30 April 2005

Ein Fest!

Last night, we were at Heilbronn's May festival. It was a crazy asssortment of amusement park rides with food and clothes stalls mixed in between. We gravitated towards the massive beer tent, and after a bogo (Buy One Get One free) beer and some nice sausage at the outside tables, we headed inside for the oompah band. It was a very nice time indeed.

My observations:

1) There is a trend for guys in Germany (or at least Heilbronn) to wear capri pants or clamdiggers. Man, that is not cool. Especially on the punk guy with the chain for a belt, the mohawk and the ratty leather jacket with anti-nazi stuff safety pinned to it. The punk look was great, until the jeans rolled up to his knees. (It would have been OK if the jeans were violently ripped off instead of rolled up).
2) There is a girl in the Heilbronn region who looks remarkably like Kirsten Dunst.
3) The only pay toilet I have found in this city is at Theriesienwiese.
4) We should limit ourselves to 2 Maß in one night until we have some serious beer training.
5) The cheap two-for-one beer is offset by paying to pee.
6) It still blows my mind seeing 14-year olds chugging liquor and slurping beer with (presumably) their big brother/sister.
7) There is no number 7.
8) On this first fest of the year with good weather, plenty of girls are out in their best Hollywood hooker attire.
9) I forgot number 9 (thanks to #4)

All in all, it was a good time.

23 April 2005

What a Day!

What a horrible day.

After taking care of the mundane things like laundry, cleaning, lunch, half-marathon training and checking up on a insubordinate mail server, it was now "Allan time". And it is more "Allan" than usual, since on a normal Saturday afternoon I have the pleasure of spending it with my wonderful wife Jeannette, but this Saturday she happens to be in California hanging out with an old friend after a week-long business trip. Normally I am all up for exploring the world, but for some reason I had the urge to just stay at home, kick back & relax. Probably thanks to the training and getting over a rather tenacious cold.

So, after evaluating the weather (absolutely gorgeous), taking an inventory and making minor preparations, I am spending the afternoon on my balcony, sipping wine (ok, technically Weinschorle) from Landkreis Heilbronn (gotta love that rapper pose in the official Landratsamt Heilbronn logo), listening to some of my favorite music and reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, which was a belated birthday gift from my brother Brian. The wine is excellent, the music great, and the book is good. I must admit that progress on the book is slow, since I am making frequent breaks to watch the people, swans, bikers, joggers, dogs, ducks, insects, kids, boats etc. going by outside on the river and hike/bike path, and naturally, my pint glass needs the occasional refill of approximately 65% Heilbronner Staufenberg Reisling and 35% sprudel. The book, after about 174 pages, is quite good.

So, please excuse my spelling and grammar mistakes, and enjoy this beautiful day. I would love to hear how you are spending it. Zum Wohl!

And, in closing, just in case you couldn't figure it out, that first line is a joke.

22 April 2005

Bumper Sticker

While we were wandering through Nürnberg last month, Jeannette saw this bumper sticker*.

Which says "We can [do] everything/anything. Except 'proper' German. Baden-Württemberg."

This is so funny to me... Let me go back a year. I was trying to get this job in Heilbronn, I was taking German classes and doing pretty well. I was on a business trip to Duisburg, Germany and out at a Kneipe with some of my Duisburg friends and colleagues. We were talking about my aspirations to move to Germany, but they kept warning me about how everyone in Heilbronn speaks schwäbisch and how it would be impossible to understand anything. Like I said, I was doing well with my German classes, and feeling good about it, so I assumed they were just giving me a hard time and said to myself "I'm getting this German thing, Heilbronn is in Germany, how hard could it possibly be?"

Fast forward to October 2004. I sit down with the Mitarbeiter for my first staff meeting in my new Abteilung. My boss tells them that since I had just arrived in Germany, and I wasn't familiar with the schwäbisch dialect, that at this meeting they could either speak in "proper German" (Hochdeutsch) or English.

Every single one of them decided that it would be easier to have the meeting in English.

Oh, and in case it isn't clear, let me mention that Heilbronn is in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, hence the relevance to the bumper sticker.

*Despite the fact that it was stuck to the rear window, I am reserving the right to call it a bumper sticker, since "rear window sticker" just doesn't roll off the keyboard like "bumper sticker".

18 April 2005

Heilbronn Weather

Why is it that the weather here is beautiful, until we are 10+ km away from home on our bikes? Only then does it rain...

16 April 2005

Ein Maß, bitte!

I am almost ashamed to say it, but I have been in Germany for 6 months and today was the first day that I had ein Maß of beer at a Biergarten. The Biergarten thing I can blame on the fact that I didn't get here until near winter. Can't go to the Biergarten when they are closed. I gues that is also is kind of the excuse for the Maß - a beer that size is really meant for the Biergarten.

(image blatantly stolen from Google Images)

Anyway, I can't write much more... My typing is suffering from the quantity of beer I have had in the last couple hours...

Oh, and since this is so boring, you should check out what Jeannette has to say about underwear. In fact, if you want to do me a favor, you should leave comments about how she just doesn't have enough variety in the sexy underwear department. Thanks for pulling for me.