Lola Bites Back: And Other Inspirational Tidbits

Location: Bissingen an der Teck, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany

Laughing all the way...

Monday, October 19, 2009

And the Beat Goes On...

Since my arrival in beautiful downtown Montreal (a.k.a. still the finest city in North America), I have been unable to assimilate my thoughts for this blague. It seems to be a classic case of over-stimulation.

Generally, my rule of thumb is that for every hour of flight time, I will remain in my destination for one full week. I have broken this rule with both Germany and now, Canada. And I am sorry for it. The fact is that I don't like to travel. I like to experience different cultures, but the I detest the tedious process of actually getting to them. What to do?

While the file I have composed about my reflections on Germany continues to grow, it remains painfully incoherent. I can only hope that by the time I return, I will finally have the headspace to pull it together. In the meantime my education continues, thanks to Carl - my dear friend, current roommate, and the most blasphemous person I know - who patiently explains such topics as the ongoing conflict in the West Bank (Palestine), as well as the second world war. To this end, he has given me a new book called Berlin, The Downfall, 1945 (Antony Beevor). And although it is difficult for me to absorb, I am at least starting to have a sense of the devastation experienced by the German people during this time, at the hands of the Red Army as well as their own psychotic regime. This background gives me an idea why Germans are so reserved, as opposed to my own jubilant (and ignorant) irreverence...alors, until I can properly revisit the past, I'll get back to the present..

My return to North America was a triumphant, giddy affair. Carl picked me up from the airport at noon and by 4pm I had an interview with my ex-employer, who proceeded to offer me a teaching contract. And although I ultimately refused the contract (cause I gotta get back to Rishikesh!), I am pleased to be teaching a few classes a week for the next month. At least it's food money..

Thrust once again into the world of francophones, I was delighted to discover that my French skills have not disappeared. In fact, they seem to have improved, as I am finally able to understand and process the thick Quebequois accent with nary a three-second is strangely inexplicable, but then, what about my life is not strangely inexplicable?

My time here thus far can only be described as a whirlwind of social activity...visiting old friends and meeting new ones faster than you can toast your wine glass and shout, "
santé!" Montreal is a special place, one I appreciate more the more I travel. I might even venture to call it a mini-Berlin, what with the hipster, anything goes culture and the music...yes, music! Because, as a famed German philosopher once declared, "Without music, life would be a mistake."

Last Friday night was definitely no mistake as I joined a jam session with friends and sang the night away. My friend Alden, a fellow American, musician and kindred spirit with a flair for the inane, has composed a remarkably touching piece of music called Let There Be Sun, which will be recorded for the world next week...

On Thursday, to be precise, just after the anti-war protest in honor of George Bush, who is scheduled to speak at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel downtown. The same hotel, ironically, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded the anthem Give Peace a Chance 40 years ago. Getting arrested and removed from a foreign country for protesting is on my list of things to do at least once...I'll let you know how it goes.

Time is running low, so I'll just get right to the point and clear up all this Nobel Peace Prize nonsense; Mr. Obama is the world's first Global Superstar, and that is why he got the prize. No, he hasn't managed much in the way of brokering peace deals (Israelis continue to brazenly construct settlements in Palestinian territory), but this is not the point, actually. The point is the world loves him! His ability to inspire peoples around the globe is his accomplishment. Perhaps the Nobel Peace prize was not the most appropriate way to recognize this, but why nitpick? Can't we all just be proud of the fact that our President is a Global F---ing Superstar?!!?

And it's enough for now...I've got places to go and people to see!

gros bisoux,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Germany: It's Not Just Beer and Sausages

It's not possible for me to fully extrapolate on my experiences in Deutschland just now, but I can tell you that it has far exceeded my expectations and I hereby officially appoint myself Germany's newest and most enthusiastic Goodwill Ambassador (and it's not because I arrived fresh from the epitome of filth and chaos).

Unfortunately, I have already said goodbye to Deutschland and find myself— somewhat inexplicably—back in Montréal, Canada, where I can only conclude that there is a giant magnet under Mont Royal with my name on it.

As it has taken me several tedious days to upload the following photos, and as I haven't slept more than five hours of the last 48, and as I am finally getting sick with something I'd rather not mention here, I'll post these now and follow up with more detailed explanation later. The official report is already underway, but it appears to be a big one and will take time to cohere.

As I've mentioned numerous times before, photo taking is not my forte, so please excuse the following randomly ordered collection..

more soon,

After eight months in India, I finally discover the real German Bakery!

Goofing around in the Schwarzwald (The Black Forest),
which, incidentally, has a better manicure than I do.

My first morning in Neustadt, God confirmed my decision to visit Germany
with a special message just for me (translation: Freedom!)

The Magic Bus!

Two handsome young zimmermen dressed in their Sunday best! I believe their wandering tradition dates back to medieval times.

Neustadt, like almost every place I visited in Germany (except Jena), is adorable.

Signs are fascinating for me; this one says to please maintain order or a vulture will come and bite your head off.

The first phrase to learn in German is "Entschuldigung, wo ist die bäckerei?"

No explanation necessary.

A comprehensive system of signs conveniently located in the middle of the forest: decidedly German.

The garden bathtub with wood-fired heating system is the newest necessity on my short list!

Seems hippies have strange ideas about people being equal, or something like that..
(translation: no human being is illegal).

Cuteness abounds, and this is by far the cutest butcher shop I've ever seen. (This photo was taken in Bavaria, a.k.a. "the Texas of Germany." Note the typically Bavarian flower baskets adorning the windows.)

Before I snapped this photo I was seated on my rucksack. It was maybe two minutes before a nice gentleman in a huge BMW waved me in. In my three days of hitch-hiking attempts, I rode only in BMWs, Mercedes and Audis. I like the BMWs best because they have heated seats.

What can I say? The Germans' comprehensive appreciation for bread is inspiring.

I was hoping this was the holy grail: a waffle stand. But it turns out that kartoffel means potato, as in small potato pancake-like creations, also nice.

Immigrants in Berlin getting ready to start a riot (the two on the right are UK imports).

This appears to be some kind of historical building. Unfortunately, by the time I finally made it to Berlin, my brain had finally exceeded its capacity for absorbing historical facts and information. So instead I just rode around endlessly on the U-bahn (subway) drinking beer with a bad case of perma-grin.

The only holy cow I saw in Germany was made from squash.