The day after I got back from orientation I went to a theater festival in the city called, simply Hamburg Theaternacht (Theater Night). It was a showcase of ongoing productions in all the major theaters in the city (of which there are Many). For 12 Euros you get access to 30min versions or segments of these ongoing shows and transportation between the theaters. Unfortunately, because it is only one evening, and the packed busses limits the amount of travel, it is only realistic to see a max of 3 or 4 of these segments. Started at 7:30 and heading home at about 12:30am I saw three of them... with a little help from some nice people on the street.
"Mein Ball: Ein deutscher Traum" was a bazaar but immensely enjoyable combination of Hitler and his people, Soccer, and American Rock 'n' Roll; interspersed with surreal, slapstick bits on military drills and short vignettes on soccer were a series of rock numbers, featuring all cast onstage singing and moving to such songs as Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" and The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations". Their american accents in these numbers were so good that it was pretty impressive.
The second show was at veriety theater featuring a slack-rope performer, an illusionist utilizing a 2foot metal ring (incredible control and seemingly inhumanly smooth movements), and what can only be described as a breakdancer who also did some clown and mine bits. Each one left the audience, and myself, thoroughly wowed.
The last show, which I got help finding from a couple on the street, was at the Hamburg Staatsoper (opera), and was an excerpt from the Marriage of Figaro... inerupted by an audience sing-along section led by a "fool".
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Wednesday evening I joined a group of people from the dorm on the banks of the Elbe for some grilling. We were on the industrial far side of the river from the downtown area on a mostly empty beach. Getting there was a bit of a task, considering it was quite a ways away: first we stopped for meat and beer...
...then made our way to the subway station where we almost received 3 tickets for trying to travel with bikes on the train during rush hour. And finally, after 25min on the train, through the long, cold tunnel under the river:
If you can't quite see it, that is an entire case of beer on the back of Patrick's bike... which ALMOST all it all the way. In the last 1/5th of the journey he got help from a pedestrian to carry the bike down the stairs and several of the bottles jumped out and spewed over the steps.
That evening, the only thing visible of the skyline were a number of the blue neon "goals" that had been erected across the city as a sign of solidarity during the World Cup earlier in the summer. Some of the German flags that were also prevalent during soccer season still remain in household windows... another show of nationalism that hasn't been seen in Germany on quite this scale since the before the war. A positive turning point.