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September 22-23, 1989

< < Stresa | Regensburg > >

Given the higher alcohol content and the enormity of the steins, drinking one glassfull is like downing a six-pack of beer in America. After two or three -- or more, who knows -- I was barely able to walk, and half blind. Tod had a craving for clove cigarettes, which we had in our locker at the train station. But I couldn't go that far. They positioned me firmly against the wall of a brat stand and told me not to move, then faded into the crowd.

I did all right for a little while, smiling foolishly at the madness of the carnival around me -- the lights, the music, the drunk Australians. But gradually, I was overwelmed by the feeling that something deep inside of me wanted to get out. I tried to feel my way towards a bathroom, but the lines were horrendous, and before I could form a Plan B, I revealed myself as the basest kind of ugly tourist: I tossed my cookies all over the midway.

No problem, a calm voice inside me took over. Let me get you through this it said, reassuringly. You'll never see any of these people again. Take the kerchief from your pocket... clean yourself off... thoroughly ... now wad it up and toss it into the trash bin ... and around the corner, to a whole new group of strangers who never saw it happen...

Around the corner I went, where -- of course -- I promptly threw up again.