Sunday, July 3, 2005
Let’s start with something Haley swears some Germans once told her ex-boyfriend in Austin… Is it much less of a big deal for two guy friends to have sex with each other in Germany without being “gay” than it would be in our stuffy United States? Brenna and James heard nothing of the sort except that, according to James, German men are a bit effete (at least compared with the gorillas one might find in British pubs). (Bren’s friend Ruth Elkins commiserates.) So who knows. It’s probably a vicious urban legend, but let’s spread it around a bit…
Anyway. We got back from eight days in Poland on Friday, arriving back in a cold, damp, miserable Germany. Yesterday, though, the weather was awesome and we accidentally stumbled upon this. I asked Haley if she wanted to go look at the sights around the Tiergarten — Broken Tooth, Siegessaüle, Brandenburger Tor, &c — and we stumbled upon what was reportedly about 250,000 Berliners packed onto Strasse des 17. Juni between the Siegessaüle and the Tor. Packed. Had we paid attention we might’ve caught Brian Wilson or Green Day (or, at least, A-Ha or Roxy Music), but… We didn’t. So we caught the full Wir Sind Helden set and a couple terrible Irish pub songs songs by Chris de Burgh that made us decide to leave and go look at the Reichstag. I can pretty much extemporaneously compose moody Irish pub ballads. Watch: “Young Dermott was a fine boy, taken way too soon / but I hear his footsteps everyday, just at half past noon / [chorus] singing high-high-high-high! You can’t buy a duck for two Pounds.” Repeat.
We also caught the kind of cool intro to Live 8 done by Will Smith in Philadelphia. On the video screens they had the crowds in Philly shout out to those in Hyde Park, who then yelled to the Circus Maximus show, who yelled to us at the Brandenburg Gate, who yelled out to the Versailles show, who yelled up to Park Place, Ontario (Park Place, Ontario?) who then yelled back at Philly. A bit cornball, but fun at the time. Then he went into serious mode, explaining what this thing called “Africa” is and how they don’t have enough food, and how by attending a free concert with bands like Audioslave and Die Toten Hosen, I, Josh Knowles, am personally MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
What else? Oh, I forgot Poland. Hm. How to summarize. Warsaw for a few days, then Krakow for five days. Krakow’s lovely and quite lively, but most of the rest of the country seems to still suffer from the repeated beatings at the hands of the Germans and Russians over the years. Warsaw was completely demolished in 1944. They rebuilt the small old city as a very detailed replica of what was lost, but when you go inside palaces and museums everything feels very incomplete, with only bits and pieces of art that had been squirreled away by some forward-thinking Poles before all of the destruction. Krakow survived the war more-or-less unscathed and has a similar feel to Prague, with just a couple extra layers of grime on the buildings. Poland’s apparently doing very well since the fall of the Communist regime, but they’re still nowhere near on par with Germany or western Europe. Anyway, our experiences there were pretty pedestrian, I guess. Saw some sights. Ate dinners out on the town squares. Etc.
Oh. Krakow’s full of really lame buskers, it turns out. It seems like every time we turned around some twelve-year-old kids would be out on the side of the road or in the square with a jambox making goofy attempts at brak-dancing by kind of jumping around and wigging out and doing handstands overandover. Hehe. I photographed a couple of these. They seemed to mostly play that god-awful Axel F / Crazy Frog ringtone single that’s been such a horrible big deal over here.
Okay. Gotta get on with my day.
I'm Josh Knowles, a technology developer/consultant on a variety of mobile, social media, and gaming projects. I founded and lead Frescher-Southern, Ltd. I grew up in Austin, Texas and currently live in New York City.
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