Oktoberfest: I Came, I Saw, I Passed Out

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, September 25, 2006

MOOD: Getting Sleepy
SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD: "Night Train" by James Brown
TIME/PLACE: 10:08pm, 9/26, top berth of a "coachette" on a train from Munich to Paris.

The plan was for Simon to go out to breakfast with his friend Kira and then we'd hit Oktoberfest around 1pm on Sunday the 24th. I got up about 10 due to the large, beautiful church right outside the window at his place that began chiming every 15 minutes starting at 8. I had wanted to get outside and look around, or even shoot some video of the fest before going with Simon and Kira, knowing that I was going to slow them up with all my documenting, but instead I stayed in writing and eating my leftover sandwich makings and generally being lazy.

I was getting close to 1 when, while up in the bathroom preparing to shower, I happened to look out the window and saw Simon with someone I assumed to be Kira getting out of a car. I quickly got in the shower and a few minutes later was dressed and ready to go. I shook Kira's hand hello and we were off.

Amazingly, Simon lives one block from the Oktoberfest grounds. Indeed, all morning I could hear the screams and wails of girls on roller coasters (in-between the church chimes, that is). So we arrived in, like, 30 seconds and slowly began making our way through the crowd. I needn't have worried too much about my video and photo taking slowing things up. There were so many people we weren't really moving anyway.

I was completely entranced by some of the carnival rides which were ridiculous in their names and themes. One, called Space Race, had this five story tall animatronic alien monster, slowly blinking down at us while he had a puny human spacecraft in his clutches. Next to that was a fabulous monument to 1985 called Break Dancer, an obviously violent ride festooned with American flags, even a Statue of Liberty, with gremlins from the movie painted on the backdrop.

Speaking of violent rides, some of the attractions there were absolutely jaw-dropping in their ferocity and total lack of mercy for spinal cords and brain pan fluids and what-not. One ride was whipping riders one way on an outstretched limb of the ride while the entire branch spun another way. Unbelievable.

But the thing there that floored me most of all -- and I'm talkin' "oh... my... God" -- was the bumper cars. Along the bottom steps were the words: "Soul! Rap! Black Music!" And then painted on the backdrop were American artists like Foxy Brown and Notorious B.I.G. Seeing Bavarians in their traditional get-ups and hats with the feathers in them crashing around while Tupac looked on... I just couldn't believe it.

Simon suggested we get on the ferris wheel, which was very tall and was the landmark of the entire place. It was a great suggestion as not only did we get a nice overview of the fest, but also of Munich. And since I always try and get up above the places I visit, this was much appreciated.

Next we went and got something to drink (I had a soda called Lift and a semi-stale pretzel) and then I got a sausage made of veal, which I think was called Reisswurst, but I'm not sure. After that I stood in line at the Geldautomat (ATM) for 10 minutes, and finally we made our way to the beer tents. Simon didn't seem to have a preference for which one (just not Lowenbrau as he said that was the worst beer in Munich) so he went with my suggestion, which was Spaten, which really was the only other beer of the 6 other tents that I had any knowledge of.

My first glimpse inside the tent was pretty remarkable. Long blue and white streamers hung around huge chandelier-like hoops on the ceiling, row after row of tables and benches and drinkers, beer and cigarette waitresses, pretzel salesmen, clouds of smoke... and it was only 3pm.

We got a table easily and I insisted on buying, so happy that I didn't have to deal with inflated hostel prices and drunk Italians and puke on the bathroom floors. Bottom line, I wouldn't have found a room in Munich on the weekend and would have stayed at some outlying campsite, praying that no one was fucking with my bag as it sat alone in a tent. So again, thank you Simon (and Megan).

The mood was a little subdued it being early in the day, but as the hours wore on, the music got nuttier, the people rowdier with benches by and large occupied by shoes instead of asses, and the party got into full swing. Kira only stayed for one round (and of a Coke with Lemonade at that) as she had a headache, and Simon was drinking half beer and lemonade in his liter glasses as he had to work at the bar in a few hours. Me, I was there to get drunk.

And boy, did I. Four liters in four hours. Now, I'm not gonna pretend that I'm a champion drinker, but I was holding my own for the first three liters, no problem. Now that fourth glass... that was a different story. That's when walking to the bathroom became more like meandering.

Bottom line, I got really drunk really fast and I have no recollection of walking to Simon's. Fortunately, like I said, it was a short walk, and more fortunately, Simon said I didn't do anything stupid on the way home. I just walked in, took off my shoes, socks and pants and passed out.

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