This weekend turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. Sometime last week, Michael pointed out we hadn't actually been doing much and we both constantly complained about how stressful our schedules are. So with that thought of our inactivity in my head, I did a little research and found out that Oktoberfest was coming to a city near us. Naturally, I did some further investigation to discover the celebration was taking place in Long Beach. Beer, bratwurst, and polka? It was a definite yes.
I got out of class at three on Friday and took the bus over to Michael's, anxiously waiting for him to get off work. By five o'clock, we were in the car (stuck in traffic) and headed towards our night's entertainment. Once in Long Beach, the park where Oktoberfest was being held was surprisingly difficult to find. After an added thirty minutes and winding, dimly lit roads, we cautiously drove my car across the rain-mudded grass field of El Dorado Park to a large makeshift parking lot with a minuscule number of cars parked under the temporary lights.
Excitedly, we both jumped out of the car and squished our way through the muddy lot to pick up our VIP tickets. The tickets guaranteed us unlimited rides, non-stop entertainment, one free beer and a Bavarian feast dinner. The park was itself was also dimly lit, only illumiated here and there by the carnival rides scattered towards the back of the festival and the stage to our immediate right as we walked in.
Sounds of polka and men in lederhosen playing from the stage welcomed us to the festival. Since I was starving, Michael and I found our Bavarian Feast Dinner booth and in exchange for each $30 ticket, we received a plate full of bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and red slaw. As it turns out, German food (or at least this German food) is not my favorite kind of food. I ate some of the potato salad, all of my bratwurst, and drank my free Sam Adams Octoberfest beer, but both mine and Michael's sauerkraut and red slaw went untouched.
|One free beer ticket: one Octoberfest beer coming up.|
|Our Bavarian Feast Dinner. I was still hungry after.|
After dinner, we walked around considering which of the few rides that were there we should try. Seeing as how they were all free, we just figured we’d try them all. I spotted a Ferris wheel towards the back of the park and begged to start with that since I had never been on one. Michael agreed. But as we started to get closer, I realized it wasn’t your typical spin-around-and-enjoy-the-sights Ferris wheel, it was the kind that spins around and upside-down to make you sick as it turns. I needed a warm up. We started with Cliff Hanger, then some other ride that flung us around at high speeds, then ventured back to the Ferris wheel ride. No one was in line. No one was even near it. And as we approached I realized the maintenance guys were working on the ride. I started to slow down as we got closer, but Michael grabbed my hand and pulled me along. Next thing you know the guy is shutting our cage and telling me, “If it gets to be too much, just let me know and I’ll stop it. Really.” Great.
The ride starts up and we go around slowly facing forward at first, but as we hit the top and round the other side, we are dangling there in our little cage upside-down with all the blood rushing to our heads. I keep saying “I don’t like this, I don’t like this,” but all Michael can do is laugh and poke fun at me. After one more slow trip around the wheel, the guy stops it and says, “Something fell off, I’m gonna stop it. Come back in an hour.” Hm. Done with the rides for the nights.
Next we wandered off to a fun house and chased each other through the maze of mirrors. After that we hit up the merry-go-round (thanks to my coercion), took some pictures and decided it was time to hit the road. Michael surprised me with caramel apples he had picked up earlier in the day and we happily munched on those on the drive home.
|Greetings from (Long Beach's) Oktoberfest!|