Merde ! It's late in Vancouver and there is nothing I can do until later this afternoon my time. But given that Grandma is 99 years old, I might have to book a flight back to Vancouver for Wednesday. MERDE !
The day is getting better and better (YES, that is SARCASM). Mother's caretaker, whom I was supposed to meet today, is responding to neither e-mails nor text messages. Sure, it's 9/11 but this is getting a bit much.
Oh Screw It. I'm heading into town to rent a bicycle. At least I'll be mobile ;-)
Mother's caretaker makes contact while I'm on the way to the bus stop.
Back to the hotel; I'll take the next bus one hour from now.
I have rented my e-bike with charger and am sitting in my Gelato Cafe with a glass of wine (if any day ever called for one or ten, it is today) and am waiting for mother's caretaker.
Did I just sit here for THREE HOURS talking to Mom's caretaker? LOL. Nope, can't pretend that it was just business; we enjoy each other's company.
We couldn't really plan anything anyway because if things go WRONG later this afternoon, I will be on a plane to Canada in two days.
I' going cycle to Real Market to replace my small day backpack (WHERE did I buy it again? Siem Reap or Phnom Penh? Anyhoo, it was cheap but the zipper is all buggered up. So I need a new one.
What a nice ride ! If the weather was better and I wasn't expecting making a non-answered telephone call later today, this would be heaven ;-)
Holy FUCK! Backpacks are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive in Germany. They want 40 Euros for a replacement of my $10 day pack and the large $17 backpack I just bought in Sai Gon, would cost me at least $120 here.
I briefly toy with the idea of NOT having a day pack until I'm back in Asia, but after realizing the complications involved settle on an ugly 10 Euro model that will do just fine until I'm out of Krazy-Land (TM) again.
I'm in my hotel room twiddling thumbs. I should still visit my mother, but I'm not in the right head space to listen to meaningless babble.
I cycle over to Mother's home and invite her for Greek food next door. The move is not entirely unselfish. I don't want to be alone when I try calling Grandma's neighbour after trying Grandma for the last time.
Bad move. When I explain to mother what is going on, i.e. that her mother might be have departed, she shows less emotion about the issue than a refrigerator that learns that its manufacturer has gone bankrupt.
Sociopath is the correct word for that, I believe.
Grandma's neighbour doesn't answer the phone. Neither does Grandma.
Looks like I'll be heading back to Vancouver soon.
Midnight. The phone rings. It's the neighbour. After going over to the house he tells me he can hear grandma calling through the mail slot. At the moment when I'm writing this, I'm waiting for him to call back again. He went over to the house with keys and a bolt cutter for the security chain. From this distant vantage point I can only imagine what is going on over there. Grandma must have been on the floor for over 24 hours now. Will he be able to cut through the security chain? Will he call the ambulance before calling me back? If I didn't have a computer, I would be pacing back and forth in my room.
When he calls back, he is in the house and hands the phone to Grandma on the floor where she has been for over 24 hours. She sounds almost normal, LOL. Her first question: Is her daughter doing well in the old-age home? What a contrast.
I go back to sleep; an ambulance will take her to the hospital and I will deal with the rest tomorrow.
I've called the airline and for $300 they changed my return flight from Oct 5 to tomorrow. Hotels close to the Airport are ridiculously expensive tonight (think $200+ even all the way out to Mainz). I refuse to pay that much for a regular room, so I'll be staying one more night in my $75 abode and will take a train from Mom-Town in the morning that will get me to the airport in due time.
I've cancelled my stays in Istanbul & Kiev, and booked my Deutsche Bahn ticket to get to the airport tomorrow. That's it. Everything is organized. Now it's time to wait for the schedule to unfold.
While writing the e-mails to friends in Europe to inform them that I will NOT visit during the next weeks, I realize how many happy visits I had planned in the next 3 weeks. Writing the e-mail to Taskin in Istanbul is particularly difficult. I know how disappointed he will be and I realize how much I was looking forward to seeing him again.
I renew the e-bike for another day. Mother is not to be found when I check the home. Out with her care-taker?
Time for some ME-TIME (TM).
I hop on the bike and head for the bike path along the Ruhr River. From yesterday's trip I remember that there is a restaurant by the camping area where the Lenne creek flows into the Ruhr.
The weather is questionable but at least it's not raining
When it sees/hears the bicycle approach, a strange-looking bird swims away from the shore. WTF? Part of its strange look is due to the fact that it's carrying its kid on its back.
I need something different from the regular restaurants I've been going to and this might just be it.
Now is this not a very civilized way to consume a glass of wine? LOL.
Add to that my first Currywurst of this trip. They can't make fries because I'm the only guest and they don't want to bring 10 liters of oil up to a boil just to make a small portion of fries. Makes sense, so I'm getting Bratkartoffeln ;-).
It's home-made ketchup and it tastes amazing. The Bratkartoffeln are great too. Another good decision ;-)
The only noise I can hear is from trains crossing a railroad bridge further down the river. Oh, hang on. There must be an Autobahn close by, because even in this idyllic spot, one can hear the tell-tale sounds of distant car engines. The worst invention ever ;-(
While I'm eating under the outside tent, it starts raining hard. Good timing ;-) When I point at the rain and ask the waitress whether she has enough wine for me to wait it out, she grins and assures me that she does.
OMG, in 24 hours I will be in a friggin plane already again !
Returning the bicycle is easy after business hours because they have a radio fob on the bike keys that opens the door of the bike rental store. There is an Aldi right across the Bahnhofsplatz (Lugana wine, YUM), and mother's home is right next to that. A great town for minimum commutes.
While I say goodbye to Mother, the Vancouver hospital calls me and informs me of Grandma's condition. Given that she would have DIED of dehydration within the next 48 hours, Grandma is doing very well. I tell the hospital that I'll be there in person within 48 hours.
Mother is pretending for 5 seconds to be interested in Grandmother's fate and then goes back to her normal routine. Sigh.
Hong Kong Duck again. Good thing I'm leaving Germany tomorrow. I could get used to eating like this. But my waist-size would change rapidly ;-(