"you win some, you lose some...yea! But what's your record though?"
From the title of this story I think you can already get a sense of how this is going to go, but please, bear with me here.
Background Info/Setting the Scene:
For those who don’t already know, I’m currently in Germany playing for the Gießen 46ers. We are currently smack in the middle preseason. For my fellow athletes, I need not say anymore, you know what that means and what I’m currently experiencing. For my non-athletes that aren’t familiar with this particular time of the season, suffice it to say that it’s one of the more challenging/grueling portions of the season, and in some cases more so than the grind of the actual season.
During this time, off days are one of your most prized possessions, or favorite past times so to speak. Usually we get one per week, and when they come about they are to be thoroughly enjoyed by doing nothing (speaking for myself of course). My off days are what I like to refer to as my Triple R day (Triple R = RRR = Rest, Recover, Recuperate). That basically means I quite literally lay on my a** all day and not do a damn thing. Even for food, I don’t cook, I order in. Full fledged bum mode is in effect all day. Only thing semi-strenuous that I do is go to the bathroom and maybe stretch but even that on some days, depending on how the previous week went, is pushing it.
The Actual Story:
About a week ago, after two back to back tough games on the road (we won one, lost one), we were given a day off. Now you can imagine how happy I am about this. I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait to get home and activate my bum mode. Also keep in mind that at this point it has been about a month since I left the crib (Houston, TX/USA), so I’m missing home very much. More specifically, I’m missing some good ol’ Nigerian food. This craving has been building up for quite a while now. So much that I found an African restaurant here in Gießen but they only served Ethiopian food which I don’t mind but definitely nothing like the Nigerian food I want.
I get home after these games, eat some leftover food I had in my fridge, hang out for a little while, and finally go to sleep. I wake up the next morning hungry as usual (if you know me you know I don’t play with my food). However, at this point, I think it’s too early to start ordering food so I decide to kill time doing other things. To help keep me from going crazy from hunger I eat a Twix bar, a couple of Twizzlers, and cookie. As time passes, I start to peruse my little food delivery app; seeing what restaurants I might like and what I want to order. Is it going to be Chinese? Indian? Pizza? Or even some German spots that I hadn’t tried before? Then it occurred to me that I’m still craving Nigerian food.
The lightbulb went off in my head at that point. I started to think if Gießen, a relatively small city, can have an African restaurant with Ethiopian food, then Frankfurt a very large metropolitan city, and a world hub for that matter, definitely has to have some Nigerian food. After-all, we Nigerians are everywhere (no joke, not bragging either, we really are everywhere). Next step was to fire up google and do some research. I proceed to open google and do a simple search for “Nigerian restaurants in Frankfurt.” Lo and behold, the hits came pouring in. Ok I’m lying it was only about 3 but still, that was more than I had bargained for so I’m gushing at this point. I can already feel my mouth watering...
Now my situation goes from finding a restaurant to that serves Nigerian food to trying to decide which restaurant to go to. By now I’m already envisioning other trips to Frankfurt because without a doubt I have to try all the restaurants to see which one I like best. I have to find out what one restaurant has compared to what another doesn’t have. I even go as far as to download the Yelp app to get better reviews on these restaurants. I want to make sure I make the best choice. I even found out one of the restaurants usually has a buffet on certain days. I crossed them off the day’s list because I was thinking I wanted my food fresh, and the buffet might mean the food could have been sitting there for a little while already.
Now I’m hyped. I get directions to the restaurant I picked. It says 35 mins away. In my head I’m thinking I can cut that to under 30. Especially if there’s no one in the way on the autobahn (driving on the autobahn is an experience on its own so that just made this trip sound even better). So I take a shower, get dressed, and hit the road. A couple keys to remember at this point...I still haven’t eaten a meal today besides the twix, twizzlers, and cookie...during the drive it starts raining so the drive takes about 45-55 mins unlike the under 30 I had estimated.
Those were the highlights of my day. Now for the lowlights because it was clearly all uphill from there...if you’ve watched the movie Due Date you get that joke, if you haven’t never mind).
Upon arriving at the restaurant (well the vicinity of the restaurant), the first task was to find parking. This is Frankfurt a major city, as you can imagine parking spots are hard to come by. After a 15 min circle session I finally find one, I needed a pass to park there but I really in my mind said “F it, if I get a ticket I do, I gotta go eat.” I walk to the site of the restaurant is it’s nowhere to be found. Quite literally nowhere to be found. I’m staring at the address in my phone and looking at the number on the side of the building. They match but there’s no restaurant. Only a Chinese spot right next to where I think the restaurant used to be. I even so much as walk around the block to make sure I’m not tripping, but sure enough the restaurant was absent.
I walk away shaking my head, but I’m not too upset. Why should I? Afterall I’m in Frankfurt, and my research showed there were a couple other restaurants just like this in the city so I’m seeing no reason to fret at this point. I calmly walk back to my car, punch in the directions to the second restaurant on my list. Directions say 14 mins away (great I’ll be there in no time). What I failed to factor in was city traffic so this trip really took 30 mins. While on my way to restaurant #2, something told me to go back online and check the restaurant, make sure it was still open and not shut down like the one I had just left. Internet was moving really slow on my phone as is to be expected when things start not going your way. It wasn’t until I was about 5 mins away from restaurant #2 did I realize where it said the restaurant does not open for another 30 mins. 3pm to be exact. I’m thinking what kind of restaurant doesn’t open until 3pm ON A MONDAY!!!
Once again no sweat. I don’t have time to wait for it to open. Especially when I know there’s one more restaurant that I haven’t tried yet. I get the address and find out they’re open and it was on to restaurant #3. Unluckily I had to go through another bad traffic jam. What was supposed to be a 10 min trip took much longer and I didn’t get to the restaurant’s general location until about 3:10pm. Now I’m kicking myself because I should just have stayed the course to restaurant #2 and helped them open the restaurant and be the first customer of the day, but hey I’m here now.
Finding parking here wasn’t necessary because when I got to the front of restaurant #3. They were closed. Not closed as in they aren’t open for the day yet, I mean closed as in it looks like no one has set foot in the restaurant or even the front steps of the restaurant in a long long while. Now I’m really mad, I should just have stayed the course to restaurant #2 like I had originally thought. Also in my mind I’m thinking “why do Nigerians have to be such Nigerians sometimes?” But then I catch myself; I won't bash my people, after all there’s no telling what happened that they closed. Guess I’ll just stick to the original plan b which was going to restaurant #2.
Now when things decide they aren’t going to go according to plan, they really don’t go according to plan. I won’t bore you with the in between drive, you can imagine how that went, but when I got to restaurant #2, guess what, they too were closed. With this restaurant I honestly couldn’t tell if they were shut down for good or just not open for the day, but it looked pretty deserted. Even the area was somewhat secluded. As you can also imagine I’m fuming at this point.
It’s past 4pm. I’ve been driving around looking for Nigerian food to no avail. I’m looking online and I can’t find any other restaurants that serve Nigerian or even West African food in general. On top of that it’s raining and gloomy, and guess what, my gas tank is on E. All of those are trumped by the fact that I’M HUNGRY!!!!!!
Now I just want to eat and it doesn't matter what I get. I decide on Chinese. I go to the nearest gas station and fill my car back up and while I’m there I search for the nearest chinese restaurant. I see it’s a buffet. Even better because I’m really about to get my money's worth. I get there and spend another 30 mins looking for parking. Finally find a spot, walk to the restaurant, the doors are open, I walk in and the owner/manager/server is on the phone not paying me the big black guy that just walked into your restaurant any mind. I look back into the restaurant and see a row of steaming pots. I’m thinking, well while he’s on the phone I’ll go have a look and see what they have. I get back there and all that’s steaming is boiling water. I’m really about to lose it at this point. Especially because whoever that was on the phone still was paying me no mind whatsoever.
At the end of the day, I ended up walking about three more blocks to another Chinese restaurant. It actually ended up being good. Reminded me of this corner spot I used to go with my friends in high school. However, I plan on going back to this restaurant again. I love good food, but I can’t seem to figure out if the food really was that good or I was just extremely hungry at that point and whatever I ate would have tasted amazing.
What hurt the most through all that was that, on the drive home (while I was stuck in traffic again getting out of the city), all I could think of was that, I could have stayed home and stuck to the original plan (be a bum, and order take out). For one thing I may have been on my second meal of the day by now, but most importantly I would have been way more well rested and I wouldn’t have spent as much money only to end up not getting what I wanted in the first place.
One thing to note is that, I’m extremely happy I was by myself through all this. Had I been with someone, there’s no telling what would have happened, what I would have said, or what I would have done. I’m not a pleasant person to be around when I’m hungry.