8.25.2008

I'm the map!

Turns out, children’s cartoons *can* be educational. For those of you who don’t have kids under five, allow me to educate you. The title of this post refers to Dora the Explorer, a capable little Latina, who travels around the world with her monkey companion Boots, an animated Backpack, and, of course, the Map.

This weekend I played the role of Dora, traveling all the way across Germany to Berlin. Charlie was my version of Boots. We each had our own luggage. And my portable GPS system (called Ginger by a select few) was going to stand in for Map.

But wait...

“You don’t have a map?” my landlord, Tom, asked right before I hopped in the Mini to start my 7-hour trek to Berlin.

“No, I don’t need it. I’ve got my GPS.” I replied.

“No, no, no.” Tom said in disbelief. “GPS doesn’t always work. Please take my Germany road atlas just to be safe.”

I took Tom’s inferior map only because I didn’t want to offend him, tossed it in the floor next to a used and crumpled McDonalds’ bag, and made my way north and east for destination Berlin.

Map (or Ginger) perfectly navigated my drive--from the A67 to A6, the A6 to the A5, the A5 to the A7, the A7/A4 to the A/10, to the A9 and so forth and so on. But once I arrived and parked my car in the Swissotel's parking garage, Ginger could enjoy a well-deserved holiday. Charlie and I no longer needed a GPS system to help us walk up and down Kurfürstendammstrasse (Berlin’s version of 5th Avenue), gawking in the Chanel window, and leisurely drinking coffee at Starbucks while we people watched.

In fact, Ginger wasn’t called upon at all until the rainy and foggy Sunday at 5:30 a.m. when I needed to get back to my husband, who was arriving home from the United States.

I turned Ginger on and punched in our new destination: home. Ginger began calculating my route out of Berlin and back to Bad Durkheim. I noticed she was being unusually slow and thoughtful. She had taken a few minutes and only calculated 53% of the route, when something unusual happened. Ginger flashed a warning box at me.

“Not enough internal memory to calculate your destination,” she wrote.

Huh? She had gotten me to Berlin without any trouble. What was different now? I turned my GPS on and off a few times, tried repeatedly to get her to show me the way home, but nothing worked. Ginger, seemed delusional and as foggy as the weather we were experiencing.

I didn’t know what I was going to do. I drove around the very large metropolitan for an hour and a half before I remembered what, days earlier, I had discarded on the floorboard next to me...

Tom’s map.



I could hear the Dora jingle riging in my brain.


I pulled my car over and did something I haven’t done in many years: I mapped my own way home from Berlin down Germany’s many Autobahns. Surprisingly, just like Dora the Explorer, I lived to tell about it.

16 comments:

Andrea said...

It's got to be something about using the portable ones in Germany. Our TomTom constantly has trouble finding the GPS signal (and this is our second one our first having been stolen).
My old car had a built in navi and I never had a problem with that one.
I'm glad you made it safely home. I don't think I could do the map thing, I'm just not good at it :)

Lynda said...

When travelling with my father-in-law, I asked him why he didn't use his GPS in the car? It seemed a rather logical thing considering his love of all things orderly. His response made me laugh for about an hour:
"I can't, everytime I turn it on, your mother-in-law ends up arguing with it to the point I think she is going to have a cardiac!".

LOL fab!

Global Librarian said...

For future reference...

You GPS system probably has a reset button on it somewhere. That has worked for me!

Love my TomTom. Wouldn't take a trip without it!

AmyD said...

Good work! I always kind of panic when I think about having to use a map to find my way around. That's why I print out mapquest (there AND back) before I leave for a trip I've never been on before, even with our GPS!

Maybe I could use a lesson from Dora? ;o)

kenju said...

Thanks heaven for Tom, right? Now tell us about Berlin.

Charlotte said...

Ah, the good old German maps. Glad you got home ok. You know, you could also have found an internet cafe and used Google Maps or Mapquest to print out your directions ... if you didn't have, of course, your nice, trusty map from fabulous Tom.

A Touch of Dutch said...

I'm glad The Map saved the day!

I sometimes drive my husband crazy by pre-navigating on Google maps, but our GPS navigation has fizzled out on us one too many times & we've been semi-stuck in some strange places.

Monica said...

Good to know that we can always go back to the old fashion ways.. sometimes having technology 100% of the time in our life is no fun.

Glad you got yourself (and Charlie!) home safe and sound.

Snooker said...

Happy to find out that you navigated your way back home ok.

On our recent road trip I had a love-hate relationship with Lisa our lovable TomTom voice. She got us out of some sticky situations, but at the end of the trip I felt like I didn't have a good perspective on where we had been. Oh well.

Once again, it was lovely to meet you... come back anytime!

AND HEY... thanks for the lovely "I'm the Map" EarWorm

ms chica said...

So, Tom Tom gave you a map map?

LZ Blogger said...

Diane ~ Cute story... It was great to see you found your way back to my blog with your cute new updated avatar. I know all too well about "Dora the Explorer". I hope my grandaughters never have to choose between me or Dora! ~ jb///

Me said...

So true! I have cursed more than once at not having a REAL map with me when other sources didn't work anymore.

Yelli said...

Glad you made your way back although having you in Berlin longer would not have been such a bad thing!

I am also glad to hear you have map skills. I don't think young'uns are learning or using these skills ever with the availability of TomToms and mapquest. I question whether I could use one now or not! It has been awhile!

BTW: your landlord is truly a nice person and a PROPHET!!!

Connie said...

I'm envious 'Dora'! I would love to play with a modern GPS!

GPS in Cairo is - useless. So are most maps. I use Google Earth on my home computer, zoom in and out to see where the traffic goes, and then anshallah it off to my destination by memory and positive attitude. Usually the main flow of traffic, and there is always traffic, indicates the primary routes. All else fails, the compass will get me to the Nile, and up or down that will find me a landmark. One day it will be me singing that Map song!

The Grunt said...

Diane, you've got to see this routine of comedian Brian Reagan's on Dora the Explorerhere. The bit starts at the 7min35sec mark to the finish. Enjoy!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

LOL...We have a Garmin Nuvi...and never leave home without it here in Germany. Never thought I would feel that way about a GPS, but I do. However, we also keep maps in our cars too...just in case :)