Dixie Peach: Seeing and bringing it home

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Seeing and bringing it home

I've been all revved up for a couple of days for us to have crappy weather. All over Germany it's been windy and snowy with a little freezing rain thrown in because you know the Autobahn just isn't quite exciting enough with only the odd 240 SL climbing up your ass as you try to pass some dickhead in a Fiat Twingo - dammit, you need some ice on top of it! Like all well prepared Hausfrauen I made sure I had groceries to carry me over for days and all pressing errands completed. All that was left to do was sit and wait for the storm to start and wonder whether to bake cookies before or after I vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom and wait for the Bayern-München game to come on TV.

And as is par for the course for Magdeburg we didn't get anything. The merest dusting of snow and by 8:30 the sun was up and breaking through the clouds. Forget cleaning and baking - today was too good of a day to people watch to pass it up.

On the corner by Karstadt a guy sits and plays his accordian for spare change. He's very good and I always drop a euro in his hat as I walk by. I think he's beginning to recognize me because while he's always thanked me, he now gives me a big smile and a nod of his head. Sometimes if it's not too cold when I'm out that way I'll sit on one of the benches behind him and listen to him play and watch the people passing by. I often make a guess as to whom will give him some change and who will just look and who will completely ignore him and more often than not I'm right.

I like to see old couples together. They're people who have probably lived in this neighborhood all their lives and since I see the same folks day after day I'm guessing that getting out to do some business with the street merchants is a big part of their day. The best part is seeing them hold hands. I have no real proof but it seems to me that elderly couples in Germany seem to hold hands more often than couples in the US. Maybe it's because they spend more time walking than being in cars.

I like the smells around here, especially when the Christmas market is around. As you walk around your nose will find within the space of a few meters the sharp, vinegary smell from the pickle seller with his large barrels of Spreewald Gurken, the acidy scent of oranges and tangerines that seems to make your throat tighten a little, fried fish and chips that make you think that "crispy" can be a scent as well, the peppery spice of salami as you pass the Hungarian food stand and above it all the cinnamony, sugary scent of Schmalzkuchen. I'm convinced that you can get fat on the air around here.

Weaving through the crowds are young people, likely university students trying to earn a little money, dressed as angels or elves or wearing Santa outfits and whose job it is to pass out samples or hand out leaflets or try to entice others to subscribe to the local newspaper. I figure the ones in the Santa outfits are the goofiest looking but have the warmest costume. The angels often have trouble trying to keep from smacking others with their wings but it's not likely they'd make someone angry. Who can fuss at someone wearing a wire and tinsel halo?

It was tempting to stay out a bit longer. While the rest of the country was getting slapped around by the bad weather we merely had a chilly wind and it seemed a shame to waste the daylight but my feet were beginning to get cold and I could use a cup of tea and I needed to tell B what I'd seen before the game started. Coming home and telling him what I've seen and smelled is like bringing him back a souvenir of the day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely day. enjoyed reading about it.

2:18 AM  
Anonymous TitanKT said...

I couldn't tell from the picture, are those Spreewald Gurken made from cucumbers or some other vegetable. I bet those are good.

The Schmalzkuchen look like beignets... or maybe fat funnel cake. I guess fried dough is fried dough no matter what country you're in! Mmmm!

If I were there with you, I'd want to try the pickles and the Hungarian salami. Ooh, and the fried fish, too. What kind of fish? Is it fresh?

You must have tremendous willpower being subjected to all those lovely aromas and not indulging in even one treat.

8:05 PM  
Blogger christina said...

We got a few inches of snow starting Friday evening and lasting until about Saturday noon so the kids finally got a chance to slide down the driveway.

Mmm...Schmalzkuchen is the best. And so is people watching. The old couples in our town often hold hands as well - it's so sweet.

8:44 PM  
Blogger BarefootCajun said...

Schmalzkuchen = beignets. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

9:55 PM  

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