Friday, November 12, 2010

GERMANY, CHAPTER 6: The Sandwich Thieves

A typical German breakfast buffet.
Nothing got Tania more excited in Germany than stealing sandwiches from the hotel breakfast buffets every morning. Breakfast in Germany, incidentally, is more akin to an American lunch. It consists mostly of breads, meats, and cheeses. No matter how many cups of coffee or hard-boiled eggs I’d add to my breakfast plate, it always looked like lunch. I attribute this to the presence of all the pickled fare that is made available at the German breakfast. Pickles have no place at the breakfast table. That’s not just my opinion, that’s a fact. Lord knows I tried to get with the AM pickle program, but it simply doesn’t work. I found the European custom of drinking beer with ice cubes a little queer, but I’m okay with it, even if I refuse to participate in the practice. Pickled herrings with orange juice for breakfast, on the other hand, is a downright disgusting pairing. It's not natural. You’d have more success trying to mate a horse with a bullfrog. There’s got to be a “thou shalt not” in the Bible about eating pickled herrings with orange juice at breakfast, right? Because that is a marriage that will destroy the family as we know it.

"Meat, meat, meat! She can't afford a cannon. Meat, meat, meat! She can't afford no gun at all." 
(That's some Anthony Bourdain/Henry Rollins shit right there, referencing old punk rock. Easy grandpa, easy. You're "Cool Meter" can't handle your obscure references and seething disdain for mainstream culture.)
We’d each grab enough meat, bread, and cheese at the buffet to make two sandwiches. At the table we’d assemble one sandwich and eat it while smiling at the other guests as if nothing at all were afoot. “Haha, no capers here.” (You actually could spoon some capers over your pickled herrings if you liked—oh! maybe even drop some capers in your orange juice to make a German bubble tea?) And then, very quietly, we’d put together our second sandwich. Next thing you know, POOF! It was gone!

A Sandwich Thief creation.
“I noticed you has had an entire sandwich on your plate not two seconds ago,” I always worried some suspicious fraulein would catch us. “There is no vay you could haff eaten zis sandwich zat fast. So I vonder, vhere did it go, hmm? Fatty?”

We fucking stole it, bitch!

I’d make sure the coast was clear, and Tania would get a gang of napkins, wrap up the sandwiches, and throw them in her purse. “HAHA! THE SANDWICH THIEVES HAVE STRUCK AGAIN!” We’d say that every time.

It should be noted that while ordinary napkins worked great for sandwich smuggling, I found that using vagina bags—wait, what? Oh, apparently they're not called "vagina bags," they're used for disposing of sanitary napkins. Whatever. The vagina bags were in dispensers on the wall in every toilet and they worked great for transporting stolen sandwiches.
While cruising down the Rhine, Tania looks for DEA (Dejeuner Enforcement Administration) agents before she tears into the contraband.

 Stealing sandwiches in the morning is one of Tania’s finest ideas. Because the sandwiches would reemerge later in the day when we were on a boat or a train and hunger had just begun to descend upon us again. The stolen sandwich made for a perfect light—and FREE!—lunch that would tide us over until we got to a proper schnitzel palace.

“Nothing,” Tania likes to say, “tastes as good as a stolen sandwich.”
Here’s a travel tip from the sandwich thieves
This is not in a guidebook by Rick Steves
Steal a morning snack, stuff it up your sleeves
When hunger strikes, a stolen sandwich always relieves

This photo has nothing to do with stealing sandwiches, but it is about stealing. I'm not sure if Tania was suffering from a mild case of kleptomania, or if she just enjoyed making her "crime face," but emboldened by the success of her sandwich heists she started trying to steal all kinds of stuff. Here she's trying to steal an entire German castle one stone at a time. The only thing that prevented her from making off with the largest castle still standing on the Rhine and reconstructing it in our backyard was a thunderclap that echoed across the skies at the exact same moment she removed the stone between her fingers from the wall. "Put it back," I said nervously watching the clouds, "you've awoken the gods again." ("Again": as you may remember, when we got married, They (the gods) lit the hills around Big Sur on fire with lightning bolts.) "Fuck them!" she responded. She was obviously crazy and addicted to stealing. I conducted an impromptu intervention and was somehow able to convince her to not only put that particular stone back, but leave the rest of the castle behind. "Please accept this gift we are offering you…" We were not struck by lightning.


Josh Tyson said...

You two are going to make marvelous senior citizens. Most of those pussies just steal the bread.

Alan.F said...

This story is great. me and my girlfriend recently stole sandwiches from a hotel in Munich, her hometown. I actually was doing the stealing while she watched for waitresses. We used napkins to begin with but they leaked so we transfered the sandwiches into vagina bags, which are really hermetic and just the right size for a german sandwich.