Sunday, April 30, 2006

Up, Up and Away

Yesterday the German and I took a short flight around Damme with Lufthansa.

Wait . . . Let me back up a bit.

While driving back to Cloppenburg two weeks ago from a new company where I am giving English lessons, I saw that the city of Damme was going to have a trade show. "Damme Introduces Itself" was the title. Interesting. I thought a town fair / trade show would be a great way to find potential new customers.

So off the German and I went to the Damme trade show yesterday. Damme is a city of about 15,500 people and is located about 30 kilometers from Osnabrueck (about 50 kilometers from Cloppenburg, or 40 minutes by car). The unemployment rate in 2000 was 6%. The town is pretty old; the first churches were built around 950, and the earliest documented references about the town are from 1180. The trade show took place at the Damme airport. Yes, there is an airport in Damme. I could not believe it myself.

The trade show was huge! There are some very large companies in Damme. I also got some information about the economic situation in the Oldenburger Munsterland (which is counties Cloppenburg and Vechta). I am telling you - business is booming here! If you are looking to move and/or do business in Germany, this is definitely a place to look into. Just beware of the manure spreaders.

Going to the trade show was a good idea. I stopped by the booth of my new client, just to say hello. He seemed pleased that I dropped by. I also got a few business cards and made some new contacts.

After about 30 minutes of schmoozing, the German and I wanted to have some fun. We walked around outside. There were several flying clubs there, including Classic Wings.

Classic Wings specializes in classic airplanes, which they rent out and fly for private events and parties. Yesterday they had a 1957 Antonov AN 2 on the field. The Antonov can carry 11 people, reach a maximum speed of 180 km per hour and (according to crash statistics) is the "safest airplane in the world." It was pretty cool to look at.

We entered the tent just as they were about to make their first flight of the day. There were two spots free on the plane. Normally, it costs 40 Euro per person for the 15 minute flight around the town. The German and I had a total of 40 Euros between us. The crazy pilot was trying to get us on the plane. I can understand. He just wants to fly, but it is not really efficient to have an empty plane.

I said, "I am sorry. We only have 40 Euro and it would not be fair if only one person could go."

He smiled. "Okay. Two people. 40 Euro. No problem."

I smiled back. "Great, it's a deal." The German had wide eyes and was trying to communicate to me, "What the hell are you doing??"

5 minutes later we were sitting in the plane. The German turned to me. "Are you nuts? I never thought you would go for this."

"Why not, sweetie? Don't we deserve some fun?" He held my hand. "Yes, we do!" The plane we were on looked something like this. (All photos are from the Classic Wings website.)

The flight lasted about 15 minutes. The sky was clear and you could see for forever. Boy, northwest Germany is really . . . flat. It was totally worth the 40 Euros. In fact, I would have paid 80.


Mikey said...

You are so like me.....A romantic

christina said...

Fun! I think I saw you waving as you flew over my house. :-)

James said...

How cool! I would love to do that!

Mike B said...

I'm a bit jealous. I haven't flown one of these yet.

Dixie said...

Very cool! I'd love to do that sometime.

Haddock said...

What a cool spontaneous thing to do. My neighbour flys gliders. I will have to go for another flight with him this summer.

Just another American Expat said...

Neat! That same plane comes to Bamberg for the annual air show here. Same price only my German is not willing to shell out the cash! LOL