Answers to those IAQs, Part 3

Links to what you may have missed: Infrequently Asked Questions,  Answers Part 1, Answers Part 2.

How long will it take the locksmith, called at midnight, to break into the Airbnb flat that your host’s key was unable to open?

Berlin locksmith 2016 copy

As I sat on the tile floor leaning against the wall of the entryway, I confess that I was doing my best to stay aloof from the whole tedious situation, so I’m not exactly sure.

I know that we got to the Berlin flat just before midnight, and that once the lock had been broken into we finally dragged our various belongings across the threshold at around 1 am, wimseybut just when the small-talk with the man with the wrong key gave way to the banging, prying and drilling of the locksmith, I can’t say for sure, having retreated into a recorded book (Lord Peter Wimsey sleuthing charmingly). I assume I’ll be taking the small-talk shift the next time we wait for a locksmith.

The problem shoe and the solution shoe

The problem shoe and the solution shoe

What happens when a race to catch a plane is crossed with “Mom, the sole of my shoe is coming off the bottom, and these are my only shoes on the trip”?

Thank heavens for very long shoelaces–El Guapo did a nice little emergency wrap, and we resigned ourselves to setting aside time for either shoe hunting or glue hunting (I’m not sure what Shoe Goo’s technical name is in English or German).

As luck would have it, on our way from the flat to the grocery store we happened upon a second-hand shop. Among their small selection of shoes were two pairs of sneakers. Amazingly, one pair Ninja was both able and willing to wear. We also found a blazer that looked great on El Guapo, and for a wonder, the store was having a sale: blazers and shoes, 50% off. The blazer was €2,50, the shoes €6. Hard to imagine an easier solution to a tricky problem.

When “wifi provided” turns out to have been a polite (or impolite) fiction, and you need internet for making travel arrangements, what is plan B?

First we tried Plan A.5, which was to believe the landlord’s promise that someone would bring a portable wifi hotspot by the next day. When “certainly by 3 pm” became “actually, it’s not going to happen,” Plan B became The Chicken House, two blocks down (quite close to our favorite Berlin thrift store), with a salty burrito-ish thing as a pretext, and later a stool in a courtyard as a perch.


El Guapo’s need was greatest, so he suffered both the burrito and the little stool. The rest of us didn’t suffer much until the lack of things we might have arranged if we had had internet (the following night’s lodging, for instance) caught up with us. But for a time it was nice to be having an enforced no-internet holiday to invite us to power down devices.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.00.16 PM

An early stage in Ninja’s 3D modeling of Thor’s hammer

In what game does one come across Thor and a time-traveling enchilada?

The game* is one invented by Fiddler and Ginger, using the cards of another game called Quiddler. In the new game, each player is dealt a number of cards and asked to use the letters on the cards to form a word and make up a definition for it. While the rest of us invented words and definitions in the direction of facetious and strange, Ninja was the farthest out toward Outlandish, on his way to Over-the-top.

Just how wet can you get in a “chance of rain” in London? (for those guessing “wetter than in a four-minute shower,” extra points!)

Perhaps you’ve heard that the Inuit language has dozens of words for snow. I once stayed with a lovely woman in Paisley, Scotland who listed for me dozens of terms for rain that are common in the UK. “Bucketing” is one I remember from her list, and bucketing is what we saw the day the forecast called for a chance of rain in London.

In fact, bucketing was what we ended up walking through, as we had decided (when we left the flat and were still buying the “chance of rain” line) to stay above ground to be able to wander wherever we saw something that caught our eye.

Once the rain started in earnest we had some difficulty seeing much of anything until we fetched up sopping at the British Museum, at which point we decided that contemplating its world-renowned collection was just what we wanted to be doing. We wrung ourselves out in the entry, then explored boldly. I’m sure that London’s weather provides the museum with a steady supply of dripping patrons.

Ninja in the Great Court of the British Museum

Ninja in the Great Court of the British Museum

* The name is Quququdz–very interesting to look at, very hard to pronounce. We’ll save the origin story for another time.

[Images: El Guapo,, Yours Truly]

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