I arrived in Frankfurt yesterday (I'm pretty sure it was yesterday...) at about 6:30 AM, half an hour early. Let me tell you, these German folks really know how to run a passport control/customs line; I've been a few places and Germany has consistently (both times I've been here) been fast, efficient, and utterly painless. Didn't even have to fill out any forms. Pity that all the engineering skill in this country couldn't save the horrifically bad security design at the Frankfurt airport... it's an utter nightmare. If you've ever flown through there, you know what I mean. If you haven't... well, it's more or less indescribable. Just imagine getting mag-wanded and cavity searched every 30 paces or so and you have a rough idea of the situation.
I finally managed to escape the aiport and down to the lower levels where the train station hides. I really need to learn to read the language better, because I was about 10 seconds from missing my train when I realized that the huge destination it had displayed on it (Brussels) was in fact the endpoint, and my destination (Aachen) was very much on the route. Whoops. At least I made it on...
... for all the good it did me. I got to the Aachen train station in about an hour (damn, high-speed trains are fun!) and proceeded to find absolutely no one and nothing that I recognized, except for a McDonald's. Now, I was fairly clear that the arrangement had been for someone to meet me at the train station, so after hunting around for clues that I was in fact in the right city, and was in fact in a train station, I figured it was panic time.
Thankfully I had the sense to get the office's phone number before I left, and bungled through the payphone interface until I got ahold of someone and pleaded for rescue. (It took me a few dialing attempts of punching in the sequence of numbers and being scolded in German. I finally figured out that the "49" I had scribbled at the beginning of the number was, duh, not part of the number, but the country code. A German pay phone didn't want me making international calls to... Germany. Are we confused yet?)
After that relatively minor hiccup, I learned that the (admittedly crude) flight itinerary I'd sent over had listed my departure as the 22nd (which is true) and arrival as the 23rd (also true, due to the overnight flight) but nobody had noticed the "23rd" part. So apparently I was expected a day ago... whoops. It also turns out that there's a holiday this week so there's really only one solid day of work when everyone will be around.
I crashed at the hotel for a couple of hours, and then was awakened by a phone call and summoned back to the office. (Which was fine with me, since I was fairly bored at that point.) Unfortunately, there is no clock at all in the hotel room, and I'd left my laptop in the office. So when I woke up, I literally had no idea what time it was. That state more or less persisted until I came back to the hotel later that night and crashed again. However, this time I had the sense to bring my laptop back and rig up a little alarm clock mechanism, which proceeded to wake me up at midnight and 6 AM. I wish I could blame a mysterious technical gremlin for those problems, but they were literal times that I chose for no reason I can recall. It made sense at the time, I think.
I think the idea was to get up early, do a couple hours of work, and then hike over to the office (it's a pleasant walk through a nice little wooded area from the hotel) around 10 AM or so. Except I went back to sleep instead, thanks to the awesomeness that is a good duvet, and woke up just a few minutes ago.
Much to my shock (given the semi-rural-ish area the hotel is in), I discovered at some point during all that madness that there's an open wireless access point somewhere close by, so I can take the time to write long-winded and pointless journal entries without having to explain to anyone why I'm on GDNet and not writing code [grin]
Anyways, I think it's getting close to time to head out. I have to spend some time talking with the artists about some stuff, which I don't really remember clearly at the moment, and will have to describe properly later.
... but maybe I'll go back to sleep for a few weeks first. I need one of these at home...