Hanging out in so many heavily touristed areas, my brother and I didn't interact very much with the native population, and the few encounters we had were annoying. In the jam-packed Augustiner beer tent at Oktoberfest, a friendly but tactless Müncher guy squeezed in next to us with his Russian girlfriend, and after hearing us speak English struck up a conversation:
German: Where are you from? The States?
German: What state?
German (smiling and making excited trigger motions with his finger): Oh, you own guns? Bang bang!
Me: Uh, no.
German: You live on a ranch?
German (pointing to my liter mug): Is that your first?
Me: No, I'm on my third.
German: Ah, no wonder you're so quiet.
Me: [nods silently]
German: How do you two know each other?
Me: We're brothers.
German: Oh, we thought you might be gay. Are you gay?
German: Me, I really really like women.
Me: That's nice.
German (pointing to my brother): Is he the older one?
Me: No, I am.
German (pulling his hair against his head): Because he's more bald than you.
German (to me): Are you Christian?
German (pointing to girlfriend): She thought so. She said you looked like someone who takes religion seriously.
Me: Thanks, I guess.
The second unpleasant native encounter was in the Prague subway station. My brother and I had just gotten off the metro and were rushing towards the stairs to catch our train to Frankfurt when a tall, unshaven, somewhat shabby guy sidled up to me, speaking in Czech and showing me some brass trinket. Not wanting to buy cheesy souvenirs from a black market huckster, I waved him off. He kept following and I said "Go away." He finally yelled "Stop!" and planted himself in front of me.
"What do you want?" I asked.
"I am a train inspector," he said, showing me the object again, which turned out to be a badge. "You understand?"
"I don't know if I believe you," I answered, looking at his unkempt beard, dirty jeans, and drab jacket.
"That's too bad. Let me see your ticket."
I handed it to him and, fortunately, he acknowledged its validity and left. I admit that he was just doing his job, but it was still a tense and embarassing experience. The officials in the German subways were clean-cut and uniformed, so it didn't even occur to me that this guy was the Czech counterpart.
Finally, at the entrance to Plzeň's "Beer World" a small old man with a wide smile approached and asked "Deutschlander?" I said "American--Texas" and he began talking about the friendly Texan troops he met when the U.S. Army liberated the town from the Nazis. (We did in fact see streets signs like "Washingtonova" and "Rooseveltova," presumably for streets renamed in the 1940s out of gratitude to the U.S.) I listened politely while worrying that he was going to hit us up for money, and in fact the conversation did turn in that direction when he warned us about Czech pickpockets. But he didn't seem to want anything but company, and when the chat petered out he went to talk to some other tourists window shopping at the souvenir store. Later, while we were eating goulash in the Na Splice restaurant, he came by our table and asked "Las Vegas is close to Texas, isn't it?"
"Um, sort of."
"Large buildings there, no?"
He sat at a nearby table and drank beer by himself. Apparently the poor man didn't have much else to occupy his time than to serve as Plzeň's unofficial greeter.
Now that I think about it, we did have one enjoyable encounter with a native, but it wasn't a chance meeting. An Austrian guy had worked in my brother's department for a few months in the spring, and so when it turned out that we would be visiting Vienna my brother arranged that we would spend the day with him. He was a very enthusiastic tour guide and took us to the best café in old Vienna, where I had a 4 euro thimbleful of Turkish coffee, and an out of the way Heurigen on a hillside overlooking the city. Very pleasant.