Friday, November 16, 2007

How to get a Big Mac in Germany.

1: Find the teensy McDonald's counter in the crowded mall. This will be difficult since it is about three feet wide. Get in line.
2: Order your meal. While standing in line, you will have been practicing your umlauts, so asking for the "Big Mac Sparmen├╝" should be easy. Nonetheless, the girl will not understand you, so you must repeat it, and then point. She will then start speaking rapidly in German, so you must pay attention. Listen for key words, such as "Cola" and "mitnehmen," which will be sprinkled among improbably long sentences. She will assume you want cola and mayo, so be sure to specify "stilles Wasser" (you don't want that bubbly water) and "Ketchup."
3: Do not be surprised when she gives you your change entirely in coins, which you will never be able to get rid of, because the EU has eight different coin denominations, six of which are indistinguishable unless you squint (three large and gold, three small and copper), and you don't want to look like an idiot taking ten minutes to count out change.
4: Try to figure out where to stand. At this three feet of counter space, there will be six people waiting for food. Eventually decide to stand slightly to the left of the register, so that the next person can order but you're still visible enough that they won't give your food to some urchin. Try not to get elbowed out of the way by the other people who are also waiting for their food - German orderliness is entirely forgotten when it comes to "Pommes frites."
5: Take your food and find a place to sit. This will be awkward, because the food court has no tables, and also no chairs, only lightly padded rows of backless stools. Pick one and sit.
6: Eat. Resign yourself to developing a taste for bubbly water, because they will never give you still water, despite the sign. Realize your hamburger tastes like nothing but grease and salt, and acknowledge that the "native" food is really much superior. Wonder why you put yourself through this. Swear violently to stick to doener in the future.
7: Wait a week, get homesick, and come back.

No comments: