Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Munich Part III – Championship Drinking

Story time.

So remember the Italians I mentioned below? There were about six of them, they were from Florence, and they loved us. When we said we were from Chicago, their immediate response was “Chicago Bulls!! Michael Jordan!!” (this was not the only time, by the way, that Europeans connected Chicago with Michael Jordan). We all chanted “JOR-DAN JOR-DAN” several times until one guys, not a Bulls fan but instead a fanatic of San Antonio, started naming players on the Spurs. He threw out names like Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, and then he came to Robert Horry and the fun began.

For an Italian, this guy knew way too much about the NBA – more than many Americans. In fact, my guess is that most Americans don’t know this, but Robert Horry’s nickname is “Big Shot Bob” for his penchant for hitting, well, big shots at the end of games. Our little Italian friend was apparently a huge fan, and so to counter our Jordan chant, he started up with “BIG SHOT BOB!! BIG SHOT BOB!!”

For the next five minutes, we all joined in. So half way around the world from San Antonio, standing in the middle of a beer tent at Oktoberfest, four Americans and six kids from Florence chanted, in union, “BIG SHOT BOB.” Traveling is great.

The same night, we thought it would be awesome to do chest bumps down the street after Oktoberfest closed (the tents shut down around midnight, and everyone goes to bars or clubs afterward). Tino met one guy from somewhere (not the US, maybe Germany?) who saw the awesomeness of the chest bump and wanted to do one, too. This guy was like 5’10”, 250 – huge – and piss drunk. He had half a beer on the front of his shirt. But when he chest bumped Tino, who is probably half his size, he fell flat on his ass backward. Best chest bump ever. The guy stood up, high-fived Tino, and went back to dancing like nothing ever happened.

Along the lines of messing with Europeans, we also taught a few fellow Oktoberfesters a new English word. As you can imagine, there is a lot of toasting during the Beer Fest. Pretty much every five minutes at least, someone gets the bright idea to have a toast and clank the giant, glass mugs together really hard. Sometimes they break and shatter. Sometimes they slice someone open and they start gushing blood. Championship drinking is a contact sport, after all.

Anyway, “cheers” in German is “prost”. Not many people knew “cheers”, which is good because it’s not that cool. So instead, whenever someone else taught us the equivalent in their language, we taught them to shout “SEXYTIME!” Let me tell you, there are few things funnier than watching two guys from Helsinki shout “sexytime” at the top of their lungs and have no idea what the hell they’re saying. No wonder no one likes Americans.

Oktoberfest is great.

And I’m obviously not the only one that thinks so. Several other friends of mine trekked out to Munich independently of Jeff, Mark, Tino, and me. I really had no expectation of seeing them, and I wasn’t even sure when they’d be there. But despite the other six million people, I managed to run into not one, but two different groups of friends unexpectedly. I saw one friend, George, who is currently studying in Hamburg, at the train station. And I also ran into four girls (and I might add, four of the coolest ones you’ll ever meet) with whom I spent much of my first year of law school studying (they were graduate accounting students studying for the CPA at the same time), and with whom I unfortunately haven’t spoken very often in the past two years. So to Sue, Val, Liz, and Jessica – it was great seeing you guys.

All in all, I honestly haven’t had that much fun in a very long time. We stayed for four nights, and by the end our bodies couldn’t take much more. I’m not sure we could have handled one more night. On Saturday, I returned home to Leuven and the guys caught a flight back to Chicago. I spent the next three days exhausted, sick, fatigued, and generally feeling like shit. Yet, each night all I really wanted to do was head back to a beer tent, stand on a bench, drink German beer, and sing awesome music. Even though I felt like crap, I was definitely rejuvenated in a way only friends can do. We met a couple people that were on their third or fourth visit to Oktoberfest, and I honestly hope that I make my second trip back next year. If you like partying, having fun, and meeting random people from all over the world, I *highly* recommend the experience. Start saving your pennies now for next September – it’s way more than worth it.

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