I found out the hard way that in many parts of the world smiling at strangers is considered very odd behavior –
which presented a problem for me as my father had ground into my head from early on that frowning causes your jowls to droop prematurely and if I didn’t maintain a cheerful countenance at all times I would look like my grandmother.
Riley O (in the Graduation Present) is similarly clueless as she wanders through the tiny village where her uncle lives for the first time:
“The square plots of yard, along with driveways and garages, began disappearing as I neared the center of town. Ancient stone buildings huddled together on the streets, forcing the few pedestrians—primarily middle-aged women dragging children behind them on leashes while juggling canvas bags full of produce—to walk in the road. They scowled at me as if I were a child murderer. They even scowled when I smiled at them.”
In Germany this no-no flies out the window during fest season, a two week long orgy of beer, wine, sex, and singing during which the entire country sheds its stoicism in favor of a frat party mentality. To illustrate this point, an indiscretion committed during fest season cannot be used as grounds for a divorce so if you’re going to cheat on your frau, do it in September. During these two weeks, villages scattered throughout the wine growing regions throw street parties featuring bratwurst smothered in onions and sauerkraut, tastings of the local wine and beer, and sometimes music. In the larger towns the fests are held in giant, circus-like tents with picnic tables, polka bands and beer maids in their sexy costumes. Everyone drinks, everyone sings and a whole lot of flirting goes on.
Many young people engage in the sport of “fest-hopping,” mapping out routes that’ll insure they hit the most number of beer-tastings possible. Uncle Bob (whom the villagers called Oncle Boob after his niece Riley arrives in town) is a champion fest-hopper. In the following excerpt he is forced to re-evaluate his strategy while he and Riley await the arrival of a late friend.
6 thoughts on “Oncle Boob’s Fest Hopping Strategy”
Hmmm…is calling him Uncle “Boob” in your title a typo or foreshadowing for scenery he sees during fest season (smile)? If we ever make it to Germany (I have relatives there) it would definitely be during October. May even take some tips from ol’ Uncle Bob on his fest-hopping route (if hubby has his way, he might do the color-coded priority level too – smile)
Boob was how the villagers pronounced “Bob.” Yes, fest season is a great time to be in Germany. Just remember it’s not always necessary to smile! Thanks for your comment.
I love how you preface each excerpt with some background on the situation and also a bit of history & culture. These posts are so much fun to read, Jan. I’m so looking forward to The Graduation Present.
Thanks Mary! Leaving the Beach is next on my TBR list.
I’d love to have shared a bottle of vodka with your grandmother! And Uncle Boob too. Seems like a good man to have with you on a pub crawl!