Monday, 14 May 2007

My first Eurovision

I'm here in Munich, the weather's been absolutely amazing, such a nice change from London which has been rainy for weeks now. I got here Saturday and was a little bummed about the timing because Saturday night was the Eurovision Grand Prix, and a friend of mine in London was having a party for it. I've been so excited about being able to see Eurovision this year! It's this gigantic contest that's been going on for decades where each country in Europe holds a contest to select one song to compete for the nation, and then all the nations compete in a final round. It's a huge big deal, like the superbowl or something. I went outside to grab something to eat during it Saturday night and noticed it was like a ghost town. Everyone was inside watching the Grand Prix!

Sadly I just had to watch it in my hotel but it was still fun because I was messaging my friends all over Europe while it was on, and it was pretty cool that everyone was watching the same thing. The two favorites to win this year were Sweden and Ukraine, but the actual winner was Serbia. It was interesting because the Ukraine entry was a drag queen, the Swedish entry was this sort of glam rock guy with a feather boa and lipstick, and the Serbian entry was a lesbian (I think?). Apparently this is just about the gayest contest ever. I was routing for Ukraine, they were so freakin great (here's the video below). Sadly they didn't, and the Serbian won. She was ok though, although I didn't understand what was going on in the song. It's just her wailing about something in Serbian surrounded by beautiful models comforting her. She's a good singer, but come on, Ukraine was AWESOME! At least they came in second.

Munich's been fun, much better than my last visit here five years ago. Last night I went to this gigantic beer garden with this guy I met Saturday night. He's a doctor and we were talking about health insurance here. Did you know Germany doesn't have national healthcare? I was shocked. They have a kind of hybrid public/private system where people who make under 40,000 euros a year can buy insurance off the state, and their employer contributes. But you don't have get get health insurtance, it's not required. Still, he said, probably 99 percent of people do, even though if you're unemployed it can be quite expensive. I think I may have made some assumptions about healthcare in Europe that aren't true, this will require some further investigation.

One thing that's funny about Munich is people seem to obsessively follow the walk signals. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night and there isn't a car for miles. If the walk signal is red, they'll just stand there on the street corner and wait. It's very strange.

Tomorrow I head to Frankfurt for a conference on Wednesday. I'll see my friend Sasha there who i haven't seen in five years, and then it's off to Cologne to visit Hale.

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