Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Footbal Match (soccer if your American)

A couple of Tuesdays ago I was privileged to go to a football game down in Marseille. The night started as so many nights often do, by drinking a bottle of wine in the city somewhere, this night it just so happened to be next to the Dolphin fountain in Aix. Myself and almost 12 others were pregaming for l'OM (Olympique Marseille the name of the team) game. Our school had got us a bus which was a great idea as it so happened because as we neared Marseille the traffic began to get absolutely ridiculous so it was nice to be stuck on a bus with friends. One of our teachers instructed us on the L'OM chants, " Nous sommes les marseillais, Nous sommes les marseillais, et nous allons gagnez, nous allons gagnez, Allez l'OM allez l'OM, allez l'OM allez l'OM, hohohohohohohoho" Which translates as "We are marseillais, we are going to win, go l'OM!" After a couple of unsuccessful attempts the prof in questions sat down and gave up. The crowd was now stirred up and ready to sing however, A group of girls led by Meg and Emily began to sing a song which everyone, especially drunk girls know, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Then all hell broke loose as almost 3/4 of the bus broke out into the 80s rock opera.

When we finally managed to get close enough to the Stade Velodrome we disembarked from our circa 1970 style bus and headed for the gates. I procured at ripoff l'OM scarf for 5 euros, which is a pretty darn good deal, from a near by gypsy. The scarf rocks and not to mention it is also Denver Nuggets colors so I will be able to continue to warm my neck at sporting events in Denver for years to come.

The game was a completely whole new experience as far as sporting events go. We think we know what enthusiasm and pride in our team is but these fanatics bring way more than the usual to the table. The real crazies sit in the north and south stands and just chant the entire game. Not to mention: light flares on fire inside the stands, wave humongous flags, sing, clap and generally create ruckus for l'OM.

We picked a stupendous game to attend. l'OM scored a whopping 6 goals. The goals were all spread out throughout the entire so the match really had no down points at all. Team Zurich scored 1 goal but it was too little to late.

Defiantly worth it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Break '09

I started out my trip with a little jaunt to Madrid where i met up with Mollie Schultz and crashed with Brian Collins. Brain has a cool roommate named tommy who has an unfortunate addiction to fast food and is still eating McD's in Europe. They live in a apt that is being renovated so only boys and their host mom live in the apt right now. It actually pretty much looks like a crack house on the outside but their room is legit. Their host mom is a great lady i think, but since i dont speak a lick of spanish i had to have my buddies translate... but they are not fluent or anything like that. As far as my buddies think their host mom called me "El Guapo" or the beautful one.

The Spanish lifetsyle is nutz. They eat diner around 9 or later and then they stay out until 7 in the freakin mourning! Its a tough life but somebodies gots to do it.

We went to the Prado museum which was darn cool especially since we only had to pay 4 euros since we were students. I saw allot of cool Goya paintings my favorite was the "Execution on the 5th of May" or something like that. It was brilliant to see in person.

Then i was off to amsterdam. It is a ridiculous place so the very damn least.
Like Las Vegas but on super raging steroids.
During the day i went to the Van gogh and Rembrandt museums which were amazing. My favorite was the van gogh though. Being able to get right up to paintings and see how he stacked the paint was incredible.

and during the night... well lets just say what happens in amsterdam stays in amsterdam

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Something of a tutor

I have been an english "tutor" for the last 3 weeks to a kid named Quetin who lives in my apt building. I use the term tutor very loosely though. I basically just go down one day a week for an hour and talk about whateve. The first week we talked about music. We have pretty much the exact same taste in music. It was a grand time. I would talk about a band and he would play a song from them and i would try to guess it, very satisfying. We worked our way from Zep, to Floyd, to Sabbath , to even Metallica. He actually prefers the blues so we talked about Stevie Ray Vaughn and Muddy Waters and some others. He is unbelievable at guitar truly he should drop his studies and start a band as i always tell him.

Last week we discussed some philsophy, quantum physics as well as if there was a god. You know just the usual tuesday night discussions. Last night we about video games and low and behold we love the same games as well. We played some Gears of War for an hour or so.

Quentin is a great kid hope he goes far he is damn well smart enought to make it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

St. Victoire

La montagne de St. Victoire is the mountain about 15 minutes outside of Aix that Cezanne always painted. It is jokingly referred to as "Cezanne's Obsession". Last Saturday i decided to conquer said mountain. I caught the public bus and en route made friends with 3 chickskis. There was Norwegian, a Swiss and frenchie, or a Spaniard i never really caught on bc they all spoke french.

The hike up was fairly easy in that there is not a ton of vertical footage that you have to conquer. The hardest part was the fact that all the stones have been worn smooth by the countless hikers. Not mention that it is hard to stay on your feet when a wild pig is threatening you from the bush, that thing scared the hell out of me.

The top affords a picturesque view of the valley and the natural landscape. A factory in the distance is the only drawback.

My new friends and i picknicked at the top and took a lil nap in the sun. All in all it only took me about 5 hours for the excursion and that includes my nappy-poo.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oktoberfest or "Eins! Zwei! Drei! Schufa!"

The Oktoberfest, my god, what more needs to be said?

First maybe a lil history. "The original "Oktoberfest" occurred in Munich, on October 18, 1810: For the commemoration of their marriage, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (namesake of the Theresienwiese festival grounds) organized a great horse race (the marriage took place on October 12; the horse race on October 17 — therefore, there are different dates named as being the first Oktoberfest)."

Nowadays, people still come in traditional dress that being lederhosen for the duders and dirndl for the ladies, but the fest has changed from its somewhat humble beginnings of horse races into the Mecca for anyone who likes to drink beer (and drink and drink). The fairgrounds are humongous, absolutely titanic.

It is an amusement park, concert hall, county fair, and the craziest party put into a wooden keg and distilled into a delicious mixture of Bavarian culture, international support and good ole fashioned "kick ass" good times.

My personal adventure began at about noon time on Friday. My comrades and I left our hostel in good spirits, for we were in Munich mere minutes from the Oktoberfest. We actually did not know which way the 'Fest was but we all in agreement on how to get there; Follow the


We wandered into the one of the first tents (beer gardens is the translation from german) we saw which happened to be the Paulaner tent. After walking around the inside of the massive structure in pure awe as we beheld beer wenches carrying any where from 5 to 13 steins at once or bringing out delectable looking dishes that made the mouth water we found a table to sit in a type of corner about 75 feet from the center and the "ompah" bandstand.

Now if you are sitting down at a table there is no need to order beer. The maids bring them out pretty much automatically. Obviously we were delivered Paulaner b/c each tent drives its name from beer it serves and which in turn is the name of the family who brews that particular batch of golden hops.

The music, the music , the music! The bands play the best old timey german music and everyone in the tent knows the words. Everyone sings, everyone drinks. Repeat. One of the most interesting bits of information however is the songs the people like sing when the band is not playing. "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes is a ubiquitous tent favorite as is Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby!" (lyrics @ end of post). I do need to qualify this statement a bit. The mob only chants and clap their hands to the beat of the bass lick of "7 Naiton Army", Dun da dun dun dun duunn, and only sing the chorus to "Hey! Baby!" Either way they both bring the tent down!

Let us fastforward to Saturday. We got up at 7 am to a brisk german morning with a cool breeze in our hair and hope in our hearts. We made it to the Haufbrau tent around 8 and we were in the very front of the line, WOOT! It was a good thing we got there so early b/c soon mobs of people were lining up getting ready for a hardy day @ the 'Fest.

Let me set the scene more completely. The "line" is a gross misappropriation of what we standing in, that is, it was more like a mob with no real organization. It was about 15 people wide and spreading out to about a 1000 or so people behind us. A thing strip of plastic caution tape esque was all that was holding the mob back from the actually building itself was about another 20 feet in front of us. You could say we were on the front porch waiting to be let into the beer garden. At around 9ish the tape fell and we rushed forward; a landslide of humans. Now we were standing in front of the doors. Crushed by the people behind us, screamed at in german by the police in front us and we in the middle we just trying to breathe. We got past the bottle neck and found a table with some nice german kids our age.

The germans were nice and spoke english two + in my book. They befriended us, took us under their wing to guide us in the protocols of the 'Fest. First, they offered me and my bros some tobacco snuf. It took a lil peer pressure but our new friends convinced me to take a sniff. Daniel had a small container about the size of a lighter and when he tapped the end a small puff about the size of the end of a pencil eraser came to rest on the back of my hand. It was surprisingly good to the nostril, a type of wasbai. My nose felt thoroughly cleansed, i was breathing freely and my brain felt incredibly awake. Not bad but im never gonna do it again.

Finally the beer came. The germans taught some key phrases like "riddermot" ( i have no idea how the germans actually spell it, more of a phonetic spellin) which means "drink it", "Prost!"~ Cheers~ and "mosk" which is the Bavarian for the beer stein. They explained that when you make a cheers in german you have to look in the other person's eye's or you will be cursed with 7 years of bad sex!

When I asked Daniel why they liked 7 nation army so much as a drinkin beat as it were he replied, " It is easy to sing and we like the beat. You can sing it if you're drunk or sober." Hell i never thought it was going to be that easy. Dan continued. "The music makes Oktoberfest." How true.

I saw what u mean about an hour later. By this time the tent was full, 6,000 give or take, and everyone finally had a beer. On the far side i heard the quite beginning of the 7NA. Slowly, everyone picked up the chant. Steins were raised in reply to the chant and in a moment of awe i saw 6,000 steins one after the other raise like a tidal wave and crash into me at the speed of the slow beat of 7NA. I was drowned in good feeling for me new found friends and we put our arms around each other and began to sing. Grand, grand, such a wonderful feeling.

I got some souvenirs, rode a roller coaster and ate some great german food (which included a 6 inch piece of raw fish on roll with some coslaw) and made some friends. All in all not the worst time ive ever had.

Lyrics, they only sing: Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl Hey, hey hey baby! I want to know if you'll be my girl

They dont sing any lyrics for 7NA.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Diary entry

So what happened to the 300 + days of sunshine i was promised back at orientation? They have been flooded by copious amounts of rain and covered up by clouds. The weather actually reminds of how it is back in colorado but my host mom it hardly ever rains; this is hard to believe since it has rained like 5 days out of the past week and a half but ill take her on faith. I forgot that my bus does not run on sundays and its really not a big deal b/c my legs have grown stronger and i can hoof my way back in about 15 mins these days. The only problem will be when moses' flood pays aix a lil visit. i was waiting for my bus when the simaltaneous realizations hit me (1) my bus does not run on sundays (2) its raining like a thunderstorm underwater. I decided i was not going to wait it out (mistake). By the time i got to my door i was past drenched i was a freakin merman. My shoes are still drying on my window sil as i type this.

Just keep piling it on. My camera is a having a lense malfunction. I think some crumbs got into the mechanism from a pocket in my camel. !!!!! i wont go on further its an easy fix supposedly i just need to find a store. we will see.

However, my room a ocktoberfest has just been upgraded to a suite and will be given to us free of charge b/c the hostel has overbooked hence~~~>ME~~~>STOKED~~~~>the best things are free...and at ocktoberfest.

I said something at diner last night and my family cracked up for almost 5 mins straight i kid you not. I believe i said, "i study psychology at school." This was pertainent to the conversation, but why this was so funny i cant fathom. Im positive they were not laughing at me but i was not laughing so they were not laughin with me either. Bof!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day Tripper

Fuck yeah for field trips. School took everyone to Nice and Cassis on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Nice was really classy. They have high rolling casinos and a beach that runs forever. My clique of friends went swimming first. The water was cold but quite refreshing. it is so clear you can see straight to the bottom. I have never seen water so clear except in Hawaii. Next we shot a sexy photo shoot on a rock outcropping (photos coming soon) It was really just plain silly. Next we hiked up to hill where there used to a fort, today it is a restaurant with a water fall cascading down the side of the hill. After snapping some post card esq photos from the tall vantage point we moseyed down into town. We looked at two churches! Freakin' beautiful. Mosaics, stained glass and old paintings . . . i was content.

Cassis is a gem, nothing else needs to be said. In Cassis natural fjords are called calanques (from the Corsican word of preindoeuropean origin calanca (plural calanche) with meaning "inlet"; is a geologic formation in the form of a deep valley with steep sides, typically of limestone, in part submerged by the sea. It can be considered a Mediterranean fjord.)
We hiked about 3 miles away from the main beach b/c it was too crowded, what a fated decision. We found a less crowded beach at the end of a calaque and we made camp. B/c of the natural calanque formation there are great cliff on either side of the inlet. We wanted to jump off of them. And we did. We started small only about a 8 foot cliff, exhilarating. You have to jump pretty far away from the sides so you dont smack the rock that loom under the water, we jumped out hard , we did not want any hospital visits.

The ante needed to be raised and was by an extrovert, O'Neil (first name weird enough), he scouted a some cliffs about 12 feet high and we went after them. By the time we got to our spot a french couple in their yacht were floating near by enjoying some wine and watching the kids play in the calanque. they brought our attention to a spot about 25 to 30 feet high. "Ahh ground control we are gonna make a lil change in our flight plans."

Our captain O'Neil dove out first and gave me some encouragement from the water, "Dude just do it!" Shit yeah. I shredded the cliff gnar and jumped down into the cool water a cool 25 feet below.