Monday, July 07, 2003

Discovering my dissertation research, part III

Day Five: Shopping in Cologne

Today I spent taking care of some practicalities. It was not terribly interesting.

I discovered late last night that I had left by pajamas back at Uli's. I awoke this morning to discover
that it was really cold outside, and I had not brought a jacket with me. I needed a map and some sort
of guidebook for the city. And I needed more groceries so that I could actually cook something.

I went shopping down at Neumarkt, which has the big department stores, expensive shops, and the
really big bookstores. I went to the latter first, just so that I could get a handle on what books have
been published in the four years since I had last visited. I bought a Reise-Fuehrer (guidebook) for the
city that had a good list of shops and restaurants as well as detailed maps of the inner city. I also
bought a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian author, translated into German. (I want to test a
theory that it is easier to read foreign novels in German because the original language is itself simpler.) I
went to Karstadt, one of the big department store chains. I bought a beige jacket made from micro-
fiber and blue pajamas with thin black and white stripes. I bought some food in the basement level,
including a bottle of wine. Afterward I stopped for a caf‚ au lait so that I could get my bearings and
plan my next move. I decided that I had too many things and should return to the apartment to drop
them off.

I went to the area around Zuelpicher Platz. I wanted to find a cybercafe where I could check my
messages and upload my blog. It was also in the area where I wanted to eat.

I went to a vegetarian restaurant called Osha's Place. It was "self service." I ate a salad and an
enchilada (it taste good, but it was hardly authentic.) It appeared to have a nice atmosphere: there
were people reading and relaxing, and the interior was nice. I thought that this was a place where I
would want to come back. Later, my landlady told me that Osha was a cult leader who amassed a
large following and a large business (managing properties, restaurants, teaching self-help classes.)
When he died, the cult members went underground. They continued to manage the business
enterprises, including the classes, even though Osha's philosophy is publicly unfashionable. My opinion
of the restaurant is that I will probably return, but I will avoid talking to people.

The landlady walked me around the neighborhood, mostly so that I would know where to place the
recycling (there are several large containers two blocks away), but also so that I would know that
interesting places there were. Saturn, the world's largest record store, is a short walk away!!! G-d
help me!!!

Day 6: Pink Pride in Cologne and First Steps in Dusseldorf

Today was CSD, or Christopher Street Day, in Cologne, a gay/lesbian pride festival (it had its roots as
a day of AIDS awareness.) The newspapers claimed that one million people might come into the city,
and that local transportation might be overwhelmed. I wasn't sure what I would do, so I planned to do
little. I ended up doing quite a bit.

First, I had to get a monthly pass from the regional rail service. Cologne and Dusseldorf are serviced
by different organizations, so a special pass would be necessary. I had hoped to get some sort of
global pass that would allow me to travel anywhere in both regions, but that was not possible.
However, I can use all local transportation in both regions with the pass.

I had already walked down to the train station to get the pass; I decided to walk around the Dom and
take some pictures before going into seclusion. People were pouring out from the train station in
droves. They overwhelmed the sidewalks. It was hard to move. I went into the Dom (as if I hadn't
enough pictures of it) to look for the one same-sex couple who were longingly looking on at the service
and take their picture. I failed for several reasons: there was insufficient light; people kept getting in the
way; people were moving too quickly. I got one picture that, had it been clearer, would have been
wonderful. Oh well!

I went outside after mulling around the back of the cathedral for half an hour. I followed the crowds
south to the festivities. There were any number of street vendors (I often think that all festivals in
Germany occur on Sundays so that vendors can have an extra day of sales.) I stopped to drink a
Koelsch while people filed by. I went up to the parade route. The crowd was several rows deep, so I
could not see the people who were walking along the parade route, only those who were riding in
trucks. The trucks drove slowly, bouncing up and down from the passengers. Some people were
dressed oddly, some carried super-soakers. Many of the men wore tight fitting shirts and shorts, if
shirts at all. On one truck both men and women were topless, having painted their bodies in almost
random designs.

I could not stay long. The music annoyed me. That incessant pounding of techno/house music (no
cliques about gay men were displaced today.) I decided to do something else, to get out of Cologne. I
had my new travel pass, why not use it? I went to Dusseldorf, at least to see how to maneuver around
the city. The trip took one-half hour, I was there by 2.30 pm. A German man, who had been living in
Chicago, talked to me on the way down (he seemed to be amused that women seemed very "available"
in the US; I was not certain of whether or not he was talking about prostitution.) I went over to
Heinrich Heine Ally, which parallels the river. I thought about going to Jaegerhof, but I did not bring my
English guidebook, and my German guidebook did not mention where to find it. I walked outside,
north up to St. Andreas, a Dominican church . It was based on a church on the Danube built at the
beginning of the era. I could see the baroque influence more clearly since I had been to the Gothic
Dom earlier in the day. Everything was much lighter; everything was highlighted in gold. The cross,
oddly, was simple (perhaps because that part of the church was damaged in the bombings.)

I continued to walk north. I thought that I might go to the state's art museum. However, I was neither
interested in the exhibits that they advertised nor in going to an arts museum. I went to another church,
St Lambertus, another baroque masterpiece, but which was much more interesting. The alter and the
sermon lectern were located in the center, which I thought was odd because it reminded me more of
some of the Protestant (what Americans would call Lutheran) churches that I have seen. However, the
pews were clearly located on one side, and the area behind the alter consisted of crypts and smaller
alters. It was, I would think, a tremendous waste of space. It was also beautiful. I wished that my
pictures would have come out more clearly. Nonetheless, I took a good picture of Graf Wilhelm's

I went back into the street, down toward the river. Many booksellers were out along the boardwalk in
a special "book festival" (much less colorful that Christopher Street Day.) I found nothing interesting. I
drink my first Alt, a type of dark beer that is brewed locally. I was very good. It had a bitter, deep
taste, slightly nutty, but not necessarily heavy. It is served in a long, straight glass that looks like a
koelsch glass but twice the size.

I returned to Cologne. I took more pictures of the festivities around the Dom. I walked up the
boardwalk back toward the apartment. I ate an ice cream before returning home to write all this. I
also met my "co-sub-letter," Rene, who seemed to be very nice.

Day Seven: First day at the archives

This entry can be nothing but boring. I am very sorry, but nothing interesting has happened (unless it
will happen later.) I woke up at 8.30, was on the train to Dusseldorf by 9.50 (I was disappointed that I
could not get to the train station earlier.) I met with one of the historians at the archives, Martin Frueh,
who showed me a few books, gave me (some really great) leads, and showed me to the reading room.
It appears that I will take longer locating records that interest me here. And these all might be more
workhorse records nothing surprising, but lots that is necessary. Dr. Frueh also explained that the
records will not be as centralized as I would have liked, and that I would probably have to go from
place to place locating what I want. I left the archive by 2.30. That is enough for the first day.
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