February 14, 2009 § Leave a comment
The time was something like 2am. On the Eurolines night bus to Berlin, I was already feeling super annoyed that Very Fat Man had decided to sit next to me even though I was generating all my brain power to will him to sit somewhere else. Unfortunately my mental prowess failed me yet again and my heart plunged to the deepest darkest beyond as he parked his plump ass down.
From what my half-asleep self could remember, Very Fat Man was bald, had a chunky moustache, and was wearing an unpleasantly bright orange jumper. I recall him looking a bit like George Costanza from Seinfeld, except fatter, meaner, and definitely a whole lot uglier. Shit. It was gonna be a long and uncomfortable haul. All the bad karma from Brussels had followed me onto the bus like a dog on a leash, and just when I almost convinced myself to sleep and forget about Very Fat Man’s intruding elbow poking its fat way onto my side of the seat, things took a turn for the worse.
Out of nowhere, German customs officers boarded the bus. They looked official and hostile, and randomly started to check passengers’ passports. One particularly surly-looking fellow took my passport and spent what felt like an eternity scrutinizing it with his special passport-checking device. I started sweating in my seat, despite the minus degree temperatures outside. I’m almost always nervous in situations like these, because it is like I unconsciously voodoo myself into every unlucky event that happens to me. One day I will find a remedy for that.
German Officers informed me that I had overstayed my maximum 3 months in the EU. My ‘but Lonely Planet said…’ protests went unheeded. Apparently I am only allowed a maximum 3 month stay in the entire EU, not each country. Damn you Lonely Planet. However for reasons still unknown to me, German Officers gave me back my passport, said I’m ‘technically illegal’ and left the bus as quick as they came. I didn’t have to be marched down the bus aisle like a dead man walking or be detained after all, nor did I have to spend Valentine’s Day locked up in a cold German detention centre eating nothing but sauerkraut.
Stranger and stranger. Note to self: contact Australian Embassy.