17 May 2005
Please note that text in red indicates comments and changes to the original 2005 text that I made in June 2008. Enjoy!
This was another day that I had to get up reasonably early. Today was our final visit to a company, so we were all pretty pumped up about that. We went to see EADS, which stands for European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. EADS was actually the company to which I was assigned, so I was excited that my day had finally come. Also, because I'm a sort of aspiring Aerospace Engineer (I'm going on for my PhD in Aerospace Engineering, starting this fall!), I was excited because the subject matter at hand would finally be something of great interest to me. I had some coffee (two sugars and two creamers per six ounce cup) at breakfast and I was ready to go.
For those of you who don't know, EADS is one of the companies that "owns" the Airbus line of airplanes. For those of you who also don't know, Airbus is the only major competitor to Boeing that exists today, at least in the airliner market. Think of it this way: every large passenger jet plan that you've seen or flown in the last ten years has either been produced by Boeing or Airbus. On my trip to and from Germany, I made four flights: all of the flights that I flew on that were jet planes were from Airbus. The one turboprop that I flew on was a Saab. Go figure. EADS also makes the Eurofighter, a 21st century fighter developed for use in Europe (big surprise). According to our most gracious host (we had beverages, including coffee) there really isn't any American competition to the Eurofighter, though I would beg to differ (the Lockheed Martin F-35 could at least challenge the Eurofighter outside of Germany and France). If you read that link I just posted, though, you won't find Germany or France mentioned. Interesting.
We got to walk through the factory and see where they were assembling the new Airbus A380s. For those of you who still don't know, the A380 is currently the largest passenger plane in production. :) Boeing's answer: the Dreamliner. From what I can gather, the A380 is larger, though I'm not sure, exactly. I suppose I'll have to do more research for my paper. Worry not, Casey and Nina! I will pull my own weight! (Sadly, I think that Casey ended up writing about 80% of our paper. Oops! Sorry, Casey!)
The Airbus A380 and the Boeing Dreamliner really serve different markets, and yes, the A380 is HUGE--it's the largest passenger liner ever conceptualized.
After we left EADS (no pictures allowed inside, dang it!), we had some free time before we were going to go to Munich (or Müchen, as the Germans would say), so I made sure to stop at Baguettski for a bite to eat! :D I was so happy that I was able to return. :) I ran into Peter, Kate, and John as they were finishing up--they nicely waited for me to finish my sandwich, and then we all left to go back to the hotel to pick up Keiha--we had a train to catch to go to Munich. We barely made it there on time, which was kind of going to set the tone for the day.
Why Munich? Well, even though it's an hour away from Augsburg by train, there were tons of shops there, so we all were able to look for things to buy for our family. Recall that this is day 11 of ~14: we were all running out of time to find souvenirs! Peter, Kate, and I went off on our own, looking through shops. Eventually we met up with Elena, Erika, and some others (including Keiha, I think), and we wandered together for a time. I got some great pictures (one in particular of Elena that was just classic (see below!)), but the pace of shopping was too slow for me--I had to cover more ground. Needless to say, I broke off from the main group and took off on my own. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find anything worth buying during the entire time I was in Munich! I did have a lot of fun, though. . .
On the fourth floor of one of the department stores I went into, I found something that I had never expected to see with my own eyes--a life-size female night elf mannequin from my favorite online game, World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment. Not sure what a night elf is? Well, if you click the link to World of Warcraft, you can see a picture of the female night elf that I saw on the left side of the web page. You can't miss her. Heh. Once I get a chance, I'll post the actual pic of me with her. . . ha ha!
In the store, I also saw Lara Croft, a character from the popular Tomb Raider series of video games (and spinoff movie), Master Chief from the extremely popular Halo game series (in the game, the Master Chief weighs about 450 kg when he's wearing his armor (which is all the time)), someone from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, and, finally, something that kind of looked like a model of Indiana Jones, everyone's favorite Harrison Ford character. I had a blast getting my photo taken with all of these models. . . I know that most of you are probably just laughing at me or, possibly, are just really confused. If it's the latter, apologize. I kind of feel bad for inflicting myself on all of these random German passersby, using my horrible, horrible German to try to ask them for help.
Peter and I didn't sit together during dinner. While this in and of itself wasn't really odd (by this point, we had seen each other a lot, being room mates and all), it did mean that instead of spending most of his time talking to me, he could talk to someone else, which was exactly what he did. Peter was sitting by one of his group mates, a quiet but pleasant German woman by the name of Lydia. As Peter later told me, he had tried to talk to Lydia, but she wasn't being very forthcoming with information, I suppose. As I said, I don't have any first-hand information to go on, so I guess you're getting this story in a third-hand sort of way. Interesting.
So the group decided that it would like to stay and soak up the atmosphere of the restaurant (and some more beer) for a while so we hung round until it got pretty late (~10 PM? This is pretty late when you consider that we were about 100 km from our hotel. . .), and then we all tried to pay for our food. It ended up that my water was free, which was cool--I had expected to pay 2 Euros for it (which really wold have been "highway robbery", when you stop and think about it), but the waitress said that there would be no charge. :D However, each of us had to pay for his food individually, so this took maybe ~30 minutes? It took an unreasonably long amount of time, at any rate. It took so long, in fact, that it made us be late for our train back to Augsburg (the last one that night, coincidentally), so we were all forced to jog about 1 km to get to the train! At this point, even though I was wearing my non-running shoes, I fell back on my experience from high school where I used to run after school. . . I achieved a good rhythm and I kept it. I didn't exactly know where I was going for a while (I find that when I'm in a large group with experienced tour guides, I don't really pay attention to where I'm going very well), but then we IDed the train station. Most of the other students had difficulty with the pace that Peter and I were setting--I don't think we're a very athletic group to begin with, and most of the others had imbibed some alcohol, which really made it hard for them--I guess they all felt kind of ill. Heh.
On the way back to Augsburg, I got to sit in the train with Nina, which was a lot of fun. We just talked about where we were from and things like that. The trip went very quickly. Nina and I quickly became very good friends from that night on.
We got back, Peter and I chatted, and then we each went to bed. Nothing else of note happened! :)
If this is supposed to be Indiana Jones, then they did a pretty poor job. Do any of you know who it's supposed to be? If so, e-mail me.
Nobody has ever yet e-mailed me about this photo.