Saturday, August 6, 2011

BEST: Week 4 (cont.)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

This evening the Mercator School of Management hosted its annual Sommerfest as a way to give back to its students at the end of the semester.  Faculty and local bands play music on a main stage while tents and booths are set up to serve food and beer.  Prof. Klein actually played a double set with his group.  I only saw the first set but they plowed through a good number of convincing metal and rock covers. I also got to meet my friend Christian Heggen who attended MSU this year as a transfer student and recently returned to Duisburg to work for Thyssen-Krupp. Overall, Sommerfest was a lot of fun.
Blayze and Kate at Sommerfest.
Clo and Kate can't wait for the show.
Dr. Klein (second from left) and his friends rock out on the main stage!

 Afterwards, I decided to pay a visit to the university library which I had been meaning to do for some time.  The building itself is quite interesting architecturally.  From the outside it appears to be a simple five-story octagonal building (Ground to 4th Floor).  However, the interior from the 1st floor upwards consists of a series of staggered inner- and outer-rings connected by short staircases which make the space feel lighter and more open. At some point I stumbled across the impressive English-language section.  To make up for our weekend trip to Spain having been canceled, I settled in on the top floor with some Hemmingway until closing time around 10pm.  

"The Sun Also Rises" under its original working title "Fiesta"

Not yet ready to turn in for the evening, I made up my mind to try a nearby restaurant whose name caught my eye everyday during the tram ride home.  Der Lustiger Bosniac (The Funny Bosnian?) is a family-run restaurant specializing in Mediterranean and international cuisine and seems the type of place one goes for special occasions: family dinners, parties, and evening drinks.  A very local place. A well-dressed young family occupied a long table, the children out long past their bed-time, while and older couple sat in the corner.  The prices were reasonable, but I was content with dessert.  I ordered ice cream and a Türkischer Mokka coffee.  Turkish coffee differs from that served in the West.  Fine grounds are mixed directly with the water as with a French press, but the mixture is served unfiltered.  Instead, the drinker allows the grounds to sink before carefully pouring the coffee over sugar cubes into a small cup. The result is an intense burst of flavor and, for me, a delicious way to end the evening.

I walked off dessert on the way the Hauptbahnhof and arrived in time to catch the 903 Tram back to Wanheimerort. 

Friday, 08 June 2011

The day was relatively uneventful.   Most of the other students were still exhausted from the Sommerfest the night before.  Class consisted of two blocks of German lessons with Beatrix Fehse during which we rehearsed for our final next Wednesday.  The final will consist of four parts: listening, reading, grammar recognition, and writing.  We spent an hour on each part and finished the day by reading an excerpt from Mark Twain’s book The Awful German Language.  Because of the free weekend, four of the eight students left early to catch a flight to Rome.  The rest of us took turns reading the Twain excerpt in which he humorously criticizes German grammar including the habit of constructing lengthy compound words.  Have you seen my Donauschiffgesellschaftskapitan? (That would be a Danube Ship Company Captain)  

Note: these pictures are from earlier in the week... They just fit in well here.

You awake?

Apparently, Kate is an expert in Game Theory (or at least the Prisoner's Dilemma).

With half the class on their way to Rome, only three of us returned to the Kanu-Club.  Clo and I later made a trip to a new grocery store called Netto Marken-Discount which we found to be similar to the nearby Lidi in that it is a discount store with a limited selection.  We bought ingredients for chicken enchiladas, stopping at the larger Rewe on the way back for a few harder-to-find items.  Tortillas were nowhere to be found, so we decided to experiment with crepe mix!  Our experiment paid off, though our tiny kitchen was a mess by the end of the evening.  Exhausted, we decided to leave it until the next morning.

Saturday, 09 July 2011

I meant to go to Aachen today, but feeling sick, I spent most of the day at the Kanu Club.  The only thing to report is a trip to McDonalds around mid-afternoon.  I made the trip to König Heinrich Platz in order to find some lunch, but not feeling terribly well, I wanted something familiar.  McDonalds seemed like just the thing; it even had a red carpet. 

Inside, I approached the register in the rear of the restaurant and waited in the line.  The menu was much the same as at home with two or three key differences.  Combos are called McMenüs with the Angus Burger being called the Big Classic Cheese McMenü.  Also, wait for it… McRibs are on the menu year-round! As Mike explained later, pork is so popular in Germany that McDonalds needs some on its permanent menu, hence McRibs. (The sandwich is seasonal in the UK as well, so whenever Mike comes to Germany, the trip usually involves a McDonalds run or two.) There was also a regional sandwich called the McBrezel which seemed to be a sandwich with Fleischkäse, potato salad, lettuce, and a type of honey sauce.

I ordered the Big Classic Cheese McMenü and requested the small size (the menu had the word “small” written in English). However, the cashier didn´t seem to understand and charged me for a large.  I tried again in German and received a pouty face; it was too late to change the order.  This incident would play out again a few days later. So there is English on the menu, but sometimes the employees don´t understand (or maybe just say they don´t so that they can charge more…).

The sandwich and fries were good, though the Coke didn’t come with any ice.  The ketchup packs were also larger and mayonnaise was also  an option.

The weather outside was cold and wet, so I opted to stay a while and try some coffee from the McCafe inside.  My table had a coffee menu in German so I looked over my options. I was misled by a picture and ordered a Vienna which I read as being a single espresso with cream.  However, it turned out to be some sort of long espresso served in a tall glass with whipped cream on top.  I still don’t understand the European manner of serving certain coffee drinks in glasses.  They are impossible to pick up while hot.  

My McDonalds Vienna (apparently in Europe they don't need a "Hot Coffee" warning)

After my McDonalds adventure, I returned to the Kanu Club and spent the remainder of the day resting up for a trip to Aachen on Sunday.

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