well, here i am at the end of day 2 of my trip to hamburg. i had a strange start to the day. i got really lucky last night and didn’t have to share my dorm room, and woke up feeling a little panicky about time. i thought my clock said it was 10 am, so i hurried and rushed off to see the tea and coffee world cup exhibit at the convention center, but when i got to the metro, found it was only 9. heh.
anyway, i went to the trade fair, which is why i’m here in hamburg, and at first was both overwhelmed and disappointed. rather than being helpful, people i talked to seemed pretentious and condescending, and there was no cart supplier listed. i went to the organizer stand, to ask, and the man there didn’t know what i was talking about, then made a big show of checking for a category “carts”, and of course there wasn’t one, which i already knew, since i can read the index myself.
so, frustrated, i sat down and went through the list in the book, and started circling ones i thought i should go see. this proved much more useful. unfortunately, most of the coffee people there were suppliers of green coffee, not roasted coffee. some of them were kind enough to give me information on roasters they supplied, but many just looked at me like i was crazy. so, after a bit of this, i went back to my list, and finished circling things. then i started talking to espresso machine manufacturers. mostly, that was also fruitless, but then i stopped, in a funny mood, at one, and when the man asked me if i had questions, i rather vaguely said, “sure… all of the above. whatever.. the basics…” and instead of sending me on my way with a flyer and a general, “here is a distributor in your area that can give you more info,” he sat me down, gave me something to drink (first a bottle of water, but eventually a glass of prosecco), and went through all kinds of info for me. eventually he asked me exactly what my plans are, and i told him, and also that i was frustrated by the lack of cart manufacturers at the conference, and he said that his company had recently made their first, here in hamburg, for a caribbean guy here. so he showed me a bunch of pictures of it, and told me some general specs, then called the guy up and asked him where he’ll be tomorrow. so now this cart guy is expecting my visit tomorrow, and i get to talk to him about how his business is going.
did i mention that the whole espresso cart thing is just about unheard of here in europe? i’m pretty much explaining the idea over and over to people. so it’ll be great to meet someone else doing it.
after this nice espresso machine guy, i hit the syrups and condiments vendors. that was fun, as many of them gave me LOADS of samples. my backpack got VERY heavy. many of them are full-size samples, too, not little packages. i also got lots of free ground coffee from enthusiastic african men. 🙂 the white guys were NEVER willing to give up the bags of coffee, but for some reason, the africans were. first it was a guy from ethiopia, then another guy from nairobi. the nairobi guy was working with a german guy, and the german got really crabby when he found out i was being given full bag samples and i’m not even in their distribution area. dude, i had been up front about that from the beginning, but whatever.
anyway, i left at 3pm or so, and headed for the spice museum, which also gave a free sample of a bag of pepper. it was mz free sample day. after that i couldn’t hardly carry my bag anymore, so i went back to the hostel. i was running so early that i even had time to go to the museum of arts and crafts for an hour before they closed. then i went back to the cool student area i was in last night, and had sushi for dinner, then went to a cool cocktail bar for a caipirinha, then back to the hostel.
when i got here, the guys i’d talked to last night were here with a bunch of others, and all hanging out in the common area. well, they’re all still there, actually. behind me. pretty funny… i keep having to control my need to interrupt their conversation.
so, i’m wiped. going down to my room here in a few minutes, and probably sort through my fliers. tomorrow i will go see the cart guy, then to the photography museum, then head home to maastricht.
and that’s the basics. i’ve been writing a lot, too. weirdness, as i’m not really any kind of writer. heh. but i’m enjoying it, and feeling really full of things to say, none of which, strangely, have i included here. (what a teaser!!!)