Friday, April 14, 2006

Bevar Christiania!

a travel story

Living in Sweden sometime in March 2003…. We take a bus from Gothenburg, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark. There are about 25 Americans and maybe 10 Swedes. These Swedes are supposed to be showing us cool Scandinavian shit on this particular weekend, which inevitably means we must leave Sweden and go to Denmark.

We arrive in Copenhagen early and everyone is tired and in a shitty mood. We stay in a cheap hotel located on the same corner as a strip club and two sex shops (all of which will give you at least two diseases just by walking by.) Our floor, aka: the cheapest floor in the hotel, had shared bathrooms and showers. We all sleep for the first half of the day then scatter about to see the city.

We find ourselves in Christiania, a little hippie commune where it was legal to purchase and enjoy various kinds of soft-core drugs. Christiania only had semi-legal status as being an independent community and was started in the 70’s by a few hippie squatters who took over an abandoned military base. They fallow no Danish laws and have come up with their own laws and “government” for the area. These laws include; no cars, no stealing, no guns or bullet proof vests, and no hard drugs. Now everything sounds reasonable except why the hell are you not allowed to have bullet proof vests? Who the fuck cares if you are so paranoid you need to wear a bullet proof vest in an area where no guns are allowed any way? Crazy Danes… needless to say we came to get fucked up.

After blazing for an hour or so and growing bored with the other extracurriculars of the moment, Steph and I decided to eat shrooms and leave Christiania. Now Steph was an American who lived in Sweden for the past few years, spoke Swedish, and knew her way around. She always talked shit about the Swedes in front of them but she was our mediator so everyone loved her. She didn’t come to America with the rest of the Swedes and the last I herd she was studying in Paris.

So we go back to the hotel to meet up with everyone else and drink a bit. The Swedes tell us they know where a good bar is so we head out. As we arrive it is very clear that this bar is in fact a techno pop dance club. Even though I’m dressed to go to a bar, the bouncer lets me in because I am American, accompanied by several skanks, and have 56 Danish Kroner. Now it has just hit me that for the next several hours I will be listening to global dance-pop lyrics laid over top of 1 of 2 different techno beats proven to sound better with every drink you take. I get over this fact really fast when I find out that champagne and red wine are free all night. So, Steph tells me how to get them to not water anything down and we find Dita at a table.

About 5 drinks later I see Steph flying around the room like the reading rainbow butterfly and I know I am fucked up. Does this concern me at this time? No. After about 10 more drinks I stumble down to the bathroom, which was just a spiral staircase away (leave it to the fucking idiot Scandinavians to try to conserve space with a spiral staircase in a club full of drunks), and proceed to vomit up 12 hours worth of bad decisions. Then I pass out with my face on the toilet seat for a time frame that is unknown to me.

I wake up to the sound of someone saying my name and the same dance song playing everywhere in Scandinavia at the time (which will eventually and strangely become my favorite dance song ever). So I contemplate the will to move any part of my body and decide that my position is pretty comfortable and the toilet seat pillow isn’t that bad. Another stretch of time goes by and I finally decide I need to leave. I barely get up the spiral staircase and find myself in an almost deserted club with no Americans or fellow Swedes in sight. I walk out the door and decide it must be around 5 or 6 in the morning.

Now this happens to be the moment when I learned that when walking to a new place in a foreign country it would be best to pay attention to how the fuck you get back, know the address or even the name of the hotel, and always save some cab money for the end of the night. So right about now all I know is what the hotel looks like from 5 feet away and that I need to walk to my right. Stumbling along in the twilight of spring in an unknown direction I believe I got to realize Copenhagen as the beautiful city it is.

Somehow, by some crazy miracle, I see the dirty strip joint and know I am home. After waking up Steph and Dita and in some kind of inaudible slurred speech totally bitch them out for leaving me, find my room, wake up my roommate just for fun, and sleep for about 16 hours. Denmark, you dirty whore, I love you.


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