I had a really fun time last night. I invited a bunch of friends out to an Oktoberfest celebration at one of the hotels in the city and way more people than I expected showed up and everything was wunderbar.
Every year when my friends in Munich start posting their Wiesn visits on Facebook, my longing to return to Munich starts. I even tried to put together a last-minute trip this week, but it was just too impractical, so I’ll postpone it for a little while. Instead, I googled Oktoberfest Abu Dhabi and three options came up: two at hotels and one giant party in the Du Forum. I’m not really up for a stadium full of drunk Dhabians, so I sent out an invite to some friends to see if they were interested in either of the hotel events. The Brauhaus at the Beach Rotana won out. I had hoped that Jeff would be able to join me so that we could have a date night, but since May was still feeling a little sick and hasn’t been sleeping consistently, he decided to stay home and I went out on my own.
When I initially sent out the invite, I thought that maybe a couple of people would want to join me. Instead, everybody wanted to go and then they invited more people, who invited more people, and it turned into quite a group. This was a wee bit stressful for the OCD planner in me, but nice, because it gave me the opportunity to meet more people, even some non-NYUers (but mainly other NYUers).
I called ahead to make a reservation, which was prudent, because the place was packed. A German band called “Winter Baum” and an authentic German chef were flown in and Paulaner supplied the beer. People were pretty excited to see all the pork products. If you’re wondering, it’s allowed to sell alcohol and non-halal foods at hotels. You know who was pretty excited about the beer? Well, everyone, but mostly:
Stephanie. To be more accurate, she was pretty excited about the beer-holding competition. Groups of men (and a few plucky ladies) competed to see who could hold their arms straight with a Maß of water the longest. Stephanie brought the competition to our table, though she was kinda the only one competing, so she won!
Here I am demonstrating my beer holding skills (the important skills you acquire in college):
Stephanie must be the competitive type, because here she is doing some sort of nail hammering contest with Andy:
I’m not really sure what’s happening in those photos, but I think Andy won. Sorry, Stephanie. I’m sure he’ll be bragging about it for weeks.
Stephanie and her husband Scott, who works in Interactive Media at NYUAD, brought along Scott’s colleague Craig:
I was very pleased to see that Craig wore a Karohemd (gingham shirt), which is what Bavarian men traditionally wear with their Lederhosen, even though he was totally unaware that that was the case. (That’s why I wore my orange gingham shirt and I added my pretzel earrings to be cutesy, but I wasn’t brave – or skinny – enough to wear my Dirndl.)
I will note, however, that Craig did not finish that whole plate of delicious sausage. And these guys did not like their Weisswurst:
Of course, they shouldn’t have been eating Weisswurst after noon! (And yes, I was the inappropriate and annoying know-it-all who took it upon herself to teach these rules to the table, along with how to maintain eye contact when clinking glasses and how to toast with a Weißbier glass, and that the colors of the Greek flag come from the blue and white of the Bavarian flag. I cannot shut myself up. I sincerely apologize, because no one likes that person.)
But these two were good eaters:
It may have taken way too long to get their food delivered to the table (very un-Abu Dhabi like), but Robyn was excited about her bowl of sauerkraut. She and her husband Bill also had currywurst and pommes. I had already eaten dinner at home with Jeff and the girls, so I just drank lots of beer and ate a heaping bowl of Kartoffelsalat. The ad for the event mentioned Obatzda, but it was nowhere to be found, so I did not get a giant pretzel (I just stole bites off of my neighbor’s while he wasn’t looking).
Most of the pictures of the friends I came with (like Rachel) were too blurry, but these are the new people that I met:
They are the friends of a friend of a friend, now with more Laura in their life:
It always feels really good to get out of the house and especially good to get off Saadiyat Island. I had a great time at this Oktoberfest and I have to admit that the experience was quite authentic. I mean, the setting was not (there are far fewer palm trees in Munich) and there were only a few brave souls sweating it out in Tracht and the Lebkuchenherzen were hideous and I didn’t really get a chance to get so drunk that I start thinking my German is perfect, BUT there were plenty of drunk Australians! And the German band did play John Denver! And we were all happy drunk – the kind of drunk where you suddenly find yourself having serious conversations with someone you thought you would dislike, and, most importantly, I continued my tradition of sticking one of these babies in my purse:
The rest of my vast collection didn’t make the trip oversees with me, so this will have to be the first of a new set of stolen glasses.