About the time I arrived at Dusseldorf with basically no money or accommodation and slept and showered at a stranger’s house, who I met by spilling his coffee in the train.
I’m writing this one year late, because frankly, I was quite embarrassed by what had happened last year when I arrived at Dusseldorf for Q-Base. In my Q-Base review post, I mentioned my encounter with a guy who spilled his coffee upon meeting me, without going into much detail. The story, to me, was as cringe-worthy as was is amusing, so I decided to finally share the full account here of my missteps.
Forgetting my bank cards on an international trip
I booked a whirlwind weekend trip to Dusseldorf in order to attend the Q-Base festival. My flight left Barcelona early in the morning on Saturday and the flight next day was due to return in the evening on Sunday. I didn’t bother to book a hotel to save money and reasoned that I’d just rally, skip sleep, and do some sightseeing to kill the time.
My misadventure began as soon as I stepped into the metro to the airport in Barcelona. I realized I completely forgot to bring any of my credit cards and only had around 50 euros on me. While I considered turning back to get my cards, I didn’t know if I would be able to make my flight if I had done that. I figured I could probably make do with the money I had for a 1.5 day trip… hopefully.
Spilling a guy’s coffee
I arrived to Dusseldorf without further incident and got on the airport train for the city center. To confirm I’m going the right way, I decided to ask a guy who also got on the train for directions. I approached him and as he turned around to sit down. It appears I might have startled him and he dropped his Starbucks coffee all over the floor of the train. Shit! We made eye contact for what it seemed like forever, awkwardly, unsure what to do. I was going to just walk on by but since we were already staring at each other, it would have been odd if I didn’t say anything either. I made a weird pivot and blurted out “Uh…Is this the train to Dusseldorf?”, pretending that the coffee incident didn’t happen, and he said yes.
I said thanks and slinked off to a part of train that did not require me to make more eye contact with the guy. I felt pretty bad because I was pretty sure he dropped his coffee because of me… should I have offered to buy him a new one (would have seemed like a terrible pick up line)? Or should I have at least apologized (but was it really my fault)? Anyway, because I am shy, I ended up saying nothing.
We arrived at the Dusseldorf train station and I got off. I stopped briefly when I got off the platform to find my way. It was around noon, and I was supposed to meet Fernando (my rave buddy) at the train station later at like 4pm. To kill time, I wanted to do some tourism at the Dusseldorf city center.
While I was looking around, the same guy approached me and asked if I need some more help. I told him that I wanted to go to visit the city center, find some lunch, until I was due to meet my friend later. He said he was headed the same way and could walk with me there. Let’s call him Manel from now on. Turns out Manel is a Brazilian expat who lives in Dusseldorf.
We decided to get lunch together. He suggested a place that was advertising 15 euro meals, so I awkwardly told him about my money predicament and suggested a cheaper place. We ate and he ended up paying for me because he felt bad for me I suppose. I insisted to pay my own bill but accepted in the end.
I also mentioned to him during the course of conversation that I had come here to go to a rave without booking any accommodations. He said that if I needed I could crash at his place after the party. I was determined not to take his offer, as I thought that’d make me seem a bit odd, but I thanked him and added him on Facebook anyway.
I went off on my way and was at the festival for the next 12 hours. It was a blast, besides losing my friends towards the last 2 hours and being on my own! But it’s okay, I met some new people. I found Fernando only after the festival ended at 7am, and this is how I felt after a night of dancing:
No sleep and no hotel
We returned to Dusseldorf early in the morning, probably around 8am. We sat at the McDonald’s at the central station like zombies eating McMuffins. Fernando’s bus was due to leave in an hour – How was I supposed to survive another 12 hours in this city? Furthermore, it wasn’t even a nice day, it was misty and rainy.
About to faint from tiredness and covered in dust, I saw no other option than to contact Manel to see if his option to house me still stood. Fortunate for me, he replied shortly after saying I can go over.
His house was only about 15 minutes walking from the train station. I didn’t have mobile data in Germany, so I waited outside his door when I arrived as he didn’t have a doorbell. Maybe because he is Brazilian, he took really long to come downstairs, like 20 minutes. I stood outside his door in my rave outfit (booty shorts with lace tights). Pretty sure I looked like an Asian prostitute standing on the street corner of a family neighborhood.
I took a shower at his apartment, then attempted to take a nap. But I think because of all the red bulls I drank, I couldn’t really fall asleep despite being really tired. We ended up chatting for awhile. He had no internet in his studio so there was nothing else to do.
We went out for lunch and came back to his place again. With some food in my tummy, I felt like I could sleep again (on his couch). Manel also laid down (in his bed) to take a nap. I was still tossing and turning when Manel abruptly said “Would it help you sleep if we slept … conchinha?”
I had told Manel that I speak Portuguese, but I didn’t recognize that word, so I was like what? He said hold on while he looked it up. Seemed like the longest minute ever since I kind of sensed what was coming.
“Spooning,” he said. “Would it help you sleep if we were spooning?”
I was speechless… “…No”
When I’m nervous I repeat myself several times… “… No… No…”
“…I’m not interested in that”
He tried to salvage the situation: “You know in Brazil it’s a normal thing, it doesn’t mean anything.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just said nothing.
I managed to sleep a bit, and Manel didn’t try anything else. He walked me to the bus stop to go to the airport and we said goodbye – that was that.
When I got back to Barcelona, I got a chance to look at his Facebook. I saw that he had a girlfriend in Brazil who he had just gone to Italy with! That was posted exactly when I met him as he was on his way back to Dusseldorf from the airport. He had told me he had gone to Italy with his mother and sister. Hmm… Not that it mattered to me, but it did get me feeling quite scandalized about the nature of men.
An odd but memorable story from my international raving experiences! In any case, thanks for housing me, feeding me, and sorry about your coffee, Manel!