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Michael’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 23 Sep 2006

Location: Munich, Germany

MapOktoberfest 2006 – Part 2

Please read Part 1 (below, or on previous diary entry page) prior to this if you haven’t already.

Before I go on, I am sure that a couple of you (okay, two, and you know who you are) read part one, watched the videos, and are thinking “I wish he wouldn’t drink so much”. I understand your concern – and it is only cos you love me - but I plead with you to trust me, and have faith. I am healthier than I was when I left home, despite this massive influx of amber liquid. I will also give a warning that this entry (and the videos) is much more drunk natured. I also figure that there are a few of you out there laughing at me, and not with, but hey – you only do so many things once in your life, might as well go hard. Then there are other (God I hope so) that are laughing with me. In any case, the one sure thing is that the members of the TDE will all be fully behind my actions at Oktoberfest and I hope they are happy with this endorsement.

So where to continue – ah yes, lunch, well, whatever the meal is after breakfast and a fist full of beers. It was about 3pm, and I finally caved in and went for the Pork Schnitzel. Looking back, not the best ever, bust shit it filled the spot at the time! It was around that time that I saw my first, and only shattering of a stein for the festival. And boy, when that thing went, it was a weapon, jagged edge’s everywhere, and I’m not talking about the all male vocal group.

Eventually I headed for a look round the pig-pen. It’s right in the middle and is the only area in the Hoffbrau tent (and maybe any tent?) that you can get served whilst standing up. So of course, if the tables are full, you head to the pen. Well, you know what that means. Sardines, hot, and tempers flaring. But there are a couple of rules… well one really – no underwear. You get caught with them, you will be asked to remove them, or more likely have them removed from ya. What happens then? Well poor old Aloysius, the rotating angel playing the harp sitting on the cloud above the pig-pen gets a new outfit.

We’d been running into heaps of Kristy’s housemate (Shernell's ex-housemates) that were sitting near by (Jeremy, Lamby, Bianca) so the crowd of people I knew, or at least had half an idea of who there were was constantly increasing. Just as often it was people no-one knew just joining in the fun – or complaining they couldn’t get a beer – and we’d send Edda, she’d be back in 2min with a beer and the drinker would tip very generously.

Across from our table, and only a stones throw away, was the dressed in red USA Drinking team – with names like Chad, CJ, JJ, Slim and Billy… how could we not win? There was a pretty interesting shouting match going on for while between our table and theirs and I think I even suggested boat races with steins (a logistical nightmare getting 20 odd beers at anywhere near once). It was all a bit of fun in the end – but they did leave well before us.

As the day went on… things get blurry. And the singing got worse.. “Deesh Onez fur yooough Maahm… Buurrp”

Seriously, it was essentially like this: order a drink… drink it… yell out to someone walking past. Chat to them for a bit. Generally you had no idea who they were, but they looked liked the wanted to be yelled at – like having Eagles and Dockers jumpers on. Drink some more. Chat to the people you knew at the table. Sing along to the band when they fired up again at the top of your voice. Say prostig (cheers) a lot, and look down and your beers empty. Hand a 10er to Edda, go to the toilet to meet people, avoid getting anywhere near the security that seem to nothing but stand there and blow annoying whistles near the toilets. Head back, pick up your beer and back to the top of the order. Throw in a lap hear and there to see if you knew anyone, and return to your seats. I heave heaps of photos of people I can’t remember their names, but they stopped in at our table and we chatted… it was cool.

Eventually at about 6pm I headed for the pig pen. After finding out the place was chokers, to the point that security was letting no new people in the tent (got a text from Ado saying he couldn’t get in), I figured it was time for the pen. Firstly I went to pisser and dropped my shoes, shorts and jocks, and got redressed with the jocks stuffed down the front of my jeans. Next I (apparently) handed my camera to Shernell and headed off to the pen. I saw Andy Scales from the Contiki tour and we both headed in. I grabbed me a drink, and have no idea what I was doing for so long, but after a while headed back out to find that some time around 7pm, Kristy, Ben and Shernell (with my camera) headed off, apparently to the Wombat Hostel.

I looked feverishly for my camera, asking every random (despite being told by buzz on more than one occasion that ‘the girls have left and taken your camera’). Like I said ‘apparently’ I had given it to the girls – but didn’t remember that at the time? I did some drinking in the pen with Andy, and eventually my undies were thrust upon the angel of mercy above us.

Later on in the evening I ran into Lee from the Rangers sitting around and don’t remember much more of what I said to him – but I am sure it involved asking if he had my camera. Eventually I found myself separated from Andy in the pig-pen, hot as all buggery, and realising that I was, getting pissed (hahaha, I was on my way to getting pissed at noon when I had my first…)

How pissed? Well something urged me to buy and cigar and share it with the unknown guys I was hanging around with – which means I am pissed. And at one stage I ordered 1 beer and 2 waters… at least I knew I was nearing (haha) the time I had had enough. The beer wench didn’t take too kindly – but she got paid. One water I drank, the other I doused myself in (shit, everyone was so sweaty in there it looked like the fire sprinklers had gone ff earlier) and the polished off the beer.

At 11 pm, I made a move from the tent as they had played the last song for the night. I wandered home – and got lost. I befriended a German couple (that seemed to think I was great value, and you know by this stage I was speaking German as if it was my mother language!) and they showed me to the train station from where I found my way to the hotel room. Eventually I landed on the bed, face down around midnight, no doubt to wake up in a pile of my own drool.

Saturday's Stats –
Hoffbrau Beers – no idea - something over 10
Meals – I can remember a pork schnitzel
Other drinks – a coke at 10am and 2 water in the pen
Other food – donut type thingy
Photos and videos – 112 (note – ‘lost’ camera at 630pm)

Woke up the following morning in time for a tasty breakfast around 730am. Kristy and Shernell headed down with Nik, Buzz and Tommy to the Hoffbrau tent at 9, and by the time I had a shower and dumped some photos to free up card room, I got there at 10. Edda asked me where I’d been, and then went to get me a beer without me having to ask for one, it was a warm welcome.

The place felt empty compared to the day before, and in reality, it was. Edda brought my beer, and I thought that the first one was going to hurt, but the minute it hit my lips I felt better. I guess the hair of the dog really does work. With German beer being devoid of preservatives, it is supposed to prevent hang-overs. Well tell that to me Sunday morning, and again for the next two days.

Whilst I loved the shirt that Big Nik was wearing for the day “Samoa Wars – Return of the Black Eye”, not to be out done was Tommy in his cammo colored “Booty Hunter” t-shirt. The situation was quickly rectified as the guys bought him a small size pink Oktoberfest T shirt, which was tied in a knot at the back, bunny ears and love heart sunnies – he wore them all day. Just loves attention I guess?

Eventually people started trickling in, probably following the band in?

We were unfortunate enough to have the biggest group of Italians show up and sit around us. There were 100 of them, all with individual numbers on their sleeves, and heaps of them grabbed the tables around us. Immediately all of the Aussies around started calling them cheats, and yells of ‘dive’ went up, to which all they did obviously was start singing songs in Italian and then We Are The Champions… Of The World. I made it my mission to find the person with the #1 shirt, who I was informed was to blame for bringing them all to Oktoberfest.

Kristy and Shernell headed with Jeremy to the Lowenbrau tent (never to be seen again – well not true, Shernell rocked back up not long before 3 when I left… more on that later) I stayed on at the Hoffbrau to appease my adoring fans. It seems somewhere along the line that the group of Italians, and the lone Austrian bird stuck in the middle (she looked worse than a fish out of water) decided that I was the lead singer of Smashmouth. I could not think of a single song that they sing… nor could any of the people at my table, and have no idea what the guy looks like, but played along with it for a while.

With 4 beers down at 1pm, my idea of slowing down for the second day had been shot out of the window. It was about this time that Benny finally showed up from his extended sleep – and quest to find a replacement flight back to London. The people selling stuff inside the tent was on the rapid rise, and I found myself handing money out quickly – a cinnamon donut type thing, snuff (more on that later – but has nothing to do with porn), and photos. The girls were running around with digital cameras, taking photos and getting them processed hoping you’d buy them. Well, I bought one with Tommy, then a second with the camera chick herself (I figured they’d make my room more ‘homely’) and the sales must have been on a commission basis, because suddenly they all wanted to take photos of me – figuring I’d buy anything!

So of course, I continued the ‘I want a photo with you in it’ routine. In order for that to happen, someone else has to take the photo. At the same time someone has my camera and takes the same photo – easy money! I actually convinced one of the girls to kiss me in the photos., but it looks like she’s pulling away – bummer. The other one I have a photo of her and I squeezing our cleavage together… don’t know how?
Ado and Suzanne showed up around 2pm – me pretty drunk at this stage. At the same time some dude had passed out at a table nearby and we took some happy snaps. On one of my forays to the toilet I met the Canadian beer drinking team who all had Canadian ice hockey shirts on. More impressive though. They all had their own drinking cards made up (like basketball cards) with their photos, nicknames, position - left crutch (don’t wanna be him), gunner, crusher and left guzzle – description and stats including Games Played (number of days spent at beer fest) and SC (Steins consumed). I snared 4 cards, and three of them were Rookies – maybe they’ll be worth something one day?

Finally the #1 Italian guy showed up, and after getting a photo with him, decided he was a little to happy that I was excited to meet ‘nummer eins’ and perhaps he was like the last Italian guy I met – a total tosser! (Had to be said…). Soon after I was stuck in the middle of a game of ‘1 penny slots’ where you try and drop pennies into the crack of someone else seated at the surrounding tables. After three pennies in the girl on the table behind me she let me know she wasn’t enjoying the deposit – she slapped me!

It was about this stage that the Snuff revolution had taken me in its grip. Simply put, it is a jar of white powder, that you snort. Now, besides the occasional finger, I don’t put anything up my nose. That’s why it took me so long to come around to the sensation. My nose was blocked as buggery, and this stuff is meant to clear it up fast. Well, blow (haha) me down. It was like applying Vics Vapour Rub into the lining of your nostrils. Within seconds, clearness. But like all good things, the fun doesn’t last, and the come down is horrid. You block up again in not too much time and find yourself snorting more of it. The worst part is, the following morning you are subject to picking crap out of your nose for hours. No amount of blowing will get rid of the build up.

Anyway, just after 3pm, with my bottle of snuff, I pulled the plug and headed back to the hostel. I was still tired, but more importantly, I was drunk and I knew it. I had only planned to be gone a couple hours, but slept from 330pm till 8pm and didn’t get back to the show grounds until 20 after 8. As I walked thru fair grounds at night, the juxtaposition between drunken youngens walking around out of tents, and family’s taking their kids to the fair was weird. And I’ll tell you one thing, even after my snooze, I was in no state to go on any of the rides. I walked up to the tent, and unlike the previous night, there were no lines and I headed straight in.

Almost immediately I ran into Gerard who I’d met at Athens Backpackers (he served me drinks), Istanbul (I served him drinks), Pamplona, Clapham Common, and now Munich – and this is the first time I got a photo of him! Haha. Not long after I came across an abandoned table that had an even more abandoned Oktoberfest hat underneath it, and I had scored myself a free souvenir! I headed back to our table and joined in the fun, with more great pub songs and snuff (man these are getting ugly… oooohhhh yeeeaah!).

Just before 10pm they broke into the longest medley of Beetles songs ever played I think. But most importantly it had everybody, standing on their seats, steins in the air singing along. I headed for one last look at the pig pen and got the end of the Beetles medley and one of the last Prostig songs for the weekend on video.

The music continued, as did the beers, until 1030pm whereupon, after helping Edda clean up, we left.

I caught the train to the Hauptbahnhoff and headed to the Wombat Hostel (not for another beer?) and grabbed my photos from Suzanne who had them in her handbag – Ado was reportedly ‘asleep’ (passed out…). I stuck around for an hour or so, finished my beer and decided it was time for bed. As I walked out the front some guys jumped out of a stolen bike with carriage on the back in front of the hotel and left it in the middle of the road, so I took it back to my hotel - dangerous, but easier than walking, well not really. Almost the second I walked in the door, somewhere near the midnight hour I think, I crashed, yet managed to set my alarm for the flight home.

Sunday's stats –
Hoffbrau Beers – again, no idea, something around 10
Meals – I can remember a pork knuckle
Other drinks – N/A
Other food – donut type thingy & snuff
Photos and videos – 121 + 2 paid for

In an attempt to figure out where my money went, and so that people won’t ask me to clarify the term ‘a lot’ when asking how much I drank, we’re going to have to work backwards.

Back tracking – Total Spend of €320 in 3 days
(below are conservative figures)

Train tickets – 10
Misc food (Bratwurst and Burger King) – 10
Hoffbrau Meals – 40
Hoffbrau Photos – 15
Hoffbrau Donuts – 10
Cigar and Snuff – 10
Coke and Waters – 15
Wombat Hostel Drinks (4 steins @€5) – 20

That leaves €190, and given I left Munich without a Euro cent to my name, I must have drunk the rest at the beer tents. Therefore, at €10 a pop, I must have had 19 beers in the Hoffbrau Festzelt in two days - maybe 20 if I was being really conservative in the above numbers. Given that I had 4 steins at the Wombat Hostel (plus the free shots) and the stein at Ned Kelly’s as well as a bottle of beer on the way to the opening day… I don’t want to think about the 24 odd litres of beer that my liver must still be trying to process the last of.

Overall, what an experience. I couldn’t be there for more than two days, especially at that pace. It was incredibly expensive, especially if you consider the flights and accommodation costs, but it was great fun. It was basically like the biggest Irish pub at Knox with 1 Litre beers, and everyone in a good mood. It almost felt like home (except I don’t drink anywhere near that much in Australia.). Would I recommend it? Hell yes. Would I go again? I dare say I’ll see ya next year, but there are at least half a dozen more tents to see. I’ll do some more exploring and less drinking, but the first beer will still be with Edda’s (and most probably Nik, Buzz and Tommy) at table ‘nummer eins’.

So… what happened from there. Well some how I managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed on Monday morning, at 530am, after just over 5 hours sleep to get to the airport for the 9am flight. That one hurt. Kristy and I left Shernell and Ben behind and headed to catch a train to the airport… it was clearly too early for a man in my state to be doing anything.

On a side note, Ben ended up getting a flight back to London using Shernell’s ticket that she was going to have to cancel as she was heading to Brussels (?) for a few on the way home first.

Finally arriving at the airport, it was mutually decided that despite having a shower that I smelt like alcohol. We wandered around the airport like zombies just waiting for the flight. Surprisingly I didn’t have any gag reflex walking into the alcohol section of the duty free shop, but buying some never even crossed my mind. On the other hand, Kristy was happy to stack up on another carton of fags (grrrrr) and sprayed perfume around as if she was buying some. In hindsight I can’t help think she might have been trying to rid the smell of beer seeping from my pores?

The flight to Zurich was smooth enough, and with a free USA Today (I paid for mine in Frankfurt, and the got to the terminal to find them free – not happy Jan) I had enough college football reviews to keep me busy for one flight. The lay-over was tough to swallow, but we managed, and finally got back to London Heathrow a while after 1pm. Then, after we got through visa checks again, and snared our bags, it was on to the train for a 45 minute ride, where I said bye to Kristy about half way and finally made it to Watetrloo. Despite being clean for almost 2 months (obviously not alcohol) I was feeling the worst I’d felt in a long time and caved in for a double cheeseburger at Maccas.

On the home stretch, I sat back on the train to Southampton and knocked out a few more pages of my book. After another 80 odd minutes, I was at Southampton Central Station just after 4pm (5pm German time). I headed into town, not home, as I wanted to pick up some waterproof pants and jacket in case it rained whilst I was riding MY BIKE to work. Another $100 Aussie (£40) down the drain, I headed back to ‘House-Sweet-House’ (still trying to make it a home I guess… sitting here on the floor – where my computer also is – typing this on a Friday night… what have I become?). A short walk from the bus stop and I pull up to the front of the house. Before I head inside, I stick my head round the corner, and the almost $500 worth of 4 day old piece of aluminium – my bike - that I had chained to the down pipe on the side of the house was gone. Chain had been cut straight thru – here I was hoping that the pricks would at least rip the pipe out.

So, still upset about that I headed in, and prepared myself for Tuesday’s first day of work in over six months. Ouch! And given the state I was in, preparing involved a packet pasta for dinner, and couple sandwiches for the next days lunch, and a review of the buss and ferry time tables seeing how as though I no longer had my bike. After that it was early(ish) into bed, and the best sleep of my life – not.

Okay, this has only happened once in my life before, and it was only just before I left Australia so I remember it well, but the hang-over was worse on the second day after the event. The only time previous was the ‘Thank F*ck It’s Summer Party’ where every drop of drink in the house was consumed. Well Sunday I felt shday, don’t get me wrong, but I felt horrid on Monday. Well the same thing happened after I got back from Germany. I felt like crap all day on Monday, but when I woke up Tuesday, I felt like calling in sick on the way to my first days work. The worst part about both those second day hang-overs is that you can’t sleep between the first and second days… it is just so hard to sleep, and I woke up in a hot sweat repeatedly on both occasions. So throw that in with the fact that I had to be up at 6am to get to work, and was obviously worried sick about sleeping through the alarm, and I had maybe 2 hours sleep for the night, totally on and off.

So how did the first day of work go, and the rest of the week?

Is the house any closer to becoming a home?

Are you gonna put any Oktoberfest photos up soon?

Did you get rid of that beer stench coming from your pores?

What are you doing writing this on a Friday night?

Does no-one in the house like you?

All will be revealed soon, on the next edition of….

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