Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Euro Tour Diary Day 3 Stuttgart Off Day

I wake up at 11.  It feels really early.  I shuffle off to the strange Euro shower to get it together and literally almost run into Oliver’s wife Krissi.  She has just returned from a visit with her mother to discover her apartment is in shambles and a strange American man in his underwear in her hallway.  This can't be what she expected to find at almost noon in her home.  Though I didn’t notice last night, Oliver had hosted a party where a bunch of dudes came over to eat poached eggs, drink heavily, and watch a rugby championship on TV.  That must be how one watches rugby in The Fatherland.  The whole scene reminds me of coming down to my college kitchen to survey the damage from the party the night before.  It is a little out of hand.  Rudy the cat stares at me with contempt.

It is Sunday.  It is a holiday.  It is Europe.  Everything is closed.  85% of restaurants are closed, all stores, and anything you need is unavailable unless you can get it from a gas station.  What the hell do these people do when they need to buy a rubber raft or fish sticks?  What kind of savages are these?  I am ravenously hungry.  Oliver hears me rooting around in the wreckage of the kitchen and gets up, though it appears it is quite painful for him to do so.  A man that I left drinking scotch shortly before sun up is not generally in the mood to "do brunch".  I beg him to stay in bed as I am self-sufficient, but he is a good host.  We scrounge up the leftover egg whites from yesterday’s egg poaching party that he inexplicably saved and toss in some weird ass sausage from what can only be called a meat brick.  There are two slices of bread in the house so we each get one piece of toast.  Afterwards I get to work on projects for the Level 4 wine certification I am pursuing.

I had made plans that afternoon to meet my friends Andi and Anji at the art museum which is located conveniently next door.  The apartment is sort of wild.  It is on the roof of a commercial building, the apartment originally constructed for a maintenance person to live in.  This two bedroom place has the entire roof of the building as a terrace.  There are no neighbors in a half mile in any direction.  They have had full bands play parties on their roof.  Slayer could set up to play and no one would complain.  It’s pretty cool to be in the middle of the action, yet have a totally secluded apartment.  I pull myself up to the edge and look across the city.

I go to the museum for the jazz age exhibition.  The museum also boasts a large collection of Otto Dix paintings, one of my favorite German artists.  Anji and Andi get their signals crossed so we miss our rendezvous at the front door.  I walk around the modern art museum amongst German visitors and their clunky black eyeglasses and functional footwear.  It was worth the trip for the Dix paintings alone.  Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Pollock.  Max Beckman.  There is also a repetitive film loop of a topless Josephine Baker dancing while 1920s jazz plays over it.  How very artsy.  My phone buzzes with a text message from Christoph.  “Just spoke to Sister Ant.  She just got up.  The others are still sleeping.”  It is 4:52 pm.

In front of the museum a large group of Turks or Kurds have gathered around a flimsy temporary stage.  Fast paced traditional music blares with some guy wailing on a lute looking stringed instrument.  He’s really good.  Flag waving men and women in head scarves dance in a circle.  After the music stops, a different man grabs the mic and starts yelling about something.  He makes that mistake that people who are unfamiliar with PAs make and think he needs to shout because it is a large area and crowd.  This results in him sounding like a distorted “Mmmphh MM  Ma FuhMah MummpH!!!!!!”  No one pays attention to him, the young people talking amongst themselves.  The music starts again as does the dancing.  It’s a political rally of some kind, but since I don’t read German I have no idea if it is Kurds pissed off, other people pissed off at Kurds, or maybe just a protest about utility rates.  People love holding banners in Europe though.  Bored looking riot cops look on holding batons.  It is sort of like a Turkish high school dance with dudes in beards waving flags with the possibility of being beaten by guys in helmets. 

The Turkish population and their place in Germany is interesting.  The Turks came into the country after WWII as the young German male population traditionally used for labor had all been killed off in the war.  There was a need and Turkish men filled it.  Young men from Turkey came in to work in construction with the idea that they would leave after making money.  The Germans assumed they would leave as well, so no one really worried about the idea of this population assimilating into what is a very homogeneous society.  The problem is that the Turks never left and now this disenfranchised group of people is still here, part of but not totally a part of Germany.  In any city in Germany there are right now a group of five swarthy looking Turkish guys smoking cigarettes by the train station passing suspicious looking sideways glances.  Their friends work at the kebap shop around the corner, or in the internet cafe that sells cheap mobile phones.

I don’t know how this will play out on the long run, especially with the flood of Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees flooding into the country.  The rhetoric from the country is one of assimilation, but I can’t imagine young little Greta bringing home a dark haired Syrian boy and introducing him as her love to her father Hans.  Hans isn’t going to backslap this kid and say “Shamir!  You gotta bring the family over for sausages and wheat beers!  Or if you’d like, we will head over to your place and eat some tabouli!”  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.  I think there will be a rise in “nationalist” political parties much like in France.  The German people are very pragmatic though and will find a way.  The fascinating thing will be to see how they get there.

I head back to the apartment where I finish my written wine assignments.  Now it's time to launch Operation Local Wines.  My plan is to drink my way through the wines I bought yesterday.  I bought a bunch of wacky ass grapes I've never had before.  As soon as Sugar and Leo had gotten wind of that yesterday, they were all in.  They decide to come over to the apartment to fetch me with Sister Ant, so I open a weissburgunder (which turns out to be a different word for pinot gris) while watching the American Armed Forces Network feed of the London NFL game.  During commercial breaks they cut to a slick studio where German guys in mullets talk about what is going on with the game.  It's really odd.  I wish I knew what they were saying.  Oliver, Krissi and I talk about all kinds of topics while watching the Jags beat the fuck out of the Bills.  It’s not easy to explain the appeal of Donald Trump or the problems of gun control in America to logical strangers by the way.

At 630p the crew shows up and I open up a Silvaner.  We hang out for a bit but I am ready to go.  I feel like I am imposing on these nice people.  I am also totally starving as all I have had to eat were those egg whites 7 hours ago.  Meanwhile Sugar and Leo just had breakfast in the gathering dusk 45 minutes ago.  I am so hungry I might eat my cowboy boot.  We walk back in the fog to Antje’s apartment hoping to not be attacked by a werewolf.  This being Sunday night in Germany, every restaurant we pass is closed.  I might have to kill a squirrel.  Antje makes me a really nice spaghetti meal and even a starter of crazy beet root and horseradish spread.  I open the rest of the reds (which were pedestrian at best).  We watch some Schimanski videos on youtube.  Based on what I see, it appears that this jacket of mine will lead me to solve crimes to help ballerinas and I will probably throw someone through a window.  It’s great to have that to look forward to this week.  I walk back to the apartment in the fog.     


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home