Saturday, May 19, 2007


From London to Munich via Lufthansa. Another easy flight. I wanted to brush up my German—or at least to find out if it still existed—and borrowed a copy of Die Zeit from my somewhat unfriendly neighbor to read an article about Wolfowitz. I read. I understood. Well, most of it. It has been forty-five years since I lived in Germany and spoke the language fluently. I thought I’d try out a few words viva voce with my neighbor, but he made it clear he didn’t want to talk. Ah well.

Munich Airport. New. Squeaky clean, as they say, from end to end. Compared with the rabbit warrens of Heathrow, a marvel of clarity in design. We retrieved our bags with ease and took a taxi into down—probably a needless extravagance, but we had been on the road--well, mostly in the air—for close to twenty hours by now and it seemed like the easy thing to do. Here's a picture from the taxi.

The words on the triumphal arch say: "To the Bavarian Armies." That was another day.

Our hotel is right in the center of town, across from the Hauptbahnhof—the railroad station. A good, practical, comfortable place for our first nights away. Le Meridien. Not sure why it has a French name, but there you are. This is 21st century Europe. We use Euros. (My computer does not believe that "euro"is a word.) We trade names and brands and languages without respect for borders. We trade in the same money.

Anyway, a comfortable room, as I say. For Buddha Diaries friends, note that we found, in our bedside table drawer, along side the familiar Good Book, a copy of "The Teachings of the Buddha." We felt safe. We felt right at home.
At nine o’clock in the evening, we took a brief walk in the city’s busy streets. Bright with neon and other artificial lights, busy with traffic and swarming with people. Many, many languages, many faces. Electronic games arcades and strip joints, fast food joints and upscale restaurants, department stores and cigar shops, hotels… A mecca of our 21st century civilization.

We found a pleasant restaurant for dinner—high ceilings, elegant furniture design, drapery and lighting—and struggled a bit with the menu with the help of a nice young waitress. We shared a very tasty beet soup, and Ellie went for a simple Caesar salad while I indulged in a pasta dish with strips of very tender beef. Here's Ellie, waiting for her salad.

About sixty euros. I have yet to work out an easy formula for approximate comparison of values. We paid $200 for E130 at the airport. Which means, I guess, that E1.3 is equal to $2. So what did our meal cost us in dollars? You tell me. My brain is currently too non-functional to work it out.

Went to sleep easily with the help of a little pill, and woke this morning nicely at 7:45 AM, in time for a half-hour’s meditation. Wrote this entry. Ellie is just now stirring. More later.

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