Monday, November 3, 2008

Leaving Germany and On

I left Germany. I meant to post photos and write a whole conclusion. But, you know. You know? Basically it was a great trip, I met a lot of great people, I met a city, I met a country. Leaving was tough. It is always tough. An environment sinks into you, weaves itself into your fabric. I went from the city of Frankfurt to the mountains of North Carolina. I walked by trees but felt buildings.

I am here now, I am applying for jobs, I am blogging, I am listening to Bob Marley! :)

It occurs to me how long it has been since I have had a job. I mean, I left work in April of 2008 but it feels like years and years ago. Time doesn't fly by anymore. I think that is the first thing I noticed with a job. A month was nothing, a week was a nano-second.

Anyway, I am applying for jobs. I want to work in a busy kitchen. One at a hotel or resort, or Mcdonalds. ;)

I am also blogging. I have decided I want to find out why people get older and so I am going to dedicate my energy to that. And the way to understand it, is to write about it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday and a trip to the Former Cistercian Monastery Kloster Eberbach

Saturday starts off with fog coming off the River Main, becuase it was cold over night and it starts getting warm when the sun comes out.

The flee market has one of those fiber glass light thingies, that I rather like.

Oh no, guy looking at me while I take a photo!

Later he looks away like I am not there and nothing happened because that is the unspoken way of things in the city.

The Frankfurt Skyline I can't seem to tire of.

The Family I am staying with was kind enough to drive me into the country today for a visit to the Cistercian Monastery: Kloster Eberbach

We hiked up the hill a ways, and well, this was the view:

View inside the monastery which was built around 1100, you can imagine Monks living in a place like this dormatory style.

A rather striking image of the Virgin Mary.

A statue with no hands, but I think really it is coz people stole things like the hands at various times over the centuries.

A stained glass window, very old, around 1100 or so. It conforms to the law of the time that nothing in the church should have a fixed image or be very colorful...

Some views inside the Cathedral...The whole area of the Cathedral was used in the the film [u]The Rose[/u] mit Sean Connery.

Presses and barrels for making wine...

After touring the Monastary came wine tasting, and after that it was a trip to the IKEA mega mart, as large as SAMS club, and packed with all things Swedish! Like...


Fish eggs in a tube!

And crisp bread, immer crisp bread!

View from the outside...

And there is Toys R Us!

Friday, October 17, 2008

City Textures

Textures of a city. Underground, overground, teens hanging out with their skateboards doing tricks, the refined going to the Rolex shop and buying, people walking in and out of the subway, routine or special event?

A photo of the Hauptwache term near Galeria Kaufhof, showing the underground subway, the large shops of the city, and an old cathedral off to the right:
Photo of Hauptwache term, with the cathedral and shops in view

Up at Alte Oper a red carpet event is underway for the opening of a movie exclusive to Hessen:
Red Carpet for Hessen Movie at Alte Oper

The photograph-y types work their cameras and the stars stand and smile in the cold air.
Hessen Movie stars posing for a photo

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Frankfurt Foto Update!

Jah, das fotos.

Flags at the Alte Oper Platz for the Entrepreneurs of the year, I think each one got a new BMW with a t.v. on the dash or something...

This is palm garten.

So I took a photo of this potato sales person and he then got the idea to give me an apron and then take my photo pretending to sell potatoes... My teacher says the Germans eat potatoes like Italians eat pasta, but it must be a country thing coz it is pretty difficuilt to find potato dishes here in the city.

A more villiage like neighborhood of Bockenheimer Warte, about 15 minutes walk from my West End neighborhood.

Ahh, the Mercedes building macks a big ornament. Go figure.

Und dis ist ein view uber dien River Main. (pronounced "Mine")

Und eine oder view.

It's fall in West-End. (Vest End)

Tall buildings. Aww yeah.

Goethe Platz.

More tall buildings.

Cool old building/restaurant for chronological contrast. Word!

Ahh the building they are building at Oper Term, nice coz I know I can always walk to it and be back in my neighborhood. No really, I can't tell you how nice it is because ich bin ferlauren oft oft oft.

Stop. Flower time!

Aww yeah, Bockenheimer Warte again...

Und eine otter time.

Fruit market, mit das mangos, persimmons, pineapples, und just about everything else. No Mamey Sapote though. Tsk.

Das kinder und das frucht markt.

Marzipan, look out!

Yeah, so what is it like to be in the big city? It is pretty stimulating actually, there is always something going on. Today the police closed down the streets to make way for the Turkish head of state, and then they have closed the Oper platz for the same reason. The city book fair is also taking off today. There is just a lot around to make you aware of the world. The city is alive, and it is invigorating. I find I appreciate hearing music much more, and when I sit down to do something I really concentrate, because I appreciate the time apart. The city drives me to be more creative, more eccentric, and more focused.

Contrast this to suburbs and well, suburbs feel pretty flat really. It is like music there gets absorbed into the vast hegemony. It has nothing to bounce off of, nothing to give it shape. Suburbs are a comfortable environment. They are where you go to check that the castle you built is still functioning and the new garden fountain is still running.

In some ways I think one could concentrate more in a suburb, and a big part of all this is just that a big city is rather new to me. The surrogate mother I am staying with spends a lot of time reading and doesn’t seem to enter the city for its own sake. I guess she knows it too well, and even interesting events can become predictable and mundane over time. At that point, it would be nice to have a garden, and neighbors running around outside. In some sense, every place is what you make it.

Still, I grow more and more comfortable in the city. The stores and cafes take on a familiarity, and it is nice to be comfortable in something that is a living organism. People watching, event watching, window shopping… All these things become a part of the background, a kind of dynamic canvas for life to paint images.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Die Dame

Playing chess along the River Main on a Sunday:
photo of the river main on a Sunday Afternoon

There is language in life, the everyday words we think in and try to express our ideas to one another with. Then there are things which reveal aspects of our personality beyond language. Things like music, art, style, and taste. Chess is also one of these things.

Chess tells you a person’s world view and intelligence in a matter of moves, things like:
1. What is the best first move?
2. Do you value your pawns?
3. What is a worthy sacrifice?
4. Fight for position or for some scheme?
5. Play with reckless flair or conservative defense?
6. Have an overall plan and strategy?
7. Take as much time and care in the beginning as in the end?
8. Have a mission and philosophy to guide you from start to finish?
9. Are you just making a move because it feels right? Or because it looks right to your peers?

There are people you could ask these questions to in language and not get anything close to the answers you would expect. Yet the varying levels and consequences of these points and thoughts become conspicuously apparent in chess. It is interesting to see how people react to the game, and to know that you yourself are somewhere on a line with it, and to know that sophistication is limitless.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Flohmarkt

Today marks a Saturday in Frankfurt and so I thought I would do a post about a typical day. I have made a trip to the zoo and to the botanical/greenhouse garden with some friends from the school, but those both seem too typical to blog about. You know?

So anyway, here is my room in Frankfurt:

The building I live in is over 100 years old, with tremendously high ceilings, and is located on Underlindau in the glamorous, Mercedes filled, West-End.

This Saturday morning was cloudy and set in with fog. In my 14 days here thus far, there have only been two mornings this foggy.

On Saturdays there is a large Flea Market (Flohmarkt) by the River Main where you can get a fresh made waffle with cherries, and a coffee for 3 Euro:

It is nice to know it was made by an outsized German lady into the pastries, but in all honestly, hardly anyone here in the city is outsized.

The fluhmarkt then has your typical kitschy imports like NYPD exercise wear, or Dolce and Gabana Underwear.

Then there are the more classic antiques like an old record player or brass embossed frame/cupid etc...

Other finds of note was an awesome ABBA book replete with some of the tackiest costumes and photos you can imagine. It was seriously difficult not to buy it. Someone also had some rather large photos on North Carolina beaches! Crazy. "How did you get these?" I asked. "Ve vent to North Carolina last yih-air, vould you like to bi-eee dem? 20 cents?"

No thanks.

The more I travel, the less differences I see. After all, this was a Saturday flea market not unlike the one I consistently don't go to in Raleigh. It still had old crap for sale on the cheap, or not-so-cheap-as-it-should-be. And it also had the fatty confections and concessions. The only differences were the prominence of German, Arabic, and Spanish languages, and the fact that beer was being sold at 9a.m. and most people were buying and drinking it. (Just like in Belize!)

I guess the other difference is that it was nearby, and in a more romantic atmosphere, but that could just be because I am new here. Really, the amount and kind of people one is with shapes a place more than anything in my opinion. Going around Frankfurt on my own is very different then going around with Japanese, Finnish, or Mexican people. Each one tends to impart their own reactions that actually changes the perception of the city. Even in my home town of Cary, there is a difference between shopping alone, and going shopping with someone. If you are with someone who has an empty mind and bad taste, every aspect of the place you are in will be annoying. At the same time, if you are with someone artistic, you might be led to see things you otherwise have overlooked again and again. The same is true with yourself. How much you know about the history, the geology, the future, etc...of a place, all the more you will appreciate it.

There is no end to how much you can appreciate a certain place, or the combinations of people you can be with in a particular place, and I get into debates as to the worth of spending time in appreciating the physical world against spending time studying and discovering the world of information and logic. Unraveling the mysteries as it were. The answer is to invest some time in both, but it will take some time to get the ratios right, I think I am just going to study as much as I can till I need a break, and then go out and try to see something new in the world.