Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eisbecher! Eisbecher!

This is an example of German humor. Let's put all of our sundaes in front of Nancy and it will look like she is eating three ice cream sundaes! Well, I only ate one. Right. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Shortly before I arrived in Germany an announcement was made on that country's national evening news, "When the little American gets here, whenever she starts to look bored, or hot, or tired or grumpy, take her for an ice cream. In the absence of any of those conditions, ask her every hour on the hour if she would like an ice cream." At least that is the only way I can explain the phenomenon that whatever city I was in, whomever I was with, my companion would invariably turn to me and ask me if I would like an Eis. Ice cream in Germany (and Austria) is different than the states, less rich and creamy and more icey and the flavors are more fruit based and less chocolate and candy based. There are few things I find less enjoying that sitting at a nice cafe overlooking a lazy square and eating a ridiculous European imagining of an ice cream sundae, and yet even I could not possibly accept every invitation for ice cream I was offered. I found myself saying, "Why don't we get a coffee instead?"

So either I look like a person who eats a lot of ice cream (um...) or my German friends, who are on average about eight years older than me, in trying to remember what they liked when they were twenty-five overshot and regressed back to childhood. 'Let's see, what did I like when I was twenty-five? Um, balloons and ice cream, right? And the circus. That was the year Mum and Dad took me to the circus.' [Actually, now that I think about it, they wouldn't have been too far off the mark there. I am very fond of balloons and ice cream and the circus, as luck would have it.] Anyway, I did have a bit of ice cream this trip. And after accepting an invitation for an Eis, we had to decide on an Eisbecher (ice cream sundae) or Eistuete (ice cream cone) and whether to sit at the Eiscafe or take our cones on a walk through the old town. Naturally, everyone has their favorite ice cream shop in town, so if I was with more than one German serious discussions broke out on which cafe was the best in terms of best Eis, best prices, best views etc... Often the ice cream negotiations could take up the better part of the afternoon, which I believe is another sign of a successful vacation.

The person in the photo wearing the baseball cap is me. I mention that only because I showed that photo to GOTM while it was still on my digital camera and he asked, "Who's that?"

"It's me, you Schmuck," a poor choice of words because the Yiddish word caused some confusion, as Schmuck can also mean "jewel" in German. After my first day in Mainz, I decided to rough it, although I was very comfortably camped out in my friend's one bedroom apartment while he was sailing in Greece. That meant no make-up, no fills, sneakers and baseball caps. I thought, well, I never have to see these people again and besides, my friends seem to like my just the way I am and Der Mann thoughtfully confirmed this. Also, unlike New York, you didn't have the sense that everyone walking down the street was sizing each other up, judging each other, because of course, they weren't. In Germany, I didn't hate my body. In fact, when I bothered to look in the mirror, like before G4's party on Saturday night, I thought, 'I look good.'

Still, most days I thought I looked like a dorky American tourist (see sneakers, baseball cap) especially when I made my excursion to the cities and I was traveling with a large backpack. So I was amazed by the number of people who just came up to me and started speaking German to me. It was an awesome compliment because it was so casual in nature, except for when it was annoying. Like when the chugger [charity mugger] approached me in Cologne to talk about what I can only guess is the German equivalent of Save the Children. "What's the matter? Don't I look American?" I said in fluent German.

"No, really?" he asked.

"Yes, New York City."

"Cool. Do you have some time to talk with me about blah blah blah?"

"Sorry, I don't speak German," I said and continued on my way.

I think if you look at that second photo you can see ice cream on my nose. I am a class act at home and abroad.


jesse said...

I think 'too many sundaes' may be a distinctly first-world woe. Nonetheless, I have envy.

laHip said...

I am so glad you're home, and not just becaus eyou've promised me German swag. Did you get any ass antlers while you were there?

Walk this week? I want to give you back your cupcake accoutrements, as well.


lebrookski said...

i would just like to point out that for the record, i didn't offer you any ice cream whilst you visited in hamburg and that we did have coffee. i heard somewhere it's what grown ups do.

thanks for stopping by!

Cupcake said...

About that German swag... that was a big lie. No one got any presents except for me and I just picked up a few small things. There was a whole bunch of World Cup shit "stark reduziert" but I couldn't think of anyone back home who would actually want any of that. So your present is the return of my warmth of my company.

But yes, walking and talking soon.

Sheena said...

Welcome home!

We got your postcard on Friday (mail that isn't a bill is SO exciting... thanks!)... sounds like you had a blast!

agirllikeme said...

Now I want a Sundae. :(

AJWP said...

Oh my lord. I haven't seen a fancy German sundae since we lived in Ansbach in 1990! You totally made me day.

Cupcake said...

When I lived in Vienna we used to always go to this place on Kaertnerstrasse called Zanoni and Zanoni. Fabulous Eisbechern. I wish we were all there right now, eating Spaghettieis and shooting the shit. If anyone else is familiar with the marvel of Spaghettieis, you know it is a weird, beautiful thing.

AJWP said...

Spaghettieis! Another blast from the past!