As I left Mannheim I noticed my company's logo among those on the wall of an office building near the station. Considered going in and saying "Hi", but then decided that would be hinckey. This is a small office of one of the companies my own has acquired in recent years, to reduce the government and widen the commercial revenue percentages in their profit pie charts, so they couldn't relate to me anyway: being from the parent company, I'd probably be seen as "one of them" - and besides, I had neither appropriate shoes nor tie.
En route to Düsseldorf I stopped of in Mainz to see the Stephanskirche there - Marc Chagall did its windows. Inside, they create a wonderful blue space - it was a cathedral to me, but it's just a church on the European scale.
Riding the trains today was unpleasant, although seeing the Rhine flooding in Koblenz was interesting. Too crowded, and I'm weary of listening to German-speakers. Sometimes I can barely restrain myself from telling the loud ones to "Shut the fuck up!" - it's time to go. Also there's too many smokers, everywhere, doing it with no shame.
This entry would've been composed at this tony bar on the bank of the Rhine River called the "G@rden", which has four terminals inside these odd booths which would seat two or three people. But there was no connection since some television interview-broadcast event was going on there that night. I couldn't get a satisfactory explanation as to why that should interfere with the Internet, as these terminals were off to the side; but the message of those booths to me was this g@rden wasn't clear on the cyberspace concept to begin with. Finding the place was fun, though - for the first time I was in Düsseldorf's Alt Stadt.
Once I secured a hotel room <1> in D-dorf I had a mad dash among record stores, finally finding the Towa Tei <2> "Future Listening" disc on the top floor of the Kaufhof, which is occupied by a Saturn store. (I first saw their goofy logo on the Alexanderplatz in Berlin, I thought they were a product of the East - this was my first time inside one.) Between shops I ducked in to the big Mariankirche, whose windows were blown out during a 1943 bombing which left it a shell. Rather than replace them they created new windows by embedding triangular glass wedges, mostly clear, in window-shaped sheets of concrete, which gives this cathedral a unique look (but a rather dim interior).
This is my last overseas entry - tomorrow is the longest day of my flights home, practically to the opposite side of the globe (I'll cross nine time zones). Naturally I have all my usual fears of what I'll find upon my return - I always mentally prepare myself for the worst: coming around the corner and seeing a smoking ruin of my corner of the building. Or worse, this time I'll walk up my stairs and find my door slightly ajar - pushing it open, inside I'll find the ransacked, trashed apartment.
Alt Stadt - Old town
Kirche - church
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<1>at the "Amsterdam",
top floor, no breakfast, very cheap (50 DM), wonderful
<2>A Japanese guy who does jazzy bossa
nova techno-pop - saw his animated video on the VIVA-Zwei "Shockwave"