Tag Archives: Beer

The 2013 Oktoberfest in Hannover, Germany – As Experienced by An American Expat and His German Wife

Hannover Oktoberfest Ride 2013

“How do you say, ‘Stop the ride, I’m gonna hurl’ in German?” — Photo by Kai Nehm (http://www.flickr.com/photos/trau_kainehm/)

You know us: I am an American expat, my wife is a wacky German, and together we live in Hannover, Germany. Once again, we ventured to the Hannover Oktoberfest at the Schützenplatz fair grounds. This year, we rode all the rides, listened to all the music, ate all the food and drank all the beer. ALL OF IT. We also filmed the entire thing, so you can experience it with us! Check out the video below:

WARNING: Video contains a few F-bombs and some other swear words. (And screaming. Lots of screaming. From me, a full-grown man.)

Would you like to see another one of our videos? Check out our trip to the “Hannover Adventure Zoo.”

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The 2013 Hannover Maschseefest – As Experienced by an American Expat in Germany

hannover maschsee lion sculpture night

“Go home American. You are drunk.”

The Hannover Maschseefest is a big celebration occurring every year between July 31 and August 18. It is a massive gathering of beer gardens, food stands and concert stages around the man-made lake known as the Maschsee. The Wife and I visited the 2013 Maschseefest several times, and we learned there are exactly 3 things to do there: eat, drink and listen to music until you are bleeding from every orifice.

In the following video, you will see a young Hannover-based band called That’s Why playing an acoustic version of Johhny B. Goode. These guys are awesome; they’re talented, they have stage presence and enough energy between them to power a nuclear submarine. One guy even played a melodica. (What’s it really called? A pianica? Key-flute? Blow-organ? …because all these names sound incredibly porno…) Anyway, he stands up and plays this wacky thing on his buddy’s back (which also seemed rather porno), and that’s when I decided this band was goin’ places. In fact, I predict you’ll see these handsome bastards in an American music video with a hit single before the end of 2015. Just you wait.

In this video, you’ll also see members of the Hannover DLRG (German Life Saving Association, which teaches search and rescue stuff, swimming classes and First Aid, among other things) floating down the Maschsee, eating and drinking as if they aren’t wading ankle-deep in goose shit. The Maschsee is just filthy; you’d think a bunch of trained First Aid volunteers would promote their organization with a little more respect for fecal-borne pathogens. But seriously, God bless ‘em for all the lifesaving work they do.

Finally, you’ll see a band performing at the Löwenbastion called Die Rexis und das Polyester Orchester, and they are exactly what you would expect from a band named after stretchy grandma pants.

This next video was recorded a few weeks later, on the last day of the Maschseefest. In it, you will see the Blaue Jungs Bolzum Shantychor Fankurve, which is an exhausting way of saying the All-Male Hamburg Pirate Choir. (Just kidding. They’re not really pirates.) As these gentlemen sing ditties of sailing woe, everyone in the crowd starts swaying in what is known in Germany as ‘Schunkeln.’ (You can see similar behavior in our Hannover Oktoberfest videos.)

And finally, here are a few terrible photos with comments. Click one to start the gallery, and as always, we hope you can dig ‘em!

For more information on the annual Maschseefest, check out http://www.hannover.de/Maschseefest/

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Denglish 85: My Wife Reveals A Uniquely German Expression for Beverages of Extremely High Alcohol Content

The night I asked The Wife to marry me — after getting down on one knee, offering her a diamond ring and giving her a picture I drew of a squirrel (seriously) — I took her to the Rose and Thistle Pub in northeast Portland. There, we sent text messages to all of our friends and family members announcing our engagement.

Cute squirrel holding diamond engagement ring

How a ring-carrying squirrel goes from idea to reality.

We also ordered beer, and if you know much about Portland, you know it is the Microbrew Beer Capitol of the United States. (And with this in mind, I once suggested to my German class teacher here in Hannover that the US actually produces good beer. He rolled his eyes, because Germans think we only drink Budweiser and Coors Light. I laughed and played along, but inside I was seeing red, thinking, ‘Oh you poor, naive little man. You don’t even know. You don’t even KNOW,’ and then I used my telepathic powers to make his giant German head explode.)

Anyway, Portland beer is awesome, and it is often quite strong. There are all sorts of ways to discuss drinks with high alcohol content, but translating these idioms directly from German into English is easily the most entertaining. So, as we looked over the menu, my German wife announced:

THE WIFE: “I want a beer, but I don’t want something that pulls my sock off.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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Pictures: Expat Couple Visits St. Pauli’s Red Light District in Hamburg, Germany

20-shipyards-of-hamburg-germany

Welcome to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, where you can legally pay someone to touch your pork roll.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wife and I took a day trip to Hamburg. We rode the Metronome (or “slow train,” as we affectionately refer to it) north for about one hour, changed lines in Uelzen, then rode another hour to Hamburg.

When we first arrived, I was struck by the extent to which Hamburg reminded me of Seattle. It was beautiful, with a lively and colorful bay rife with wide-eyed tourists staggered about in circles. However, where Seattle has hills and skyscrapers, Hamburg has cargo cranes and a world-famous red light district. The red light district surrounds the street called Reeperbahn, which runs right through the St. Pauli quarter of the city. St. Pauli used to make me think of St. Pauli Girl beer (which is actually brewed in Bremen). Now, Saint Pauli makes me think of a slightly intimidating neighborhood where a couple of euros gets your bone smooched.

The Red Light District of St. Pauli is best seen at night, or so I was advised, enthusiastically, by the German guy I spoke with at the Restaurant Fischerhaus. Sure enough, there were neon signs and crazy porno storefronts everywhere, so I imagine the effect at night would be much like that of the Las Vegas Strip, where my every sense is subjected to a spectacular display of Shock and Awe. And much like the Las Vegas Strip, I wanted to spend just enough time on Reeperbahn street to have a beer, take a few pictures and get the hell out of there before shit got weird.

Here are our pictures. We hope you can dig ‘em!

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Video: Oktoberfest 2012 – Our First Encounter with a German-Speaking Werewolf

This is a video I recorded shortly after we arrived at the Hannover Oktoberfest. It features a haunted house ride, at the top of which is a giant, talking werewolf.

I was entranced by the way his animatronic mouth kept opening and closing. It was hypnotic, especially because he was speaking German with some kind of ghoulish, Transylvanian accent. I don’t think Germans fully appreciate the menace their language can inflict upon American ears. There’s nothing else like it; when Americans hear a few harshly spoken German words, we know something really bad is about to happen.

But don’t get me wrong; everything about my wife is beautiful — her country, her culture… everything. It’s just that her native tongue is the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of my nightmares.

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Pictures: Oktoberfest 2012 – Hannover, Germany

This was the view as we approached the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. I was so excited I had to go pee pee behind that tree on the left.

This was the view as we approached the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. I was so excited I had to go pee pee behind that tree on the left.

In Hannover, Oktoberfest takes place at the Schützenplatz, which is an open area directly across from the AWD Arena (home of the Hannover 96 soccer team, and yeah, you heard me right, I just called it ‘soccer’). This year, Oktoberfest ran from September 28th until October 14th, and yet The Wife and I almost missed it! We kept meaning to check it out, but (my wife) couldn’t seem to find the time. I finally jogged past the fairgrounds one morning and noticed it would only be open for one more weekend. That’s when I finally convinced my wife we had to go.

“I ran past Oktoberfest this morning and there’s only one weekend left!” I exclaimed. “There were tons of beer tents in there! They even had roller coasters with Germans on them! Screaming Germans! I need this, honey. I need it so bad.

The Wife relented and we experienced our very first Hannover Oktoberfest together. It was AWESOME.

Here are the pictures we took that night. I’m sorry there aren’t more; I was too busy experiencing pure, unadulterated joy.

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Automobile Tales: Sideswiping the German

The Wife and I were driving home from work last night when suddenly I realized we were out PBR.

“Honey, we have one beer left in the ‘fridge. This isn’t happening.” I swerved across two lanes of traffic and pulled into the darkest, shadiest convenience mart you’ve ever seen. I leapt from the car, darted inside and grabbed a case of beer with all the feline grace you’d expect from a man who spends all day making pretty on the computer.

An unmentionable sea hag with kelp-brown hair came shambling into the store and asked the clerk if he had any matches. “No, I don’t have any,” replied the predictably Asian man. He gave her a healthy dose of stink eye as she left. In fact, he seemed unable to look away at all. Jesus man, I thought to myself. She’s just an unruly ocean troll; it’s not like she tried to steal your horde of magic seashells.

I paid for the beer, turned to leave and that’s when I saw it; my wife, having exited our car with the passenger door open and the engine still running, using her supple German body to block a huge van from exiting the parking lot. The clerk hadn’t been staring at that hideous tide nymph at all — he was watching a massive camper van sideswipe my car.

The Wife was visibly shaken — a deadly mix of fear and anger upon her visage — while the two young girls inside the van were truly stunned. I would find out later they’d tried to drive away without being caught; my wife jumped out of the car and blocked their path, exclaiming, “Stop! You have to stay here until my husband comes back!” Of course, when I replay this in my head, she’s dressed like the Baroness from G.I. Joe, menacing a couple of bikini-clad teenagers with a leather riding crop, bellowing, “HALT! You vill remayne oontil mine hüzbint unt hiz pendulous nutsack reemerge from ze store.”

Though fearful, the girls were quick to profess their helplessness. “We don’t have any money,” stated the driver. “We’re from Lebanon.” And yes, I paused for a moment to wonder if she meant the Lebanon which borders Syria, rather than the Lebanon outside of Salem, Oregon, but I recovered and asked for her insurance information.

“We don’t have that,” came her reply. “What do we do now?”

“We call the cops,” I replied, snapping a picture of her license plate. That was right about when they produced some semblance of insurance coverage; a receipt for an auto insurance payment made by their stepfather last year. I took down all of the information, waved goodbye and asked them to drive carefully.

Turning back to my car, I saw the aforementioned sea hag peering closely at the scrape running the length of my driver side door. “Oh, you can probably buff that out,” she said in her ancient maritime tongue, poking at the paint.

“Don’t touch that!” cried my wife, slapping away her horrible webbed fingers.

“We’ve got this under control,” I chimed.

The Wife and I proceeded home, vowing never to return to that convenience mart, with its abundance of sea people and delicious Pabst Blue Ribbon, for surely thar be Pabst in fresher waters. Yarr.

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The Camping Chronicles: Burning the German, Part III

When it was finally time to break camp and head home, The Wife and I attempted to extinguish our campfire; this is Oregon, after all, and we are good, responsible campers. It’s not like we had wholesale disregard for Oregon’s  Severe Weather Alert — or its no-campfires policy throughout the summer months in general — it’s just that we like to do whatever the hell we want.

So we hoisted our cooler — now half-full of water from the melted ice we’d purchased — and dumped it directly onto the coals of the fire. Apparently we were dealing with the grumpiest fire of all time, because it erupted with steam and Old Faithfulled all over my wife’s hands. Now, I am not generally opposed to hot liquids shooting all over beautiful women, but we all know how dangerous steam can be. Luckily, she got away with pink skin and a blister. Score.

How could I have been so stupid as to dump water directly onto hot coals? I don’t know; I’ve been burned at least three times the same way, and the fires just can’t seem to learn this simple lesson. I guess they’re just doomed to repeat it, the stupids.

Anyway, after burning her 3 different ways during the course of our camping trip, I decided to apologize by buying my wife a peanut butter burger and a 34 ounce stein of beer at Calamity Jane’s in Sandy, Oregon. The burger and the beer were bigger than my wife’s head — and they were awesome — but she could not remember the name of the restaurant as we drove home.

I told her it was Saran Wrap Jake’s.

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The Camping Chronicles: Burning the German, Part I

During our recent camping trip on Mt. Hood, The Wife and I drank some brew doggies and sat in the sun. And by sat in the sun, I mean we cracked a few PBRs and immediately lost track of time. We let that almighty bastard in the sky work us over for 5.5 hours, which wasn’t a huge problem for me — I had a decent tan in place — but The Wife was paler than that God-awful pickled herring she loves so much. If she’d been any whiter, she’d have been listening to NPR while composting her vegetables. If my wife had been any more white, she would have purchased the complete DVD set of The Wire before riding a Vespa scooter to Whole Foods.

What I’m saying here is my wife got sunburned. Bad. Even the knot loops on the back of her bikini top were seared into her flesh like a hilarious Colonel Sanders string tie. Of course I laughed, and of course I was  somehow to blame for this sunburn (totally worth it). And God bless my wife, for she — unlike me — is not a complete pussy; she ignored the burn and informed me it was time to go for a walk.

Click here to read the second installment of Burning the German.

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