A passport emergency in....Traunstein.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

As JC and Hunt stayed for a day or two after the Halloween party, we knew we needed to give them a full tour of Bavaria.  JC, in particular, wanted to see all of the Sound of Music sights so he could (1) take photos to send to his mom and (2) talk about what a "babe" Julie Andrew was with that haircut....?  To each his own.

Anyhow, as we crossed each Sound of Music sight off our to-see list, JC gratuitously provided us the Sound of Music soundtrack in the form of his own voice; remarkably, each song ended up veering off into a rendition of "Oklahoma."  We're still not sure how.

It was pretty chilly during their visit, but that didn't deter us.  After seeing as many Sound of Music sights as we could handle, we decided to take the Bayern ticket to Munich for the day.  As soon as we crossed the border from Austria to Germany, the border control stepped aboard and began checking passports, which has never happened to us before.  I don't know how many times I've taken this Bayern ticket and have never been asked to show my passport.  So Caroline and I were pretty frightened when they began randomly selecting passengers on the train and ordering, "Reisepass, bitte."  Despite the fact that they skipped past us on the train without giving us a second look, we panicked and jumped off the train at Traunstein, just in case they decided to circle back around and check our group.

Standing on the platform in Traunstein, Hunt decided to use the bathroom while Caroline and I came up with a plan; we would send JC & Hunt (who did have their passports) on to Munich.  She and I would then buy our own Bayern ticket, take it back across the border to Salzburg, grab our passports (just in case they would be checking on the way home), and then meet up with JC & Hunt later that day at the Hofbräuhaus (an easy meeting point and a place they'd love).  There are so many Munich-bound trains passing through Traunstein, that JC & Hunt would be on their way in no time at all, assuming that they agreed to the plan.  There was only one catch: they didn't have cell phones, so it would be up to them to get to the Hofbräuhaus by noon (it was around 10:00 at the time) to meet us, and they would need to find their own way there (with no map).

Sensing that this plan would not be well-received by JC, I cautiously approached him on the platform and pitched the idea in the most unassuming, nonchalant manner.  My soothing tone of voice did not help; JC erupted into a fit of expletive-ridden anxiety, screaming, "How am I supposed to find this place [Hofbräuhaus]?!  Do you think this place is just going to magically appear out of thin air?!  Are you aware that we don't speak German?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE IN GERMANY?! I've never even been there before!  WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO US?!  We would NEVER do something like this you!  Are you seriously leaving us Traunstein?? TRAUNSTEIN!?  What the hell kinda place is TRAUNSTEIN?!"

He was right, too. When I visited them in Valenica, they were the most gracious hosts and would never have sent me anywhere by myself, let alone abandoned me on a train platform in a place called Traunstein.

At that moment, Hunt emerged from the bathroom, looking partly concerned and partly entertained, "JC, what's going on? Why are you yelling?"  I explained the plan in the exact same terms to Hunt, who calmly replied, "Yeah, no problem, we'll see you there at noon!"

And so, they went onto Munich, and we went back to Salzburg.  We jumped on the bus to I.K., grabbed our passports (and picked up Lindsay in the process!), turned right back around, boarded a Munich-bound train with no border control issues at all. We met up with them at the Hofbräuhaus, exactly as planned, and by that point (2 beers in), JC was full of apologies and exuding nothing but friendliness.

All the same, I will never be able to pass through Traunstein again without glancing out at that platform, and seeing the ghost of JC having a full-blown meltdown, in his navy-blue puff vest.







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