Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hamburg, 15.12.99: Weihnachtsmarkts and Bhami Goreng

Already wearying of keeping this journal, as with my everyday journal, in which I’ve not written in ages. I seem to have nothing interesting to say. I think nothing of interest. My life just runs by, faster than I’d like or can control….

And have I really ever even begun to understand another culture? Those travel journals I’ve kept so confidently in the past, with all their oh-so-assured observations about the “natives”: what do I understand. I don’t even speak the language, at least, well enough to understand as much as I think I do.

So, the little notes: no wonder Christmas in Germany means something, or used to do so. It’s so dark here, as the shortest day of the year approaches. Christmas as a feast of lights (like Channukah): that has to appeal to a people who are so light-deprived for much of the year, and above all in December. We awake in the dark and it’s dark again long before nightfall, that is, clock-nightfall. A good time of year to eat, party, gather, be with family and friends.

We went with Wolfram and Karin to an Indian restaurant last night. It was okay, but the food seemed to lack flavor. Garlic is hardly a whisper anywhere here, or fried onion. All the dishes were sauced in cream sauces; just can’t get away from cream, butter (cheese) in north Germany.

Today, after I slept in till 11, we drove to Altona intending to do a Weihnachtsmarkt at the Altona museum, a handicraft market.

But I had misread the tourism brochure in our room. It’s a Saturday market. So on to another handicraft market at Gerhart-Hauptmann-Platz off Mönckebergstraße. It wasn’t much, to be honest.

After that, we piddled around the regular Weihnachtsmarkt that winds all through the streets and plaza, and ate sausage (Thüringer and Krakauer) at a booth. Bought a very appealing little milk pitcher, spongeware, with pastel colors on a blue and white base.

Now home, and a supper of salad and bahmi goreng from a can, to be followed by gift-wrapping.

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