Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Beat the ReEper

while 'beat the reaper' by josh bazell is a fantastic read full of black humour, clever suspense and disgusting details of diseases that you rather forget really quickly, the reeperBAHN is not as much fun as many people seem to think. since i've made the transition from a sweet single berliner to a savoury and settled doubledecker hamburger two years ago, i've managed to avoid hanging out "on the kiez" as much as possible. especially on saturday nights. i quickly learned that saturday nights are vile there, crowded with drunk and disgusting youths as well as groups of males on the prowl or whatever guys do to prove their manhood to each other. the latter don't even have to look very far, since there are plenty of professionals around who must be up their noses with some kind of powerful drug to be able to sweet talk all kinds of men in various states of intoxication into letting them do stuff to them for ten or twenty euros. hopefully not more for more... eeek!

a very good friend of mine from oz who came to visit a while ago and of course had to see this famous spot of hamburg pointed out the phonetic proximity of reeper (pronounced in german rayper) and "rape her". i think we were sitting in the sbahn (metro train) back to our house, happy to get there without anyone vomiting on us, insulting us or picking a fight. i must admit i had never made this connection but i've never forgotten it either. it's the first thing that comes to my mind, whenever i read, hear or talk about the reeperbahn. not very pleasant when you think about it. and for some girls this connotation might actually be a bad omen.

although, have you ever wondered why it's called REEPERbahn? no? well, i can tell you because i wanted to find out why. so reeper refers or rather used to refer to someone who makes ship rope. makes sense since hamburg has always been a major harbour and the reeperbahn used to be crowded with lots of sailors from all around the world. today it's not sailors anymore, however, but lots of tourists and youngsters who love the fact that apparently nothing is a taboo there. drinking till they're almost braindead, pissing against buildings even if it houses a public toilet, vomiting their previously gorged doner or burger onto non-existent garden patches, spilling beer or booze on whoever is unlucky enough to be close by, breaking noses and abusing bystanders, basically behaving as if obnoxious was a synonym for good manners. it's like carnival in cologne or oktoberfest in munich, only every single weekend. i really don't know what made me go there again the other day. it must have been some kind of temporary amnesia or some other mental dysfunction.

so, peeps, do me a favour and if you really must see the reeperbahn in action on a friday or saturday night, do so before maybe 10 p.m., have a walk up and down the so-called pleasure mile with its famous sex shops and clubs, have a look around the große freiheit and the beatles square and if you're a fan don't miss the beatles museum, maybe have a drink in one of the trendy bars if you manage to get some attention to place your order. BUT - and i implore you - if you don't want to witness or even get involved in some really pathetic and depressing display of human behaviour, get back on the metro train in good time and go to altona or walk to the schanzen quarter. it's a 10 minute spatial distance but a difference of about 1,000 years of evolution.

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