Ming the Mechanic:

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Travels2003-07-27 03:34
picture by Flemming Funch

So, we drove to Denmark for a few days. Mostly a good idea. Except for that it is 2000km. Made it on two tanks of diesel, so that wasn't the worst part. But that is a whole lot of driving. Through France and Belgium we could do an average of 150km/hour, and the French speaking people are very good at making that possible, letting one by, and getting into the slower lanes when one isn't going fast. The Germans and Danes seem less cooperative, so that took a good deal longer. And it took 1.5 hours just to get past Paris. Traffic there was like L.A. in rush hour.

The French auto routes are wide open and with few people on them. But they're mostly pay roads, so going through France cost as much in toll as it does in gas.

But now, the less fun problems started when the car broke down in Hamburg, Germany at 3AM in the night. The clutch on the rented Ford Mondeo decided to function less and less and eventually the car just wouldn't move. And we were in some dead neighborhood next to the harbor. Our first thought was then to find a hotel and spend the night and deal with it in the morning. But a taxi driver, after checking with his office, informed us that there were no available hotel rooms to find. Then we realized that there was an emergency number for Budget in France, to call if one has trouble with the car. I called it, and they informed me they'd send a mechanic from Ford within an hour, to fix the car. Which sounded great, and I started fantasizing about a helicopter landing with a new clutch. But, not exactly. 1.5 hours later a tow truck showed up, with a driver who only spoke German, and who's instructions were to take the car away. Which would sort of leave us with a lot of luggage, a sleeping kid, and two cats, in the rain on a sidewalk in Hamburg in the middle of the night. Further calls to Budget, and promises to find a solution for us, weren't very productive. I had to stand and discuss things with the tow truck driver while waiting for them to call back. My German surprisingly seemed to be sufficient to get by. Eventually we decided on letting the guy take the car away, taking a cab to the airport, and waiting for the Budget office there to open in the morning. Which we did. So, after a few hours of drinking coffee in the airport, still another string of obstacles as the German and French Budget guys couldn't quite agree on what to do. Ultimately we got the German guy persuaded to just give us another car, big enough for our stuff, and forget about what the French guys wanted to do, which would have taken longer. And off we went again. Ended up taking about 30 hours to get here.

So, after a long sleep, a shower, breakfast at my moms, and being plugged into her DSL connection, things are cool. Of course we need to go back in a couple of days, but we'll probably be better prepared.

There's something nice about tracking the road over land from our new home in Toulouse back to our roots and our home till 20 years ago in Copenhagen. It gives a more tangible sense of where things actually are, compared with jumping around in planes.

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27 Jul 2003 @ 03:52 by waalstraat : Keep it up...
I'm following the Adventures of Ming and Family in the Old Land...can't wait for the next episode...  

27 Jul 2003 @ 07:28 by martha : thanks ming
soon you'll be able to write a book about your adventures. Best to all of you.  

27 Jul 2003 @ 16:57 by Jon @ : Driving Back to the Long Now
I always felt it was a cool feeling to drive up to, after quite a number of hours of driving, a house or place where you spent time many years ago, as a kid or in an earlier part of your life.

It helps me realize the concept and the feelings I associate with a "long now", how one moment stretches into another, endlessly over the horizon, and a moment you had many years ago, connected to the moment now by all these connected stretching "nows", is just another type of moment.

And the smells, sounds, light of where you were then. It's neat, and reading your post helped me remember some times and feelings like that.

It also helps me realize how many neat moments I have had and have, and reminds me of the paradox of not wasting my time, at the same time not relying on a fixed plan or set of expectations.  

28 Jul 2003 @ 00:19 by Laura @ : Hi from the USA
Do you miss the States yet?  

28 Jul 2003 @ 01:49 by jstarrs : The kind of adventure...
...that isn't too fun at the time, a great test in seeing whether or not you've developed patience & on that becomes a great story to tell when it's all over!  

28 Jul 2003 @ 03:35 by ming : Adventures
It is always great to gather some good stories to tell. Even if they all aren't all comfortable when they happen. None of it is in vain. In the bigger view, it is all good experience. And so far we don't really miss the states. Too busy with what we're doing here and now.  

28 Jul 2003 @ 09:09 by Scarlet @ : Pilgrimages Build Character and Openness
"My my my --- I DO DECLARE! Fiddle-dee-dee!" ... I think all humans need to MOVE more. The pilgrimage, the adventure on a whim and a prayer, the magical movement of time, space, place... I have found often in the adventures of my life you can learn much about how we deal with these 'challenges' that arise... from such situations. They happen. And we magically GO somewhere. Not just in time and space -- but inside ourselves as well. Indeed it seems that your testimony helps your net-collective go on Pilgrimage with you... We can't fit life into a box, and none of us fit even when we try. Go forth!  

30 Jul 2003 @ 19:34 by Chris Hagglund @ : Christiania in Copenhagen
Ming, I stumbled across an article about Christiania, an area within Copenhagen and I was wondering if you'd ever been there? If so, what do you think of the place? I've heard the government is trying to shut it down because they want the land back, which made me sad.  

2 Aug 2003 @ 10:53 by sindy : smile
enjoy the trip and remember to keep smiling mingling.. its smilesssss week*  

5 Aug 2003 @ 06:21 by ming : Christiania
Chris, yes, I've been in Christiania. Actually it has been there for so long that my grandmother took me for walks there when I was a child. I don't think the government will ever take the land back. They talked about it for many years, but I think pretty much everybody has accepted that it is there, whatever anybody thinks of it. It is kind of a fun place to go for a walk. Which we did last summer. And I like the idea of a little country within the country, with its own rules. An anarchy which sort of works.  

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Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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