the fun, fun, fun of the autobahn

2004-07-05

This past week has given me time to answer some tough questions about myself. Like, "how desperate for American TV would you have to be to watch Jay Leno?" and "To what depth of boredom would you have to sink to voluntarily watch a beach volleyball competition?".

The drive to Dresden was just fine, except for the construction (but it reminded me of Michigan, so even that was ok). Eastern Germany is coated with gigantic wind power thingies (I'm sure there is a name but it escapes me) and they make the landscape look really surreal, like youre in a giant's garden and they are pinwheel-like lawn ornaments.

One of my biggest problems driving in Germany is distinguishing what is and what is not a road. I know that sounds really unlikely, but there are a lot of pedestrian roads which used to be regular roads and they're really hard to distinguish from driving roads. There are also a lot of "roads" that are meant for loading/unloading access and not to drive on. Obviously, the autobahn isn't a problem, but the older parts of cities are rather confusing.

I stayed at a place called the Art'otel. It was advertised as a modern art themed hotel. In actuality, it was a drippy-peni-stick-figure themed hotel. The hotel is designed around the art of A.R. Penck who apparently paints only drippy-penis- stick-men. There was even a big drippy-penis-stick-man statue on top of the building.

OK, so I'm no art expert but HUH???

Dresden is still rebuilding from WWII. In this sense, the decay slowly being rebuilt, it reminds me of Detroit (except that foreign countries didn't bomb Detroit and we don't have the excuse of communism for our slow recovery). But the general decay and people's attitude that "a great metropolitan renaissance is just around the corner" made me feel at home.

I bought a 10 day pass to all of the attractions (the Zwinger, the Albertinieum, the castle, etc.) and I saw them all in one day. Talk about a bargain. I also went to a place that was described on my map as "the most beautiful shop of milk products in the world". How could I pass that up? Well, the interior was entirely covered in Dresden porcelain (which is actually from neigherboring Meissen). It was, indeed, the most beautiful shop for milk products in the world.

I had thought that I might drive to Meissen on Sunday but I quickly discovered that I cannot afford even the smallest piece of their pottery (a 2.5" diameter dish was 50).

The Art'otel got MSNBC in addition to International CNN. This made my weekend. And it allowed me to watch, for the first time ever, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Jay Leno really irritates me so I'd always avoided him (besides the fact that I haven't stayed up late in years). He reminds me of a smarmy coworker that I'd hate. Anyhow, Graham Norton and Will Ferrell were on, so they outweighed Jay. After that was Conan O'Brian, but I switched channels to instead watch Die DDR Show, an homage to their former communist days that strikes a similar tone to "I Love the 80's". Appallingly fascinating.

I also wandered upon a live beach volleyball tournament on Saturday. My feet were hurting (I walked for almost 8 hours straight) so I sat down to watch. It was sponsored by Renault and "Schwarzkopf Blonde Spray". One team was made up of tanned blonde goddesses while the other contained a dark haired woman and a black woman. The non-blondes had stretch pants and tank tops on while the blondes wore bikinis. I believe that "Schwarzkopf Blonde Spray" had an interest in the blondes winning (and showing their great superiority over those with more pigment) and that is exactly what happened. There's a lesson to be learned there.

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