Thursday, 25 October 2007


One of the reinsurance companies we deal with at work is based in Germany, and every year they invite us, their clients, to celebrate Oktoberfest.

The part was last night, which is about a week after the Oktoberfest celebrations finish in the Fatherland . . . I'm not sure why this is. It may be because it affords their MC the opportunity to tell amusing stories about Australians at (the real) Oktoberfest.

Being a roomful of Finance nerds, these amusing stories mainly took the form of recounted statistics, such as the fact that of the 600 passports reported lost, 150 of them were Australian. And of the 100 babies breastfed in the rooms provided, none of them were Australian (the obvious conclusion being that Australians had fed their kids on beer).

A bewildering array of other further statistics were offered, some humorous, some not. It soon got to the point where I was having flashbacks to our company actuarial dinner earlier in the year.

Fortunately, we had been handed a 500ml stein on arrival and pointed to the bar where they had DÄB on tap. That went quite some way towards making the whole thing a little more bearable.

Anyway, once the speeches were done and the band had started up, the rest of the evening was made up of the typical sort of small talk that goes on at this type of thing. It wasn't all bad, though. I did get to catch up with a few people who've moved on to other companies and that I haven't seen in a while.

The food was also excellent, but oh-so-German. It was all bratwurst, sauerkraut, sausages as thick as your wrist and bread that would leave a hefty dint in the floor if you dropped it. Dessert was strudel and black forest cake and jam doughnuts.

So full. So so full.

All in all, it was fun. But of course, there was something of an ulterior motive beyond the free food and beer.

In previous years this particular company has generously provided tickets to the Australian Open Tennis. So over the course of the evening there was a certain amount of talking to and smiling at the right people. And when I got to work this morning, I sent an email thanking them kindly for the invitation.

I'll let you know how that turns out.