Day 5: BBQ, Hank Williams and GER vs POR
Sunday, July 9, 2006

It being Saturday, we got up and going then tidied up the house. Britta and I tag-teamed the kitchen. After we schlepped the glass bottles to the store for the cash return (the bottles were threatening to take over the floor of the kitchen). Then we picked up some milk and my mystery meal from the bakery. Today's bread-thing was a type of cheese pocket danish, only not as sweet as the U.S. variety.

It was a big day, being the day of the BBQ and the debut performance of Stephen's country band, so there was a lot of extra work to do. Stephen created directional signs on his PC so that folks would be able to find the boat house, then he ran off to do band things like transporting amps and trying to find the slide for his lap steel. Britta made curry noodle salad to go with the poached fish for the BBQ (yes, the big fish that S caught two days earlier which he insists will not kill us even though it was pulled from a river flowing through a major European city). Stephen came back, then left again for the grocery. I did my daily chores, which involved the back-breaking labor of writing this log and taking a shower. Ah, vacation.

I really enjoyed the party. I thought I wouldn't because of the language barrier, but it was not to be. I settled into an excellent conversation with Stefan Maurer about The Dead Kennedy's, Black Flag and the U.S./British punk scene of which we were both of the age to have been a part of. His wife Uni also spoke English, and their 2 year-old daughter Tiana was so serious, but she warmed up to me eventually and wanted to play with the soccer ball, so we kicked it around on the lawn. I couldn't understand a word she said, but she chattered along happily and didn't seem upset that I never said anything back. I was inordinately pleased when I asked Tiana's mom to translate Tiana saying 'es macht spaƟ', meaning 'it is much fun'. Stefan and his wife at the grill:

I was invited to play a game of fussball, believe it or not. I played offense until the fellow who was my partner lost patience with me, so I took over defense. We won both games anyway, which was fun.

The band started up after everyone had had a plate of food, and I was enthralled how the singer Jens captured the Hank Williams' twang! Stephen grinned the whole time they played, which the folks who could understand the lyrics were a little put off by, since 'The Long Black Veil' is a mite dark in subject matter. Stephen promised to keep his enthusiasm in check next time. Let's here it for the BAND:

A summer shower interrupted the end of the first set, but it passed quickly and we toweled off all of the chairs in time for the second set. I met Bryan and Carrie, the two Americans who had introduced Stephen to my co-worker Susan, who in turn introduced me to Stephen 3 years ago on his trip to Texas, where shortly after making his acquaintance I had dragged him from his hotel room under the I-35 overpass and stuffed him into my guest room so he could actually enjoy his time in our fair city and save enough money so he could buy his Fender guitar. It was nice to shake their hands and to discuss the random string of events that brought us all back together on a summer day in Frankfurt, eating BBQ and listening to country music.

While the band packed up, I asked the Thomas the bass player for a lesson in the slap technique, which he was happy to share with me. His bass is an Englehardt from the U.S., and is made of maple. I've never seen a blond bass afore, let alone man-handled one. It was hard to make it sound like anything. As usual, I was better at the percussion part than the musical part. The deepest string was almost an eighth of an inch thick, wrapped in some sort of animal product (cow intestine? huh.). Tiana and friend and S's lap steel:

The match between Portugal and Germany had started inside the club house, so I puttered around picking up random bottles and things, then settled in to watch the outcome. It was a pleasure to watch two professional teams focusing on the game, instead of the art of duplicitousness, which IMHO was what Italy had practiced on Germany for their win four days previous. Germany won 3:1, and everyone was pleased and seemed content that Germany had gotten so far into the finals.

At this point, Stefan and his friend Maurice were plying me with gin and tonic, which seemd oddly antique for Germans, but it was great fun. They left for the strassebahn to go clubbing, and we walked the bikes home because we had too much to carry outside, and too much drink on the inside. Once again I got to carry my pet basil plant home. Seems it was my lot to carry it back and forth to the boat house everytime, in case it was needed for any food preparation.

Safe at the apartment, Stephen instructed me on the proper way to pour a Hefeweizen beer, which he was shocked to discover I had been doing incorrectly since day one. So please, take notes. First, you must use a Hefeweizen glass, which is tall, quite narrow at the base, and opens out gracefully at the mouth. You rinse the glass with water, as this minimizes the foaming of the beer when it's poured. Tilt the glass, pour the beer slowly in. Stop pouring when there is an inch or two of beer still in the bottle. Swirl the remaining beer to dredge up the sediment that has settled. This is the best part (the wheat), and provides all the flavor (and the signature golden cloudiness) to the beer. Lay the bottle on it's side so that the last of the foam can unbubble, wait about a minute, then pour all that's left into the glass. Now you can drink, but first you must salute your friends by clinking the BOTTOMS of your beer glasses, and remember to look folks in the eye as you do so.

OK, this post is way late, so I'm off. Until tomorrow!



Monday, July 10, 2006 4:19 AM


Hera it sounds like you are having so much fun! Thanks for letting us take this vicarious vacation!!! HUGS and have fun!


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