Tuesday, 20 January 2004

Land Downuner

Did you know that a monkey has an angry 'oo-oo' noise, and a happy 'oo-oo' noise? Apparently you can also tell the difference between a grimace and a smile. A little bit more monkey info every day.

Well, what a weekend. Mark and I managed to successfully paint the town dark brown in just a few short hours.

He arrived very late Thursday night, and we were able to catch up Friday afternoon after my class had finished (those of you who are not interested in food should skip the next couple of paragraphs).

The first thing we did was head for the markets, as Mark was hanging for some Wurst & Kraut. The outdoor market here in Munich is stunning; in terms of meat, you can get absolutely everything (from both inside and outside the animal), both beautiful and stinky cheeses (the stinkier the better), local wines, organic fruits and vegies and even seafood (although 100g of scallops costs about $10). Mark was particularly impressed by the fresh pig's heads sitting in one butcher's window.

Needless to say, we went out for some traditional Bavarian food (and beverages) that night. The meal was outstanding (as was the entertainment - there was a family feud going on a couple of tables down). Mark had roast pork, knödel and about 3 & 1/2 litres of beer. I had roast PIGLET (is that what we call 'suckling pork'? Doesn't sound so horrible when you say it like that) which was absolutely amazing. The crackle was the best I have ever tasted, and it was served with knödel and a lovely wine gravy. Felt slightly guilty about eating Babe, but what can you do? I figure he was already dead before I ordered.

Saturday we did some touristy stuff - went to the Royal residence, saw the crown jewels and the estate rooms. Was fab, but those kinds of details do not an interesting e-mail make, so I will move on. To lunch. Walked past this stunning Konditorei, and had to go in. We both had these delicious (and expensive) berry tarts; the pastry cases were lined with chocolate, then filled with a berry cream (maybe a creme fraiche or marscapone), topped with fresh raspberries and glazed. Mmmmm. Mark had a hot chocolate that I swear, was just a mug of melted chocolate with about a teaspoon of milk thrown in for good measure. He had a bit of a sugar rush afterwards (think of post-slushie Bart and Millhouse).

Okay, so I've got the food rant out of the way. Moving right along, after the Royal Residence we decided it was beer o'clock. We had walked past this very busy looking lokal on our way to the museum, so decided to head back there. On our way, we walked past an Aussie Bar. Of course, we had to go in for a look. It was hilarious. Up above the bar, there were these sort of paper mache (how the hell do you spell that?) sculptures of sharks & crocodiles, little Aussie flags, road signs, a painting of Ned Kelly, bar coasters in the shape of Aus - you name it. Mark and I were dumbstruck (and a little mortified). We we're standing there cacking ourselves laughing and taking photos, when this old guy sitting at the bar said, 'what are you laughing at?' (in a non-threatening way, I should add). So I said, 'this place, it's hysterical,' and he said, 'steady on, I designed it!'

I thought he was bull-shitting me at first, but he wasn't. He's this 60 year old English bloke (Bernie) who lives in Munich and designs the decor for theme bars (Irish, Aussie, English etc) in continental Europe. He reminded me a little bit of one of the characters from father Ted (the old one who says 'feck' all the time). So we're having this amusing little chat, and he suddenly says, 'You're lovely you are. Do kiss with you mouth open or closed?' At this point, Mark ducked for cover (he was in the potential line of fire), but I restrained myself, and simply told Bernie that I was used to dealing with children, but that they generally knew better than to ask questions such as the one he just had [I also told him that had he been 30 years younger, I might have answered his question. One must fight fire with fire].

It was all very funny. He took it rather well and managed to continue our conversation with only a few minor misdemeanours. Apparently, he'd rather have me for a wife than Catherine Zeta-Jones any day (not sure if she was offering - unclear. She does seem to prefer older men).

Also started chatting to one of the bar staff, a girl from Perth, who has been here for about 4 months but doesn't speak any German. When I told her I was a German teacher at home, she immediately asked me how much I would charge for lessons. I was like, 'um, I don't know, 10 Euros an hour??' So I'm now getting $20 an hour ($30 if her housemate comes too) to teach basic German to someone who actually wants to learn - it's like a fairytale! Had our first lesson today - she was actually really quick to pick up everything. We will probably do about 6 lessons before I come home, and the extra cash will definitely come in handy (food here v. expensive. Everything here v. expensive).

Back to the bar. We also got talking to this Irish girl and her partner, who live somewhere in the North of England (forget where) and decided to invite them along to the Hofbräuhaus with us for dinner. I think it is imperative that all visitors to München go to the Hofbräuhaus at least once. Was a right larf. Ordered beers, and they came out in litre Stein glasses. Sang along with the German band (very much like 'The Cuckoo'), found out that Chris (of the couple) was a Buffy fan - yay, bought tacky key-ring with a photo of us in it holding afore-mentioned steins and got chatted up by cute Egyptian waiter (was on fire, I'm telling you), who wanted me to meet him after work. When I told him that I had a husband, he said, 'that's okay - you can leave him at home'.

After that, we went on to another Aussie bar (they're everywhere) and found ourselves dancing to ACDC (but also ABBA, Guns and Roses, Underworld - weird mix really) until 4 in the morning. Apparently the Aussie community in Munich (consisting mainly of bar staff) do a bit of a crawl from bar to bar every Friday and Saturday night after work. Couldn't do it myself. Didn't drink that much, but still felt like shit all day yesterday (still not that crash-hot now actually).

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