Whew, we’re back

Wow, that was a long trip. We flew from Munich to Hamburg, spent three days there, flew from Hamburg to London, spent three days there, and took a train from London to Whitstable, where we … (can you guess?) also spent three days.

We are back safe and sound after a marathon travel day starting around 3am this morning. Pictures are posted here.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip and we managed to squeeze quite a bit of mileage out of our Euros, despite the lousy exchange rate against the Pound. Details on the places we visited and stayed are forthcoming in a new project we’re going to start working on. Stay tuned…

London

Hey all,

We made it to London. I felt sorry for the lady from apartments apart waiting for us to arrive, because our plane from Hamburg was delayed more than 30 minutes last night. So she had to wait long after normal business hours for us to arrive. Fortunately, walking to the place from Paddington Station was a snap.

I’m writing from an internet cafe down the street from our apartment. Sarah’s planning our shopping trip (she desperately needs lip balm) prior to our viewing of The Producers this afternoon. After that, our schedule is wide open. I want to take advantage of our three-day travel card and explore. Maybe the Salvador Dali art museum.

If you’re ever in London and bewildered by the public transportation options, step right up to the ticket windows at a big station like Victoria or Paddington and tell them what you need. They’ll very patiently explain the options to you and make a recommendation. Loved that. Much thanks to the guy who helped us last night!

we survived the birfday dinner

Whew, what a weekend.

We spent all day Saturday shopping for and cooking wonderful-smelling things (see this post for a hint) including a return to an old favorite, pineapple upside-down cake. Then we put all the perishables into big ol’ bowls and parked them outside on our dwarf balcony (I guess it’s good for something after all, for part of the year at least) until Sunday.

Sunday was a whirlwind of clean-up and prep actitivity. We’d never done dinner for seven (Natasha, Tommy, Michael, Tammy, Matthias, and us) before, so we had to figure out the logistics of the Cobaugh dinner table within the space of our dining room. It worked out OK, I guess, but I think that seven diners is a stretch. We really need a bigger table if we’re going to do dinner for seven again. Six would be OK though.

To top it off, for the first time ever, we had a reasonable place for our guests to hang their coats and hats and scarves and gloves and stuff:

our magical coat hook

Sarah and I bought that rack of hooks over a year ago and then never installed it. So we took 15 minutes on Sunday afternoon and just did it. We really should have done that a long time ago.

I think Sarah and I were really we impressed that we pulled off the whole meal:

  1. salad
  2. garlic bread
  3. pasta and the sauce
  4. several kinds of red wine (thanks to Tommy and Natasha for bringing a bottle along)
  5. pineapple upside-down cake
  6. [*Eiswein*](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_wine “What’s that?”) (from Aldi)
  7. coffee (French-pressed espresso beans and 12% fat coffee cream make for unusually rich coffee)

It was a ton of work, but it was very satisfying at the end of it all. Maybe there’s hope for us yet. ;-)

Cliff is one of the people in your Philberhood

Well, isn’t that nice? I got a nice write-up from good buddy Phil on his blog over at myspace.com. As you will read, Phil and I have been pals since freshman orientation at OU back in the day (circa July 1994).

Sarah I and were talking about long-term friendships and stuff last night, and we realized…wait for it…we’ve been shacking up for five whole years as of December 27! I bet my mom prefers to focus on the time period starting, oh, mid-February 2004 or so, but we keep different kinds of records between each other, like

  • when we first met online
  • when we first met in person
  • when we moved in together (remember that ordeal, Narg & Sara?)
  • when we got married
  • when we moved overseas

I guess that’s our most recent recurring celebration. What are yours?

I guess we took a bath on this one…

…literally. We’ve been having a very occasional drip problem from the shower down into the master bedroom below. We could never force it to happen, though – it has always been at inopportune times. To date, it has only happened twice. I finally found some cracks in the grout in our shower and showed them to our landlady. She is certain that those are the source of the drips and wants to repair the grout. *A week from tomorrow.*

This might be more than you wanted to know about us, but then again probably not a big surprise. We are every-day showerers. I get the impression that that is not the case for most of the natives here — come visit some warm summer day and take a big whiff of the random person next to you on the bus or at the shopping mall.

Fortunately, we have a large bathtub in our bathroom for use during that time. I say this as though it’s a new development, but it’s been there the whole time we’ve lived here. I think Sarah’s used it twice since we moved here and I am sure I never have. We mostly use it as a laundry hamper or a place for storing the potted plants that were gifts from people who didn’t know that we can’t keep anything green alive for very long. So now for at least the next week, we are going to be bath people, or smelly people.

I guess I’d take a bath over grossing myself out, but just barely. How can anyone (and these people exist, we’ve done some checking) actually *prefer* to take a bath over shower? Or soak and scrub in the tub and then not rinse the “you stew” off under the shower? Maybe the hassle of taking a bath combined with the new-fangledness of showering is the reason that there seem to be a lot more people here who are oblivious to their own funk.

Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow sounds like …

Sarah and I were watching the EMA’s (European Music Awards) on MTV last night. Coldplay was featured live. For years, I’d been trying to figure out what that singer dude’s voice sounds like.

Couple that with the stumbling buffoons we hear nightly out on our street (living near a bar popular with students does have its drawbacks, afterall), and I think I hit upon something here:

Chris Martin of Coldplay is essentially a drunk Sting circa 1984. Am I wrong here? I welcome all takers. Check out this link.

slept away my döner day

It’s Saturday, and it’s been a very relaxing one, for the most part. It was kind of a rough week what with a possible plumbing emergency, cleaning up other people’s messes at work, all-day meetings, and appointments with the tax advisor. So I’ve been slacking today — I figure I’ve earned it. I got up at 06:30 by mistake and then took a great afternoonish nap for a couple of hours after finishing another chapter of The Ersatz Elevator (“A Series of Unforunate Events #5”) by Lemony Snicket.

I couldn’t figure out what was missing from my Saturday. And then it hit me: I need a döner.

Several weekends in a row, Sarah and I have done our Saturday grocery shopping at Kaufland, a large department store across from the Bahnhof in the Regensburger Arcaden. Integrated into Kaufland is a great little döner shop. It’s been recommended to us as the best döner in Regensburg (thanks Jentry & Markus!), and it’s a whole Euro cheaper than the one in my office park for a comparable product. I think I’ve developed a sort of dependency on my Saturday afternoon döner. This is not good.

For more about döner kebaps in general, check this wikipedia entry.

good food and some stream of consciousness

Sarah and I were chowing down in our favorite Kurdish restaurant Exil this evening, where they always seem to have music playing that I like, or at least can tolerate. Tonight, our favorite waitress was working. She’s our favorite because she memorized our drinks and Sarah’s preference for *den Salat [ohne](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=ohne) [Zwiebeln](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=Zwiebel), bitte* pretty early, and she occasionally hooks up with free coffee-drinks (*espressi*, *cappucini*, lattés, that sort of thing) — tonight was one of those nights.

Anyhoo, the other dude working tonight, who actually took our order, is the one who asks if we want garlic with our meals, as if it were optional or something. We always say “*na klar!*” to properly convey that we are [*profis*](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=Profi) when it comes to Exil and garlic in general (the food has been extra tasty every time this happens). This guy seems to have a thing for soul. He was jamming out behind the bar to the likes of Barry White, Aretha Franklin, the Dramatics. And then James Brown’s the Payback came on. That reminded me of the movie of the same name (starring Mel Gibson). My favorite in the movie is when the older, white-haired gangster dude says something along the lines of “$70,000? Is that all? I’ve got *suits* that cost more than that.” I couldn’t remember his name. Fortunately, I’m married to an [imdb.com](http://imdb.com) in human form and she promptly recognized who I was talking about without having seen the movie.

It was James Coburn — one third of the fabled Three Lees (along with more obvious Lees like Lee Marvin and Lee Majors). How could I have forgotten who that was?