Let me start this mlog (mermaid blog) with a few facts.
1. I am in Germany.
2. I do not speak German.
3. I dislike the cold.
With that being said, I should have known I was going to be in trouble when my farewell Facebook status listed the countries I would visit & Peter, from Aquanauts Grenada, commented “Those poor countries… they will never be the same again.” Or perhaps it was when the lady at the check-in counter for the airline (in FLORIDA) spoke to me in German (which was actually quite a nice change from the normal Spanish greeting you get in the Miami area). This was followed by the airline safety briefing being in German. It's a good thing that after 30+ flights in the past year I now have it completely memorized and know how to buckle my seatbelt and that I must put the oxygen mask on myself prior to small children (or people who act like small children, despite the fact that I usually act like a 5 year old). And might I mention that we got to watch Two & A Half Men on the flight (one of my favorite shows)… however, that too was in German. Yeahhhh… I'm kinda out of my element here.
Then of course, came getting me through immigration. Despite all of the traveling I've been doing around the world with ScubaRadio, it's still a small miracle I was allowed into the country. I made one mistake… They asked “What are you doing here?” and I said “working a trade show”. Boom! RED FLAG. You don't say the word “working” when trying to enter Germany without a work Visa. Bit of a language barrier there. So… the officer unhappily started asking if I had a return flight booked… and even made me prove it with the printed itenary! Goooood thing I had that, or else I'd probably still be standing there trying to convince an angry German immigration officer that I had zero intention on staying in the country past 15 days. Maybe I should have told him that with the weather being as it is here (35 degrees & alternating between snow, rain, or snowrain) & that I can't understand German, there is no way I would want to be here longer than necessary! Then again, that may have not gone over so well either.
At least I felt right at home as I got into a taxi… they were playing the typical Top 40 Pop songs on the radio that I hear all the time in the states such as Bruno Mars, Kesha and Pink. Good to know that wherever I go in the world I can have my fill of my favorite songs & never feel too far from home! (This is the same for everywhere we go… even in Fiji).
Now the Boot Show in Düsseldorf is one of the largest in the world. Although it is primarily geared towards boats & the boating lifestyle, it also covers pretty much everything to do with the water. This includes DIVING, surfing, wake boarding… literally everything. There are 17 different halls. (Click here to see a PDF map of the hall layout… it's HUGE!) Although I haven't had much time to go and explore any halls other than diving, I can't wait to get around the show later in the week!
However, one of the greatest things I've ever seen at a diving trade show was provided by Bauer Compressors. They have a compressor that is called the Verticus and they once got the great idea to gut it, replace the interior with a keg of Weiss Beer, and replace some of the fill whips with beer taps! Now they have cleverly nicknamed the compressor “Beerticus.” Around 5pm everyone starts showing up at their booth to enjoy a few cold brewskies and some finger food. I think every dive shop should come equipped with one of these, so be sure to ask your local Bauer dealer for a quote!
And now the question I know you're all waiting to hear the answer… how did the “mermaiding” go over? Well, I don't know if Germany was quite ready for Mermaids at their trade shows just yet, but regardless, apparently the reaction to mermaids is universal across the world. The comments were typical with: “How do you move around?” “Can I steal you away to put you back in the sea?” “I knew mermaids existed!!” I came up with a new response to “How did you get here” that I was quite proud of: “I don't know… I just woke up here!” Well… at least I thought it was witty.
One thing I didn't quite expect was for the press to show up too. A company called Submerge Productions asked if they could do a quick interview as part of the “Boot Show Video Blog – Day 1” for the show. If you watch it & aren't so great at German (such as myself), I suggest you just fast forward to 3:42 to see the mermaid. There's been talk of throwing me in a huge glass tank they have to test dive gear this weekend, and I'm sure there will be tons of photos taken. The only thing I'm mildly worried about other than what brilliant things may come out of my mouth during an interview (I still get nervous in front of a video camera) is the temperature of the water… mermaids are mildly afraid of cold water & I truly doubt it's heated! Brrrrr!! Mer-Icicle!
On other notes, the rest of the Germany trip is going well. The food is amazing. I've tried some things I never thought I'd like (seeing as mermaids are quite fond of seaweed)…. and loved mostly everything. However, there was one thing my taste buds just weren't craving more of and that was “Blood Sausage”. It wasn't as much the flavor as it was the texture. Although, the German beer does make up for any sausage I don't like. Also, yesterday was my first experience on the German Autobahn… and let me tell you, going 100-133 mph consistently is definitely NOT for the faint of heart. All in all, things would be pretty much perfect if the sun would come out and the temperature would go up about 40 degrees! Although, I can't complain too much… tomorrow I'll fly to England to see my family and in 5 days I'll fly to Turkey for a few relaxing days in the sun!! Then it's back to “normal” life in the Florida Keys until the next freezing cold adventure to Chicago in February!!