I need to write this blog now while things are still sort of fresh in my mind. Well, you know, as fresh as they can be after 4-5 one Liter beers at the Hofbrau Festhalle. Good lord.
So this last weekend I decided to go down to Oktoberfest. It seemed like an appropriate event for me because, well, I like beer and I like to dress up and I like to have fun. I took the train from Saarbruecken down to Munich, and I think it was roughly a five hour ride. I left at 6:45 in the morning, which is just a TAD bit early for this gal on a Saturday. I decided not to wear my dirndl on the train a) because I was not in Bavaria and the last thing I wanted was for people in Saarland to be like "what the hell" and b) because, knowing me, I'd spill something on there that would DEFINITELY leave a stain. And if I'm going to spill anything on my dirndl, it's going to be beer, dammit.
I got into Munich and followed the instructions I had written down to my hotel via the S-Bahn (Munich's above-ground train). Well, apparently I am a shitty writer of instructions as I went 45-minutes IN ENTIRELY THE WRONG DIRECTION. When the train stopped and shut down in this tiny little town in God-only-knows-where, the only thing going through my mind was "Expedia so lied about the distance of this hotel to Oktoberfest." I went into the train station and found a younger man who spoke very broken English who informed me that I had fucked up big time and I had about an hour and a half train ride in the OTHER direction ahead of me. Cranky beyond belief at this point, I got back on the train, headed back in the right direction, and an hour and 45 minutes later ended up at a train station that is actually IN Munich.
In the meantime, Beth, my friend from Milan, had called to inform me that she had missed her flight to Munich and was driving up with a friend of hers. It was going to take her longer to get there, so she told me just to head down to Oktoberfest since Brice and Nathan (the boys from Saarbruecken) were already there. I quickly changed, left the key at the front desk for Beth to pick up and took the train BACK to Oktoberfest.
Now I'm going to try to actually describe what I saw when I waltzed into Oktoberfest. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Try to imagine a fraternity party, times a billion. And with liederhosen. And more boobs. And LOTS more beer. It was outrageous. I just stood in the opening for a good five minutes assessing the situation and debating whether or not it was entirely wise for me to enter the pearly white gates. Well, fuck, of course I was going to enter them, I just wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into. Who was I kidding. I was already contemplating the mathematical probability that I would flash someone boob. And you don't have to be good at math to figure out that brain teaser.
Brice had texted me and informed me they were at the Hofbrau Tent. Just as a point of clarification, the Hofbrau tent is sort of like the Cancun of Oktoberfest. Everyone who is a tourist or a foreigner or young and stupid and looking to get wasted and into a fist fight goes to the Hofbrau tent. Now I had wanted to go to a more traditional Bavarian tent, but by the time I actually got on the right train, found the hotel, got changed, got on another train and found the Hofbrau Tent, I was so anxious to drink a beer I probably would have burst into tears had I had to wait any longer. I stood outside waiting and could not find Brice anywhere. There were so many freaking people. Here is a photo of the line OUTSIDE the tent (taken when I was already inside, but I think this is necessary to convey the craziness):
I shit you not, within two minutes of getting into this massive line of people, the Polezei (who I later would become VERY acquainted with) started shoving through the crowd of people with three guys in headlocks, covered in blood. The Polezei literally THREW them out of the beer garten area and into the crowd of people. Blood was everywhere. I could not believe what I had just seen. I definitely needed to get the hell out of this spot.
I finally found Brice and he showed me the ACTUAL entrance into the beer garten. I was quickly met by our friend Nathan, who was wasted beyond wasted and spitting German phrases at me. Nathan, you're lucky I didn't punch you. :) When you want a beer and have not had a beer and drunk people are all over you, one's instinctive reaction is forcible castration.
As if by magic, a beer wench appeared with a giant one liter glass of fine, fine German brew. I started drinking and instantly felt at ease with the world.
Because I figure describing the inside of the beer garten would best be accomplished with photo, here is what I was dealing with:
And here is a photo of me in my dirndl with Brice's friend Brad, who was also from Idaho and studying in a different part of Germany:
Dare I say this is roughly the last thing I remember with any sort of cohesion or clarity. It's amazing what one liter of beer will do to you. Unfortunately, I think I consumed several more than just that one liter, but University of Idaho, I would have done you proud!
We met so many people whose faces randomly appear on my camera. I can't remember too many of them, where they were from, what they were doing, if I stole anything from them or if I or anyone at my table made out with them. But Oktoberfest is not about remembering things! It is about doing things that you will probably regret in the morning and just praying that you don't wake up the next morning in a puddle of your own urine with a communicable disease. No worries, this did not happen to me.
Beth and her friend arrived after I was lit up, and apparently at some point, I had been given a bracelet, which granted me access INSIDE the tent. If you were not at the tent earlier in the day, it was next to impossible to get inside. I believe some older woman gave me hers and she and her husband were leaving the tent. At least that is the story I have conjured up in my mind, and that is the story I am sticking with. Once it started to rain, being inside sounded like a fantastic idea. I got Beth and her friend in by declaring adamantly in German repeatedly "Sie ist meinem Schwester, sie ist meinem Schwester" which may or may not be grammatically correct and was definitely not true.
Once inside, it was crowded, it was smelly, it was loud and I did not have a beer (which is not a problem at Oktoberfest as you can get a beer from practically anyone). I'm not entirely sure from whence the beer I received came, but it obviously was not roofied as I am still here. I'm fairly certain I bought it. Maybe.
Because everything that happened after that is a bit blurry (including me almost getting in some fight with a guy because he put a sticker on my boob, which I promptly removed and threw in his drink. Or all the random people that I was photographed with. Or finding the bathroom) I'm just going to do a little fast forwarding to AFTER we left Oktoberfest. Because this is where my evening gets freaking EXCITING.
Because Beth doesn't drink beer, she was our DD on the way to the hotel. She was driving her friend's car which, thank GOD was a Passat and not some shitty mini-European car that looks like a lego toy. We were a mere 4 minutes away from our hotel, and I was happily drunk texting in the back seat when I heard sirens coming very fast behind us and then felt my body snap forward and snap back (yes, folks, seat belts are massively important). I had no idea what had just happened until I looked up and noticed that there was a police car on our right completely smashed in the front. Beth kept asking if everyone was okay and I kept asking what the fuck was going on. My head instantly started to hurt, and I couldn't move my neck too well. I sat in the car and all these police officers came up to me and started asking me questions in German. I couldn't answer them because I had no idea what had happened and oh, I don't freaking speak German, assholes!
This is what went down:
Apparently a police car traveling roughly 40-50 mph rear-ended our car while we were waiting at a stop light. The entire back portion of Beth's friend's car was destroyed, and the back window had been completely shattered. The hat I had been wearing had someone ended up out in the middle of the street, probably flying through the shattered back window. I was extraordinarily dizzy and nauseated and could not stand up, so Beth insisted that they call an ambulance and take me to the hospital.
I would like to take this opportunity to discuss what happened in both the ambulance and in the hospital. At no point in this entire experience did anyone take my vitals. In fact, in the ambulance, they sat me in a chair in the back and left me alone, where I kept falling asleep and waking up when I would smack my head against the side of the seat. I'm fairly certain that if I had had a concussion, it was only exacerbated by the shitty care I received in the ambulance. Once I got to the hospital, before treating me, they made me fill out all these forms, which were all in German. I kept telling the woman I didn't speak German and I didn't know what I was signing and I felt like I was going to throw up, but she insisted on making sure I had health insurance and that I signed these forms. I'm sorry--isn't your health care socialized in Germany? Might I have a concussion?? I finally just gave in and signed the fucking forms so they would do something about my headache. A doctor came in and examined me in the chair I was sitting in and determined that I needed an x-ray. He told me where to find the x-ray room. That's right. He told me where to go and then went to go look at another patient. I was barely able to stand on my own. Awesome.
After they took the x-ray, he said the he and the radiologist agreed that I may have potentially fractured something in my neck and needed to go get a CT. He then sent me ON MY OWN down the hallway to find the CT scan room ON MY OWN. Can I reiterate, this entire time I may potentially have fractured something in my neck, am dizzy and and nauseous and blacking out, the doctors left me ON MY OWN to go find the CT room. Apparently the only thing I was able to communicate to him with any clarity was my distrust of the German socialized health care system and my dislike of Germany at that point. I think I even asked him if he was even a real doctor or if he got his degree at a school online in Aruba.
If this is what happens when a country socializes their health care, i.e. a complete decline in the standard of care, I am going back to American and rallying HARD against its implementation in the states. If we don't pay doctors a wage which accurately reflects the work they do and the education they receive, we're going to have super-shitty health care. And now let me step off my soap box.
It turns out I didn't have a fracture, but do have a serious case of whiplash. God only knows what forms I signed in my impaired state, but I'm sure one of them entitles German to sell my future children into slavery. And I got some Advil for the pain. Thanks, buddy. I have the Costco sized container at home, I could have saved you the trouble.
So yes, anyways, that was my Oktoberfest. Beth and her friend had to rent a car to get back to Italy, and now they have to deal with all that insurance hoopla because the POLICE rear-ended us. It's two days later and my back is killing me, so yours truly gets to begin the epic adventure of finding a physical therapist in Saarbruecken that speaks English and doesn't suck ass. Hoorah.
I swear, shit like this ONLY happens to me.