Party wie die Deutschen

Since moving to Germany. I’ve done everything except stop and smell the roses. At times, it even seems like i’m purposely distracting myself from everything except work. It was only a matter of time before I would be forced to stand in stillness. The opportunity to hang up my scrubs came last weekend when my man’s birthday aligned with Oktoberfest. Neither of us have visited the event before, so we neither knew what to expect nor what was in store for us.

I wore the appropriate Dirndl mit Schürze, courtesy of a german relative. She also pointed out sweetly, that women laced the schürze according to their marital status. Married or courted ladies always laced it to their right hip, and flirtatious unbethroted women tied behind. Apparently a long standing tradition in German culture.

Oktoberfest was grounded sometime in the 17th century in Bavaria. l didn’t really research the roots of the celebration, but my guess is that it has something to do with the Deutsche love of beer, wurst and parties. Eventually, this month long festivity, extended to welcome visitors around the globe

So I had my dirndl on, and was feeling really cute until I discovered that mine wasn’t the most modern in the swarm of festers. But that didn’t matter at all. What really got to me was wait periods outside the Biergarten. I couldn’t phantom why I had to wait so long, just to buy an overpriced beer. Oktoberfest wasn’t looking so festive for me right about then.

Eventually we made it into a tent, and if you think our troubles were over, you’d be wrong as we couldn’t even have space to breath, talkless of seating. We stood in a line. Stood to drink our beers and eat our equally overpriced Ofenkartoffeln. How delightful!

By the time we left the tent, I was cursing out loud. There were police everywhere, protecting drunk people laying on the floor from getting trampled. Other times, people got aggressive from too much drinking and had to be roughed up by security until the police arrived. We came across a group of men doing Cocaine right there, like it was a norm. I had to ask myself, if Jesus came right now, would I be be saved? would he be happy that I’m here, would he even find me in this crowd?

I dunno.

But we ran into luck in the second tent. The wait was about 10 minutes and as we were entering, a group was leaving so we got seated immediately and welcomed others to sit with us. We got a beer and food and got acquainted with an American couple as well as a group from France, the evening was beginning to light up and the music wasn’t bad either.

My final thoughts on Oktoberfest…. I really don’t know. It’s clearly not my scene but I towards the end of the night, I decided that maybe we could give it another try if, and only if we got tickets into the tents. On the way home, the police escorted the crowd to the trains, this was much needed as I believe as we witnessed many passed-out fellows even as we arrived our destination.

I am Chicken

The past week has been terrifying, exhilarating and oddly memorable. The events which were all except subtle started out with me preparing for an Interview. The journey from Pécs, Hungary to Rodewisch, Germany lasted 9 hours, not including rest stops and Highway tickets we needed for crossing a few borders.

Our destination was a sleepy little town in east Germany. By the time we arrived, the town was in it’s default quiet mood. Even mosquitoes managed to turn in for the night. Our hotel’s reception was only available by phone call and no restaurant was open.

It reminded me of a movie I saw a while back, Silent hill If I’m not mistaken. But really any film where people disappear in small cities and no one ever remembers their last seen location. I half expected a man with a chainsaw and a mask of human skin to stagger across the road behind us as we checked into the hotel. In my defence, I gotta stay sharp and ready.

But no wonder, I was all anxious. This was my first interview ever so I did what normal people do, deliberately conjure up a series of apocalyptic events in order to take the edge off. That is what people do right? if the town was eradicated, I wouldn’t have the face a panel of healthcare experts judging my intellect and character. Alas my horror fantasies remained only fantasies.

Although the interview went better than my subconscious played it out, I did something that is unlike me. I chickened out.

I know I’m not a big city girl. As it turns out, I’m no small town girl either. I couldn’t imagine spending no less than 4 years doing my residency there. Even a caged phoenix like myself needed to feel the bustle and grind of life saturating the air around me. Neither my desperation for the position nor the amazing hospital staff could convince me to call Rodewisch home.

Hence, it wasn’t even midweek yet and I was devastated. So my hubby rode the spontaneous wave and detoured to Prague on our way back. It was my second time in the city. The first time I was in Prague, I tried tandem-jumping. This time, we visited the Thrill park.

Everything about thrill park was horrific. I thought it was odd that my husband found the place because he scares easy but perhaps he knew it would help me cease whining about the Job.

By the end of our talk with the host, we were more scared than ever. She added that we could simply yell out a safe word, “I am chicken”, at any point during the experience that we couldn’t continue. What kept me on my toes was really the fear of the unknown and a rumor that more than 800 people had chickened out.

We then made our way into the dungeon in complete darkness.

It was adrenaline surging, gut wrenching and utterly horrific. We held onto each other like we were each other’s breathing machine. I laughed each time I freaked out which was probably not the reaction the host expected.

It was as though all my favourite horror movies came to life around me and I was the protagonist. I wasn’t fazed by the costumed people or the wax figures. However, a period did come when my stamina was tested. After a spook from a monster, a red light turned on to indicate a key inside a toilet bowl. Being a huge fan of the saw franchise, I appreciated the reference. However I wasn’t about to put my hand down there even if it was clean.

I just couldn’t. I was chicken.

My husband reached down there and found the key attached to a long chain that attached to the toilet. We felt our way around the prison bars and found the key hole. We soon continued our journey once again in darkness.

The exercise ended at the 24th minute with Jason pursuing us up a flight of stairs with a sputtering chainsaw.

In the end, I had an amazing week because I learnt a couple of things. Since the world didn’t end like I thought it would, I would recommend travellers visiting Prague to check the thrill park out and if brave enough, try tandem jumping too, because truth is, you never know what you’ll discover when you decide to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Inside the dungeon

Blackaholic

There is an old Afrikaan proverb which says, no matter what a leopard does, he could never rid himself of his spots.

 

This is the story of a German lad. He resided in England for the first four years of his life, then his family had to move back to Germany. He made no friends in his new school, he’d sit by himself during lunchtime. His name is Patrick.

The was only one other kid who ate lunch. She was a tall, black girl. He’d stare at her till she catches his eyes on her.  She had a unique beauty, one he’d never seen before. Her name is Ada.

 

He worked every day at his father’s grape yard, after school hours. One day, he invited her to tag along.  She nodded. Silently, they picked grapes, then a song flustering out the radio which made him forget where he was or what he was doing.  He grooved to the tune. She noticed his exuberance.

“you know who’s playing?”

“No”, Patrick replied, shaking his bum.

“Marvin Gaye, Got to give it up”

It saddened him when the song was over, so she yanked his arm and they ran into a CD store, above the archives, they found everything. Motown records, Tina Turner, the Supremes, Louis Armstrong.

Patrick bought the best of Ray Charles and Otis Redding CDs. He played them twice through that day.

 

Their friendship blossomed,  and so did Patrick’s inquisition of the African culture.

He could watch,  A soldier’s story, 1984,  a million times,  he had the albums of the Jazziest, funkiest and soulful artists. Of his records, Ada’s favorites were Gladys Knight & the pips and Al Green.

Patrick would have endless questions about her origin.

He wanted to understand why several Nubian princesses he came across preferred weaves.  He would tell them all how beautiful they are,  whether they have a short afro or curly locks, whether they are Ugandan or Ghanian.

 

He went on to major in History.

Patrick soon learned about the part of history that has been subdued.  The scramble for Africa. The atrocities surrounding King Leopold IIs reign in the Congo-free state, the mutilation of child laborers.

He discovered that the Congo terror was not released to the public media.  It moved him to tears.

Ada noticed him sulking.

“You found out,  she said knowingly, The looting of crude oil and Benin bronze is in the past”.

She paused.

“But the present isn’t any different, why is it easier for you to migrate to the UK,  yet it easier for me to be denied entry because of the countries we each represent?  Ideally, the aftermath of neo-imperialism should yield excellent foreign policies between EU and African leaders, encouraging Africa’s growth.

“Ideally, it should” he agreed in an undertone

Ada wanted to say more about the discrimination concerning citizens of third world countries. Instead, she gave him, Chris Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.

Patrick would find out how rich capitalist in the USA  profit off minors by investing in private prisons. How charges for drug and gun possession are exaggerated by law enforcement. He watched the documentary, The house I live in, and he understood the systemic prejudice. He wishes he could do more.

 

He is an activist for human rights.

She is an author and an advocate for African youths. The ambassador for Nigeria in Austria.

 

Scramble for Africa

Spoils Of War

King Leopard II of Belgium

The house I live in

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt