Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fasching Dienstag

Manuel and I decided to venture into the chaos of Fasching. The tourists were especially enjoying the bags of confetti that strangers toss onto one another. I had a few groups of people ask me what was going on and I had to explain it was the last hurrah before fasting begins. It definitely bridged cultures - everyone wanted to be a part of it.

There were many inventive costumes, like the cyclist with 'anti-doping' while drinking something from an IV bag, loads of drag queens, and a lot of 'gemütlichkeit' (warm feelings of celebration) as the Germans say. Manuel and I still feel like we are doing something bad while we had a drink in front of the polizei. They seemed to be in on the fun and appreciating the costumes. I saw quite a few with cameras of their own. There were a few funny things to me - seeing the devil on her cell phone with the angel outside the church... and this little guy intently staring at the sausages.

It's always interesting to me to notice cultural differences in situations like this. First, people are much less politically correct. There are a lot of costumes that are dressing up as other ethnicities, and often not in the best of light. I'll never get accustomed to that. Second, people are more liberal with their children. Alcohol is part of the culture and there are small children celebrating while their parents are enjoying drinks. Third, a lot of political interest. I saw a few Germans with 'Vote for Hillary' shirts on, then when we were heading to Manuel's apartment in the Olympic Village we were stopped by a young Irish guy asking us where he could watch Super Tuesday coverage. He thought maybe there was a bar that would have it. The Superbowl at a bar - definitely, but politics? ... not that I'm aware of.

What I do love is the community getting together to celebrate. Viktualienmarkt was filled and there were plenty of people waiting to get in. Last year they didn't fence things off and I felt like I was getting pushed and herded, which isn't my thing, so I was happy we were in before it was closed off. The restaurants in the enclosed area were inundated with people wanting to use their restrooms, because the two toilet trailers weren't large enough to serve the masses. Manuel and I left to get more sekt through a back entrance, only to find the grocery was charging a 5€ pfand (deposit) for each bottle. I'm sure they made a killing on that.

It's always hilarious for me to see old people dressed up or having painted faces. People here also seem to go for humorous outfits as opposed to the over sexed versions in America. That may also be due to the weather. But the drag queens were doing their own thing. Oh to be a woman...

And of course... one with Manuel and his new friends. Who knew 2008 was the year of the drag queen?

I also wanted to put a photo of the panorama from the Olympic Village. It's really a beautiful view with all of the the major sites. To the far right is the Alliance Arena (not pictured), BMW's headquarters + their new museum, the Alps, and a bit of downtown in the far distance. I'm always so appreciative that Munich really built things to last when the 1972 Olympics took place. They changed the athlete residences into student housing and started building the subways, which are incredible. (Click on the photo for a larger view).

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