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2shortplanks (968)

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Mark Fowler has never been the same since he was elected leader of the London Perl Mongers. The strain manifests itself mainly in releasing various [] modules [] to CPAN, giving talks [], and use of the Trelane nick on for endless procrastination. Doctors are still seeking a cure.
Wednesday September 18, 2002
03:31 AM

Spraken Ze Engerlish?

[ #7800 ]
So yesterday got on a plane and flew to Munich. Some fool decided that we'd be okay with a 9.25am flight, but dragging myself out of bed I wasn't convinced. Made it to heathrow okay, plane did that flying thing and had time to tweak my slides en-flight.

I don't know if they knew we were coming, but we ended up being split up all over the flight. I think it's because seating is allocated on check in and we didn't all check in together. Totally insane system and it negates the reason for taking the flight together (i.e. to watch Buffy on acme's laptop.)

Caught the 'tube' to the centre of Munich, and staggered to the hotel. I've brought the rest of the tshirts with me (stop me and buy five...I'm serious about this.) So by the time I'd got to the hotel I was dying to drop my 20Kg of stuff. Hotel room is okay, beds are a bit hard, pillows a bit soft, and Ranguard wasn't joking when he warned me that he snores.

So we dumped our stuff at the hotel and acme dragged us out to a market. Bliss! Pretzels, olives, sausages and sweet sweet beer - and top top it all a sunny afternoon. A lot of fun. Almost made up for getting up at 6am ;-)

In the evening we headed out to what I might describe as a local gastro pub where every who had arrived already (about fifty of us) went for beer and more meat based meals. Met loads of people from all over the place - Hamburg, Munich - and saw people from Amsterdam, New York and Paris that I haven't seen since last year. Talk around the table was varied - all kinds of things from learning Japanese to the differences between difference parts of German.

I don't think I've got the hang of this buying beer here yet. In London the way we do this is periodically someone stands up and looks around the room. He goes from one person to the next asking them if they need a drink until he has either covered all the people or reached his price or carrying limit. He then goes to the bar and asks for the drinks and the bar-staff give them to him. The bar-staff will then tell him how much it costs and you can normally either pay it then (by handing them money or more money than they require and getting exact change back) or by giving them a credit card for a tab which you sign at the end of the evening.

Contrast that to here. Here everyone seems to buy their own beer. And you order it from the server that walks around. This is okay, but doesn't allow people to easily by other people beer in a casual manner. But the really complex bit is when you get round to paying. Now bear in mind I don't speak a word of German. I'd thought it might be as simple as handing a large number of euros at the server...but it's not. For a start the server I had last night seemed to think that we should be able to tell him what we'd had (er...some beer and I don't know what it was called...) and expects a tip. Now I don't mind paying a tip (apart from the fact this guy was the kind of guy I would have declined to pay service charge for in London) but it means that I need to know how much things cost (tricky as we don't share a language.) Arrrgh, annoying. money...take some of this money! How complicated does this need to be?

Hmm, should write the rest of my talk. Looking forward to Schwern's tutorial this afternoon.

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