I'm writing this about a week before we leave for China, and this way I'll post it while I'm gone and won't be able to take it down if I reconsider! Plus this will be long enough that it will fill up a few posts that someone could read over the course of days.
So based on the conversation with my brother about our top three drunken nights ever, this story was fresh in my mind and I figured I might as well put it out there.
In October 2003, my brother was studying abroad in Germany. I went over to visit him for a while. We did Oktoberfest in Munich, I worked a bit from my firm's Munich office (this is when I still worked for one of the biggest law firms in the world), we spent some time in the smallish German town where he lived, we made a long weekend trip to Poznan, Poland, and we spent several days at the end of the trip with his roommate, his girlfriend, and several of his other friends in Paris (and I worked some from my firm's Paris office).
Back in '03, using my cell phone in Europe wasn't an option, so communication was difficult. To further complicate matters, my brother didn't have a cell phone. My brother and I were first supposed to meet up in Munich. Before I flew to Europe, we arbitrarily decided to meet at track 4 (binario quattro for the Italian speakers) of the main train station at 11 a.m., at noon, and then at "onion domes" church at 3:00 as a last resort. I flew uneventfully to Germany, got to Munich, and headed to the train station for our meeting.
At 10:55, I frantically realized there was no track 4 at the main train station. WTH? It blew my mind. The first track there was track 5, and it went all the way up to 30 or something. There are tracks 1-4, but they are apparently for small local trains and aren't in the main train station. So I had no idea what to do. I decided to wait at the entrance to track 5, hoping to find him as he also searched in vain for track 4.
As of 11:15, no brother.
But with only 45 minutes to kill before our next meeting time, I didn't have many options. I think I just hung out at the train station reading.
As of 12:15, no brother.
So I left the train station and headed to the church, grabbing lunch along the way. I also called my mom, since we'd designated her in advance as a repository of information if something was wrong. Unfortunately, she hadn't heard from him, so she had no idea if he was on his way, if he'd found the mysterious track 4 and was waiting there, or what. I was starting to get really worried I wouldn't find him, and I had no idea what I'd do if I didn't. I knew the name of the city he was living in, but I didn't know his address, and I really had no idea if he was on his way to meet me or not.
At 3:00, sure enough, there he was! Happy.
But then we got to talking and it changed to not-so-happy. Turns out he'd just overslept and missed the first two trains he planned to take. In his mind, no big deal, we had a third option for meeting up. I was fairly irritated that I'd wasted all this time waiting for him and he hadn't bothered to wake up and get on a train where he could go back to sleep. It was a day I could have worked or spent enjoying the vacation, instead of traipsing around looking for him. Sigh.
But I got over it. We proceeded to go to Oktoberfest, where it was too late at night to get into a tent, so we sat outside at some picnic tables with a bunch of Dutch guys. Did I mention it was raining that night? We were drinking and singing. In the rain. I clearly remember holding my hand over the top of my glass so I wouldn't get rain in my beer.
Very fun night.
But not my best drunk story. That happens later on this trip. Further details tomorrow...