Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hamburg

There is a pretty good possibility that we might end up in Hamburg. Who knows, I sure as hell don't! I have spent the last 2 weeks there and I think its a pretty cool city. It is a major port and there is a constant drone of harbor activity with ships unloading and loading their shipping containers. The inner city area is sandwiched between the Alster lakes and the Elbe river. There are typical German things here...cobblestones, pedestrian shopping streets, and huge, beautiful cathedrals and city halls. I went up to the top of one of the cathedrals and had a great view of the city...it is very flat, so you can see a long ways. Seems to more cultural and gritty than Stuttgart, and it was a relief to see a building like this, complete with a vegetarian chill out bar inside and a skate park in the back. You would never see this in clean, practical Stuttgart:



Hamburg is famous for the Reeperbahn/St Pauli area, which is the huge bar, red light district area that gave the Beatles their start in the early 60's and was the de-virgining spot for many young sailors. It's overrun with seedy people now, but I am sure it is a great place to party at night, which I was not able to do. It was cool to stroll through here, again, something that would not happen in Stuttgart.

I have met people from all over the world at work, which is one of the main reasons for living abroad. I like to think that I am not the stereotypical American and hope that after hanging out with people from France, Turkey, former Russian territories, Morroco, and Afghanistan, that I have helped dispel the stereotypes of what they think Americans are. A majority have never been to the US, but definitely have opinions and it is fun to talk about them. I know that my mind is opened more after hanging out with 5 French people over some beers.

I was a hotel mate with another employee of High End, a guy called Alex from Kazakhstan, who moved with his family to Germany when he was 13. We spent alot of time together because we shared a car and were 3 doors down from eachother. He speaks zero english and I speak so little Deutsch, it was classic trying to talk and find out more about eachother. It for sure took longer than normal, but with my limited deutsch vocabulary and sign language, I was able to answer all of my questions and we even talked politics, movies, etc. After a few hours, I stopped thinking about what I was going to ask or say, and would just blurt out a couple key deutsch words or sign something. 2 nights in a row, we bought a salad, some bread and tzatziki at the store, along with 3 beers each and found a bench in the local forest and sat and ate and talked. Hadn't done that since high school haha. Alex has a dream to holiday in America and he is obsessed with cheesy American action films and guns. This guys eyes light up when we talk about guns, especially after a couple beers. He wants to go to the sporting goods store and buy a gun. That's his dream. Just like in the movies. Classic. I didn't tell him that he probably wouldn't be able to do that, but I did mention that there are hunters and gun clubs that would gladly take him out or at least take his money. Maybe even Jennas dad can take him out if he visits Oregon someday. I told him that I had shot an AK 47 in Cambodia, and it wasn't until we were going to the airport 2 days after I told him that, that he realized that Cambodia was not in America. He was sooo excited to shoot an AK or an M16. Sorry bro. He has signed up for English courses and hopes to be over in 2 years.


1 comment:

Troy said...

If I ever meet a english-challenged gun crazy Alex from Kazakhstan I'll resist freaking out and running and ask him if he knows Nick.