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"A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because
it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing in
" -- Maya Angelou
|Episode 33--Germany: Frankfurters in Frankfurt|
@ Where`s Cherie?
Aug 05 2002 - 09:36 PST
|cherie writes: September 2000|
"Send the Americans to me!" Andre shouted into his "handy" or cell phone. If Barbie was a German doll, she would be dating Andre, not Ken.
So, Cat plopped Kristi, Carter and I on a train (because the car exploded) to meet Andre (Cat's friend.) Andre did not know what he was in for when he signed up for the next shift of entertaining "the Americans."
There is an adrenaline rush you get every time you step off a train into a strange city, with a strange language, going to meet a strange person. There is a certain finality when the train lurches to a stop. You are here. Figure it out. "There's a Hanover sign and a cute guy waving at us, we must be in the right place."
The World Expo (which occurs every ten years) is in Hannover, Germany. Millions of people travel to see hundreds of countries spend billions of dollars to showcase their special contributions to the world. Crammed in Andre's BMW (Germans say BMV) we practiced our USA chants. (Who said Kristi would never use her cheerleading experience after high school?) We weren't sure what the USA would do. We were only sure of one thing: it would be big, it would be amazing, it would be...the best!
And what we did was truly shocking. Nothing. USA did nothing. Our country's only representation at the World Expo was a McDonald's every 50 meters. Upon reflection, maybe it was appropriate. There is was, for all the world to admire...USA's voice of the future: fast food. If I can say one thing about Americans, we certainly know how to eat fast and snack well.
The best part of the World Expo--the birdseed playground. Twenty years of maturity slipped away as we tossed off our socks and shoes and frolicked in the birdseed. We rolled in it. We swam in it. We scooped up handfuls and tossed them into the air and then watched it rain tiny specks of gold.
Had the decision been mine alone, we might still be there absorbing the therapeutic benefits of birdseed. Seeing how I've had to learn "it's not all about me" the four of us made our way to Andre's home in Frankfurt. His living room floor turned into our beds. Entrepreneur alert--there may be an untapped market for birdseed matresses. You heard it here first! Bonus advice: don't try to market "sleeping on the floor." No matter how you try to package it "it will be like a slumber party!" In the end, it just plain sucks.
We had frankfurters in Frankfurt, but they weren't any different from the hot dogs we scarfed down in every other German city. Vegetarians, don't come to Germany. The German's have figured out a way to work some type of sausage into every meal. Call it what you want, it's still a bunch of ears and toes chopped up and stuffed into an intestine. I never thought three women would be complaining about too many long wieners.
We didn't like the ratio of one guy to three girls, so we went to Munich were we moved in with four guys: Wolfgang, Antek, Torstin and Model. (Real names.) I felt strangely connected there, like someone took something away from me a long time ago, and waited until I got to Munic to give it back. It's the same feeling you get when you eat a bowl of chicken soup when you are sick--warm and content. Munich is a city where the warm people make up for the cold weather. When we got to Antek's room, he had tacked up a giant American flag to make us feel at home. Then he let us use his bikes and he painted our names on them (the misspelling adding to the charm of it.)
Antek is an architect and the head apartment chef. Kristi and I are the head eaters. Torstin fondly refers to us as his "chocolate monsters." Wolfgang (coolest name) is the gorgeous sous chef and Model (not a model) took us to his home town of Landshut where we saw the largest brick church in the world. (Ironic how I never seem to go to church in the USA, but when I am on vacation, I find I am going to churches everyday.)
The sweetness of Torstin is best described when Torstin took me to the hospital (I am fine now.) None of the doctors spoke English, so Torstin got a job he didn't apply for--translator. First, it was a women's hospital. Female doctors and patients alike scrunched up their faces at Torstin wondering why he was even there.
A nurse spoke German to Torstin and he translated everything to me, even the most personal questions. He even managed "when was your last menstrual cycle?" without so much as a blush. My embarrassment culminated in Torstin handing me a plastic cup to fill. I came back from the bathroom with my beaker of pee and handed it to the nurse. She slapped a label on it, and handed it to Torstin and told him to take it to the lab. A very special connection was formed that moment between Torstin and I. Pee carrying may be a more intimate bond than sex. In the end, I could barely walk out of the hospital. I was bent over giggling, hysterically gasping for air. Laughter is definitely the best medicine.
Next Adventure: OktoberfestCherie
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