September 2008


This is not Vegas!

The Fourth Annual Whiney Expatriate Blogger Meet-up was great.

Getting together with 18 bloggers (including the Super-Sacks of German Expatriate Blogging!), and assorted “plus ones”, in Bremen was a great way to spend the weekend. It’s a genuine thrill to meet for the first time PapaScott, HeisseScheisse, and Deutschland über Elvis; as well as renewing acquaintances from last year in Dresden. I also have a few new blogs to check out that I’d never heard of before like Not Crazy, Just a little Unwell—I’d lost track of all the bloggers who were coming and I’ve been too busy to read new blogs over the past couple weeks.

Naturally with 18 bloggers, there will probably be 30 or more reports on various aspects of the weekend, and I’m already afraid of the quotes that will be attributed to me. Apparently other people think I say memorable things—and perhaps I should put out a blanket denial in order to protect myself. It also means that I can probably safely skip some topics with the knowledge that most things will probably be written about from at least two different perspectives.

Mad Props due Claire

I cannot imagine a better put together weekend, and Claire, of Cheeseburgers and Sauerkraut fame, doesn’t even live in Bremen! Before I get lost in the topic of this post, I must really say thank you for the welcome package! The schedule, list of participants, information about town, and, most important of all, a copy of The Bremen Town Musicians fairy tale, was incredibly and generously waiting for me in a Bremen tote bag at my hotel. I believe a standard has been established that will probably never be met again.

Focusing on Friends

I’d invited everybody to join me in going out to Friends, one of Bremen’s local gay bars, with the mental expectation that the list of attendees would consist of Snooker in Berlin, Deutschland über Elvis, Letters Home, and me.

I was fully floored when I realized that everybody who followed me back from the restaurant had decided to hit the gay bar.

And so it was a group of twelve pouring into an already packed Friends—I’d gotten the impression from their website that it wasn’t a sleazy gay bar and that it would be ok for women. Fortunately my impression was correct, and even more fortunately, there was a back area, away from the bar, where we could rearrange some tables and order drinks without having to stand the entire evening.

Now despite a spillage incident, this was the first group ordering adventure in Bremen where paying for meals was not a headache because he took the time to write down our names next to our orders and to track everything for us. It made it much simpler at the end when he brought out our checks and handed them to us, having written our names on each check. Compare that to the Spaghetti Haus, where the waitress sat down at the tables with a long bill and started crossing things off, one at a time, and adding up our orders with a calculator. It was a three minute process at Friends, and a 20 minute process at the Spaghetti Haus.

Without harping on it too much, it’s awesome knowing that 8 people, who I didn’t expect to join, did join the trip to the gay bar. There must be something about living abroad that makes people unconcerned about being seen in a gay bar, and not being surprised to learn that if you subscribe to a German lesbian magazine, you get a free dildo. That’s so moist.

Friends was a great place to make friends.

Awesome Bremen

I’m not really sure what I thought of Bremen before I got here—It’s not really on my map of Germany, other than the fact that it’s one of three German city-states and a port city.

Whatever my earlier thoughts were, I am in love with Bremen now. It’s got a vibrant and lively city center, a beautiful river, and a sense of being.

Claire mentioned that one of her goals was to get us to return to Bremen and I think it will work. So often when I stop in a new city, I spend a day, or two, looking around and feel like I’ve seen everything there is to see, and then some. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of Bremen, and I want to return.

It’s just a matter of figuring out when.

13 comments to This is not Vegas!

  • Nice post, Adam.

    Friends was a great place to make friends.

    Agreed! Thanks for doing the research in advance to try to mitigate the thumping-beat-flashing-light factor — picking a place conducive to conversation was a smart move.

  • Adam,

    I was thrilled back atcha.

    Hey, we barged into that goddamn gay bar and turned the place straight, such was the force of our personalities.

    Thoroughly endorse your acclaim of Claire’s organising.

    Love ya, honey.


  • Actually it didn’t come off as your typical gay bar at all – simply a bar which just so happens to have a gay clientele.

    Now if they could just do something about those unexpected Golden Showers…
    (Sorry J)

  • Jul

    There was a gay bar involved and I missed it?

    If you need me, I’ll just be pouting in the corner…

  • We had a great time hanging out this weekend!
    The bar was a very moist choice….it was so friendly it didn’t even seem like Germany anymore!

  • Adam, it was so nice meeting you! I hope it doesn’t take another year before we can do it again.

    And Jul, you may have missed out on the gay bar, but you WERE hanging out with lots of dudes in leather pants for the last couple of weeks. So, six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

  • […] material, I just have to get this off my chest before recovering from writing a bit about the Germany Expat Blogger meetup in […]

  • @cliff1976: Thanks! It’s often hard to judge gay bars by websites, but this one had no red alerts… Thanks for coming along!

    @HB8: Awe snookums! I hope to see you around the country some time before the next meetup!

    @ian: Shit happens and it was unfortunate the beer was spilled. I hope J will come along next time.

    @Jul: Awe… you’re now at the top of my list for “bloggers I want to meet most but haven’t yet met”

    @CN: That bartender was amazing! Very friendly and he remembered our names!

    @Sarah: Maybe I will holiday in Germany sometime and head south to do so… I hope it isn’t a year before I get to see you again.

  • J

    Adam, despite my unplanned early departure, I had fun. I do hope you realize that we look at you as a friend, not a homosexual.

  • @J: It was unfortunate that the beer was spilled on you (or at all!)… Randomly, the right word is “gay” — homosexual is a clinical term. With me, the word “queer” also works…

  • I am really disappointed I wasn’t able to speak with you much and I hope in the future we get to chat more!!!! too many bloggers…too little time!

  • @Yelli: Next time! Maybe the next time I am in Berlin longer than a night, we can meet-up. I have some photos I want to send you, once I get them off the camera.

  • I just went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday this week and we had a huge group – about 30 people. Poor waiters. One almost lost it when someone didn’t claim their steak dinner and they had to throw it away. Two more people didn’t get their food until everyone else was done, and one of those two had a hair in their food and the other got hers with cheese – and she is allergic to it. Talk about a nightmare! It went on so long, I had to order a hosszu kave just to stay awake…I think I am like 90 years old inside – I fall asleep at like 9.