Day 8: Esel Brücken and Home to Texas
Friday, July 14, 2006

One thing I don't think I mentioned yet is how long the summer days are in Germany. The light fades around 9:30-10pm, and the birds wake you up at dawn, which is around 4:30-5am. And Germans start working around 6am, so the fellows dropping large metal objects across the street had a good head start by the time I gave in and got up.

I packed and showered up. S made coffee. We drank it being all bummed out. B joined us, and we ate some toast. I surrendered the house keys, and hid a 50 euro note on the shelf where they keep stuff by the hall. I know if I tried to give it to them, they wouldn't take it. They spent so much money on me, it was unreal! Hopefully the cash will come in handy when they find it. Goodbyes to Speckie.

We walked to the strassebahn, then got off the bus at the train station. The whole trip to the airport took about 30 minutes, walking time included. They stood in line with me, and we cracked wise until I had to walk through security, so we had to say goodbye for real, which was painful, and kinda sucked. That whole kissing both sides of the face thing is awesome, BTW.

The plane flew with the sun, so time seemed to stand still. Took off at 11am in Germany, landed at 2:30pm in Dallas, 10.5 hours later. Didn't sleep. Very surreal. Got to the house at 5, passed out at 7 (2am German time), slept for 11 hours. The cats were happy to see me. Mom was fine, relieved that I wasn't murdered by soccer hooligans, and that the plane didn't fall out of the sky.

I had told people before I left Texas that I was going to Germany for the World Cup. I now know that the best part of my trip was hanging with Stephen and Britta. If I could go back in time, I would tell people I was going on a vacation to visit my friends. Oh, and they live in Germany, and the World Cup will be on while I'm there.


esel brücke (donkey bridge): a memory device used to aid remembrance.

Here are my donkey bridges to help me remember the great time I had with Britta and Stephen.

"A Time to Make Friends", the tagline for the World Cup in Germany. After Germany lost to Italy, we would crack ourselves up by snapping to random people "The time to make friends was yesterday. You can leave now." We didn't say it to their face, well not really loud, anyway. And occasionally S&B would say it to me, once in response to me asking from the kitchen "hey, um, anyone gonna drink this last beer?"

Don't you just want to strangle these super-happy logo people? Come on, admit it.

"If wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak." You didn't seriously think I could go an entire week without teaching them FFisms?

"Per-maybe-haps". Ditto.

I told Britta the story of the Harley-Davidson-riding woman who took a shine to Stephen the first time he visited Texas in 2003. He tried to introduce me to Harley woman when I met up with him at the Broken Spoke dance hall, but she was doing a great job of ignoring me, which puzzled Stephen greatly. I tried to explain to him that she was pissed that I showed up. He asked why? Britta asked why? I said because Harley woman was trying to get into Stephen's pants, and I was cramping her style. Britta looked puzzled, and Stephen explained (in reference to Britta's slower English, and also the fact that she's his girlfriend), "All she [Brita] heard was "pants"." [and that derailed her].

Of course, this lead to an animated and highly enjoyable discussion about the meaning of the term "pissing contest".

Shouldn't a hot water heater really be called a cold water heater? Or else a hot water keeper?

Doppelwalker: someone who walks like you do.

S&B think U.S. commercials are funnier than German ones. They explained that German ones are like commercials from the 1950s, and I asked them how so? So Britta demonstrated, saying with a completely deadpan expression, in a flat monotone "This is the best coffee I've ever had. I drink it every morning. Whether I want to or not."

After Italy won against Germany, Stephen would randomly mutter "No pizza for 12 months."

"We push our bikes because we love our bikes." (translated from a rhyming phrase). In reference to die-hard cyclists who take their bikes with them to places they shouldn't. This was in response to my story of renting a bike on Inisheer island (Ireland) so I could carry it around with me (usually over boulders).

"I LOVE Germany! So many ways to die." My response to the general European lackadaisical-ness about public safety. And I do love this about foreign countries. It's stimulating, and strengthens the gene pool.

When you ask Speckie a question (the cat-head pillow/katzen-kopf kissen), always finish with the phrase "If you agree, don't move and don't speak." Pause. "See? Speckie says yes!"

Our favorite headlines from The Onion:
"Owls are Assholes"
"Christ Converts to Islam"
"Georgia adds Swastika and Middle Finger to Rebel Flag"
"Anne Frank says: Stop Reading My Diary!"

Our favorite headline from The Titanic (translated):
"Horrible Suspicion: Was Hitler an Anti-Semite?"

I hand the house keys to Britta. "Llaves. Acqui." (Spanish for "Keys. Here."), but what I'm really saying is "Keys. A key." She didn't laugh. Puns in foreign languages are so problematic.

Passing the "Kinder Museum" (Children's Museum). Stephen: "So that's where they keep them. I wonder if they have them from foreign countries?" Britta: "And different ages? That would be nice."

Driving past the "Kindergarten". Me: "do they grow them here before they move them to the museum?"

I was explaining to Britta that the Mexican beers, Tecate and Corona, are traditionally served with a lime. Stephen interrupted, explaining that he had heard they were served that way because the acid in the lime killed the germs around the mouth of the bottle. I said that this was crazy, that they just preferred the limes with the beer, and wasn't Kristalweizen in Germany served with a lemon? Was that to kill germs too? Britta chimes in "In Germany, we wash our glasses."

After our bizarre experience at the Applied Arts Museum, our reality was sort of twisted, so Britta and I walked around for days pointing at things and asking "What is art? Is this art? Does this look like art to you?"

"slowly, slowly with the young horses." Translated, meaning stop being so impatient (I think, still rather vague on this one).

"don't paint the devil on the wall." Don't bring about a bad situation by insisting things are going badly.

"it's not polite to point."
"don't point a naked finger at a dressed person." (translated)
Hmm. Does that mean it's OK to point a dressed finger at a naked person?

This concludes the Browncoat at the World Cup weblog. I hope you enjoyed! Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.


Saturday, July 15, 2006 3:22 AM


Oh, Hera, I am so glad you taught them
"per-maybe-haps". It's my most favorite FFism.

Witty and wonderful that is what you are, thank you for sharing your trip with us.

A toast to Stephen and Britta for being such good hosts.

I know you will always remember this trip... believe me, all of us will too since your blog felt like we were right there!


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