Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How do you greet an expat for the first time?

Yes! Finally, and thanks to the TBFs, we got to meet Sal from the “Fat Sal's Smoking Lounge” blog (formerly known as “Sal’s virtual tapas bar”) in flesh and blood. We had arranged for this meeting a few weeks ago already, and we were both really excited. We decided to meet at the Brauner Mutz, one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Basel.

Sal and TBFs had lunch there, but we had agreed we’d meet them later. Around 2.00 pm, we walked in and saw that “perfect bald head” and knew immediately where we had to go. We sneaked up behind their table (that was thankfully covered by a half wall and lots of green plants). O-X, armed with only a camera, took this first shot. Just for the record… I think this guy smells that there is a camera 100 yards away! Really! How can a guy pose like that in the blink of an eye/flash??

So how do you greet an expat that you know from blogging and see for the first time? Well, Sal stood up and said “Hi. I’m Sal”, to which I kinda responded: “Hi. I’m CS”. And there we stood… not knowing what to do. How embarrassing! As good Swiss citizen, I extended my hand, inviting him to take it and then wanting to pull him towards me (naughty girl!) for the mandatory 3 Swiss kisses. And then, he catches me off guard by just opening his arms to hug me. Although my plan was ruined, it was a very warm welcome greeting indeed!

We had a beer, chatted a bit and decided to leave the restaurant to walk a few steps through Basel, lost Mrs TBF (she had informed us that she still needed to get a few things and prepare the rest of the dinner and would “jump-off”), took the ferry across the Rhine, had another beer and chatted some more. Thank goodness we had the chance to chat a bit with him before “the party”! You’ll understand as you read. :)

Since TBF also still had a quick vacuuming in mind before the other guests arrived, Orange-X and I decided to stroll through the Christmas market and join them later.

We arrived (like any good Swiss) five minutes before the expected time. Sal was helping set up the table and we had nothing to do. We tried not to stand in the way. Soon enough, the doorbell rang and the other guests arrived. Full house! Seven adults and 3 kids: The TBFs, Sal, Rammy, John and their son Oliver, Andy, Di and their two off springs, Ali and Sam, and us. Chit-chat, chit-chat: My head was already spinning and at some point, I asked Sal: “Is this what you had expected?” Sal’s answer went something like: “Uhm, yeah. It’s pretty much what I expected.” I wonder if he meant the cross chatting, or the champagne. Sal?

Mrs. TBF had cooked an excellent meal again, but much too much (to our luck… we were hoping for leftovers!), and it was De-Li-Cious! First a chick pea soup, then meatballs, filled conghilie (large pasta shells) with light tomato sauce, fennel and a beautiful assortment mushrooms. Of course, I just had to fill my plate (that I couldn’t finish!), but I did have a bit of Tiramisù that Rammy had brought later on. Yummy!

During dinner – even for us – it was difficult to follow all the different conversations that were going on, but let me tell you, it was very lively, fun, entertaining and interesting. We had many laughs … Andy even tried to get TBF to work again. Now THAT is a conversation you would have enjoyed! Of course it was full of jokes! What did you expect? Just look at the pictures!

We had a last few drinks … (yes, we were again the last to leave *sigh*. Will we ever better ourselves?) and left short before 2am. But you know what? We never got the “green fairy”. My fault…. I forgot to ask. Sorry, Sal.

We had a great time again, and Sal? Next time we meet, it will be in Chicago, or in Nova Scotia (this is a joke between Sal ‘n me, okay?) ;) What do you say, Sal?


The Big Finn said...

I'm glad you took a lot of pictures, because I only took two the whole time Sal was here.

Jul said...

Looks like fun! I love meeting real live bloggers. :)

Fat Sal said...

Man! Between your write-up and TBF's, you've left me almost no new ground to cover.

I will do a write-up, as well. But it won't be until (most likely) next week.

What can I say, except that the four of you are eminently cuddly. I had a great weekend, and am still shaking my head about how hospitable you all were to me.

My only regret is that you saw me on Saturday at my absolute worst, mentally. TBFs and I were up until nearly 3am the prior night, and the combination of 'tinis, white wine and red wine (not to mention the 1kg of fondue cheese and waking up at 7:30am) left me unable to generate a coherent thought for the entire Saturday. Oh, well. When all else fails, just sit and smile pleasantly.

I hereby offer you and O-X an open invitation to stay at Hotel Fat Sal USA--just as soon as I buy it. And with each stay, you'll receive a complementary smoked pig.

See you soon on the other side. I hear Nova Scotia is lovely this time of year. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Your friend,

CanadianSwiss said...

TBF: I wish I had taken more, but it all gets so lively, that I often tend to forget presing that little button.

Jul: Absolutely! We had a great time!

Sal: Take your time. Maybe you could write about how you (Ahem. TBF was) were so disappointed in my short explanation of the meaning of the "Brauner Mutz"?

We're so happy to have met you (finally!) and I can fully understand that a second evening like that get's to you. All I can say is: I see you need practise, young man!

You're a sweet and very witty guy(thank goodness you weren't at you best... I couldn't keep up, otherwise!) Thanks for the invite, too. We'll make sure that we smoke outside... with the pig ;)

As for Nova Scotia, they just had a heavy snowstorm., so I doubt the blossoms ;)

christina said...

Awww, you guys are all adorable. I'm totally jealous and I'm so glad you had a good time.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Another crazy party time courtesy of CS's blog... great that you all got together, it looks like everyone had a blast!
Keep on bloggin'!

Angie said...

How fun! I love the pictures!

CanadianSwiss said...

Christina: It was a lot of fun! And although I can't say that I've met many fellow bloggers live, I don't think there's one I didn't like :)

Ex-Shammi: Ahem. Well... Yes... It does seems like we post a lot about parties, eh? ;) Wait till I blog about the Holiday Season at CS and OX! LOL!

CanadianSwiss said...

Angie: I'm sorry I missed your comment. We must have pressed the send button at the same time :) Thanks for visiting!

Expat Traveler said...

What a lovely time! And yes I loved all of the photos! And you make me miss Switzerland so much! Argh!

Ginnie said...

Don't you just LOVE meeting bloggers you feel you already know, CS! I wonder what 2008 will have in store for us because IT'S MY TURN!!!

CanadianSwiss said...

Soon, ET :)

Ginnie: 2008 will be our turn and it will be great! Leidseplein?? :)

swenglishexpat said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time despite the initial greeting hesitation. And what's wrong with being the last one to leave? Somebody's got to do it! Why not you?

~Babz~ said...

I've always thought you two were such a handsome couple, living a charmed life. Enjoy and appreciate it!

CanadianSwiss said...

Swenglish: We're (almost) always the "somebody" ;)

Babz: Thank you my friend. Nice to see you around again :)

We do appreciate our luck in life. You never know when things can turn around.

Ask Aunt B said...

Why thank ya kindly madame. X marks the spot, go find it and smooch, lol! Love you guys and Merry Christmas!