Week 7 – I Don’t Speak German But I Can If You Like
by H D Thompson
On the bus to Munich a couple took the seats in front of me. They spent the first couple of hours making those gross smacking noises as they made little kisses on the seats. Even with earplugs in I could hear them expressing their disgusting love. The chair in front of mine also reclined so far I think it might have been broken, because the only thing that stopped it going further was my legs. I felt like Santa with a fat kid on his lap who was playing with himself under his shorts and wouldn’t get off for 7 hours.
Standing beneath the Glockenspiel clock tower waiting for the famous automation parade that plays out at specific hours was a strange experience. A crowd of people gathering in a square staring up at a clock, waiting for something to happen. 12pm. From the sea of heads arose a flock of phones, poised at the ready. 12:01pm, silence. Phones waiting. The bells for midday finally began at 12:03pm. The show didn’t start til 12:05pm. I enjoyed how this seemed to fly in the face of a country known for its efficiency. At the end, the adoring crowd below broke out into applause, which I’m sure the automated puppets really appreciated.
As stunning as it was to walk around the Palace of Bavaria, I couldn’t help but wonder what the royals of the past would think of their homes being used as museums; garbage commoners walking their golden halls, breathing their golden air. As a royal I would not find that idea very cute at all.
Overheard at our hostel:
“OI DID YOU SHAG MY EX UP THE ARSE”
“NAH I JUST FISTED HER IT WAS EASY”
English bros on weekends away are truly their own kind. While I was having a moment away from them out the front two of them accosted me, as gathering smokers often do, and questioned me about why Rachel and I haven’t “shagged it up” yet. Even after my explanation of what being gay is, he insisted that it would work out between us because travelling the world is so romantic and these things just have a way of happening. As he said this I thought of the romantic setting of 8 other heavy breathing bodies in our dorm room upstairs and how it always, always smells like farts, but simply nodded in agreement. He also used the phrase “paperless email” multiple times so I think the poor dude just needed a win.
The biggest news item of Munich when we were there was a pig running loose in a mall. There was security footage shown on repeat and multiple bystander accounts splashed across the news throughout the night. A pig! In a mall! What a notion.
On the radio I heard Haim’s cover of Shania Twain’s That Don’t Impress Me Much that they did for Triple J’s Like a Version and for some reason it filled me with an odd sense of homeland pride.
While alighting the train to the Neuschwanstein Castle, a middle aged American man asked us for directions, to which we told him we were tourists and couldn’t help. His wife ambled on over and asked him, as if we weren’t standing right there, if we knew anything, and he responded, “They’re Aussies, they only know where Sydney is”. I wanted to give them directions into oncoming traffic, but I didn’t know any nearby.
My favourite thing in tour groups is when members question the validity of the information of the tour guide, as if it wasn’t their job, as if they didn’t at all know what they were talking about and perhaps just became the leader because they were standing at the front of a crowd. Even better is when other members of the tour question the information even further, trying to one-up the other person who is trying to one-up the person running the tour. It’s vile chaos and I relish it.
There was a slug in Rachel’s salad. It was pretty adorable, but not at all what she ordered. Her meal was free as a result, which let me to thinking that I should always BYO slugs when dining out.
I love it when things are perfect in their absurdity. Like the Chinese beer house in the middle of the English Garden in Munich, Germany.
Along the Olympic lake I inspected the Walk of Stars, which had hand prints and signatures in cement squares lining the lake. There were stars like Bon Jovi, Kylie, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, Anastasia(who implored Munich to “keep sprocking”), but the best one was hands down Chris Rea, who, unlike the other stars, decided against simply signing his name and well wishes and instead drew a sketch of himself mooning the viewer. That this will be there forever is truly beautiful.
An old man passing me in the modern art museum leant in and said, “I’m trying to go straight but I keep getting distracted”. I have no idea if he was referring to his path through the museum, or his life in general, but I wished him well on his journey.
At our Munich hostel we got a complimentary shot of Jägermeister as a welcome gift. I haven’t had Jaeger since I was old enough to know better, but I downed it because I’ll put basically anything in my mouth that’s placed before it. Rachel sipped hers, grimaced, and passed it to me. The first shot I gagged at the awful taste but on the second it went down really well and I couldn’t remember why I didn’t do Jaeger shots more often because they just fill you with so much energy and everything is so much funnier and even the annoying doof music playing in the hostel lounge sounds good and you kind of want to dance and move and talk to everyone at once which is hard to do because you also want to chain-smoke your body into submission and so even though I had the shots and Rachel didn’t we started looking for somewhere to go dancing because it was 7pm and why not we’re young and then I found an 80s dance party but it was actually the week prior and why was it even still on Facebook still who even runs these things and my god those guys you thought were annoying before are SO FUNNY now and then the Jaeger wore off and I had to go to bed immediately.
There’s just something really off about people climbing and posing for photos among the Holocaust Memorial. Same category as a funeral selfie.
I was lured into a shop by a sign that advertised a deal with a donut and a pumpkin spice macchiato. The young trainee looked confused when I ordered it, and when I pointed to the sign outside, he turned to his superior and asked, in English, “the fuck is a pumpkin spice macchiato?”, dusting just the right amount of shame onto the entire endeavour.
Encountering some Berliners in the wild was a thrill. They were three young girls sharing a joint and they were holding up an iPad like a boom box. I wanted to cast a net and keep them forever.
Among all the German language, there was just something so comforting hearing an American Dad portion out Snickers to his family.
The number of hot policemen in Berlin is insane. Their Christmas party would be publishable.
There was a Buddha statue in our apartment that just sat there smiling at us. Is he judging us? Waiting? Masturbating as we sleep? I covered him with a cloth with a flower on it because he was just truly awful and too heavy to move.
I like how birds sound different wherever you go. I know it’s obvious but it’s still delightful.
There was an old man at Hermannplatz train station who was so impeccably dressed I almost fell over. He was so late in the game he had those wet droopy eyes that old people get when the end is near, and they stared out from underneath a hat that didn’t look stupid that also matched his perfectly fitted periwinkle suit. He may have been close to death, but He. Was. Living.