Monday, August 11, 2008

Going, going, Bonn

I'm working at the Institute for the Study of Labor this week. I flew over on the direct US Air flight from Charlotte to Frankfurt Friday night. From Frankfurt, it's a two hour train ride to Bonn. I left the house just after lunch on Friday and arrived at my apartment in Bonn just before lunch on Saturday. All-in-all, the trip is pretty convenient, though it would be nice to have some other carrier besides US Air.

Once I got to the apartment, there were a couple of "must-do" items to attend to. First on the list was to get down to the open-air market at the center of town, the Marktplatz, to get a bratwurst and roll. This will probably be the lunch routine for most of the visit. The second thing was to stock up on provisions for Sunday, when all of the shops and many of the restaurants are closed. The produce and bakery stalls in the Marktplatz were perfect for this.

One jarring sight during the provisioning trip was the dozens of bees in the bakery stalls. The bees seemed to be everywhere, flying around the stalls, buzzing in the display cases, and alighting on the goods. The clerks were completely oblivious to them; the bees must not eat much. I gingerly pointed to the rolls I wanted (my international pointing, nodding, and dumb smiling skills are quite advanced). After paying and leaving the stall, I checked my bag verrry carefully. Even so, I kept it at arms length during the walk back to the apartment and poked the bag a few times before opening it.

Fed and provisioned, I headed off to the beer garden next to the apartment building to point at their menu and then sit, drink, watch the Rhine roll by, and try to stay awake until dinner.