Sunday, September 16, 2012


I was on the train to Berlin, admittedly a little bored with the Central Valley-type scenery we were speeding by not quite fast enough, when fifteen to twenty men boarded the train together. They all wore matching black t-shirts with green print that said:
Tomas' Junggesellenabschied

With them was one man dressed in a black-and-white striped inmate costume. I had paid for WiFi on the bullet train -- foolishly, I might add: never do that -- and quickly clicked to Google Translate to confirm junggesellanaschied. Sure enough -- it means bachelor party in German.

While it had been relatively quiet before, the twenty-or-so men changed that in a jiffy. Sitting together in four sets of booth seats, they brought the party to the car, breaking out little tin kegs of beer and clear plastic cups. Passengers walked by, talking and laughing with them, and the bachelors would offer a cup of beer.

"Nice guys," my Berliner seatmate said, chuckling and listening to their conversation.

How I wished I could understand the jokes. Along with the mini beer kegs, they brought an energy, a sense of fun and joy onto the train with them.

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