Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day 1: Potsdam to Halle

So my first official day of the trip! (Yesterday counted as day 0). I started off the day at an old german Fleischerei with a breakfast of fried potatoes and a beef patty. (Germans find it strange that Americans eat beef patties on bread with lettuce and tomato)There were a lot of bike paths along the way, some cows, some windmills.
Theres a stark contrast between the fantasy of a vacation and the reality. When you plan for a vacation, you imagine the freedom, the fresh air, the challenge. You imagine the shift in perspective, the subconscious benefits, the positive psychological impact.
And while all of those things are true. And all of them present. The fact remains: sitting on a bike and pedaling for 10 hours through countryside that seems to never change... It gets... Kind of... Boring.
So perhaps this is my lack of Zen or a short attention span. But regardless, I happened to have this amazing machine with me. With a little solar panel. The machine allowed me to access the communal consciousness of mankind, and the solar panel ensured that my battery lasted until the evening. So the fact is, yesterday I listened to ever episode of NPR's '"TED radio hour" (ted talks, adapted for radio) and Every Radiolab podcast available on the NPR website, all streaming, while I rode. And despite being rather anti-zen and catering to a short attention span, it was... Kind of... Amazing.
Then I ran across a huge herd. My solar panel's family. And I thought, "if you love it, let it go". So I set my panel on the ground and encouraged to to run off with its larger cousins. It did nothing. I reluctantly placed it back on my shoulder and kept riding, later realizing the a small polycrystalline panel clearly would not feel the instinctive connection that I expected with a herd of thin films.
I arrived in misfortunately named Bitterfeld ( they could have named it "nastyplatz" or " ickyville") and was the only patron of an indian- or Italian restaurant- the only place open- and had a rather OK veggie pizza with an indian appetizer. The waitress also worked at the club across the street and talked so fast I could barely understand what she said. My mother wrote me an email, reminding me it was my birthday, so I sat there, it this multinational restaurant reading the story of my birth. Allow me to share a snippet of this...
"JUST as Dr. Johnson walked into the room, my baby came shooting out, and she caught it -- with her purse still on her shoulder!  She calmly said, “Judy, it’s a boy!”  Exasperated, I said the strangest thing in reply, “I wish I could be happier about it!”  People laughed as they probably thought I wanted a girl. However, I was referring to the way it had all unfolded -- that I was rushed into this predicament with no midwives, no shoes and NO composure!  As a trained dancer, this did NOT settle well with my picture of who I was or what I had rehearsed! 

But they laid my black-haired baby boy down against my chest and he let me know from the instant he touched my skin and looked into my eyes, that life was about to be full of unexpected outcomes, and I should be willing to ride those waves with a sense of humor and openness to the wonder of the unknown.  That day, August xx, 19xx, Daniel Vogel-Essex began his first of many lessons for me, his Mom, his student, his greatest ally and loudest fan. 
 Daniel, I love you!  Happy Birthday!!!  
Yo Momma!"
Is that not awesome? I love you mom!
So heres a thought... Women notoriously remember birthdays. Men forget even their own. Lets not forget that a birthday is not just the day that a person was born, it'salso the day that a woman GAVE BIRTH, which is clearly a big deal (guys, this could be equated with getting the restored engine of your rebuilt motorcycle to BRUMM to life for the first time). So the next time a woman reminds you of someone's birthday, don't forget, that's also the day a woman went into labor and gave birth. That's a big deal!!!
Ok, back in the saddle...

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