Day 1: Landing in Germany

It is 10pm here in Dusseldorf, Germany and it is still light out, I have been awake for about 27 hours and after I write this first blog post of Project Europa, I will lay down for a long time.

The strangest thing to me is that I feel very much myself here and very much like I am at home.  I have traveled a good bit and often find myself mesmerized by the smell of new cultures, the feel in the air of different social agreements, a giddiness in seeing and hearing another language.  I cannot tell if it is my sleep deprivation or that I really am at home away from home, but something feels strangely normal about all of this.

Thanks to the sweet lady next to me on the plane who kept letting me out to go pee, as I was guzzling down all the water I could find.  She was a lovely archeologist turned children’s book writer and filmmaker inspired by the legacy of Indiana Jones and childhood memories of digging in the backyard for treasure. Note: AirBerlin supplies you with a goody bag filled with sleep mask, ear plugs, tooth brush and tooth paste AND free wine and beer with your meals.  This cheapest airline I could find to Europe flying direct from SFO rocked my socks.  That was until we made it to customs with a standstill line for an hour.  However, I barely noticed because I was busy carrying on a conversation with a sleep deprived and delirious 3 year old, dressed head to toe in hot pint.  Luckily her delirium manifested in showing me how her stuffed dog would fall on the ground from the magic of gravity, tell me ten things at once that made absolutely no sense and then erupt into a fit of convulsive laughter that would eventually trail off when she remembered she didn’t know what was so funny.

In this customs/little girl vortex, I was the last one out of customs and the last one to get my bag when I heard in a lovely German accent over the loud speaker, “Will Summer Shapiro please go to the meeting point.”  I knew Volker had set up no meeting point with me in specific other than baggage claim, so I wandered around the baggage claim stalls aimlessly until I asked a security person, “Where is this ‘Meeting Point’ the speaker spoke about?” and they pointed me a few feet forward out beyond some gates.  Thank you to the lovely Volker for dealing with all this.

After all this we had a lovely day of delicious green papaya salad with grilled calamari on top, gaspacho, apple mineral water, espresso, then to walk about the town, see where all the lovely museums are, stop in a beer garden, talk about the wonders of life, being an artist, learning how to represent yourself and, excitingly, the film project I will be filming in under a month in London for his new album coming out in the fall.

It didn’t end, we got two cases of mineral water and dropped 50 euro on fresh organic produce, bread and cheese!  This called for an evening snack.  Now I am ready to collapse.  I can hear the crashing of a loud movie below my window.  Ah… I am here.


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