On the ride from Cologne to Aachen, I sat next to a guy with a stained suit, a smile and a dog. He asked me something in German. I told him I didn’t speak it.
Turned out he was asking if the dog was bothering me. It wasn’t, since I like dogs and actually go out of my way to hang out with them.
Talked to the guy a bit. He’s a criminal defense attorney who specializes in foreigners. Takes his dog, Max, with him everywhere, even to court. If he’s at court, he leaves the dog with a client while he’s in the courtroom.
He told a quick story about a Sinti/Roma kid (read: gypsy, for those where the word is still relatively acceptable). He was called at midnight because the kid was arrested. Of course, he brought Max. I thought the story would involve some intrigue with the kid or the police. Nope. The point was that the police were fascinated with Max, the 15-month old ‘whelp’, taking pictures and being generally excited to see him.
The guy is originally from the Black Forest but now lives in Cologne and was on his way to Aachen to deal with a ‘criminal’ (his word) who was arrested for cocaine possession (via Colombia) and would most likely be sent to prison.
A friendly guy who wasn’t comfortable with his English, he told me a bit about the various types of people he dealt with in his speciality of low-end foreign criminals. Mostly theft and drugs. He speaks German and French, some Turkish and English, and a bit of Serbo-Croatian. The Montenegran criminals, he says, do a lot of house robberies. The Russians, if I understood correctly, are frequently armed.
When we arrived in Aachen, he made sure that I was sorted out before he went off to meet with the criminal and I switched trains. Another pleasant, nameless (sans ‘Max’) encounter.