Saturday, October 13, 2007

Julio of Coolio

My birthday rocked and so did I…

We didn’t have any formal plans, just got in the car and started to drive. We ended up climbing up to explore one of the castles that border the Mosel river (the place is lousy with ‘em) and wandering around the castle grounds in the bright, mild fall weather.

And there were goats. Small, horned, black and white goats bleated at us, followed us curiously, but remained an arms-length away. They were searching for something to eat (as goats do) and it seemed anything was a potential candidate for a snack – including shirt tails, shoe strings, and cell phones.

They finally settled on the tender, young leaves of an oak tree that Anna and Charlie were happy to requisition for them. We fed them and they entertained us by bleating intermittently and rearing up on hind legs to bash each other in the head occasionally, like fifth grade boys showing off the wrestling moves they’d learned on cable tv.

After lunch at a pretty café on the Rhine, we went to the butterfly garden in Koblenz. I love stuff like this and had a great time having brilliant blue, green, yellow and orange butterflies land on my colorful shirt.

Charlie however, got a pretty severe case of the heebie-jeebies and wanted out of there as soon as possible. He said having butterflies fluttering around his head was about a 108 on the “freakin-me-out-o-meter” and couldn’t see the charm in the experience.

We then went back to our flat for an afternoon nap (inevitable consequences of wine at lunch). After dinner Mike and I went to Café Hahn, a live music venue in Koblenz. We had tickets to the “Paul Simon Graceland Revival Concert”.

The show was very good – 5 young musicians playing and singing in English. They did all of the best from the Graceland album and introduced all of the songs in German. The German audience sat very still, not a head bobbing or toe tapping in the joint.

At break time we went back stage to thank the band. It seems that this is an unusual thing for the audience to do, and once behind the red velvet curtain the band just looked at us wide-eyed with confused/frightened smiles on their faces.

I told them how much we were enjoying the concert, and asked that since it was my birthday could they play “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard”. “You know that one don’t you? It goes like this…” and I sang it for them.

They asked me if I’d sing it on stage – and ba da bing – 20 minutes later there I was rockin’ on stage, in front of 150 stoic Germans, singing my brains out to “Me and Julio”. Great Birthday. Especially the goats.

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