Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fricken Achtung

There are many things you learn from a one week trip to Germany. For one, always pipe up on an inter-continental flight, even when that flight is full of Dutch people and you're the only Asian man in sight. People have the tendency to take their shoes off during long-haul flights, and not everyone wears a clean pair prior to embarking. My particular trip from Singapore to Amsterdam took nothing less than 13 hours, and because of that, I really needed the sleep. In crossing over the Indian continent and skimming past the Russian border, the man next to me farted no less than 50 times, and the idiot lady behind me thought it was funny to continuously kick my seat over and over again. Of course, I could've just said something, making a scene. Of course, considering that it was going to be 13 hours, I really ought to. But I didn't. And so I breathed in another person's gaseous expulsions and woke up several times into the flight because my seat was kicked into. I don't think it's because I don't have the balls to, because anyone who knows me will know that if committed, I will make a living hell out of a person's life. I guess I'm just cosmically patient. That is probably why I tolerated my ex designer's constant tardiness, my ex girlfriend's incessant insecurities, and my ex boss' idiosyncracities. Note the key word: ex. If you have no idea what Germany is like in March, let me tell you. It's cold. Well, actually, that's not entirely true, because it's spring right about now, and Germany should be sunny as Florida. Unfortunately, a misguided storm system blew in over from Berlin, which made things in Hannover (where I was), pretty inhospitable. Germany is probably the only country you'll see brand new Mercedes E-classes being forced into taxi service, and where almost every other car is a Volkswagen. There aren't as many BMWs as you'd think which isn't surprising, mainly because we weren't in Munich, the city BMW built. Even there you won't find that many BMWs. The transportation highlight in Germany is of course, their train system, which sprawls from small towns into congested cities; above, on, and underground. Cars obviously give way to trains on the street, because let's face it; a sedan versus a 4-coach train is just ridiculous. The absolute amazing thing of it all is its ability to be on time. When the station reports that the train is 1 minute away, it really is 1 minute away. All the time. Unless France decides to start another war or the train ran into Santa Claus, trains almost always arrive immaculately on time. I want to have the babies of their transportation minister. Food in Germany is predominantly meat and beer. Beer is cheaper than plain water, which makes me wonder if half the pilots of Berlin Air aren’t high when taking off. You've probably heared of pork knuckles, which is basically the biggest chunk of meat on a piece of bone you'll ever see in your entire life. It's dumb. There's nothing spectacular about it, save for its ridiculously large mass. So really, if you're going to Germany, fuck the pork knuckles, and go for some good old foot-long sausages instead, where it costs cheaper than a glass of water. Yes, meat is cheaper than water in Germany. I'm amazed why China hasn't tried to invade Germany sooner. When it comes to the ladies, they're all pretty. Seriously. Perhaps it's my predisposition towards blondes, but who are we kidding, who doesn't have one? If they're not pretty, they look too much like men with long hair, so either way, it's easy to distinguish a pretty one from one that's not. Despite being in Europe, Germany isn't exactly as open as you'd like to think it is. Sure, no one gives a hoot if a couple openly french kisses in public, but sexuality is so toned down there you'd think there was martial law in effect. Contrast that to Amsterdam, where the porn section for DVDs are located right at the entrance in full view of any passerby. I was going through their massive inventory in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and without knowing it, I was browsing through the gay porn section. Hey come on, the cover only had a picture of someone's butt, and the wording was all in Dutch. Then of course, the Dutch man standing next to me gave me a seemingly knowing glance and a smile. Needless to say, I fucked off. Oh, did I also mention how gigantic Schiphol is? If you think KLIA is such a work of art, wait till you give Amsterdam a shot. The airport is so large, it takes 40 minutes to walk from Gate 1 to the last Gate, which is very far into double digits. It is so expansive, it shuttles you to the plane, and upon landing, and it takes up to 15 minutes for the plane to get to its designated parking gate. Oh, this is the best bit of it all. Our KLM pilot, upon landing, missed his taxi exit and ended up going all the way to the end of the runway, having to turn around and go about it again. Fucking hell, less porn, more attention, you apes. Where was I? Oh right, Germany. Well, naturally, I have to talk about why I was in Germany eventually. Many of you will know that I was there for CeBIT, the world's largest trade fair, sorta like our PC Fair, only that it's 200 times bigger. Just to give you an idea of how large CeBIT is, here's a few things to set your brain on fire. CeBIT itself has its own post code. The entire of WCG Europe Championship was held in just ONE of its halls; there are 27 in total, not counting the outdoor exhibition booths. If you were to stand at the entrance of one of the halls, you can't even see the end of it, because the halls are that long. To completely walk from one booth to the last one in just one hall will take at least an hour. Multiply that by 27. If you're there alone, it's humanly impossibly to cover all. Which is why I didn't. Which is why T3 March is going to kick so much ass, because I'm going to cover so much 'WTF IS THAT' news, it's going to melt your brain. Of course, I'm not here to promote T3, I'm here just to tell you what my trip is like so you will all stop asking me over Messenger. If there's one thing I learned about Germany, it's that Malaysians are apes when compared to Europeans. We don't stop for a pedestrian at a zebra crossing, we don't greet each other in the morning on the way to work, we don't give up our seats for the elderly on trains, and we certainly don't give a crap if a stranger needs help on the street. I wish we were more like Germans. Then we'd all be driving Mercedes' as our first cars and Proton would just be some third world company we'd laugh about when we have our sausages in snow.


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