The return of Chris, Global tour host, or should I say Nena? After the events of "Hostess" he vowed never to wear a frock again, but girlfriend Julia came up with a challenge - is Chris man enough for the job?
Will he survive the experience?
Das Ist Normal
by Maddy Bell
All Rights Reserved.
Her Official Web Site is at MaddyBell.com Please Visit!
||Well there's one good thing when your wardrobe consists of one change of clothes, deciding what to wear is easy! It wasn't the classiest of outfits and the skirt was shorter on than it seemed in the hypermarket. On the other hand it was comfortable and the long sleeved T was just dressy enough. I finished off with a pair of tights and the cheapo sandals that I bought and after brushing my hair I was ready!
"You ready in there?" Den called through the door.
"As I'll ever be" I replied opening the door, "will I do?"
He shook his head, "you look fine, in fact I'll go as far as to say you look far too good for a guy dressing up as a girl"
I blushed something chronic.
"Come on, let's go eat"
"Money on it being veal"
"Do you think I'm daft? I've never not had veal the first night here!"
I know I said a few minutes back that the skirt was comfortable but I wasn't particularly - comfortable that is. In fact I was feeling a bit exposed walking along the street, I was glad to have Den with me. Maybe it's just me, but last week in Seefeld I was more relaxed, perhaps it's the urban environment, all I know is that I never felt like this as Chris, as myself that is!
"You were right" Den mentioned as we walked through the Vulkan-Eifel's reception. There on the blackboard was tonight's menu, Kalbfleisch, Erbsen, Rotkohl and Kartoffeln, that's veal, peas, red cabbage and potatoes to you and me.
"Ah Nena, há¤Sie vielleicht einen Moment bitte?" Frau Krefeld called over
(I'll translate this bit for you!)
"Sure Margrit, what can I do for you?"
Den was hovering by the restaurant door while he waited.
"Do you want me to book the train for you?"
I must have looked at her dumbly as she went on, "for tomorrow, the Vulkan-Express?"
It clicked then.
"Isn't it a bit late, I was planning on just turning up"
"It's no trouble, I know Gerhard Bauer in the ticket office, I can ring him at home. If you just turn up you might not get on, it's a steam day, and it gets very busy"
"I never thought of that, in that case, yes please!"
"You are going for the eleven forty five?"
"Yes, we're leaving at eleven"
"That should be fine, I call Gerhard now and sort it out"
"Thank you so much Margrit, that would have been so embarrassing!"
"You'd best take Den into supper, he's looking a bit anxious over there."
I looked over, yep! He looked like he was waiting for a first date!
"It's no trouble dear"
I walked over to the waiting figure of Den.
"What was all that about?"
"Sorting out the train for tomorrow" this is well weird; I'm putting on a phony German accent to talk English to Den after speaking in pretty well unaccented German to Margrit! But you never know who's listening.
Unlike most tourist hotels, the Vulkan runs a self service buffet arrangement for all the meals, everyone gets what they want and after a couple of days nearly everyone ends up taking much smaller portions! Most of our passengers were already eating the main course; just one or two late arrivals like us were queuing for soup.
"Can I have your attention? Just for a minute" Den started much to my surprise, "We forgot to tell you earlier, in the morning after breakfast, Nena and myself will be taking bookings for this weeks excursions, there'll be a list on the blackboard in the morning. If you want to go on any of the trips come and see us in reception, again our apologies, enjoy your meals"
"I feel like a right plonker" I hissed to Den when he joined me at the soup tureen.
"I only remembered when you said about the train"
I realised he was waiting for me to serve his soup, oh the delights of womanhood!
"Don't think I'm doing this all week"
"Oh! Sorry Chr.. Nena"
"I'll let you off this time"
"So you got there in one piece?" I asked Jules a couple of hours later
"Yeah, we arrived about twenty minutes ago" Julia replied
"Well I'm glad some one's had a trouble free day, even if it has been a long one"
"I take it you didn't?"
"Two words, missing and case"
"A passengers? That happened to me back in April"
"How? I saw you put it in the locker myself"
"Apparently one of the fitters had to take everything out to fix a fuse or something. Everything went back bar the case of yours truly"
"No! What are you gonna do for clothes?"
"Bill's coming out to join the tour tomorrow, he's bringing my case with him"
"What about tomorrow, I suppose you'll have to wear your uniform"
"No, Den stopped at a hypermarket near Liege so I got a skirt and top to tide me over, the forecast is hot and sultry over here up until Tuesday at least."
"Huh, it's raining here. I think I'll let you buy my clothes from now on, you're getting a dab hand at buying women's stuff"
"Like I want to!"
"Oh come on Chris, I was only jesting"
"But you have to admit, last time you ended up buying a couple of dresses that you didn't strictly need"
That was true enough I suppose, still the Italian leather one, hmmmm that feels so good to wear.
"Chris! Chris! Are you still there?"
"Oh sorry Jules, just thinking"
"Blondes! You're all the same!"
"I resent that and anyway you're blonde too"
"I, a, you've got me there, I don't have a point"
"No you have two sticking out from your chest!"
"Enough! I'll speak to you tomorrow"
|Den stood back and admired his handywork.
"There's no 'e' in Ná¼rburgring" I mentioned
He carefully rubbed the offending letter out.
"Come on lets get some breakfast Miss no it all!"
I got my breakfast; rye bread, ham and cheese, then set myself up in reception to book the excursions. Den brought me a coffee through then departed to go wash our transport. Over the next couple of hours I had a steady stream of punters, I think just about everyone on the bus booked to go to Trier, and maybe half a dozen missed each of the other two optionals. One of the kitchen girls brought me more coffee about ten thirty and Den rejoined me soon after.
"How we doing?"
"I think I've seen almost everyone, looks like a full bus most of the week"
"No slacking then"
"Ah Nena" Margrit mentioned coming into reception.
"Oh hi Margrit"
"I spoke with Gerhard, he expects you about eleven thirty. If you go to the Fahrkartenschalter to pay, he will give you your tickets. You have a special price I think."
"Thank you so much, it would have been a disaster huh?"
"Ja, but we are sorted now yes?"
"You need to shake a leg Nena" Den mentioned as he headed outside.
"Damn!" I gathered my papers and cash box together and headed out to Den and the waiting bus. The day looked like it was going to stay dry so at least something was going okay! A quick head count confirmed a full contingent of holidaymakers, so with a nod to Den, we set off for the day. As I'd already seen everyone this morning, I missed the good morning routine and went straight into the 'bus walk'. The ride up to Brohl only took ten minutes and Den pulled our bus up behind a German coach, thank you Margrit!
"If you can make your way up to the platform, I will find out about our reservation"
"I'll see you at the top then" Den mentioned as I collected my bag from the dash.
"I guess so, don't get lost"
I gave him a pained look before heading towards the station myself.
Gerhard had indeed arranged a special price and reserved the fifth carriage for our exclusive use. I had to rescue some of my charges who were examining our motive unit, a small steam locomotive which hissed and spat as it waited for our departure.
I'd barely found myself a slatted perch when a shrill whistle announced our departure. The little train creaked and groaned as the slack was taken up then we were off. There was a lively chatter from my passengers as we moved beneath the trees, picking up speed as our transport started the long climb up the Brohlbach. We were quickly joined by the road up the valley, our companion all the way up to Niederzissen.
We chuffed along past the Tá¶nnisstein monastic brewery, over the level crossing and up to a brief halt at Burgbrohl. Some of the men went out onto the balcony to experience the noise and sulphurous smoke as we trundled along. There was a clanking at the doorway that heralded the arrival of the refreshments trolley! I could have killed a beer but I settled for a bottle of Apfelsaft, much more Nena! What am I thinking?
Under the motorway, we were approaching the mid point of the journey, a gust of wind managed to redirect a cloud of sooty smoke into our carriage that had us all choking for a moment. We ground to a halt in the station; I took the opportunity to check on my charges.
Being a veteran traveler on this line, I've done it once before, I knew that we lost the steam engine here, the last, much steeper leg uses diesel engines, and the change would take about ten minutes. A lot of passengers got off to watch and I had to keep tabs on my people. Finally the change was done and I ushered my wayward charges back on board for the final haul up to Engeln.
Slowly our little train chugged along through the trees, the tower of Burg Olbrá¼ck presenting itself as the focus of our attention. For a second time I vowed to get up here to visit the impressive ruin. The line moved into the steep sided confines of the upper valley, channeling a nauseating stench of diesel back to us. The road appeared down below us as we started the final assault on the summit! I spotted Den and the coach parked at the top and a little over an hour after leaving the Rhein we pulled into the upper terminus of Engeln or by my translation, Angel.
"Please, can you go to the coach at ten minutes." I asked my happy crew, "we have a short drive to our ná¤chste halt."
Last time I was here we lost half the bus for nearly an hour. I didn't really expect them to get over to Den in ten minutes, food, toilets and the Vulkanpark would all delay them but hopefully we'd get away in about half an hour.
"Good trip?" Den asked
"Well I don't think I lost anyone"
"Please, it was warm on there"
"Maybe I'll get to give it a go some time, I always miss out on the train rides" he stated before ordering my ice from the kiosk.
The bit of cloud cover was gone and the clearing breeze ruffled the hem of my skirt and sent a chill up my exposed legs. We were finally all loaded by twenty past one and after a head count we set off in our lovely air conditioned splendor. Den headed us up through the village then we turned back towards the big river. The crater lake of Laacher See and our next stop at Maria Laach monastery took barely ten minutes to reach. Once parked we despatched our charges for two hours and headed for the snack bar for a light lunch.
"You seem a bit quiet" Den offered
"Come on what's biting?" he persisted
"Alright, if you must know it's this whole Nena thing. Back on the train I had a soft drink instead of beer because it was 'more' Nena"
"In case you'd forgotten, I'm Chris!" I hissed across the table
"I hadn't, but what's the big deal? So you passed up a beer, so what"
"It's not just that" I spat, "at breakfast I didn't have my usual plateful, just one roll. Anyone would think I'm on a diet!"
"So missing a drink and eating less means?"
"I don't know." I admitted, "I just seem to be becoming Nena more and more."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Maybe, oh I don't know!"
"Look Chris, you look like a woman, walk like one and that's what everyone sees, a good looking woman. Why is it so strange that you feel the need to act more like a woman? Boss man will be there when we get back; he'll be expecting you to be awkward and unsure of yourself. So snap out of it, eat your wá¼rst and show him how good you are."
"Yes Miss Ziegler, good. In fact whichever way you're dressed you are the best host on Global, the others know it, management know it, it's just you that seeks perfection"
Well that's me told!
Our passengers started to trickle back and at three thirty we pulled away for the short drive back across to Andernach.
Photos © Maddy Bell 2001,2002
End of Part 3
To Be Continued...
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