Published: September 16th 2010September 15th 2010
Avid readers of Bagelmonkeys' adventures will know that our final destination in our trek to the Olde Country was to visit Munich. Our plane landed in Frankfurt, which is more than a hop or a skip away. Train travel, here we come!
I love trains. My grandpa worked for a railroad so I have always enjoyed trains and train travel. It's a lovely way to get from point "A" to point "B."
We were exhausted from our extensive travels thus far. The lovely rhythm of the metal wheels on steel tracks was a lullaby to my tired brain and body. I tried reading but my lids were too heavy to stay open. We were seated at a table so I curled my arms around my book, rested my head, and dozed off. I awoke a couple of times. I noticed that Jer was doing much the same thing. People shuffled on and off and the weather changed dramatically from sunny and warm to overcast and rainy while we snoozed.
When I awoke the final time--and felt rested enough to remain awake--I overheard English spoken in an American dialect from the row directly behind us. There was a man's voice and a woman's voice. The woman's voice I found especially grating on the senses; I realize now it's because her tone was scratchy and gravelly like an old roommate I once had in college. And, she was LOUD. So loud! I glanced around and realized that everyone on the train glancing up and shaking their heads at the loud woman who cared only for her booze-fueled trip to Munchen.
Through her loud conversation, we confirmed that she was American, she was in a branch of the US Armed Forces, received some monthly stipend due to an injury sustained during her time served (it was certainly not to her gullet), and that it wasn't nearly what she thought she deserved, especially when she compared her monthly income with that of her male cohort. All of this I found incredibly tacky and insulting. I appreciate our soldiers, but her tone of entitlement and her lack of decorum while traveling internationally was incredibly insulting. I thought she was obnoxious before I found out she was in the military. And when I heard she was in the Army...well, with a mouth and attitude like hers, she sounded like she was only good for cannon fodder.
She was a picture example of how Americans should NEVER ever behave abroad. Her hubris was astounding! We also experienced her love of Lady GaGa which she sang out loud at high volume. She unplugged her headphones & turned the volume up on her Ipod so all of us could hear the music she was listening to. When her male friend tried to calm her down, he was told that he was a coward and was afraid of what other people thought of him. Every other word out of her mouth was an obscenity, and this was all the while bragging about her own badass-ness in the army while admonishing everyone else was an incompetent boob.
The porter came around after a couple of the larger stops and checked our tickets. This upset Drunk Army Girl so much that she sighed and fussed while commenting about this being the fourth time her ticket had been checked. She also confessed to her obvious drunkenness. She asked the porter if she got a free beer for being so inconvenienced with the frequent ticket checks. He ignored her and carried on about his business. DAG concluded loudly that, "He must not speak any English," and snorted at her cleverness.
She then excused herself to the washroom. I had enough and turned to talk to her friend. He confessed that he had his arms full with her and they were prefunking before Oktoberfest. Great. I wished him good luck and said that being polite has nothing to do with cowardice and that DAG was making a fool of herself. After my chat, he tried harder to keep her quiet. This resulted in her blurting out, "I'm a fucking American! I can do whatever I want!"
On the plus side, many of us on the train bonded while commenting on how obnoxious DAG was. So it wasn't all bad. But seriously, behaving like a drunken slag is no way to travel internationally, folks!
And Americans wonder why we have such a poor reputation when traveling abroad. I present to you exhibit "A!"