Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bier Maidens and Blue Angels

This weekend has been a rather busy one, and it's only Saturday of a 3-day Labor Day weekend. I have a feeling with all the excitement, we're probably going to be hermits Sunday and Monday.

Held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, where almost everything was out in the open I felt apprehensive about going when I saw the sky turn green and the clouds converge atop the fairgrounds pretty quickly.

When we paid our $8/person admission, there was a deluge of rain beating down on us. It hurt for me to open my eyes and the place flooded up within minutes. We were completely soaked and didn't really know where to go - it's hard when you're walking around in torrential raid with your eyes closed! My feet were slipping out of my leather slip-on shoes and filling with mud.

We finally found some shelter. Great. Only beer and polka. We wait a few minutes and returned to the rain which was only pouring half as hard and went the wrong way (the way we came from) in search of food, turned around, and then headed to some individual tents serving mostly German food and 1 Polish stand.

By the time we got our food, the rain had stopped. We walked over to some benches under a tent, but the music was just waaaaay too shrill and loud so I told Bug, "NO WAY AM I SITTING IN THIS TENT TO EAT OUR FOOD!!" He responded, "WHAT?!" I walked out with my potato pancakes. He followed.

We went back to the biergarten gobbled up our food from Der Braumeister. I got the spaetzle with Hungarian goulash. The goulash was peppery and I enjoyed the large clumps of spaetzle. Bug didn't care for it as much. He prefers Das Schnitzelhaus' goulash and spaetzle. Bug ordered sauerkraut, sausage, applesauce, and German potato salad. We split an order of potato pancakes. It was pretty tasty. I tend to forget that potato pancakes aren't always the same as latke. When I order a potato pancake and get a...potato pancake - a smooth battered pancake - I let out a half-second disappointed sigh in my head...then partake. I didn't care much for Bug's dish at all. Bug didn't say anything either.

We walked around for 10 minutes after our meal and drove home. It was nice to have finally gone to one here in Cleveland, where there is a sizable German and Polish population. I can't say I was very impressed. The Oktoberfest that I went to in Hawaii was 100x better. While it didn't have the rowdy attitude because it was held at the Ala Moana Hotel, it was just as jovial and served harder drinks like schnapps as well as imported German beers. The food in Hawaii was a lot more expensive, but you got more than your usual carnival food. This was where I tried and fell in love with schweinknuckeln. It was heavenly! I just hope that the Oktoberfest is still celebrated in such a grand fashion to catch it once again.

Cleveland National Air Show
Bug set the alarm clock for 7:30 so I'd wake up in time for us to head to the air show at opening (9:00). I got hungry at 8:45 and made myself a bowl of ramen after hearing that food could cost upwards of $6 for hot dogs and water for $3. We ended up at the gates at 9:45 both of us carrying in bottles of water. I never said I wasn't cheap.

We didn't park at Burke Lakefront Airport because we'd never gone there before and just hit the first garage that said they had parking. We were parked about 1/2 mile away from the venue. That wasn't the bad part.

Bug paid $21/person for us to get in, plus we paid $10 to park, and walked into the admitting area, but were stuck behind a couple who took forever (not sure why). So a kid to the left of us ripped our tickets in half. When we got to the guy who was to have ripped our tickets, he asked why were giving him half torn tickets. We looked at the kid who said nothing. My husband points to the kid and told the guy that he ripped the tickets. The kid said nothing but smiled.

The guy continued to harass Bug about the half torn ticket. The kid continued to say nothing. Finally, a lady behind the kid said, "Yes, they just got their ticket torn." The guy finally asked if we wanted our hands stamped to gain re-entry. The kid stood there and smiled with the stamper in his hand.

That kid must have been retarded or something. I wanted to kick him in the frigging throat. Bug was |--| close to blowing up. $42 paid + parking to not even get in? Yeah, that would have gotten really ugly.

So with that behind us, but with Bug stewing over that incident for 2 hours, we walked in and out of a C-5 Galaxy, saw the MetroHealth LifeFlight helicopters, saw some other planes and helicopters, then sat down on the cement and waited for the show. I was nursing a blister forming on my foot because I was wearing the same wet leather slip-ons.

Programs were sold everywhere. There wasn't a free schedule to be found, so we really didn't know what to expect. My expectation was blocks of shows followed by gaps of free time. Bug's expectation was a block of shows that would repeat throughout the day, but different shows over each day.

At 10:00, there was a competition of radio controlled monoplanes, jets, and biplanes. It was pretty amazing how big, the complexity of maneuvers, and how high they could fly.

The show was like a race downhill on ice after show after another quickly followed until 15:30 where there was a 15 minute break. Monoplanes, gliders, jets, biplanes, paratroopers, more jets, helicopters, even more jets, one after another, ending with the Blue Angels. The historic flybys were very special, where the modern jets would fly with the WWII planes.

I didn't realize how loud these jets could get. When the first jet, an F15 Eagle, came out and hit its afterburners in front of us, I screamed and covered my ears. Every jet performance after that I covered my ears when they'd fly by.

It was amazing to see the Eagle nearly hit the sound barrier and actually see the ringed air formation billow around the jet right before me...twice! I have never witnessed anything quite so cool!

The F16 Falcon's maneuverability with it's tight turns was awesome.

By 13:00, Bug looked like a cooked lobster and he was writhing in pain from the sunburns over his face, neck, arms, and legs. He looked pretty sickly all right. Fortunately, he wore a cap so at least 1/3 of his face wasn't scalded. His burns were pretty bad and he probably should go to the hospital. Because he didn't go to sleep last night, he's able to sleep as I type this entry...after dousing himself with alcohol.

The Blue Angels were exquisite. I found myself screaming at Bug, "OMG THAT WAS AMAZING!" every time the group and the 2 solo pilots flew by. I definitely want to see them again!!

Next time, I'll bring ear plugs and Bug will bring sun block.

- Cassaendra

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