Sep 08

Here I am back in Munich. I am a creature of habit, so I was quite pissed to discover that the hotel I usually stay in on business had not been booked. Instead I am back in “The Shabby Hotel”, probably one of the hotels I hate the most here. Oh I suppose it’s OK, it’s just that the rooms are tiny and everything has that sort of stingy feel to it – like plastic cups. “Sheesh guys, glass ain’t that expensive”, and it’s more functional if one of your guests wants to end it all and slash his wrists.

I start to reason, plan, fantasize. Where can I go? I’m sure not staying in the hotel for anything but sleep. One thing you need to know, I don’t believe in Karma, or energy or any of that, but I gotta say, the negative energy had it in for me tonight. I took off from work about 5:30 PM, planning to drop my crap at the hotel and head of to a bar I know that has (actually had as it turns out) good Spanish style food. So I get to the hotel and unpack. “Where’s my toiletry bag?”, I check all my stuff. “Oh Shit, I’ve left it at work!” So I had to dump everything and grab a cab back to work. No time to waste, since I have to get back whilst one or other of my colleagues is still there. In my wallet is exactly 11 Euros. This is going to be tight and definitely not what I had planned. So I make it back to the office, grab my bag, with a one Euro coin as my only remaining hard currency. Not enough to get me into town. No problem, that’s what automatic tellers are for and there’s one right nearby. Only problem with automatic tellers is that they deliver currency that bus and subway ticket machines don’t consume. I know this, but sit at the bus stop anyway, brooding. Looking out across industrial Munich life to the sleek silhouette of my favourite hotel – the one I’m not staying in.

So I get on the bus in some kind of irrational hope that I will be able to stuff a 10 Euro note down the gut of the Ticket machine. Forget it, these are German ticket machines, guys – they have intransigence built into them by design. No point in fare evading either. Should a German ticket inspector board the bus he will be even more intransigent that the machine. (Maybe they’re related). In the end another passenger helped me out. No he couldn’t change my 10 Euro note. But wait, he could change 11 Euros (a fiver note plus three coins). “Do I have one Euro?” he asks me. At this point I should have noticed the first feeble ray of hope shining, because I did have one. Just as well the taxi driver had accelerated across an amber light or this story might have taken a different course.

OK, so I made it into town, and to that bar I was telling you about. It was deserted. Strange, normally it is packed. The waitress brought me the menu, or a menu, that seemed unrelated to those I had known in the past. Oh dear – better order a glass of wine and think about what to do. Nothing on the menu seemed related to digestion, at least not to my digestive tract. So I smiled sweetly and asked for some garlic bread, which was not strictly on the menu. The waitress seemed to sense my mood and sweet talked in turn the cook. The glass was soon empty.

So there I am, debating whether to order another overpriced glass of very cheap Rosso di Multipliciano, or to hightail out of there. I really nearly did order another glass, in which case this blog entry would have never happened. It was now 7:35 and that left exactly 25 minutes of open shops, in my case open shops which sold wine suitable for the discerning human palate. Problem was that I had (a) no corkscrew and (b) a plastic cup to drink it out of. I decided to go for it.

The action moves to Karstadt, which I reached with 15 minutes in which to select and purchase a wine. Now you, my non-existent readers, might think that that is plenty of time to select a wine, right? Wrong? This was to be a “drown my pathetic sorrows” bottle, so it needed to appeal to my sense of justice, ie. it had to make up for a hitherto unsuccessful evening. The sommilier was advising a youngish lady. “I want a wine for a dinner party”, she says. “Around three to four Euros” she says.  For an instant I thought maybe of butting in and suggesting maybe a Langedoc or so, but my common sense kicked in and I kept quiet.

I was actually looking around for a screw top bottle, since I had no other way of opening it. “Can I help you?” – it was the sommelier. He had done a perfect job of selling the lady a cheap Tusan and sent her happily on her way. I explained to him my predicament, that I was restrained to screw tops because I was in a hotel room without a cork screw. You know what – he gave me one. Now that was nice. I immediately felt like a bastard for all the dark evil thoughts I had harboured about the lady with four Euro Tuscan. Suddenly the whole store was open to my deliberations. This was going to be fun. Maybe a Babera d’Asti, or maybe a decent Chianti. I had Italy on my mind. We got talking, and somehow I ended up with a glass of Greek red wine in my hand. Things were looking up.

On the bus back to the hotel my mood was way better. Then I remembered the plastic cups. But my karma had changed, that’s the karma I don’t believe in, remember. I thought to myself – what the hell, there’s a bar at the hotel. They’ll have wine glasses. Hehe.

I went for the Chainti, well actually a Carmignano, which is a tiny region in the Chianti.  I’m drinking it right now, in the shabby hotel. In a real red wine glass from the bar.

written by OzJeff


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