Mona

        Mikey had to be returned in Berlin, so we get Mona instead. Sheís a Fiat Stilo 1.6 and talks to me. Actually, Mona does more than just make idle chatter: she tells me right where to go. After how lost we were on the way to Prague, her GPS navigation system is a very welcome relief.
        Mona flew to Berlin, featuring a highest gear that kicks in right around 140 km/hr, which was Mikeyís top speed. I stalled her a few times as I relearned how to drive stick, but we all emerged unscathed from my reeducation. In fact, Mona forgave my grinding of her gears enough to break 200 km/hr on the Autobahn. Itís a strange feeling to be passed by multiple cars while going nearly twice as fast as the speed limit Iím used to...
        Weíre GPSed right to downtown Munich. Apparently we werenít in the car long enough, as our first stop was the BMW Museum. This was a big flop: basically a bunch of old cars and boring blurbs about how great Beemers are. Coolest feature: the whole buildingís roof is a BMW logo when seen from the air.
        Downtown Munichís a popular hangout on this sunny day and made an excellent spot for our money-saving picnic. We eat cheese sandwiches and soak in sun by a chaotic fountain, dozens of streams of water jetting up and crisscrossing to rain on an eye of the storm several dozen feet across. Maybe Iíve found my calling: after I walked into the middle of the sprays on my hands, some kid offered me 10 cents! I declined, but I wonder what kind of benefits street performers get...
        I also ruled out a potential career today. A park in the city has an artificial river running through it with a current strong enough that people actually surf the rapids. This looked easy enough to me, but locals in wetsuits were falling a little too close to the riverís concrete banks for my comfort. I headed downstream to find a rapidless area with a strong current where young kids are doing surfing for wimps: a board with a rope to hang onto was attached to another rope anchored on a tree. The anchor ropeís elastic, so the youngsters can launch themselves upstream by dipping the board deep into the current to stretch the rope, popping it up to rest on the surface, and riding the anchor ropeís stretch out. Think of a spring recoiling and youíll get the general idea.
        The whippersnappers told me their version of surfing was a breeze to do and proceeded to let me try. Iíd be lying if I didnít admit to making a total, near-drowning ass out of myself. The water didnít taste too bad after a few liters, but my arms felt ready to fall off from desperately clutching the board and a dozen attempts to pull myself up onto the board that all ended in vain. I failed at surfing almost as greatly as I entertained the locals.
        The evening was a pub crawl of monumental consumptions and costs, both justified by me drunkenly deciding that I may never be in Munich again so should make the most of my one night here. I donít know if I made the most of it, but I did make it into 4 liters of excellent beer. I really never need to drink again: all other alcohol would pale in comparison to brews in the beer capital of the world, right? Unfortunately, the same cessation of desire doesnít occur with sleep...

<links> <pictures> <writings> <me>
.