Today is when they open up IFA to the general public. That's when the thing turns into Black Friday at an overcrowded Macy's. It's part of German law that when an even is held on public property (as the Messe Fairgrounds are), then the public must be allowed in. And they come in droves.
That's perfectly nice for them, but the reality is that IFA exists as a trade show, and people are here to work. Alas, that becomes near impossible. Not just for the crowds, but the press people tend to know it's Here Come the Masses Time, so many of them leave, and there ends up being few officials to talk with. Plus, since so many of the people on the floor are local residents, most of the signage and most of the discussion I'm used to overhearing is in German. Again, that's understandable. But this is supposed to be an international trade show. So, one does the best one can.
At the De Longhi exhibit, for example, I wanted to ask about the price and U.S. availability of their Mult-Fry device that seems to see an intriguingly good job cooking all sorts of food on little oil. They were cooking chicken breasts, scrambled eggs, and some other dishes I didn't write down. But I was able to taste the pommes frites (which were delicious), schnitzel and even pizza, which were both fine. A family of four though wanted to know all about the product, so I waited for them to get the full report. Normally, I might have listened over their shoulder, but since it was in German, I stood around for about 5-10 minutes. Finally I asked my two question, got some prices and an "I don't know, let me check" -- and the answer came back, "Maybe." Not the most productive way to spend one's time, but the overall atmosphere was fun, if bizarre.
LOTS of cappuccino makers. The most elaborate, high-tech gizmos you can imagine. I'm not a big coffee drinker, even at the espresso/cappuccino level, but how could I not try some. It was tasty enough, but I suspect if one loved cappuccino it would be caffeine heaven.
I'm in the press room at the moment. Whether I dive back into the zoo, I'm not sure yet. It's nice to type...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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