Oktoberfest – Part 1

To balance out a year that contains Fasching, another grueling fortnight of wild abandon is known as Oktoberfest.  This festival falls during the first sixteen days up to the first Sunday in October.  It is celebrated mostly in Munich, down in Bavaria, but the entire country of Germany has its local partying.  My parents, who turned out to be pretty big party goers (imagine that), teamed up with several other couples and chartered a bus to take them over there for Oktoberfest.  Everyone’s kids, those that were over the age of 16 that is, got to go along on the trip to Munich also.  This meant that Virginia and I would be able to take part in the celebration.  We were overjoyed.

The American school system made allowances for local customs and shut down the school during both Fasching and Oktoberfest.  This was mainly due to the lack of support personnel in the office and custodial positions – as well as some teachers themselves.  Once again, I saved, schemed, and worked my butt off to gather enough money to make the trip worthwhile.

The big day came and we all loaded up the buses (we had two of them) and headed East.  Virginia and I, along with several other teens, chose to sit near the rear of the bus and chatted most of the way.  With that many teens concentrated in one spot, we had to suffer the indignity of two chaperones sitting in our midst.  Therefore, nothing much happened except when Virginia and I found that by scooting down in the seat with just the top of our head showing, we could do a little petting on the side without anyone getting wise; nothing really spectacular but enough to make us come up for air every half hour or so.

My parents had bought my dad and I a pair of lederhosen each which are short, leather pants with wide suspenders.  They, along with a white, short-sleeved shirt, long woolen stockings and heavy-soled shoes complete what a well dressed Bavarian wears to Oktoberfest.  I wasn’t so sure I would actually wear the whole thing, but my dad intended to.  Virginia, on the other hand had gone out and bought a spectacular Dirndl to wear.  This is a dress with a very low-cut ruffled blouse contained within a very tight bodice.  It is complemented by a full skirt and covered by an apron.  The knot holding the apron is sometimes used to tell the marital status of the girl:  Left side equals single; right side equals married (or otherwise taken); and at the back means widowed.  Virginia planned to wear her knot on the right, thank you very much.

After a long trip we pulled up to the hotel and piled out.  Claiming our rooms took quite a while as the hotel was full to the brim with party goers.  Before we even made it to the elevators, several of us already had small beer mugs in our hands.  This made the chaperones pretty nervous, but after they had a beer or two they relaxed a bit.

I was staying in a room with three other guys on the fourth floor; Roger, Henry and Wayne.  Sadly, I learned that Virginia was with three other girls on the sixth floor; Paula, Molly and Cleo.  This was going to require some footwork I could see.  Investigation proved that there was a service elevator just for hotel staff down our hall and through a small door.  Since I spoke the best German, I was elected to feel out the various bellboys, maids and sundry helpers for information we could use.  It took about ten minutes all told but I secured the use of the staff elevator for our use also.  American cigarettes still spoke with authority in Germany.  Three packs a day allowed unlimited use of the elevator.

Virginia’s and my parents allowed us to eat together at a double table that evening but all four of them warned that we were not to have any alcohol.  We kept that promise by reverting to Apfelsaft.  Well, what the hell, it isn’t champagne but sure looked like it.  Our waitress was cool enough to make it look like light wine.  Heck, she wasn’t much older than we were.  I asked her when she would get off duty and drew a scowl from Virginia until she realized I was trying to fix up one of my roommates.

After dinner, the two of us just strolled down the street and watched the preparations for the festival kickoff tomorrow at noon.  We ended up all the way down the street to a huge grass area covered with carnival rides of all sorts.  This, we said to each other, is where we would start tomorrow.  As night fell, we walked back to the hotel hand in hand and filled with anticipation.

That evening, the four of us infiltrated the sixth floor and determined that out girls were being held in the second room away from service elevator. Given the arrangement of the rooms, that meant that there was a connecting door between the two rooms.  All we had to do was find out who was in the adjoining room.  While we were discussing a method to determine this, I heard a door shut and looked down the hall.  Virginia’s friend Paula walked up to us and stopped.  Here was our answer – we’d just ask her.

It turned out to be a disaster.  Molly’s parents had taken the room next to the girls.  We didn’t know if this was by design, or that it was just a roll of the dice.  We could see that we would have to be very sneaky – er, circumspect, in our plans.  The odds of getting any of the girls alone in either their, or our, room was going to be pretty slim indeed.

The next morning, I decided to get decked out in full Bavarian regalia.  I felt faintly foolish, but once I made it to the restaurant for breakfast I felt right at home.  Virtually everyone in the room had some form of traditional German Oktoberfest costume on.  All of us sat at a huge trestle table and dug in.  The four of us guys had more or less aligned with the girls.  I was with Virginia, of course, while Roger and Cleo, Paula and Henry, and Molly and Wayne paired up.  Everyone was anticipating a really great time today as we streamed out of the hotel and headed downtown to the huge park.

Virginia and I sampled a lot of the midway attractions by starting at one end and moving down the line to the far end.  There must have been a couple of hundred small booths with everything from ring tosses to water balloon busting.  Virginia got a bit upset when I stayed at one booth a bit longer than normal because there was a very attractive young lady in a swimsuit over a tank of water.  I must have blown about five or six Marks trying to dunk her by hitting that target with a ball.  I never managed it though.  The game must have been fixed.  Virginia finally dragged me away literally by the ear.  The potential dunkee just laughed.  I was mortified – for about ten seconds.

Another favorite, for both of us this time, was what was called a Centipede.  A train of little cars rode around a disk that tilted one way and another as you circled.  Periodically, a cloth cover would appear and enclose each car.  This was the best time because we would squeeze closer, hug and kiss until the top opened again.  We rode that one five times in a row.

I wanted to try the parachute drop, but Virginia talked me out of it.  Actually, she didn’t have to try very hard because it looked a bit dangerous to me.  You were attached to a harness, lifted up about a hundred meters (300 feet) and dropped to freefall down a cable.

Noontime came and went with the two of us chomping huge wursts covered in sauerkraut and mustard.  Every bite you took squirted juices all over the place.  They sure were good.  After lunch, neither one of us wanted too violent a ride so we opted for walking down to the municipal lake and renting a swan boat.  We pedaled out into the lake and just sat back and watched all the revelry on shore.

I was fairly surprised when Virginia leaned over on my shoulder and whispered into my ear that she wanted to go back to the hotel.  I asked her if she was feeling okay and she answered that she was fine, just frisky, and stuck her tongue into my ear.  I churned the water heading for shore.

Among the four of us boys, we had agreed that hanging the do not disturb sign on the door would indicate exactly what it meant.  We further agreed that the longest time we would have it out there was one hour, starting on the current hour.  When Virginia and I arrived, it was forty minutes past the hour and the sign was out (dammit) so we went down to the bar and had a glass of schnapps to pass the time.  When the hour chimed on the mantel clock, we headed back up to the room.  Paula and Henry passed us on their way to the elevator and the sign was gone.

I opened the door, ushered Virginia inside, and turned to hang the sign out.  Both of us knew that we didn’t have a whole hour so we tried to make the best of it.  After our initial frenzied unbuttoning, unsnapping and unzipping, we both slowed to a halt.  Virginia said that she wanted to have more time and felt rushed right now.  I reluctantly agreed even though she was partially undressed and lying across my lap and I was in a high state of excitement.  She helped me through the crisis by taking matters into her own hands and resolving the situation.  I expressed my gratitude appropriately and then helped her to dress again.  Apparently, it is almost impossible to tighten one of those bodices by yourself; there has to be somebody behind you to pull on the laces and tie them.  At least I was useful there.

Daytime gave way to night time and, after a dinner of schnitzel and potatoes we all trooped down the street to the huge Hofbrau Haus.  The Hofbrau Haus is THE place to be in Munich during Oktoberfest.  There must have been three or four hundred people in each hall with hundreds waiting to get in.  Once we finally gained entrance and sat at another trestle table we waited while buxom waitresses scuttled here and there loaded with either full liters of beer or taking empties back to be refilled.  Meanwhile, the din was terrific with competing oompah bands at either end of the hall belting out polka music.  Every third song was a drinking song and if you didn’t participate you were heckled into submission.  It didn’t matter if you knew the words (most didn’t) but how enthusiastic you were.  Thumping your beer mug on the table, stomping your feet, swaying right and left and screaming out the words while trying mightily to not slop beer on your neighbors was the task at hand and we all tried mightily to keep up.

Mugs of beer weren’t paid for when ordered.  The waitress would simply mark the saucer in front of you with a grease pencil for every mug you took.  The honor system was in full effect here – one simply did not cheat at Oktoberfest.  In due time, my dish had four marks on it – four full liters of approximately twelve percent beer – less that slopped while singing.  Woof, I was getting really hammered.  Virginia had stopped at three and just sipped at mine from time to time.  As the hour of midnight struck, everyone stood up and grabbed anyone close and started kissing them until the bands stopped about three minutes later.  This was the signal that the party was shutting down for the night so all of us headed back to the hotel – at various paces however due to the ‘slosh effect’.  On your way out, the grease pencil marks were tallied and the bill paid.

I just barely got Virginia back to her room before a great tiredness came over me.  I struggled over to our elevator and dropped two or three hundred floors to the stop with my room on it, entered the suite and began throwing off clothes on my way to bed.  I noticed just before going unconscious that there were lots of clothes on the floor and not all of them mine.  Several others were snoring heavily already.  Lights out!

Next morning – late – we arose, had a semblance of breakfast and tottered out into the heat (and brightness) of day.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I was severely hung over from last night.  Beer hangovers make your feet, fingers, and tongue very fat.  It is hard to create a coherent sentence when called on, but after taking a couple of shots at it you begin to make yourself understood.  Thankfully, my parents were already gone so I didn’t run into them.

Virginia was uncharacteristically quiet this morning also.  She held tightly to my arm as we walked slowly up and down the main street with our cameras.  We began to perk up after about an hour of walking.  She tried twice to apologize for what happened yesterday but I wouldn’t let her.  I told her that I should have been a lot more aware of the time limit and just stayed away from the room.  She reminded me that it was her that actually got us started on the whole operation.  Sometime later, as we were heading back to the hotel for lunch, she remarked quietly that Molly’s parents were going over to Chiemsee for the day and wouldn’t be back until nightfall.  It took almost five minutes for the penny to drop.

We got to the door of the hotel, made for the elevator and punched in the sixth floor.  We were walking down the hall when Virginia spotted her door and said that all was clear.  The girls had made up the same signal for room in use as we boys had.  Their system was better though because the sign was meant for two hours instead of one.  I noted that it was just coming up on noon which gave us until around two in the afternoon.  Things were definitely looking up.

Three lovemaking sessions later, which were interspersed with a gambol in the tub, we were just getting dressed when we heard voices in the room next door.  Had Molly’s parents come home?  Shamelessly we listened at the connecting door until we could make out what was going on.  Virginia was the first to recognize a voice as belonging to Molly.  I added that I thought the other was Wayne.  Periods of quiet were punctuated by giggles, rustlings, and an occasional yip or gasp.  Wayne and Molly were taking advantage of her parent’s absence.  As we were leaving, we could hear the bedposts tapping the wall amid cries of passion.

T.O.M.

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