Freitag, 11.02.2011 | von: af
Mumbai Marathon 2011
MUMBAI MARATHON 2011
There are a number of titles that seem appropriate to me for our trip to the 2011 edition of the Mumbai Marathon. Here are a few and I would leave it to the reader to choose one:
- Its marathon time again in Mumbai
- Marathon per force
- It ain’t over till its over.
- “If anything can wrong, it will” (Murphy’s Law named after US American Capt. Edward Murphy jr.).
(Kurani’s appendix to Murphy’s Law: If things won’t go wrong on their own, there will always be
people around to lend a helping hand.)
After a fairly eventless and smooth trip to Mumbai in 2010 with our club member Günter Heyer, I felt confident enough to organize a club trip to Mumbai. Had I known in May 2010, when the club trip was offered on 100MC website, what was to come during the rest of the year, I would not have done it. As it was, three club members (Rosemarie von K., Karl-Heinz J., both from Kiel and Christine S. from Hamburg) had expressed interest to go to Mumbai. A little later Karl-Heinz persuaded his friend (and also well known to several club members in north Germany) Dr. Arwed B. from Schinkel (near Kiel) to join us. Christine (the blonde angel from Hamburg) said that she would be travelling with her husband for a holiday after the marathon in India and would make the arrangements herself. Rosemarie, Karl-Heinz and Arwed asked me to register them for the Mumbai Marathon and make the other travel arrangements for them.
If I had not had the three on my neck, I would not have gone to Mumbai this year and would have missed out the Mumbai marathon for the first time since the first edition in 2004. If indeed there was any reason for me to look forward to this trip it was because a) I could finally catch up with some sleep on the plane and b) I would not need my gloves when we landed in Mumbai. In retrospect therefore I am grateful to the three for having (unknowingly) forced me to go to Mumbai.
During my 31 years now in Germany, I have made some 60 – 70 trips to India. While I was working for a Hamburg ship owner on my way back from the Far East to Germany and – after I started out on my own – on business and private trips directly to India. None of my trips to India, or elsewhere for that matter, have been as exciting as this one. Twice (in Taipei, Taiwan and Mumbai, India) my suitcase failed to turn up but was delivered a day later to my hotel. The worst that ever happened to me was on my very first trip to Jakarta, Indonesia in 1980 where my soft-top suitcase turned up with a cut in the top and half of my clothes missing. Simply goes to show that you just need the right people to make a trip exciting. But let me start at the beginning.18.07.2010 - Doris Sagasser Marathon:
For a few months now I had had pain in the right knee. The start for this one was less than 3 Km away from where I live. I could hardly miss out on this one. But after this I will take a break from running for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks I would have to start running again since Peter Burns from 100MC UK was to come, together with his wife Mary, for the Helmut Jung Memorial Marathon in October 2010.Second half July 2010:
I had been looking for a bigger office and warehouse for a few years now but had not been able to find anything appropriate. Also the day to day business and the running activities left little time for anything else. Since I had stopped running I had more time on my hands for all sorts of other things. Within a week after I had stopped running, I found a commercial property which sounded very promising and affordable.
A quick check on the Mumbai marathon website showed that the online registration was open. I informed the other runners of this. During second half of July and beginning August I registered Rosemarie, Karl-Heinz, Arwed and myself for Mumbai. Christine did the registration herself. The online registration closed sometime in end August.04.10.2010:
Two emails and two phone calls from Mike F. in Istanbul in a single day. At first I thought he had a truck load of sacks that he wanted to get rid of. No such luck. The guy had missed out the online registration for Mumbai and wanted to know if I could help. An email and a phone call to my contact in the organizers’ office and I was told that yes she could help but that Mike would have to fill out an application form and make the payment in cash in Mumbai.07.10.2010 – 09.10.2010:
Peter Burns from the 100MC UK and his wife Mary were in Henstedt-Ulzburg and participated in the Helmut Jung Memorial Marathon in Kaltenkirchen on 09.10.2010. Peter did the full distance and his wife did the Half-marathon. Since I had to accompany them to Kaltenkirchen anyway, I walked the HM in roughly 3 hours. This was the longest distance I had covered since July.
September – November 2010:
Between my preparations to move with my office and warehouse I did the flight and hotel reservations and booked the cars in Mumbai and New Delhi for our local transport.December 2010:
Between the first and 18th December we moved with the entire office and inventory from Henstedt-Ulzburg to Norderstedt. The “vital statistics” of the move:
105 cartons with each about 5-6 files
290 tons of goods stowed on
558 Euro pallets
23 truck loads each with a capacity of 34 Euro pallets16.12.2010:
Email from Mike in Istanbul. His preferred hotel where he last stayed was booked out. Could I help? The internet access at my old office had been disconnected and the access at the new office was not yet available. I had access to my emails only at home in the evening. I sent an email to my supplier in Mumbai with a request for an additional single room at the Trident. A couple of days later a room had been booked and Mike was informed appropriately.SATURDAY, 18.12.2010:
With minus 9°C we moved today with the last 5 truck loads. I loaded the first truck at 0700 hours and unloaded the last truck at 2130 hours. During the second or the third trip I promised myself that I would start training for Mumbai on the next day, a Sunday.
My first attempt to run after more than two months. After about 3 Km of walking and running I had a pulse of 158. I could almost hear Schneggi saying uaaahaaahaaahaaahrgh….. (Hans, I hope I got the spelling right). Alternating between walking and running I covered 10 Km in 75 minutes.
Because of severe pain in the back and the right leg my next attempt at running was on 04.01.2011. This time on a treadmill because of icy conditions. Between 04.01.2011 and 12.01.2011 I was out walking/running altogether 4 times covering a total distance of 30 Km.THURSDAY, 13.01.2011:
Departure by Emirates from Hamburg via Dubai to Mumbai.
I had planned the trip and made all the arrangements in India that I could have made from Germany. I was therefore pretty confident and had no reason to be apprehensive.
Waiting at Hamburg airport for our flight to Dubai. Rosie, Karl-Heinz and Arwed.
year built: 1944
age of first marathon: 40 years
personal Best time: 3:41
number of marathon/ultra so far: 635
year built: 1937
age of first Marathon: 50 years
personal Best time: 3:38
number of marathon/ultra so far: 350
year built: 1938
age fo first marathon: 43 years
personal Best time: 3:24
number of marathon/ultra so far: 101
year built: 1951
age of first marathon: 41 years
personal Best time: 2:49
number of marathon/ultra so far: 268
year built: 1958
age of first marathon: 49 years
personal Best time: 4:40
number of marathon/ultra so far: 215
Even before we flew out of Hamburg, Rosie knew that she would not be able to run in Mumbai because of an injury to her right foot about two weeks ago.
We had a four hour wait in Dubai for the connecting flight to Mumbai. After I had told Mike of the flight we were taking, he changed his flight plans from Istanbul to join us in Dubai.
Mike F. from Istanbul at Dubai Airport.
Yet another migrant and like me, unable to integrate or assimilate in the local society. Mike has been living in Turkey for the past 20 years and still cannot write a few sentences in correct Turkish. I have been in Germany now for 31 years and still cannot write a few sentences in correct German. Looked upon this way, Mike has another 11 years to surpass me. Mike’s lack of proficiency in Turkish has not affected his talent in business or sports though.FRIDAY, 14.01.2011:
We landed in Mumbai at around 1000 hours in the morning. Miraculously I had survived both the flights without any pain in my back or the right leg. Without any Ibuprofen. I was just relieved. By the time we made our way through the Mumbai traffic and reached the hotel it was almost 1300 hours. At 1500 hours we went over to collect our race numbers. Mike had an appointment in the afternoon and decided that he would pick his race number on the next day.
Karl-Heinz, Rosie and Arwed at the Marathon Expo.
About a week before leaving for Mumbai I had spoken to a couple of newspaper reporters and told them that I was coming with a few other 100 Marathon Club members all of whom had done a few hundred marathons. They were quite interested and obviously wanted to get interviews. Once we arrived in Mumbai I fixed up that we could meet later in the afternoon after we had picked up our race numbers.
Rosie being photographed on the Marine Drive opposite our hotel.
(Link to the newspaper article on Rosie in MIDDAY is at the end of this report.)
We rounded off the day by having dinner in the hotel restaurant. I had all the reason to celebrate and thought that this would be a good opportunity to invite the group. My sister and my brother-in-law joined us for dinner.SATURDAY, 15.01.2011:
As in 2010, Saturday was basically planned to do some sightseeing in Mumbai and to acclimatize to the Mumbai weather. I had arranged for a car with driver to pick us up at 0900 hours.
I had had no pains since Thursday. This encouraged me to try out walking/running for about 30 minutes in the morning. Still no pain. A year ago I had done a few sprints at the same place. Now I was happy that I could walk/run for 30 minutes without pain. How things change in a year’s time. At that point I made up my mind that at least I would give it a try on Sunday.
Mike again had appointments with his suppliers. We therefore parted company after breakfast. Rosie, Karl-Heinz and Arwed wanted to see some typical Mumbai sights and a bazaar. We therefore first went to the Gateway of India.
Arwed, Rosie and Karl-Heinz in front of the Gateway of India. (Since the sun was shining on the left, I could not get the whole building.)
In front of the Hotel Taj Mahal which is on the opposite side of the Gateway of India.
The old structure was attacked and taken under siege by Muslim terrorists in November 2008. The building has since been renovated both inside and out and, gruesome as it sounds, has become a tourist attraction.
After the Gateway of India we proceeded to the Jyotiba Phule Market. This market is full of wholesalers. The retailers go there to buy their requirements for fruits, vegetables, grains and spices, etc. for the next few days and weeks.
A wholesaler for mangoes.
For water melons.
And for pineapples (photograph taken with Rosie’s camera since my camera battery-pack was empty).
From there we went across the road to Jhaveri Bazaar (Jewellers’ Market) and from there on to Kapad Bazaar (the Wholesale Cloth Market). As the name suggests, the retailers go there to buy cloth for shirts, trousers, blouses, etc. Unlike Europe and USA where most clothes are bought ready to wear, the practice in India is to buy the required quantity of cloth and get the shirt or pants stitched to size by a tailor. This works out cheaper than buying ready to wear clothes.
A photograph like this is probably a rarity. Rosie trying out an Indian dress in a clothes store. (Again taken with Rosie’s camera. Rosie, thanks for the photograph)
After Karl-Heinz had bought a Sari for a friend of his, we went to Dhobi Ghat where the dirty clothes are stone-washed by people living in the slums. Unlike churning the clothes as in a washing machine, the clothes are hit on a stone to take off the dirt. Therefore the expression “stone-washed” that is used for jeans, etc.
After the sightseeing was done we went over to my sister’s place. On the way we picked up Christine and her husband Rolf. They had landed in Mumbai just that morning. At my sister’s place we had an opportunity to try out a few typical Gujarati vegetarian snacks.
L to R: Rosie, my brother-in-law Rajesh, Christine, Rolf, Karl-Heinz, my sister Madhu and Arwed.
Back at the hotel I had one of my suppliers waiting for me. Also we had agreed with Mike that we would have pasta together in the hotel. Since the others were not hungry anymore, Mike and I went up to the room on the rooftop on 33rd floor where a buffet was set up for the runners. We shared a table with the two top Indian runners.
Bining Lyngkhoi, Mike and Ram Singh Yadav after dinner.
SUNDAY, 16.01.2010 – RACE DAY:
Since the start was at 0615 hours we met for breakfast at an ungodly time of 0400 hours. The running elite at breakfast:
After breakfast we walked together the 3 Kms to the start.
On our way to the starting line. Things are still quiet around here.
0615 hours (0740 hours for runners who need less than 3:30)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (more commonly known as CST) – Mumbai’s main Railway station. Weather: Clear skies with temperature around 16°C. Relative humidity 70%.
Finish: CST – Weather: brilliant sunshine with temperature around 30°C when Christine and I finished just before 1200 hours and around 31°C at around 1230 when Karl-Heinz and Arwed came in.
Marathon Route: Briefly, the route takes the runners from south Mumbai to the north Mumbai suburb of Bandra. The old route involved running back on the same route on the other side of the road. The new route takes the runners on to the new Sea Link which connects the suburbs of Bandra and Worli by a bridge over the sea which was opened to traffic in May 2009. I personally think that the new route is much more attractive as it offers a spectacular view and is devoid of traffic. The downside of the new route is that it adds another climb on the bridge and no shade along a stretch of something like 6-7 Kms.Drink stations:
Bottled drinking water and (after about 15K) bottled isotonic drinks are available. No bananas or other eatables since it is not possible to have open banana pieces in Mumbai temperatures. I had fixed up with my sister so that we had bananas and chocolate bars at Km 8 and on the way back again at Km 35-36.BEFORE THE RACE:
Arwed, Mike, Rosie, Christine and Karl-Heinz before we left for the starting line.
As mentioned earlier, Rosie could not run because of a foot injury. She seemed to be very disappointed but took the whole thing without any grumbling.
This time with Andrea G. from Berlin on the far right with number 751. Waiting for the start.
A few seconds after the start at 0615 hours
The elite runners who started roughly 85 minutes later at 0740 hours overtook me between Km 19 and 20 (about 2:25 after I started out)
There they go.
Between Km 23 and 26. The long climb on to the bridge drags on and on. (The 3 Km sign is for the HM runners who start on the other side of the town.)
The bridge itself.
AFTER THE RACE:
Mike and Christine
Jasmin T. from Hamburg who was lovingly accompanied by her husband for the last 7-8 Kms.
Andrea G. from Berlin. The only other person I know who can match this ear to ear smile is our Gazelle Claudia E.
Standing in the queue for the medal and the post-race bag with fruits and cookies, Arwed seemed to have a breakdown. Either because of the heat or because of the several young women, who were present there. He sat down in a chair for a few minutes. Alarmed by this, the people handing out the medals called for First Aid help. Three people (all men) turned up shortly after that but Arwed said that he did not require any medical assistance. As none of the young women seemed to want to fuss over Arwed, he got up and walked to the exit as if nothing had happened.
Now everybody has his/her medal.
A pity Rosie could not run. Shit happens. But this time the shit also hit the fan. More about this a little later.MARATHON RESULTS:
Men: 1. Girma Assefa - Ethiopia – 2:09:54
Women: 1. Koren Yal – Ethiopia – 2:26:56
100 MC members and other runners from Germany:
Start no. – Name - net time
1471 - Friedl, Mike – 5:01:24
1449 – Schroeder, Christine – 5:33:36
751 – Grabner, Andrea – 5:35:52
1447 - Kurani, Hirendra – 5:35:54
2391 – Treimer, Jasmin – 5:39:20
1909 – Jost, Karl-Heinz – 6:00:23
1912 – Bonnemann, Arwed – 6:03:32
Christine Schroeder was second in her age group and won a prize of US Dollars 650 (ca. 480 Euro)! Congratulations.
I finished the race without any help, without any cramps, without any pain and without any Ibuprofen. I could not have asked for more.
After a shower and a bite to eat at the hotel after the race (I had fixed up a late check-out with the hotel), Rosie, Arwed, Karl-Heinz and I checked out of the hotel to go the airport. We wanted to fly to New Delhi the same evening for the next part of our trip.
Christine and her husband stayed back in Mumbai for a couple of more days after which they wanted to fly to Kerala (south-west coast of India) for a three week beach holiday. Mike was to fly on Monday for the Indian city of Vadodara to meet one of his suppliers. We met in the hotel lobby at 1530 hours and said our good byes.
Having arrived at the domestic airport in Mumbai we still had some time for a cup of coffee. At that stage Karl-Heinz mentioned, not for the first time, that he was very pleased and satisfied with the way the trip had gone so far and with the arrangements I had made. While I was quite happy to hear words of praise, I told him that one should not praise the night until after breakfast – (man soll die Nacht nicht vor dem Frühstück loben). This is Kurani’s version of “do not praise the day until its evening” (man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben). We had finished only a part of the trip I told Karl-Heinz. The rest is yet to come.
It was almost as if I had a premonition of things to come. At the boarding gate for our flight to New Delhi Karl-Heinz could not find his boarding pass. After searching his pockets and his bag three times it seemed certain that he had lost it somewhere. Almost all the passengers had boarded the plane by now and we were the only ones outside. I could convince the officer at the boarding gate that we were travelling together and a quick check on his computer told him that Karl-Heinz had indeed checked-in for the flight. The boarding officer’s problem was that without a boarding pass he could not allow anybody to board the plane. The boarding officer issued a fresh boarding pass. Karl-Heinz went through the security check again and could then board the flight.
We landed in New Delhi at 2230 hours. The hotel car was waiting to pick us up at the airport. After checking in we turned in for the night. It had been a pretty long day for all of us.MONDAY, 17.01.2011:
On Monday morning we started at 0800 hours for Agra by car with a driver.
On our way to Agra. I just had to photograph this. For some reason the scene reminded me of our club member Thomas R. from Hamburg.
Traffic in the city of Agra. Karl-Heinz, Rosie and Arwed were quite interested in the chaotic road conditions in India. Coming from Europe, it is fascinating simply to stand on the roadside and observe the scene. I have therefore, tried to photograph the things which were of interest to Rosie, Karl-Heinz and Arwed.
Having arrived in Agra during excellent weather conditions we decided to go first to the Taj Mahal.
Arwed, Rosie and Karl-Heinz at the entrance gate to the Taj Mahal
Karl-Heinz, our German (with a heavy accent) speaking guide Ram Chahar, Arwed and Rosie behind the Taj Mahal. In the background is the river Jamuna.
Karl-Heinz, Rosie and Arwed. This time in front of the Taj Mahal.
Without anybody. Rosie refused to be photographed alone.
Due to winter temperatures the Taj is very crowded from late morning until well into the afternoon. As we were about to enter the Taj Mahal I saw the big crowd in foyer and immediately warned everybody (in German) to be ware of pickpockets. As we found out later, it was at this point in time that Karl-Heinz transferred his wallet from one pocket to what he thought was a safer pocket (at knee level). As Rosie remarked later, Karl-Heinz seems to have shown the pickpockets where the wallet was to be found.
After we came out of the Taj Mahal and on our way to the exit, Karl-Heinz discovered that his wallet was gone. A three-time search of all his pockets confirmed this beyond any doubt. Also gone with his wallet were, his identity card, driving license, credit cards and 700 Euro in cash. A heavy loss by all means.
We reported the loss to local guards on the Taj grounds that are responsible for security there. They noted the loss and asked us in turn to report the loss at the police station. We were also told that the pickpockets sometimes just took out the money and threw away everything else they could not use like identity cards, etc.
The Tourist Police Station in Agra where we had to report the loss.
After obtaining a report duly stamped and signed by the Agra Police we went to our hotel.
A phonecall to the Taj guards and to our guide later in the evening did not get any positive results as we had hoped for. No wallet had been found on the Taj grounds. Unfortunately this time around the pickpockets had decided to keep Karl-Heinz’s wallet.TUESDAY, 18.01.2011:
Arwed and Karl-Heinz with the porter at our hotel in Agra.
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and went to Agra Fort.
Emperor Akbar’s throne at the Agra Fort where he held court and heard the complaints of the common man.
A courtyard at the Agra Fort
Wildlife at the Agra Fort. Monkeys,
and parrots in the courtyards of the Fort.
After the trip to Agra Fort we started out by the same car back to New Delhi. On the way back we stopped the car a couple of times. For photographs and for “chai” (strong Indian black tea boiled with milk). Karl-Heinz and Arwed were by now quite fond it.
We arrived at New Delhi airport at around 1600 hours. Our flight to Dubai was at 2035 hours where we landed at 2330 hours local time.
Our flight from Dubai to Hamburg was at 0900 hours. We therefore had a stopover in Dubai of around 9 hours 30 minutes. Since the break was in the middle of the night we decided to stay at the airport. We found some deckchairs near gate 29, where our flight to Hamburg was to board, and made ourselves as comfortable as one can get at an airport. Karl-Heinz, Arwed and I were next each other and Rosie, after she had done some exploring at the airport, a few chairs down the line.Around 0400 hours:
On my way to the loo I saw Rosie sleeping on one of the chairs close by.Around 0600 hours:
Rosie passed by my chair and said that she now wanted to sit down somewhere and read a bit. Arwed and Karl-Heinz were still sleeping left and right of my chair. Around 0700 hours:
Arwed and Karl-Heinz were still asleep. Gate 29 which was the original departure gate for our flight to Hamburg now showed a flight for Teheran. This was not on my list of preferred destinations. I went to buy myself a cup of coffee. On my way back I looked at the board with departure times and gates for various flights. Our flight to Hamburg was now to board at gate 44 instead of gate 29. I also looked around if I could spot Rosie anywhere. I could not, but did not think anything about it.
On our flight out of Hamburg and in other conversations with Rosie she had told me a bit about her trips to Cambodia, China and Nepal (where she had been with her daughter). With all the running that she has done, she must have travelled around a lot. It was apparent that she was used to travelling alone. I was impressed more than once at her choice of words when she spoke English at the hotels or while checking-in for flights. This was no school English. She was quite used to expressing herself in English in well chosen words.
Similarly, Karl-Heinz and Arwed had mentioned of the exotic places they had been to. It was obvious that all three had done a lot of travelling and were quite experienced. I therefore had no reason to be concerned.Around 0720 hours:
I went back to where we had been camping and told Karl-Heinz and Arwed that our flight was to board at gate 44 and we should get ready to start moving in that direction. Both went over to freshen up a bit.Around 0745 hours:
All three of us were ready to move. We looked around for Rosie near gate 29 but could not find her anywhere close by. At some stage Rosie had mentioned to me that should we lose sight of each other at the airport, we should meet at the departure gate for our flight.0755 hours:
Since Rosie was not to be seen anywhere we started out towards gate 44. This gate showed Tunis as the destination. A brief consultation showed that none of us were particularly keen to go to Tunis today. Back again to the board with the flight times. The departure gate for our flight to Hamburg had been changed once again to gate 131. This gate was at the other end of the airport so that we had to go across the entire building and go through security checks all over again.0830 hours:
We arrived at gate 131 but could not see Rosie anywhere. We were getting anxious by now and when it was our turn to show the boarding pass, I asked if Rosie had already checked-in. No she had not. We decided that we would wait outside until Rosie turned up. I asked the Emirates personnel to page Rosie over the airport loud speakers. I was told that as a matter of policy passengers were not paged at Dubai airport. No exceptions were made to this rule. There was not enough time for me to go back to gate 29 where we had been waiting. I was really worried now. For an experienced traveller like Rosie not to turn up in time for a flight, something must have gone gravely wrong.0845 hours:
Still no sign of Rosie. We were told that we had to board the plane now if we wanted to take the flight. I told Arwed and Karl-Heinz that they should fly back and that I shall stay back to find Rosie. Arwed’s only dry comment was: “I suppose, as the organizer of the trip you have to stay back. But I am afraid that she has long since landed in a harem.” I did not feel like laughing at the time.
Since I had opted not to board the plane and Rosie had not turned up, our luggage was taken down from the plane.
I still had some difficulty believing that Rosie, of all the people, had not turned up in time for the flight. She was always punctual. Everywhere. So much so that it was embarrassing for me when I turned up a few minutes late. Rosie was an experienced traveller and had no language problems.0906 hours:
Six minutes after the scheduled departure but while the plane was still at the gate, Rosie finally turned up. I had been considering the options that I had to find Rosie and quite frankly I was not looking forward to it. I was therefore just plain relieved to see Rosie. Our requests to the airline personnel to allow us to board the flight were in vain. The plane was ready to taxi to the runway for take off and there was no way we could board the plane now.
Rosie explained that she had been sitting at gate 29 on a chair facing towards the windows where she could observe the planes at the gate. By the time she noticed that the boarding gate had changed, it was too late to make it all the way to the new boarding gate.
We made our way to the transfer desk and found an Emirates flight at 1430 hours from Dubai to Frankfurt. There was nothing we could do but wait the 5 hours until the flight. The personnel at the transfer desk could not help us to find a connecting flight to Hamburg. On office opening in Germany, I therefore called up my travel agent in Henstedt-Ulzburg and asked them to find us a connecting flight from Frankfurt to Hamburg. There was not enough time in Frankfurt to catch the Air Berlin flight and the Lufthansa flights were far too expensive. Also we were not sure if could make it to the next available train. We therefore decided to check out our options in Frankfurt after we landed there.
During the flight Rosie mentioned that she always leaves her driving license (and all the other documents which were not required for the trip) at home. Otherwise we could have rented a car in Frankfurt. This gave me an idea. I had also left my documents at home but my wife works in the same town and my son is usually at home in the afternoons after school.
During the regular security announcements before take-off on the plane I remembered having heard that it was allowed to phone during the flight but that the mobile phones had to be switched off during take-off and landing. To be absolutely sure I asked the flight attendant. Yes, she confirmed, I could use my mobile phone on this flight. I have used my mobile phone during the flight just once in the past and am not too keen on using one since it disturbs the fellow passengers. However, this was an emergency and Rosie sat next to me. I called up my office and asked them to rent a car for me which I could pick up at Frankfurt airport. The original driving license could be made available either in Hamburg or in Norderstedt. At the same time I called up my son at home and told him where to look for my driving license. I asked him to remain stand-by with the license to bring it either to my office or to the car rental company. Every single car rental company wanted to see the original driving license in Frankfurt. I had rented a car a few times in the past at Hertz in Norderstedt. They agreed that they would try to get a car in Frankfurt if they had the original driving license in Norderstedt. After they had checked, my office was told that they had no car available at Frankfurt airport.
I then asked my office to call up Mercedes-Benz Kollaustraße in Hamburg. They had put an Avis rental car at my disposal a few times while my car was in the workshop. The Meister there checked with Avis and was told that Avis had to see the original driving license in Frankfurt.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I thought. After having telephoned from the plane for almost 30 minutes, I finally gave up trying to rent a car. Rosie read her book and I read the newspapers and slept a bit.1745 Hours German time (about 45 minutes before landing in Frankfurt):
The plane had started its descent towards Frankfurt when Rosie said in a small, almost apologetic voice: Hiren, I have my driving license with me after all. I could have hugged Rosie.
The rest was easy. Rosie rented a car at Frankfurt airport (which at the end of the day turned out to be the cheapest option). After having something to eat we left Frankfurt airport at around 2000 hours. Rosie insisted on driving all the way from Frankfurt and refused my offer to drive even for a part of the way. She dropped me off at 0145 hours in Henstedt-Ulzburg and drove further to Kiel.
Since our return I have asked myself umpteen times if there was anything that I could or should have done to prevent the two incidents. I am pretty sure that Rosie would not have missed the flight if we had had a connecting flight out of Dubai within the usual 2-4 hours.
Signs at Frankfurt airport at the baggage cart depot. Even Rosie had difficulties understanding this sign in German:
Until we saw the translation in English:
Is it any wonder then that a migrant incapable of integrating in the local system, like me, (Integrationsunfähig), avoids to acquire a deeper knowledge of the German language? Even at the risk of being branded as an “Intergrationsverweigerer”.
So what do I learn out of this trip? I should not have stopped running in the first place.
The MIDDDAY article on Rosie can be read/seen with the following link:http://www.saeckekontor-kurani.de/images/stories/midday_mumbai_english_rosemarie%20von%20kocemba_15.01.2011.pdf
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