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Karneval - these people are INSANE!!!

GERMANY | Tuesday, 20 February 2007 | Views [3622] | Comments [3]

Karneval is this incredible celebration that happens in the area of germany we've been staying in for about 3 months of every year. the culmination is in february when the whole area positively shits itself if i may be so crude and turns into the all-singing all-dancing world capital of frivolity. annabel and i jumped on the karneval jalopy on thursday - traditionally the first day of crazy-fest proper, when the mayor turns over control of the city (cologne) to the womenfolk and they run through the town chopping mens' ties off. all very primitive and unenlightened if you ask me as there are for more effective ways to emasculate a man these days if one is so inclined, but nonetheless it's as good a way as any other for the town to get off it's tits and run through the streets like a mob of crazed costume-clad antelopes on crack. what's that? i didn't mention the costumes?? ooooh yes, the costumes. that's what makes this nut-fest so much more than just a city full of people roaming the streets drinking - THEY'RE WEARING FUNNY CLOTHES. what's that? it still sounds ridiculous?? oh shut up, you're no fun at all.
the atmosphere was, and i do understand i will for the next two words sound like an utter twat, positively electric - the people were laidback and friendly, the costumes were amazing and the alcohol was... i would say flowing, but it was more like cologne was marinated in a titillating cocktail of kölsch (the local beer, see previous entry about the düsseldorf-cologne rivalry for more info. after four days of having it forcibly poured down my throat i've developed a taste for it by the way...), jägermeister (say no more) and feigling (i would only bore you if i tried to explain how awesome this stuff is.).
on thursday we called jens, who we knew was in the area for work. he'd been drinking since midday and said he'd love to see us, so we jumped on a train after uni, costumes in hand and a spare for jens, and hurtled headfast into a world of drunken ridiculousness i could never have previously imagined. the photos probably tell more of a story than my words could, and let's face it, the recounting of silly drunken tales is far more enjoyable for me in the reminiscing than for you in the hearing, so i'll keep the details to a minimum. we wandered the streets for a while, taking in the atmosphere and making friends with strangers until we lost jens and co. - as we all know, the 'loss of friends' moment tends to be a catalyst for crazy things either wonderful or dreadful in the drunken night out system, and in this case i would argue it was both. they called us to tell us they were on Roonestrasse, at the Cubana Bar. we wandered around for a while before turning a corner to see, looming before us with it`s shiny lights, the very same bar we had spent a little too much time in just a few weeks earlier, befriending the barmen with our tales of adventure and lies about our sexual orientation. we shared a look of sheer terror and ran inside in the hope of dragging jens out and saving ourselves the embarrassment of being recognised. long story short, there are two cubana bars on Roonestrasse (WHAT!?!? i know.), jens wasn`t in this one, we were recognised, entry charge was waived and the free alcohol flowed until they closed and we continued on elsewhere. at some point during the night they began to cotton on to the fact that we're a pair of raving heterosexuals. the giant bird may have had something to do with it (please see photo gallery unless you are my parents, grandparents or past employers). we stumbled home around 5am, vowing to be more well-behaved for the duration of karneval. HAH.

On friday we hoped for a quiet night of recovery - our hopes were dashed by an invitation from Ellie's brother Norm to go out for a few drinks. Just a warning to any of you who may one day travel to germany - i don't think the phrase 'few drinks' means the same here as it does in australia. then again, maybe it's just me... so this particular 'few drinks' was an 11pm start at a packed out dance club full of people singing karneval songs, followed by an almost-deserted possibly (A says definitely) gay club where a crazed lesbian prostitute (or so we believe) forcibly bought us all drinks because it was her birthday ('SHOTS!! SHOTS!!!' she kept screeching. the woman was insatiable.), and finally a world of madness called 'Micha's Kannchen', which is staffed by people who look and dress like scary ex-sailors, opens at 5am and serves breakfast alongside shots of whateveryoulike. suffice it to say the patrons of this particular establishment were a brand all of their own; by the time we got home the sun was already up.

Having ruined my plan of spending the day in düsseldorf with basti i trekked on down there mid-afternoon and met up with the boy at the train station. it was brilliant to see someone i have a connection to and reunite with my good buddy in his home country. he then drove us to cologne (autobahn, oh my god!) where we set off for the ghost-train: a night-time parade through the backstreets of cologne. the idea of this this parade is that it's a big two-fingers to the rigid tradition of the main parade on monday, and it's just a bunch of people walking through the streets with brazilian drumming groups on every second corner, culminating in a writing swarm of people dancing to percussion in a tunnel. it's a very different atmosphere to the rich-people-throwing-lollies
-at-poor-people extravaganza  that followed on monday and it was, if i may be such a 40-year-old, a tonne o' fun (no, i don't know any 40-year-olds who would say that either...). no photos unfortunately, you'll just have to take my word for it. after the parade we met up with basti's cologne mates again and went to a gay bar, of course, because THEY ARE THE ONLY KINDS OF BARS I EVER GO TO HERE and when i'm not in a gay bar i'm in a straight bar pretending to be gay!! this went on for hours and hours and we drank, danced and stood in circles arm-in-arm singing karneval songs (they sang, i pretended.).

On Sunday basti and i got up late and did so very slowly, then cautiously made our way out into the sunshine for kebabs. we then wandered into the city and met up with annabel and The Plain One for some coffee (even though we knew all the coffee in the world couldn't save us) and then went out for dinner with basti's mum and her partner. They were two of the loveliest people in the whole world and dinner was lovely. the barman incessantly brought beer as soon as the glasses were empty but apart from my fear of drinking too much and giggling too much in front of the adults, the evening was without mishap. we were in bed by a respectable hour and slept like babies on valium in preparation for...

ROSENMONTAG. this is the main day of karneval and involves the big rich-people-poor-people parade, followed by, you guessed it, more of the roaming the streets in costumes and drinking. fantastic. we had alcohol for breakfast and trudged into the city, dreading the expenditure of energy we didn't have and hoping it would be over quickly (you can see what's about to happen here, can't you). After meeting up with Annabel we watched the parade, marvelling at the elaborate floats and the chocolate raining from the sky, until we really thought about it and turned to each other, saying 'can you say 'class gap??' ' the parade is put on by a huge number of 'karneval clubs' - old boys' societies of rich people who spend incredible amounts of money on lavish costumes and productions for karneval in order to, well, show off how rich they are i suppose. *cough*orcompensateforsomethingiguesswe'llneverknow*cough*. they stand in their huge floats and throw chocolates at the commoners below, who line the streets yelling 'kamelle!!' which, roughly translated, equates to 'please rich people, give us poor bastards some chocolate while we marvel at how fantastic and rich you are!!' (oh alright it doesn't, it just means 'karneval lollies' but the meaning is implied.). we were somewhat unimpressed by this idea and eventually stopped filling our pockets with their trashy token gifts. the rest of the people didn't though, they scrambled on the ground around us like vultures, illustrating exactly what the difference is between the people in the floats and the people on the streets. luckily it was over just as A and i began to tire of it completely and after watching the end of the parade, by which time the rich people in the floats were simply drifting along, sipping expensive champagne and tossing whatever dregs they had left at the plebs in a most disinterested manner, we were able to get on with the drinking. we wandered through the club area for a while before heading again to the cubana bar (naturally) - this time because A had a hot tip-off that a bit of eye candy we've seen around uni was going to be there. he wasn't, and after accepting more extremely cheap alcohol from our friends, basti and i took off, leaving A to soak up the attention of the barman who had developed an interest in her on thursday. B and i went to a place called 'boogaloo', which promised a lot on the basis of the name alone, and, delivered. we stayed there for hours, dancing on benches and making friends with everyone (one guy said he thought i was doing a great job of being friendly and integrating everyone, i say i was just being a tart and dancing with all the boys.). everyone loved everyone else and for a few hours i was the carefree, hip-swinging dancing queen i always wished i could be. i was also very drunk so it could actually just have been 3 people in a dingy club gyrating like whores on LSD. basti assures me it was exactly as awesome as i remember though, and i believe him, because i know for sure i spoke to at least 8 boys so there must have been heaps of people.

once again, train home from cologne at 4am and Annabel and i spent about 3 hours awake on monday, wishing we weren't.

Tags: Party time



how can you remember all of that?? you did not drink enough!!

  LOREN GINTER Feb 12, 2008 5:58 AM


i'll try harder next time :-)

  eks Feb 15, 2008 8:40 PM


awesome entry in going karnaval this year never gone to germany dont know wt to expect... going to dusseldorf then like u meet an old friend but in cologne,... wat is the trains is it easy and cheap ?


  ao Dec 2, 2009 10:52 AM

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