Diddakoi Walt Whitman
Take me home...St Emilion  kay@diddakoi.com

Updated: 09/22/06

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What's on the nightstand

"The Confusion"
by Neal Stephenson


jet lag

Friday, 22 September, 2006

I seriously do not need to drink any more beer. Possibly ever, but at least until next Oktoberfest. That said, it was quite an experience and we and the clients had a good time.

My colleague, Mike, and I arrived about 5 hours late into Munich, due to a "technical problem" with the Lufthansa plane out of Heathrow. The delay was OK, not much one can do about that and I'd much rather have a plane without a technical problem than the alternative. I was not very happy about the fact that they were fixing the plane at the gate, and we could all look out at the Airbus with its right engine cowls opened up and three mechanics poking around at it, even as we were boarding.

["Hey, Nigel, what do you think this piece is for?"]

But, it worked and we had an uneventful flight, getting to the hotel around 7:30. We freshened up and headed over to find our clients who were already at Oktoberfest. Essentially, Oktoberfest is a giant carnival, complete with roller coasters, food vendors and souvenir shops lining the central midway. These are interspersed with a dozen or so MASSIVE beer "tents", although they look like gigantic warehouses. Each one holds on average 5,000 - 6,000 people inside with outdoor seating for another 2,500 - 5,000 at most tents.


The festival opens at noon, and the beer comes in one-liter glass steins. We saw one waiter carrying NINE full steins in ONE HAND - eight grouped together by the handles and one resting on the top rims of the eight below it. That would be almost 20 pounds of liquid weight, plus the glass steins themselves! They stop serving at 10:00 p.m., although we passed a few people on the way in who looked like they should have stopped a few hours earlier.

Since hearing a phone was out of the question, we sent e-mails back and forth to try to figure out how to find the clients. I asked which tent they were in and received the following message:

"Louvenbrau. 7 o clock from band at central stage. 8 rows out. On table."

In case you want to see what it looks like, here's a shot from the Lowenbrau tent's webcam taken last night at 8:00 p.m. [around the same time we arrived on Sunday]:

Lowenbrau tent, September 21, 8:00 p.m.

Surprisingly, we found them after only ten minutes or so. The party was in full swing, and while we did find time to have some wienerschnitzel, mostly we stood on the tables, drinking beer and singing. It was pretty hilarious.

At 10:00 we ventured back outside and went on some roller coasters. Well, the clients did - I suggested that the combination of several hours of beer drinking and violently spinning rides would not have a positive outcome for me. We got back to the hotel around midnight - a full day indeed.

The next morning we had a business meeting and lunch and then headed downtown to do some shopping and stroll around before dinner. We met our hosts around 5:00 and went back to Oktoberfest, this time to the Schottenhamel tent, with seating for 10,000. We had a reserved table at the back on the ground floor and had a fun evening with our hosts. The schweinhaxe (roast pork knuckle) was particularly tasty.

I have to say that even with the huge crowds and the stunning amount of beer inbibed, most people are quite well behaved. A couple of fist fights, generally due to a beer being knocked over (or onto), but most people are pretty relaxed about things. We met people from all over the world, and it is really something to witness a crowd of 6,000 people all singing "Hey Jude" together.

The rest of the trip was quite tame in comparison, with real meetings and visits and business suits so I won't bore you with the details. But when we got to London, Gary had arranged to have a huge bouquet of flowers delivered to my room so that I would have them on my birthday. And he packed a present for me to open on my birthday morning before going to the airport to come home. And I received a talking e-card from:

Talking Yellow Bear

Dearest Kay,

Suki has stopped moving me around long enough to wish you a Happy Birthday from Suki, Gary and myself.

Yellow Bear

When I got home yesterday afternoon I called Mom and read e-mails - thank you for all the birthday wishes! And there were presents! As usual, Mom and Dad gave me too much - several books, a DVD and a vacuum food saver system. Gary came home from work and also gave me too much. In addition to the beautiful silver bracelet that he packed in my suitcase, I got a new tiny digital camera - it will give Jeff's small one a run for the money size-wise. Plus an underwater housing for it! I guess Gary's not going to be the only underwater photographer now! And if that weren't enough, a lovely Tiffany's silver necklace.

We went out to a very nice Cuban/South American restaurant for dinner. I was lovely, but I was ready to sleep when we got home around 9:00. Suki was happy to have both of us where we belong.

[I think we all were.]


[Only 6,605 more needed for our Wine Cellar Wall.]

Quote du jour:

"They who drink beer will think beer."

Washington Irving (1783 - 1859) US short-story writer, essayist

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