This morning I could not keep my eyes open, so at our first pit stop on the highway I jumped out of the bus and headed off to the Total gas station. I think everyone else went to Burger King. Total was a bit further away but at least I would not have to wait in line with the rest of the women (maybe fifteen or so on tour). The walk did me some good too. I only had a 10 Euro bill in my pocket so I went for change after finding no change machines at the turnstile entrance. I briefly considered ducking underneath the contraption, but elected not to get arrested in Germany.
Inside I asked the young man, “Change?” waving the ten Euros bill about the size of monopoly money.
He exchanged the bill for five Euros in change and a five bill. I think the fact that the money seems so fake makes it seem even for worthless and everything that much more expensive.
Back inside the Water Closet I dropped my .50 Euro coin into the turnstile and thought for a second I heard the train coming. I found four very neat and clean stalls. Each stall was a little closet with the walls and doors going from floor to ceiling and the door sealing completely shut – none of that half inch wide crack between the hinges. I saw this in The Netherlands and have decided that Europeans are very modest when it comes to bathroom privacy.
I sat down. The seat was damp and cussed the fact that I was sitting on what I assumed to be German pee. Bad enough I got to pay for the seat, it has to be damp.
Business done I flushed. I jumped back startled when the seat began to rotate. Yes, the actual seat began to change shape, sitting at a very odd angle before reshaping into a usable oval. As it turned a contraption located in the back of the toilet moved into position. If I had not been so curious I would have run. Instead I watched in awe as it sprayed a solution of disinfectant on the seat as the seat passed beneath a sponge. Hum. I almost flushed the thing again. Got to get a video of this I thought. It was an amazing piece of German engineering. Worth .50 Euro? I doubt it.
Now the good news is that the token receipt is good for a discount in the store, but I was looking for coffee and that comes out of a vending machine. A German gentleman stood ahead of me gazing at the panel board of the world’s largest coffee vending machines. Buttons everywhere. Multiple selection sizes for multiple flavors and combinations of milk choices. The gentleman stood there waiting for his coffee, but nothing came out of the spout. I pointed to the offerings indicating he should push one. In German he said he had. I think that was what he said. He pointed to his selection. I pushed it and the machine gurgled deep inside its belly. He said something else.
I grabbed another cup and put it under the other spout to be safe.
“Das ist eine gutte Idea.” I mumbled being careful enough to not over enunciate the words like a real German.
He agreed. The coffee came out and we didn’t miss a drop.
When it finished pouring I said, “Ferthig.” Having no idea where I pulled that word from.
“Danke,” the German replied.