Friday, July 4, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well, my optimism about the successful upgrade of the restaurant Wednesday night was a bit premature. One of the issues we encountered the night of the upgrade was that the store manager had reopened the system before we started. Upgrading the software on an opened system had some ill effects that were not immediately apparent. Once the cause of the ill effects was determined, a solution was devised that required me to return to the store last night for another overnight adventure. Fortunately, the solution was successful and the store is back to normal. An unanticipated benefit of this is that I now have spent 2 days staying up all night and sleeping during the day, so I am almost back on a Chicago time schedule. :)

My first week here I parked the car and walked everywhere. After Janet arrived last Friday I began to make much more use of the car, driving around Munich and to our other sight seeing destinations. Also, this week I needed to drive between the hotel and the restaurant or office. So I have gotten a little more accustomed to driving in Germany. Today I felt confident enough to attempt driving to the office without using the GPS navigation system. I was doing quite well until I missed my exit from the A95 for the office, and had to drive several kilometers beyond to get to another exit. I could have gotten back on the A95 and found my way back, but I had noticed the northbound lanes were all stopped due to construction and I didn't want to get stuck there. So I had to resort to using the GPS to get to the office after all.

I've made some observations about driving in Germany that will be useful if I should ever return. Their stop lights are only on your side of an intersection. There isn't one mounted across the street like at most US intersections. That means you must stop well back from the intersection in order to see the light change. Driving on the Autobahn is an interesting experience. There are a couple of rules you must obey:

Do not pass on the right.
Do not drive on the left unless you are passing.

The speed limit on the Autobahn changes by time of day and traffic conditions. Typically it is 100 or 120 kph (62 - 75 mph). But at times the speed limit is completely removed, and you are allowed to drive as fast as you dare. It is at these times that you are well advised to obey the "keep right except to pass" rule. I've had cars fly by on the left that were easily doing 200-240 kph.

Tomorrow I return home. I'm scheduled on a 12:20pm flight from Munich that gets me into O'Hare at 3:14pm. I wish the actual flight time was that short. It's too much to hope for another first class upgrade, but I can't complain about flying in business class. I hope you all enjoy a fun and safe 4th of July. See you soon.

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