Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's so good to be home

What a long two weeks it’s been.

I spent the first week in Oxford (that’d be England for those without any geographical yee-haw), catching up with long lost friends and no doubt making a tit of myself at my mate’s wedding (I mean, c’mon, who’d ever pick me as a Best Man??). Awesome fun though, met some awesome folks, and learned without doubt that I really absolutely have to buy a PS3 (thanks Chris!). Nazi Zombies rule!!

It’s always great hooking up with Rosscoe, and it was doubly great meeting the new Mrs McBride, hanging out with Mikey again after an absence of what? Something like twelve years?—and getting to know the crowd that puts up with Ross. I did spend most of my time there fighting jetlag; the days leading up to the wedding were pretty non-stop, so I didn’t really get a chance to catch my breath after landing, and this wasn’t ideal when trying to talk to strangers.

Oh, and boys, those stag night photos...... altogether way too much nudity in them—especially seeing as how there was no female stripper in sight... Naked men doing the haka. Probably shouldn't say anything more.

(photo by Chris Knight)

Anyway. Then it was off to Krefeld, Germany, for work. So I’m slowly recovering from jetlag and the craziness of a wedding, and now I find myself in the land of pork knuckles and beer. This, I tell myself, is not too bad, but I soon find the language barrier tiring after an already tiring week (no, no stinking rotten cabbage for me please, no, you don’t understand, I only want the pork - turns out though that I quite like stinking cabbage). 

I hit the shores around the time of the e-bola outbreak and was instantly told not to eat salad, which to me, meant I had to stick to pork and beer, which I was kind of happy about (boy, I’ll be hitting the gym when I get home!). Tried several local dishes, most of which were damn good, but the herringsstip was a little too special for me (slimy cold fish soaked for months in salted water, that's what it tasted like....). Still, you do have to try these things.

Found a great restaurant and discovered you're pretty much given a beer the moment you sit down, and keep being given a refill unless you put a beer coaster over your glass. Excellent. You even get kicked out if you ask for anything other than beer. And if you'd asked for beer from another region..? Well, best not to do that, either. These wacky Germans. 

So what do you do in Germany (other than eat pork and drink beer)? Well, for a geo-geek like me, you race down freeways that have no speed limits (never knew you could be made to feel like you’re standing still when going 150km/h...) and visit a huge coal mine (5km long), then play with 12 million year old wood that would burn fine on a fire today. Basically, you do lots of other work-related rock stuff. Yes, I did mention that word 'geek,' so what did you expect? I was there for work, after all. 

I was incredibly well looked after by my hosts but was looking forward to getting home again by the end of it all. I really do need to learn some more languages, especially with all the travel I do. Maybe Latin, that’s a good base language. It's really quite a challenge when you don't speak the local language. 

Never made it to Amsterdam, which was a shame as I liked the idea of getting ‘lost’ there for a night. Oh well, gives me something to aim for next time—and it’s probably safer if I do that under adult supervision... 

Despite all the wedding madness, the work madness, the pork and the beer, I did manage to finish Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Awesome series, with Wolves of the Calla being my favourite. The final book was so terribly sad; I don't think I've hated and loved a book as much. A real heart-wrencher. And the ending..... Ah man. Shit. 

So now it's onto a collection of science fiction short stories - while I wait for my Kindle to turn up!