Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KĂžbenhavn und danach

The weekend before Thanksgiving I went to Copenhagen for three days. A woman I met this summer while doing some interior finish work on her house is from Denmark and put me in contact with an old friend of hers who still lives there. Marianne proved to be a great guide and a fun person to hangout with -- we got along from the start and seemed to share an easy-going and open quality that made our subsequent excursions very pleasant. She provided a much-appreciated insider perspective on the city and country and was also a refreshing testament to the contentment one can find in a non-traditional lifestyle; it seems not being married or having children allowed her to maintain a limber, young, and sharp perspective which seems so quickly lost (or homogenized) in nuclear families. Her commitment to and hard work in her job and hobbies, and the resultant skill in both is enviable... particularly for how attuned she is to her needs and changes, and willingness to take action when something is needed.
(It has been a long time since I last wrote, so this will be a more condensed post)

In addition to biking together through large sections of the city (which is pretty small), we saw an interesting exhibit in the Ordrupgaard museum, which itself was worth the trip for its' amazing addition by Zaha Hadid. [http://www.ordrupgaard.dk/eng/index.html]. One evening I met up with some of my fellow Fulbright Americans who by coincidence were in Copenhagen at the same time -- after walking for a long time through the streets that evening we finally settled on a kitschy bar and beers for nearly $9.00 a piece!
Were we smarter we'd have escaped the popular strip for Christiannia, the modern incarnation of a Hippie-Commune and the current home to many with modest, alternative, and almost always toking lifestyles. That same evening I parted with them and caught a Danish performance of Faust at the Konelige Theater -- the production had a giant pop-up book at a set, and featured some Rammstein mood music for the devil, but was an equally fascinating experience for the clapping in unison during the applause (aural evidence of the Socialist tendencies of the coutnry, perhaps? They do have excellent wellfare and sky-scraping taxes for the rich).

I returned to Hamburg Sunday evening, and the following Thursday I gathered with a group of American teaching assistents for a more or less traditional Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad, and WINE. In our unfamiliar oven the turkey took nearly 3hrs longer than anticipated, leaving the 10 of us with nothing to do but eat salad and polish off the 8 bottles of wine we had... we had a good time.

I saw a wonderful and moving film about the Secret Police (Stasi) in East Germany (DDR) called "Das Leben der Anderen" (roughly, the lives of the others) -- I also saw the worst American film I have seen in a long time at a Sneak Show called The Covenant (Here sneak previews are actually secret)... which was interesting only as a case study of how terribly formulaic, clichet, sexually exploitive, advertisement riddled, and poor in acting big Hollywood studio films have become (think, Fast and Furious).

I recently placed birdseed in a planter which hangs from the railing on my balcony and have since received daily visits from a number of Sparrows, the occasional fat orange bellied bird, and several pairs of Great Tits (pictured).