Dearest Rachel –
Monday morning in Basel, and I think I’ve had the most solid sleep of my time here; went to bed around eleven, and didn’t wake up until seven-thirty. May have dreamed about solving some problems back at the old workplace, but it’s hardly worth commenting upon.
I’m feeling like I should take a shower; my phone told me – thanks to Lars – that I put in some fourteen thousand steps yesterday as I made my way about the city. And that’s even with riding the tram so much. But I’m really hoping to shower and get dressed before bed, so that I’m ready to go to the front desk rings me up at about three or so. I compromise with a slap of deodorant and by brushing my teeth – although I suppose I should be doing those anyway, if I’m going outside.
Unlike yesterday, when that crowd control rope wasn’t even there, there’s already a line outside the police station this morning – and it’s not even eight o’clock. Guess the old city opens up on a weekday. Time to go check it out, I guess. But first, I should keep up with my reading.
So I ·decided it was more important to enjoy life [commended/praised pleasure]. ·The best that people can do [L There is nothing better] ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3] ·is [or than] to eat, drink, and ·enjoy life [have pleasure] , because these joys will help them do the ·hard work [toil] God gives them ·here on earth [L under the sun; 2:24–26; 3:12–14, 22; 5:18–20; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world] .Ecclesiastes 8:15, Expanded Bible
Of course, Solomon also says in 9:9 to “Enjoy life with the wife you love.” Wish I could still do that, your majesty.
I begin to head out, and no sooner am I at the elevator when I realize that I have left my room key in the light slot. I’m going to have to go to the front desk to get a replacement. Well, that’s mildly embarrassing. At least I’m allowed out of my room to do so.
But that’s assuming I can get myself an elevator. Every time one opens, there’s somebody in there already, and they were giving me a look like ‘why was I summoned to this floor?’ And there are rules right now that there can only be one person in an elevator (two or three if they’re part of the same immediate family), so I don’t dare impose. It takes three or four times before I get an empty elevator, and can head downstairs.
At the front desk, I explain my predicament, and the response is clearly a case of “well, this happens all the time, here’s your new room card.” I also mention settling my bill, and they’re about to print everything off, when I stop them and offer them the remainder of the day to get it together. I think they’re appreciative of the extra time.
So, I’m out the door, and off. I make a quick run to the apothecary on the corner, right by the tram stop. There’s a great crowd there, but as they’re all facing away from the stop, I have to ask, and sure enough, everybody’s waiting to get into the apothecary’s for their own antigen test. Never mind, then. I can wait.
(According to Louise, who calls me as soon as I return to the hotel – what timing! – the CDC have changed their rules, requiring an antigen test before one can enter the country.)
So instead, I retrace a handful of steps, and head to the Co-op.
This is the first time I’ve seen it without the bars in front of it, and while I forgot to take a picture of the front, the inside is pretty interesting as it is – at least, from my perspective.
It occurs to me that I might just be accosted and asked (in German, of course, which would be of no help), “What’s up with you? Haven’t you ever seen a supermarket before?” Well, yes and no. It’s just that they clearly supermarket differently over here, and I’m sure they think nothing of it. Like I’ve always said, what’s mundane for one is exotic to another, and vice versa. I am going to come right out and say that our prices would shock them. Maybe this is what things cost in the middle of any city, but I don’t know about that.
One other surprise – although I should’ve seen this coming, as we shop at Aldi often enough – is that I got everything back without a bag. Again, perfectly normal for these folks – less waste and all that – but I wasn’t expecting it. So while I should’ve gotten myself some breakfast at the hot food counter there, I think I’ll need to come back shortly.
Anyway, it’s a good thing that I had at home back to the hotel, as Louise rings me up. She’s just checking to make sure that I know everything is arranged, including my taxi at four in the morning – oy, vey. I still need to fill out the form for the Netherlands, and she suggested I put in both flights (I don’t know if there’s room for that, but okay), and hope for the best.
As always, honey, wish me luck; I’m going to need it.