A certain rabbit was known to complain about have made an incorrect turning in Albuquerque despite having repeated the same error over and over. Perhaps he knew that he aught to have turned but chose the unknown path, or perhaps we was just a bunny with a really bad memory. I can’t say that judged him for it but I knew that it was appropriate to laugh at his misfortune.
Sometime during the summer of 1989 I was faced with a dilemma. My rail pass would not allow transit through East Germany in order to visit Berlin. It was not in my nature to avoid the difficult, after all in a scant two months I had been wandering lost in the streets of Cairo (back when there were, no kidding, only three fast food restaurants in the country of Egypt – two KFCs and a Wimpy’s or was it the other way around), accidentally wandered (having squeezed through a crack in a boulder) into a open-air museum, after hours, at the base of the Acropolis in Athens and jumped onto a random train in Italy after having been booted off due to the ignorance of the rules on the part of a certain train conductor.
At the time I was on a rather meagre budget. When travelling on the cheap there are three major expenses (not counting transport when you’ve already paid for your airfare and rail pass): food, shelter and site-seeing. I was able to afford two of those on any given day. This meant a lot of sleeping on train seats since that was free with the pass. A couple of times I managed five successive nights before needing something more than a basin in a train to wash with. Thus I was faced with the added expense of a coach ride to Berlin as well as the time involved with getting there. Despite my great desire to cross Checkpoint Charlie, I felt that the time and money I had would be better put to use on other destinations. In my journal I simply wrote “I’ll do it next time, the Wall will still be there.” Somehow I can, in hind-sight, laugh at it – perhaps because it’s a better story than the one of crossing Checkpoint Charlie ever would have been.
Of my many experiences, this is one of the most poignant and oft-quoted when I have the opportunity to travel and it seems like it might be a bit too complicated. Is this something that I will look back and say no great loss or will it too remind me of Berlin 1989?
BTW – the header photo was just a lucky break. I got a fast shot off before the man turned the corner and the lighting was just amazing. The best shots are the ones on instinct. Lucky for me he was making a left turn … lucky for him too as straight ahead or right may have resulted in a broken nose.