Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Wednesday, October 06, 1999 6:38 AM
Subject: Sept 28-Sept 30, 1999: Oktoberfest!

Sept 28, 1999
Arrived into Munich from Amsterdam...having made friends with about 6 people on the train...can't remember names...aw, shame (silly saffie quote).

We all went to the Thalkirken campgrounds...I had brought a tent...but it was raining...so I rented one of their good tents...we settled our stuff...and headed to the Oktoberfest!

Now...for those of you who think you enjoy a brew...you must visit Oktoberfest...it is a huge carnival where the main attraction is drinking to oblivion. The beer "tents" are really huge halls with an Oompa band in the center...tables all around...and lots of drunk, happy, singing people sitting at, standing on, or laying under the tables...it is a madhouse. And...the Germans believe strongly in lots of food...no small French cuisine portions...NO...everything is consumed in excess...sausage...and half chickens...NO chicken parts are sold individually...the only option is Half a chicken...kind of the Henry Ford school of dining...you can the chicken any way you want it...as long as it is a half a chicken.

The Oompa bands are short on German music...but long on classics that any drunken soul from anywhere in the world is familiar with. Credit goes to Bill Nesbitt/AA LAX for correctly predicting (from past experience) that the most popular song at the entire Oktoberfest proceeding is none-other than
John Denver's smash hit:  Country Road (Take me home...to West Viriginia...Mountain Mamma...)
Now...you may think this is silly...but then again...so is everyone in the beer tent...this classic is sung with the utmost feeling and emphasis by everyone in the hall...it is great.

Another thing you may be wondering...since I don't drink alcohol...what the hell was I doing at Oktoberfest in Munich...to party with the beer swilling Germans and Tourists...infact...I discovered that to fit in with the entire crowd...one does not infact need to really drink beer at all...I would just buy 1 beer per night...pour about half the mug into someoneelses mug (always a sign of friendship at Oktoberfest) and would then proceed to raise my stein with everyoneelses in toasts to just about everything under the sun...lots of fun! Most of the night was spent in the Haufbrau Tent...meeting people and making friends...the evening ended at 11pm (yes...they close early at Oktoberfest...but hey, everyone has been there since 1pm drinking...time for a break)...we hit the subway...some idiot started singing Country Road...and all of us joined in (ofcourse)...the entire subway car rocked to a huge live karoke performance of John Denver's
classic...a touching moment.

Returned back to Thalkirken...the 2 American guys from Seattle were playing the guitar and singing...enjoyed that for a while...crashed in tent approx
2am

Sept 29, 1999
Woke about 10am...cursed...went back to sleep...until just before noon...rushed out...had to catch Mike's Bike Tour.

Caught the tour...it was great...we hopped on bikes...went around town...generally disobeying traffic laws and pissing off the locals (being normal tourists)...learned lots of the history of Munich (none of which I
can remember now...go read a book...what am I? 411?)...anyway...it was nice...met lots of folks...even a group of Northwest Airlines Mechanics who non-revved to Oktoberfest ever year...sniff...sniff...I miss flight benefits. Hung out with another guy...we met his sister at the trainstation...and headed (whereelse???) to OKTOBERFEST.

...not much to describe...more drinking...toasting (note...toasting with a huge beerstein half full of beer is not easy...my arm was literally tired...I have a new respect for drinkers...not easy work)...singing John
Denver songs...etc...

Met up with a big group of folks going to go dancing after the Hofbrau tent closed (11pm)...several American guys, a Hungarian gal, 2 Italian Girls, and more...hard to remember...fuzzy...anyway...we all went to this huge complex for dancing...partied like it was 1999 at this club called Cohiba (Latin and
Brazilian music)...it was great...had lots of fun...got back to the tent about 5:30am...destroyed.

Sept 30, 1999

Wake in tent at Thalkirken...ugggggghhh...thought...maybe I'm too old for this shit...showered (6 minutes of hotwater for 2 Deutsch Marks...)...thought...Nah! Back to Oktoberfest!!!

Partied again...lots of toasting...singing...meeting random people from all over the world...Met a guy from Boston...talked to him about travelling...he decided then and there (I think he had been contemplating it) that he would work towards saving and then quitting and travelling...I gave him the necklace charm (some of you had seen it) that I had bought in Ios, Greece in 1998 the day I decided I needed to do this trip. I told him to keep it as a reminder of his goal...and he would get there. I am a big believer that if you have a goal and are focused on it...then nothing can get in your way...but without goals...you are like a ship sailing in an ocean without a course...going wherever the wind blows (not an original thought...but I
firmly believe it)...I hope he reaches his goal.

I thought about going out dancing again afterwards...vetoed the idea and left the folks I had been with in the Hofbrau Tent to go dancing on their own...sometimes you have to do what is best for you...I returned and crashed back at Thalkirken...tomorrow I was to leave early for Praha (Prague for those not in the know...)...and needed my sleep.

Doug