The Perfect Day

31 08 2009

Most of the week was pretty uneventful, so I won’t bore you all the details like I usually do.  We worked most of the week getting ready for our presentation to Old El Paso, which went pretty well.  After that, Jon and I celebrated by making delicious Old El Paso Chicken Enchiladas and that was really the highlight of the week.  On Friday night, we all went out to Zoe’s (again) and to a couple other bars.  I planned to sleep at Justin’s Friday night so we could hang out the next day, but when we went home, Justin lost his keys and Matt was completely passed out and didn’t wake up to us banging on the door for 30 minutes so we slept at our friend, Uli’s flat.

The Perfect Day
Justin and I woke up around 10 and left Uli’s but as we walked out of her room, her roommate walked by and gave us the most awkward look ever.  We didn’t realize how bad it would look for Uli to have 2 guys walk out of her room on a Saturday morning.  Justin and I laughed about it all the way to the train station.  We headed to Justin’s, picked up Matt and headed to the harbor for Red Bull Cliff Diving.  Red Bull was sponsoring a high diving competition where all these divers jump from the top of one the ships doing all kinds of crazy maneuvers.  Needless to say, it was awesome!

Red Bull Cliff Diving

Red Bull Cliff Diving

After the Red Bull thing, Matt headed to school to do a project and Justin and I met up with Emmet, Jon and his girlfriend, Denise.  Justin wanted to take us to a curry wurst place he found so we wandered the streets of St. Pauli until we came across it.  I have to say, although I haven’t had it very much, but it was the best curry wurst I’ve ever had.

From there, Denise led us to this area of the city where artists come from all around Hamburg to contribute to this public art space.  It’s really just an alley in the middle of a bunch of old buildings covered with art.  Some of the stuff was really cool and the whole idea of public art was really cool to me.   Although really cool, Denise was telling me developers want to destroy the buildings and build new office buildings and condos, but the city and artists are fighting to keep it what it is.  I really hope this area stays preserved for a long time to come.

Hidden Art Street

Hidden Art Street

As the day went on, we wandered along the streets, going into shops, taking pictures of the city and we came across Alster fest.  It was this little carnival going on with live music, games, and all kinds of great smelling treats.  After that, we stopped at this burger joint called “Jim’s Block”.  Jon had been talking about it all day so we had to check it out.  It wasn’t as good as the curry wurst but still pretty tasty.  Then we decided to all buy movie tickets to “Inglourious Basterds”, the new movie by Quentin Tarantino with Brad Pitt that is all about killing Nazis.  The movie wasn’t for a couple of hours, so Jon and Emmet went home to relax, but Justin and I decided to hang around and check out some bars.

Tasty treats at Alster fest

Tasty treats at Alster fest

We went this place called “American Bar” at Happy Hour so we decided to order the coolest sounding drink on the menu, which was called a “Harvey Wallbanger”, which also became the inside joke of the night.  After a few cocktails, we stumbled into this medieval times style shop down the street.  They had these awesome toy swords and axes, along with a full assortment of armor and chain mail…so of course we had to try it all out.  After almost getting kicked out, I bought a hilarious, giant novelty pen, we met up with Decker and went into the movie.

Getting Harvey Wallbanged

Getting Harvey Wallbanged

The movie was incredible!  Classic Tarantino and one of Brad Pitt’s best acting jobs.  We thought it would be really awkward to watch it in a theatre full of Germans, but it was only weird when we were all laughing at certain parts when the rest of the theatre was silent.  As the climatic final scene was going on, we started hearing explosions going on outside.  As we got out the movie, we were greeted by an amazing firework display over the Alster lake right in front of us!

Fireworks!!!

Fireworks!!!

After all of this excitement, we decided to finish up at Zoe’s where a group of Miami Ad School kids were.  So we went, had a few “bangers” (term we gave every drink thanks to our inside joke), and Justin and I headed out.  We split a kebab, then I got on the train, watched an episode of “East Bound and Down” (one of my new favorite shows) on my computer and fell asleep.

Ending at Zoe's with Justin and Decker

Ending at Zoe's with Justin and Decker

It was pretty much a perfect day; probably the most fun day I’ve spent in Hamburg.  Great people and a great city is really all you need.  I’ve always said, the best days are the ones you don’t plan and you just kinda go with the flow, and this day was the perfect example.

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Long time, no blog

24 08 2009

On my last blog entry I wrote that most of my part with McDonalds was over.  Boy, was I wrong.  This Monday through Thursday was the busiest days I’ve spent here in Hamburg.  I was matched up with probably the worst “creative” team in the school.  I used the term “creative” very loosely while at this school.  A little background: Art Directors and Copy Writers (the people that make the actual ads) are called “creatives”.  I simply call them designers and producers until they actually prove they are indeed creative.  Anyway, I was matched up with 6 kids (5 of them, I’m very sure will never be able to hold a real job).  They would never show up and when they did, they contributed nothing.  For the most part, it was me and my friend, Decker, who had to do all the work.  So we spent every night from Monday up to presentation on Thursday working, getting 1-3 hours a sleep a night, living off caffeine and fast food.  Obviously, it was not great on my body.

But, we finished it up on Thursday morning, 3-4 hours before the presentation.  And to no relief, it was the hottest day in Hamburg for the year, with a high of 94 degrees.  We presented in a room, with the whole school packed in, while the school doesn’t have AC.  It was probably 100 degrees in the room (Lourenco was sitting next to me and I thought he was going to pass out, and he’s Brazilian!).  We got the presentation over with, it went as good as it could have gone, considering the circumstances and we got the hell out of there.  Pretty much half the school had a celebratory beer at the nearby bar “Cocktrails” (it’s right by the train station, clever right?).  Then I went home and got a much needed full night of sleep.

Class on Friday was pretty light as our teacher knew we were all working on McDonalds all week.  Friday night came along and it was time to let loose!  We all started at the Miami Ad School main hangout, Zoe’s and then continued on to a few other bars.  It was maybe the most fun night here thus far, just because pretty much everyone came out and everyone was so happy to be done with McDonalds.  I finally got home around 6 or 7am.

On Saturday, pretty much the whole school was still recovering, so it was pretty slow day.  Justin, Matt, and I went to the park, played Frisbee, got a few beers, and watched the movie “Beerfest” and I headed home.  I had to get ready for Sunday which was the much anticipated soccer or “football” game with a bunch of the guys from school.

Justin and I were the first to arrive to the park and we figured maybe 5-6 more guys would actually show.  But, to our surprise, there were about 15-16 of us!  It was a lot of fun!  We played Europe vs. The Americas (the Americans and Brazilians) but we lost in a dramatic 10-9 game.  After that, a few of us went to Jim Burritos (one of my favorite places here) and then headed home.  On the way home, Justin and I decided to stop at the “Hamburger DOM” which is the biggest festival in Northern Germany for one last ride as it was the last night for the summer.  So now I have you all caught up, hopefully this week won’t be as stressful!





No rest for the weary

17 08 2009

Ahhh….That’s the sound of me catching my breath.  This last week or so has been crazy busy but also crazy fun.  I’ve been doing school work almost non-stop during the day, but also taking the time to go out and have some fun…I mean, I am in Europe.  I’ve been working on multiple projects throughout the quarter, but right now pretty much all of my time has been focused on our McDonald’s project.  Our presentation is this Thursday and we are not even close to finished.  However, lucky for me, most of my work (the strategic planning part) is pretty much done; I just need to wait for the designers to finish the actual executions so I can put it all together in a presentation.

When I wasn’t working I have been spending my time enjoying being young and the fact that I’m in Hamburg.  Thursday night was really cool.  I got home from school before 9 (the first time in a week) so I decided to reward myself by going to have a beer before I started doing some homework.  I went to this corner bar across the street from my flat called the “Dorotheen Eck”.  I have no idea what the name means but it’s a cool little local bar that supposedly is over 100 years old and has been owned by the same family the whole time.  I had my one beer, went to pay for it, and as the German couple next to me noticed my terrible attempt at speaking German to the bartender, started talking to me and then offered to buy me a drink.

I figured “What the hell?” so I sat down next this nice old couple and enjoyed my free beer.  Well we kept talking and talking and they kept ordering us all drinks.  I must add these people we at least 65-70 years old.  By the end of the night, they had ordered me 2 liters of beer and 5-6 shots and I was terrified to see my bill.  But when I asked the bartender, she said the couple already covered it.  It had to be at least 30 Euro worth of drinks.  I was so grateful!  Hamburg definitely has some of the friendliest locals I’ve ever met.

On Friday and Saturday night (both days were spent completely at school), we all went out to a few bars, ended up at Zoe’s both nights, and had a really good time.  I can honestly say there isn’t one person I’ve met here that I didn’t like.  Everyone is a lot of fun and super interesting as all of the school is international.   Tonight (Sunday), I got home around 9 from school and finally got a chance to relax.  Now I need to rest up as this week is going to ridiculously busy with the McDonald’s fiasco going on and it’s also Justin’s birthday this week so I’m sure there are some fun times to be had.





One month(+) of comparisons…

13 08 2009

Since my last post, I haven’t done too much that’s too exciting.  I’ve been doing a lot of school work, did my laundry the other day, and went out to dinner tonight with the guys at a delicious Tex-Mex restaurant near the harbor, nothing too interesting that you would like to read about.  So, since I’ve gotten here, I’ve been somewhat keeping track of the differences between my life in Hamburg and my life in the States.  So here’s what I came up with:

-Everything about food is different…almost everything.  For one, people don’t mind paying a premium for a smaller amount of food here.  The cheapest meal you will get here is about 6-7 Euro which is close to $10.  Also, if you don’t finish your food, it goes in the trash, there are no leftovers.  I think this is the number one reason why Europeans are “skinnier” than Americans.  Hey, I’ve lost 3 kilograms since I got here (that’s about 7 pounds).

Traditional German Brats

Traditional German Brats

-Although beer drinking here is prevalent, people drink much more casually.  From my (college) experiences, we drink fast.  And we drink to get drunk.  Here, people drink slowly and have long conversations with anyone who will listen, including perfect strangers.  Also, you can drink anywhere (not an exaggeration).  It’s perfectly legal to drink on the train, on the bus, riding a bike, you name it.  They even sell beer at McDonald’s.  However, there are NO American beers and NO “light” beers.

Wish I was there

I wish all German girls looked like this...

-Speed is not as important to Germans as it is in the States.  People seem not to mind waiting long to get their meals, grocery store cashiers take forrrreeeevvvvveeeeeerrrrrr, and people do not mind using public transportation, walking or biking although it’s much faster to drive.

-Public transportation is awesome here!  I take the train everyday to school and to the party areas on the weekends.  There are also rental bike stations throughout the city so on nice days you can go and check out a bike and as long as you check it back in near your destination within 30 minutes, it’s free.  The bus is also great, although it usually smells like serious body odor.

Hamburgs main form of transportation

Hamburg's main form of transportation

-Everyone here drives a BMW, Audi, Porsche, or Volkswagen.  No one wears flip-flops (I am obviously the easiest American to spot rocking my flops on the coldest, rainiest days).  People drink carbonated water over regular water (yuck!).  Clubs play electronic/techno music (NO exceptions).  A Turkish Doner (Kebab) is the German version of late-night drunk food aka Taco Bell.  Smoking is extremely prevalent (A group of 5 of us was asked for a lighter by a guy on the street and when no one had one, he thought we were lying).  No one J-walks.  And advertisements are not censored (boobies!).

Hope you enjoyed these comparisons.  I’m sure there are plenty to come as I notice new things everyday.  There are things I love about this place, but there are also things that are quite annoying (prices and the weather).  But I think that goes along with everywhere in the world.  Nothing is perfect but everywhere in the world is different from the next place, which is why I am loving this experience and love traveling in general.





Work hard. Play hard.

9 08 2009

On Wednesday, we made our second trip to Bremen to do more consumer research for our big project, the GAK.  Last time we went was not very successful; we got lost, interviewed 2 people and got stuck in traffic on the way back.  This time it went much better.  We got to Bremen in the morning and interviewed 24 people!  We got some really good feedback and found a really cool area of Bremen in the process.  All in all, it was a great, but tiring research day.

Hanging out in Bremen

Hanging out in Bremen

Collage of our interviews

Collage of our interviews

On Thursday, we were in school all day getting ready for our creative briefing.  The briefing is basically where you take all of your research and create an overall theme or position for the campaign and put it all on one sheet of paper.  Then you present it to a team of designers so they can come up with visual representations to go along with your main message.  We were at school pretty late, so Tobias and I decided to reward ourselves with Jim Burrito’s where we met up with Matt.

After dinner, I got a call from Justin that his little brother (17 yrs old) was in town and we had to show him the wild side of Hamburg….so of course, we HAD to take him to the Reeperbahn.  This kid had no idea what to do with all the drinking and almost naked women.  We hit a few bars, strolled down the red-light district and by the end of the night he was already thinking about the next time he could come back.  In the process, I had gotten pretty hammered so I crashed at Justin’s place for a few hours before I made it back home to get ready for the big briefing.

We had the briefing on Friday morning and it went really well!  The designers all really like the ideas we had and were excited to work on it, which is all you can really hope for.  From what I heard from other groups, their briefings didn’t go as well so it made Tobias and I feel really good about our work thus far.

On Friday evening, Joe and his roommate/landlord threw a cookout/party at their flat since they have a little backyard area.  It was a great time and I got to meet some cool people and eat some interesting German food.  The party got broken up by police so a group of about 15 of us decided to move the party down to St. Pauli.  The area was packed!  You couldn’t walk without having to push through crowds of people.  We went to a few bars and clubs that were all about 100 degrees inside (it’s really hot in Hamburg right now and no one here has AC).  Joe and I decided to leave the scene around 3ish, got a delicious Turkish pizza, and got on the train.  Little did we know our rail was closed for some reason so we had to take a quite pricy and dangerous taxi ride.  When I got home, I finally got to get some decent sleep and I hibernated for about 10 hours.  Then later on Saturday night, I went out again and did it all over again…Oh, Hamburg, you are so fun, but terrible for my liver.





The day that almost didn’t happen

4 08 2009

As I mentioned in my last post, I was planning on going out on Friday to celebrate the end of a long and exhausting week.  Well I went out, and I may have partied a little too hard.  We went to Jon’s to do some pre-partying and then to the park, followed by Zoe’s.  I finally got home around 4am fully aware that I had to be at Matt’s flat the next day to start our city tour with Detmar.  Unfortuanately, it didn’t work out like that.  I woke up at 12:05 and by the time I got to Matt’s, they had already left.  I was completely bummed!  I decided to make the most out of it so I started walking down to the harbor to take pictures with my fully-charged camera.  As I was crossing the street, a car honked its horn at me and I realized it was Detmar with Joe and Matt!  It was completely random…probably 1 in a million chance I would see them.  I think the universe really wanted me to go on the trip.

We started at the harbor and got on a boat that is part of the metro, so we didn’t have to pay.  It sailed down the River Elbe as Detmar pointed out all the cool office buildings and expensive houses up on the hill.  We stopped for lunch and then headed back to the harbor to check out other parts of the city.

Detmar!!!

Detmar!!!

Famous Hamburg Fischmarkt

Famous Hamburg Fischmarkt

When we got back on dry land, we walked to a part of Hamburg called “Hafen City”, which means “New City”.  It is the largest urban development projects going on in all of Germany at the moment.  There are dozens of really cool office and apartment buildings right along the water.  They are also building a Phil Harmonic (don’t know if that’s spelled right) that is going to be massive!  Hafen City is already pretty large, but there is much more being built now and planned to be built in the future.

My fave building in Hafen City

My fave building in Hafen City

Made me miss REAL sports

Made me miss REAL sports

You can still your head in a model of the phil harmonic

You can stick your head in a model of the phil harmonic

After walking around Hafen City for a while, we walked to the very historic area of Hamburg near the harbor.  There are these really old warehouses that were “No-Tax” warehouses back in the day so the ships would come down the canals and unload their cargo directly into the window.  On the other side of the warehouses was a back alley with houses that survived the major fire of 1842 that destroyed half of Hamburg as well as the Allied bombings in WW2.  These houses were around 300 years old.  We sat on a floating bar, had a beer and admired the beautiful buildings.

Canals with old warehouses on the right

Canals with old warehouses on the right

The old houses from the 17th century

The old houses from the 17th century

After this, the tour was over, but Detmar offered to take us around again some time.  He is really a great guy.  After getting home and taking a shower, I met up with Jon and his roommate, Emmitt, and we went to a urban art gallery in St. Pauli, followed by a couple bars including a cool beach bar that reminded me of home.

Sunday and Monday were much more low key than Saturday.  I did laundry, did lots of school work, you know that really exciting stuff you leave out of your blog.  However, last night was pretty fun…I got dinner with Jon, Matt, Justin, and Decker followed by a few beers.  It was a good time.  But I have a creative brief due on Friday that’s not ready and I am going back to Bremen tomorrow to do some more research.





Maybe I was wrong about her…

31 07 2009

Wednesday came and went.  We had class with our GAK project tutor, Nina, in the morning and then a quite boring research lesson from two women from an agency in Berlin.  After class, I didn’t feel like going home so I stayed at school and caught up on Entourage (one of my favorite shows).  I also had the privilege of skyping with not only my regular skype buddies (Mom and Lauren), but Geo!  It was nice to hear from him and catch up with what’s going on in the Gainesville world.  When I got home, my landlady, Mrs. Deeken, asked me to come out to the balcony to talk to her…I was scared.

She had me sit down, poured me a glass of orange juice and started asking me about my life back home.  We ended up talking for close to 2 hours about our lives, our travels, and our families.  It was so nice!  She told me about when she was a little girl and she had to escape the Russians in Eastern Germany as she fled to Berlin.  Her family was then transported by Allied forces to a small town in Western Germany where her and her family lived on a farm.  Her father was actually a Nazi soldier, but was extremely against the Nazi agenda.  After the war, he led small revolts against the Russians in their hometown and when it became too much, they made the decision to flee.  She moved to Hamburg in her late 20’s and lived in this very house with her husband and daughter.  It was really nice to connect with her on a personal level and I’m so glad we did because it will make the next 2 months so much easier.

On Thursday, we had another boring research lesson (but we will not have those teachers again for the rest of the semester…thank god).  After class, I worked on the GAK project with Tobias and Sam until later in the night when we all went out for dinner at Jim Burrito’s (my stand-in Moe’s) had a beer at this couch bar named “Zoe’s”.  I thought that was it, but we ended up meeting up with Jon and a German girl he knows, Ninja (pronounced Neen-ya…but would be way cooler if pronounced Ninja), and two of her friends.  One of the guys has actually been AND fished in Tampa Bay so it was really cool to get to know them.  We stayed out pretty late and visited a bunch of new bars.  All in all, it was a great Thursday night.

Today we had class all day but now it’s finally the weekend!  I decided to do something nice on my way home, so I bought Mrs. Deeken some flowers, which she loved.  Tonight I am meeting up with some fellow students to go to a few bars and see where the night takes us.  In the morning, Matt, Joe and I are going to ride around Hamburg with an old man we met in a bar named Demtar.  Matt and I met him our first day in Hamburg and he told us, he knows more about Hamburg then anyone else we will meet.  So naturally, we have to take advantage of this (don’t worry, Erin.  My camera is fully charged and ready to go!).  It could be a great time or it could be really weird…only one way to find out.  That’s it for now; I’m about to cook up some delicious soup Mom so thoughtfully sent me (thanks Mom) and get ready for tonight’s adventures.