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It’s nearly noon at Oktoberfest. Waitresses carry massive trays of food and armloads of beer. Nine liters (2 gallons) of beer in one armload. Trays that must be a yard across, filled with wursts, fowl, potatoes and more. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have believed it.

I feel like Neo in the Matrix dodging trays and steins like bullets walking up the narrow rows between tables in the beerhalls. Nearly all seats are filled. Men and women wear the traditional dress of their native lands. I feel under dressed – my belt is the only thing I am wearing made of leather. Here you can see an idealized version of the German-speaking peoples’ past.

I sit next to a group of Austrians and discuss their attire. “This is the traditional clothing of the farmer and the farmer-shooter [hunter] near Salzburg. The farmer-shooter was quite a good job because in times of war, they were called upon. We have a long tradition of beating up the German man.” And they laugh. Old disagreements are buried now, as you can see when the band strikes up a particularly popular song. Everyone sings along, standing on the tables and benches.

I feel like I’m at a college football game. The large brass section and booming drums. Um-pa-pa Um-pa-pa. I hear familiar sections of songs. It occurs to me that The Budweiser Song would probably be very popular here.

Oktoberfest is like a giant picnic with a quarter million of your closest friends and lots of beer. Lots of singing and talking and laughing. It’s time for another stein. Prost!