Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It seems to be a common pastime in Frankfurt to attend a buffet breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning (or both mornings, of course). They usually run from about 10 until 2 and the aim is to sit there for as much of this time as possible, chatting with your friends, reviewing the week etc. Mads and Thieu are both huge fans of a buffet breakfast (Mads calls them a 'barfay breakfast') and I'm not adverse to them either, yet somehow it took us almost three months to get to one. We chose the perfect day though - rainy, dreary and nothing much on so why not spend the day eating?
It was 16 euros per adult and the guy behind the bar looked at Mads and said 'just 8 euros for her.' Sucker! I thought, as Mads made a bee line for the smoked salmon. So we filled our plates and settled in to sip coffee and champagne and discuss our week - the things we'd learnt, interesting things we'd seen or heard.
'I discovered that you can lose a German raffle before a single number has been drawn,' I said. On Saturday we went to a 'family fun day' at Mads' kinder. There was a 'tombola' where you picked your tightly rolled-up ticket(s) out of a hat. I bought three tickets and one of them had writing on it instead of a number. Someone looked at it and said 'that means 'too bad, you're not going to win with this ticket.'I was incensed. I mean, I never expected to win the raffle but to tell me that I didn't even stand a chance seemed unneccessarily unkind.
Then Thieu related a conversation he'd had with a German collegue.'It's complicated, being German,' the collegue had said. 'We were taught at school that we could not be proud to be German. Patriotism of any kind was frowned upon. I once wanted to take a German flag to the tennis to show my support of Boris Becker and I couldn't find one anywhere. In the end I had to get a tailor to make me one specially.'
The other big event last week was that Thieu taught his first student - with a fully-qualified instrutor adding comments over his shoulder of course, but still, it went well. So well, in fact, that the instructor came up to Thieu's office and presented him with his own instructor's pointer. It is telescopic which means that it folds down to the size (and shape) of a pen. It even has the clippy bit so that you can wear it in your breast pocket.
I inspected it. It had a white plastic knob on the end, presumably so you wouldn't take anyone's eye out. 'Was there a choice of knob-colour?' I wanted to know. White seemed a little dull. 'Well,' said Thieu, 'the instructor's pointer did have a chrome knob, but he said he'd had it for 20 years.' A chrome knob. Now that sounded impressive. 'Maybe it's something you work up to,' I suggested. 'You start with white and then as you train more students you get to replace the colour of your knob until finally, you get a chrome one. Or even gold maybe.' Thieu gave me that look. 'It's possible,' he said.
We guzzled and sipped and the day meandered by nicely. On the way home we saw a man pull a portable dog bowl out his backpack. It was a plastic tray thing that was attached to a water bottle and neatly folded out, providing a drink for dogs too high and mighty to drink out of a puddle. I've never seen one before.
This Friday we're going to London for a Birthay party. I am planning to luxuriate in the English language - doing lots of eaves-dropping and asking complicated questions in shops. Mads is going to ask an entire playground full of kids to play with her, just for the sheer joy of being understood. I wonder if she'll freak out when they all sound a bit like Charlie and Lola?
Posted by mcb at 5:02 AM