Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Marcus Meets Europe! -- Denmark

Tivoli Gardens

I'm back on the continent again. I took my essay exam, sweating buckets because it was the one time where I could have flunked in two countries with one test. Afterwards, I rewarded myself by spending the afternoon with a cool friend of mine. I have the luck of hanging out with girls far more intelligent than me, and she was no exception. She talked of human behavior and her incisive observations on how to read people. My brain was fried after that test, so I listened more than I talked. At her apartment, she made us spaghetti for dinner before I left for the airport. What a great send-off.

The thing to see in Copenhagen is Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park. I wish I could tell you guys about it, but I didn't go. I heard about an amusement park for adults called Christiania, and went there instead. My hostel, Middlebrook's, is in a popular student area called Norrebro. Christiania was on the other side of the city entirely. The hostel manager said it was a great walk, since I would see all of Copenhagen on the way there. My inner tourist leapt with joy while my feet began to weep.

Christiania was a military barracks. Hippies moved into the abandoned buildings and created a commune. No kidding, I felt like I was in 60's California when I was in there. Dogs ran loose without leashes. They do cater more to tourists now. But it still looks like a homeless colony, so it hasn't lost its underground edge. Graffit was sprayed into the sides of all the buildings, making for excellent street art. I took a picture of a mural that acted as a giant sign for the WC (european for water closet, a.k.a. restroom). It showed a 5-armed green alien taking a piss and a deranged moose taking a dump. There were shopping stalls set up in a little flea market area. A couple of the stalls sold hash pipes and marijuana goods. When I walked out of Christiania, there was a sign overhead that said, "You are now entering the EU." Christiania wasn't just its own country, it was from another time period.


The common joke is that there are McDonald's everywhere. What I wanted to know was: what was the European equivalent of McDonald's? What could I find everywhere in Europe? I've come up with two answers. The first is Irish pubs. You can drink like the Irish practically everywhere. They've exported their pubs and beer to all corners. The second is Turkish fast food. I've found those everywhere too. They advertise themselves as Kebab joints. The bonus is that many of them also sell burgers and pizza. Three kinds of fast food, all under one roof!

The travelling is getting to me. I've gotten sick, which sucks to no end when you want be out and about 24 hours a day. I'm driven by that fear You've got to see everything because you'll never be here again! I consulted Dr. Mom. She prescribed sleep and drinking juices with Vitamin C. After a day of walking Copenhagen, I stopped at a corner grocery store. The cooler had 1-litre cartons of orange juice. I reached for that, then saw cartons of guava juice next to them. Even better. Reminded me of Hawaii. I took a carton of guava juice over to the till (British for cash register). While the Middle Eastern man was getting my change, I looked at the top of the carton. I was hoping the guava juice was from Hawaii. No soap, the letters weren't even in the English alphabet.

"Excuse me, could you tell me where this guava juice is from?" I handed him the carton.

"Hmm, Arabic letters." He examined the box carefully. "This juice is from Egypt!" He announced.

"Really?" I asked. I didn't know they drank guava juice there. I told him how I was from Hawaii and that I drink it all the time there.

"They drink guava juice in Hawaii?!"

That made us even.