Monday, December 18, 2006

Apfelkuchen at Stubers...

Frau Stuber invited me to an Apple-Pie at her place.

Like always it was incredibly delicious and we spent a nice afternoon talking dime to a dozen alongwith Herr Stuber, her daughter Martina and her husband Thorsten.

I wish them all great health and a merry time!

Visitors from Palo Alto...

I guess she would squirm at the thought of me calling her a visitor to Heidelberg... :)

It was wonderful meeting Simone after a gap of almost 6 months. We spent the Saturday evening together catching up on all the lost time and philosophising on human tendencies, attitudes and ethics. Apart from all this talking, we also did some serious power-shopping for her. This is also when she conveyed the all-apparent-yet-unknown-to-me bit of information that apparel shops had items sorted by color - something that I had never realized before - so much for my outstanding genes when it comes to shopping (pun intended)!

Dinner was at a nice restaurant in Hauptstraße (Main Street) of Heidelberg. Our beautiful window table attracted more than one visitor that would peep into the restaurant to see god-knows-what!

In spite of Simone having been awake for 24 hours thanks to the jet lag, and me having got little sleep thanks to the Christmas Party and having lumbered wood that morning, we still managed to have a coherent conversation - quite an achievement, actually!

There are some people who are perpetually interesting and always fun to meet - Simone is certainly one of them.

No slumber but lumber...

Reached home at around 03:00 am from the company Christmas Party that was. Being fundamentally nocturnal, I had to check my emails and respond to them before going to sleep!

Why is this detail so important? It is because a few hours later I had to drive over to Ellerstadt where Fred lives to help him gather firewood for winter. This was a real first-time in my life that still makes me feel WOW!

I woke up at 09:30 thanks to a very disturbed sleep and completed the 45 minute drive to Ellerstadt in about 30 (no, I didn't break any rules - the freeways here have no limits and 240 kmph i.e. 150 mph is permitted). Marcel was also around, and we had a refreshing coffee at Fred's place before starting on our adventure drive to the forests around Bad Dürkheim in Fred's 4 WD pick-up - one that negotiates mud and slush in ways that never stops amazing me. After considerable driving in the Forests, we located a spot that had a few dead trees felled by a storm or by the forest department that made perfect candidates for firewood. Marcel who obviously loves the powersaw got to the task immediately. I was quite a silent spectator to this noise and initially just helped these two in loading their vehicle. After a while, curiosity took over and I did some sawing too - it was fun, I must admit.

After collecting about 1.5 tonnes of firewood, Fred invited us over to lunch at a nice forest restaurant. The salad was great and although they didn't have anything vegetarian on their menu, a bit of creativity from me got them to preparing Kartoffel Knödel with Pilz Rahm Söse (Potato Dumplings with Mushroom Cream Sauce) for me! Yummy!

After lunch, Fred had to meet a mechanic (he is incredibly good at fraternizing with people) and by the time we returned to Ellerstadt, I was running late on my appointment with Simone at Heidelberg at 17:00 hours!

Zooming back home helped - so did delaying that meet by 30 minutes.

SAP Christmas Party 2006...

This is one time of the year when people - young and old alike seem to feel incredibly positive and happy - at least in the Parties!

SAP hosted one on Friday night - this time in SAP Arena again - a large stadium in Mannheim that belongs to the company. This party attended by about 4000 employees was great fun and the organizers really did put in a lot of effort into taking our feedback from last year seriously.

On one hand, I got to catch up with a lot of interesting people...

(Michael and me - ignore the seemingly empty glasses!)

And on the other, there were some others like Henning who simply could not be located in this humongous party!

Nice people and good music can more than compensate for the food that wasn't up to the mark, and all said - the party was great fun! I had a good time even though I didn't indulge in much alcohol (had to drive back home), and said quits at around 02:00 am - kind of early for me but I wanted to help Fred collect wood for winter (!!) the next morning!