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"Earth's crammed with heaven." -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
|Episode 34--Germany: Oktoberfest--Two Beer or not Two Beer|
@ Where`s Cherie?
Aug 05 2002 - 16:39 PST
cherie writes: September 2000
Even though Kristi is an only child, she still knows how to share with Carter and I! In Germany they call a "pretzel" a "bretzel", but who cares what they call pretzels, when they taste that good!
Quote of the journal: "Maybe some women are not meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with." --Carrie Bradshaw (Sex in the City)
We've figured out the real reason people are so warm in Munich, they are drunk. Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world and we celebrated it with 8 million other people.
Oktoberfest is 16 days of big: big pretzels, big sausages and big beers. Each beer is served in one liter mugs. (One size does fit all when you are talking about beer.) After a few liters, you feel like you are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. Except instead of everyone looking worse, they look better. One liter translates into 32 ounces or roughly 14,000 grams of pure German malted beverage. The waitresses (in traditional Bavarian dress) carry twelve of these mugs at a time, the frothy head serving as a cap so the amber lager doesn't spill.
The festivities begin at 10:00 am where giant tents begin to sway from the slosh of 15,000 drunks inside (us included.) Then the German's give you the second worse thing you can give an intoxicated person--carnival rides. The worst thing: keys to car. The third worst thing--a bike.Kristi (sober) averages two falls off her bike per day. I want to say "bike crashes" but she doesn't collide with anything. Kristi just sort of, topples over.
I am allowed to make fun of Kristi because I am famous now. I had my 15 minutes of fame (correction: 15 seconds) at the Oktoberfest. A German TV crew captured Wolfgang and I making a crazy scene and it has been replayed on German television over and over. Of course the first time I make national television, it is not in my nation. Now that the request for autographs has subsided, I must get back to my quest to explore 30 countries before I am 30 years old. (I am on country #20, with June 20, 2001 (my birthday) as the target date for the completion of my goal.)
In Germany, stars like me hang out at saunas. The beer tents are similar to saunas--it is very hot, people are drinking lots of liquid, and everyone wants to take off their clothes. The sauna is where I realized that I still have issues with not being clothed. I just can't look at other naked people lounging around in a muggy wooden box without laughing. First of all, I don't buy the "we're just all relaxing together." Fess up, everyone is holding in their stomachs and checking out other people's privates.
If I was the hit of the Oktoberfest, Kristi was the star of the sauna. She learned that just because "her" is in the word "Herren" is doesn't mean it is for ladies. (It means 'men'.) Kristi realized this when she rinsed off in the men's shower room. She emerged with a smile and the newfound knowledge that while the saunas are co-ed, the showers are not.
It may be hot in the sauna and in the beer tents, but outside Munich is autumn cool. The brisk air makes you inhale a little deeper, and if you pull your arms inside your jacket, it's perfect. The next instant I want to push my arms back out of my sleeves and hug myself for being in Germany. It's only when you are immersed in a different culture that you can begin to see your own country as a foreign land.
My friend Kevin Fattor always says people should make better choices and fewer excuses. Here is my multi-pronged explanation (not excuse) for why Kristi, Carter and I have not learned to speak German.
First prong--most words sound like a sneeze (they contain way too many K's, V's and Z's.) Second prong--the u's look more like happy faces than alphabet letters (with two dots for eyes Ü.) Third prong--our "German at a Glance" phrase book includes "common" expressions which are not so common. Here is the best example of a crucial sentence included in the book. I would not be able to survive in Germany without it: "Ich trage jetzt eine Peruecke. Aber mein Kosmetiker ist sehr begabt. Ich gebe Ihnen seine Adresse."
English Translation: I'm wearing a wig now. But my beautician is very talented. I'll give you his address.
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