Monday, October 5, 2009

Third Time's a Charm?

This past weekend I went back to Munich for the third time and the last and final weekend of Oktoberfest 2009.

Before I get into the weekend I've got to write this first.
Disclaimer: If you are a.) my mom (my dad will probably think these stories are somewhat funny) b.) my parents' friends (except for Carol who will probably think these stories are funny too) c.) my extended family members and/or d.) parents of my friends, please do NOT read the following post. My weekend was/is not something that most adults will want to hear about but in order to give an accurate description of said weekend I need to include them. That being said, I know you will all read it anyway, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Also a list of people there might be helpful:

1. Me
2. Kristen--au pair who I went to Zermatt with last weekend
3. Jen--au pair
4. Chris(map)--a "m-au pair" (or male au pair) who is here working for his brother until November
5. Chris--the American who lived in Zürich and played football
6. Patrick--Chris' older brother

Kristen, Jen & I met up in Zürich to have a bottle of champagne (or 6) to kick off the weekend, and by the time we met up with Chris (map) at the train station we were already having a blast. The train ride was fun and we made it into Munich around 5:30. We were meeting my friend Chris & his brother at 6 so it gave us just enough time to stash our bags and prepare for the evening. We got dinner and then headed over to the Oktoberfest grounds, couldn't get into a tent so we opted for plan B. We met up with an old teammate of Chris' who was in town for Oktoberfest and went over to his friend's apartment for a birthday party. From that moment on my time-perception was a little hazy--it seemed that time wasn't a factor at all this weekend but I will try to explain it as best I can!

After the party we, the six Americans, still wanted to go out so we hopped on a train and found a cool bar area (how, I have no idea...) We stayed and danced in these clubs until ab
out 4 am (I think) when we all decided it would be best to get some sleep before the drinking festivities the following day... The only problem was we didn't have a place to stay. My friend Jeff from Zürich offered to let us stay with him but it would have been way crowded Friday and it was clearly too late to try and make out way to his apartment. So we took a taxi back to the train station and sat down at a table in Burger King (woof). The train station looked like a war zone--there were bodies everywhere! People who, like us, stupidly didn't have a place to stay were crumpled in heaps in every corner of the station. After a quick cat-nap at the Burger King Chris had a wonderful idea: let's go take naps at the Olympic Stadium! (On Sunday we all were wondering why he wanted to sleep there and he had no good answer--but it seemed logical to us all at the time). We hopped on the metro to the Olympic Stadium and I got up the escalator and promptly turned around--it was cold outside! So instead, like homeless people, Jen and I napped on a bench at the metro stop. An hour-ish later we realized that it was a silly idea and maybe we should head back to the train station. At this point it was 8 am and we napped for approximately 37 minutes and then got ready for the day! The funny thing was that you know how most situations like this (like sleeping in a Slovakian airport when its 37 degrees inside to make you 6 am flight to London) you know will be funny later? Well this was incredibly funny at the time (as well as later). We would all be half-asleep and then look around, realize we were sleeping outside etc. and just crack up.

Saturday morning we changed clothes (in the train station) and headed over to the Oktoberfest grounds which were already hopping and crowded. The tents were pretty much at capacity so we went to a restaurant to have our first, of many, beers of the day. The restauarnt was great and we got to drink outside of it after their lunch--I was holding out for the giant pretzel--making new friends along the way! Later we met up with my friend Jeff at the Paulaner Biergarten which was jam packed. At one point I went to the bathroom, making new friends on my jou
rney there (Mostly they were men: the Italians said I was the most beautiful girl at Oktoberfest but the British boys said I had nice teeth--hey I'm always ready to hear I have nice teeth! I like to know that my years of painful orthodontia work paid off!). On my way back to our table I ran into Chris who had made friends with a group of Italians--well an hour plus later we were still hanging out there, getting free beer (Chris made sure that they weren't drugging my beers by drinking half of them for me) and trying to escape the creepy grasps of the Italian men. We decided that maybe they weren't the best guys to be hanging around even after we made up a relationship so they would stop being so smarmy (they didn't) so we went back to our table.

Around 7:45 (I think) we decided to go into the Paulaner tent, Chris got inside and I'm still a bit hazy on the details but about 45 seconds later there were six security guards tackling him to the floor. Not even kidding you. At first we didn't even realize that it was Chris, we
just thought it was some dumb, drunk kid being an idiot--we didn't realize that the dumb, drunk idiot belonged to us! Well they were taking him out the side door so Patrick and I ran over to try and get the scoop and get our friend back. They opened the door at one point and I saw Chris getting "handcuffed" with zip ties (I mean zip ties? On a boy that is 6'3" it looked a bit ridiculous). I asked the security guard if they would just let him go with us and we would promise not to take him back to the Paulaner tent. They said in this situation they had to call the police, but they were on their way. Shoot. Meanwhile Chris' brother Patrick is nearly having a hissy-fit because his "baby brother is going to be deported." The police came and escorted Chris to their station while Patrick and I tagged along. They asked Chris who we were and he said his brother and girlfriend and all I could think was, "Don't drag me down with you!!" They let him go after a minute (thank goodness) and we were on our way. While the others went to the Hoffbrauhaus I decided that the best thing for a drunk kid was a carnival ride! Two years ago my friend Jess & I went on this giant swing ride so I had to ride it again for her.

After the ride we met up with the group at the Hoffbrauhaus and approximately 10 minutes later we were missing someone... Chris, of course. We were supposed to meet up with Jeff around 10 pm to make it onto the train to go to his apartment and since we were missing 1/6th of our group it wasn't looking likely. We split up, Chris, Jen, & myself went to the train station to see if we could find our friend while Kristen & Patrick stayed behind to try and find him. At the station we realized the others didn't know how to
get back so I volunteered (seeing as how I know Munich "so well") to go fetch them. I got the other two and we made our way back to the train. I knew that if we went to Jeff's without Chris I wouldn't be able to sleep without knowing that he was safe (it's the inner au pair in me). I made them go off (of course they couldn't get Jeff but ended up getting a hotel room an hour outside of the city) while I stayed to walk around Munich and look for Chris. Yes I know this seems stupid, to be a girl, alone, in a city with 5 million drunk people about but I didn't know what else to do. I walked back and forth and around and around and couldn't find him. (Also I forgot to mention that he had neither cell phone or wallet at this point). Around 1:45 am I decided to sit on a bench at the train station and try to formulate a plan (I had decided that at 5 am, if I still hadn't found him, I would go to the Olympic Stadium and try there--I was getting desparate!), but it was like finding a needle in a drunken haystack. There were lots of smarmy men that were annoying and bugging me, but I was in such a bad mood (yes I can have those, and for the Denison girls you know how rude I can be when I'm in one...) that any kind of creepy advance was brutally rebuffed. There was this one older guy who came and sat next to me and tried to get me to come sleep at his house in Munich (uh no thanks), I told him I had to find my friend, he told me I'd sleep really well there (yes in a coffin), then he tried to get me to come have a coffee with him etc etc. The only reason that this conversation is important is because I had it all in German, so at least I got some practice! I was feeling utterly helpless and I was thinking this is pretty much just the hardest and worst game of "Where's Waldo?" I had ever been a part of when, I am seriously not kidding you, two guys came around the corner wearing the jeans, the red & white striped shirt and hat, even the glasses and backpack of Waldo--I couldn't help but crack up. At 2:30 I was about to head out to walk the grounds again when I checked the waiting room/sleeping room for people without beds. And lo and behold but who do I see passed out on the floor? Christopher. I didn't know if I should kick him or hug him. (I woke him in a not-so-nice fashion, but I was still incredibly glad that I had found him and was no longer alone!)

After two hours of attempting to nap on the ground (woof again) we sat down by the trains and waited for ours to come at 6:15 am. We got on, took it to our hotel and promptly fell asleep at 7:30 am. We woke up at 10 am, not feeling (or looking) our best, but glad to be indoors for a change. We went back in to Munich, decided that maybe the time for Oktoberfest had passed so we got lunch at the original Hoffbrauhaus and toured Munich a bit. (Sorry JKC, didn't see your street performers this time!) We made it to our 4:30 train and spent the journey home in a car full of guys who weren't willing to give up the Oktoberfest drinking and singing spirit! We made it home though and I was especially grateful to be sleeping inside again!

My motto ever since I studied abroad has been "It's all going to work out" because, for me (knock on wood), everything always seems to work out. And I know some of you may not consider sleeping outside "working out" but at least we were together--well most of the time!

This weekend was a bit wild & next weekend is "Oktoberfest" in Zürich--but at least I know I've got a place to sleep!

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