Hang-en cave

Hang-en cave
(credit: National Geographic)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day One

So I'm finally here in Bonn! My flight was fine--I actually ended up getting a lot of sleep, despite the barking dog next to me. I arrived in Dusseldorf yesterday around 7:30am local time and waited for another girl who flew in several hours later so that we could take the train together. So, after a few hours of waiting and another half-hour of a) trying to find the train station, which was not, in fact, underneath the airport, as my directions said, but rather on top and a Sky Train ride away from the airport, and b) trying to find each other without the use of cell phones, internet, or smoke signals, we ended up on a train traveling across the beautiful German countryside to Bonn, where we filled out some paperwork and had a mini-orientation at the International Office. Then we were taken to our dorms.
This is my room. It's a little bit Spartan, but I like it--I have a lot of room to spread out and live in. I also have my own kitchenette, which is essentially a fridge, a sink, and two stove burners, with a cabinet on top for food. There's no microwave in my room, which is surprisingly crippling. So I have to go out to the store tomorrow and get some supplies for cooking things the old-fashioned way (I can't go today because it's Corpus Christi, and all of the shops are closed for the holiday). And out through the window is the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy. It's pretty cool.
I have my own bathroom as well, which is nice, even if it is really small--it's probably only slightly bigger than a typical American shower. The shower itself is about a foot-and-a-half square, just to give you an idea of the size of the bathroom, and the toilet turns into Niagara Falls when it gets flushed--it's quite alarming. But all in all, I like my living accommodations--not having a lot of material possessions is liberating.

So, for today's activities, we had our official orientation at 9 this morning in the International Office. Here's the thing--the International Office is about a 15 minute bike ride from my dorm. So I had a crash course in German biking this morning as well. The bike lanes are so much smaller than I'm used to, and there's no three-foot rule, so you literally have cars whipping by at 50 km an hour about a foot from your bike --it took a little getting used to. Stoplights are interesting here as well. Yellow doesn't mean "Slow down, I'm going to turn red in a second." It means, "Okay? Ready, set, go!" And sometimes the bike lanes go onto the sidewalks--the sidewalks are made out of two different materials to indicate which part is for bikers and which is for pedestrians--where you have to not only dodge pedestrians wandering out of their area but also parking cars; they park either halfway or completely on the sidewalk. So it was indeed a biking adventure. I didn't get too terribly lost, though, and I got there just in time.

After the orientation we walked around Bonn, from the Poppelsdorfer Schloss (Schloss means palace) to the Kurfurstlichen Schloss, which is the main university building, and then all around there to see the various shops and churches, and down the Rhine a bit.

I think there's a definite possibility of me not coming back, guys.

--a.

1 comment:

  1. Like everything except the not coming back part.

    ReplyDelete