Kicked out of Hippie Town
Scandinavia 2008 - Day 11
Monday morning I got up at a moderately early time and took the metro to Christianshaven. Right across from the stations entry is the famous Danish bakery I had seen on several travel shows (lakskuget?), so I went in for breakfast. I had a very rich chocolate muffin brownie with milk. Very gut! After breakfast I proceeded to walk the canals to the anything goes free-town hippie enclave known as Christiana. I knew I was near it when things went from clean to trashy, and there was garbage and graffiti all about. At first there was not much to see because of the overgrown undergrowth, but eventually I found myself on the unpaved street known as “pusher street.” its the main street through Christiana and its where the drug sellers hung out back when they could do so without fear from the authorities.
There was no real thing of note in Christiana, it was hard to tell a home from a hovel. As the street curved around I found what I would their version of a piazza. It was at about this time I noticed a rather large sign with a camera and a red slash through it. I just held my camera in my hand and sat on a low rubble wall. To my far right was a small shanty food stand and its tables were just a collection of old plastic creates stacked up. There was a small group of guys sitting on the crates and talking. After about 4 or 5 minutes I decided I would try and sneak a picture. The second I unclipped my lens cap I heard a loud bellow. I looked up and a tall thin man came rushing towards me. His out burst was furious, I turned to see who he was yelling at. There was no one behind me, I turned back and pointed to myself in disbelief. “Yes fucking you, there's no one else!” he yelled, “you put that fucking cap on!” I quickly capped the camera but it was too late. It was obvious I had riled up his sense of action and he was determined to see me gone. I through my hands up, palms out, in protest. “You get the Fuuuuuck out!” He screamed. “Geeeeet theee fuuck ouuuut! He stressed each vowel with powerful precision, the veins in his neck popped and his skin on his head was red beneath light clusters of short white hair. He eyes were taut around the edges; his long index crooked finger that seemed to bend back and forth like he had more than the normal number of knuckles pointed past me. “Geeeet the Fuuuuck Out! He was almost to me, I quickly jumped up from the ledge mumbling something along the lines of “ok ok whatever” but he was not going to be dismissed that easily. He had on high leather boots with jean shorts, and he tromped stridently in those high leather boots through a mud puddle to catch up to me. He was not to be dismissed or resigned to a judge slapping one on the wrist. I could tell that he would have his satisfaction. “Give me your camera,” he demanded, “what pictures have you taken? Show me the pictures you have taken.”
I clutched my camera close, images of this mans long spindly legs in those high leather boots tromping up and down on my precious camera ran through my mind. He took my pause as a sign I had something to hide. “show me those pictures you have taken now!” firmly holding my camera tight in both hands I showed him the pictures. Two of his buddies caught up with us and peered over my shoulder as his many knuckled finger pointed at the camera screen. “wait go back, you skipped one, what pictures have you taken? You don't trick me, show me them, go back.” after showing him all the pictures I had going back to Sweden he was finally satisfied that I had no pictures of people or illegal activity. Again he pointed his finger and very curtly said for the last time. “You, get the fuck out.”
As I hurried down a gravel road towards the high rise apartments and safety of the city I woman clamped down on my arm, I turned to see a old, sad and used woman with half the teeth she needed to down a proper meal. “Don't worry, it's because of the government, they don't like cameras, they get in trouble.” “I won't worry” I replied, “I just want the fuck out.”
back out on a real street outside the city's ramshackle walls I passed a row of handbills for the Dub Star All-Stars Jam Band and then just like that I was back in the real city. Still perturbed I made my way through a well kept part of town until I got back to the harbor then sat for a while watching the boats passing by before I stopped for a small grocery near the metro for supplies. I bought 3 beers and a pack of frikadeler and a jar of olives. At the apartment I put the beers in the fridge to chill and showered while using the restroom (Rikke's shower head was above the toilet, if you've never done it, do it!). After drying off in the sea breeze blowing in through the open bedroom balcony door I got on the web and listened to some of Ander's cd's he let me barrow.
Towards evening the apartment began to get quite as the kids playing in the garden alley below went in to escape a brief rain-shower. When the rain ended I did one of my favorite things: I strapped on my shoes and walked out the front door. I walked away from the metro station (and towards downtown Copenhagen). The rain-shower had cleaned the streets of all traffic and people, even though I was in a clean quiet neighborhood of many 4 and 5 story apartment buildings, everything seemed eerily empty, like in a zombie movie. I will never forget that strange feeling of being of being out and about that night. The air was fresh from the rain and the temperature was nothing more than light jacket weather. Walking along through neighborhoods I eventually came to a large park where just a few guys were out in the wet grass kicking around a soccer ball, the looked small out in the middle of that big field so full of tall wet grass and sagging soccer goals.
I knew that the sea was nearby, I just didn't know in what direction. Rikke told me that it was just a short walk, but she had pointed in a general direction towards the metro stop, and even though I was walking East out of the big apartment towers with no tall buildings ahead of me, I wasn't sure if I was nearing the beach or not. The sun poke threw the sky behind my, lighting up the church towers of downtown Copenhagen. But ahead of me, in the direction of what I thought might be the beach, it was cloudy gray-blue. Rikke had told me that from the beach I could see Sweden. But I was getting tired and hungry, and I had already seen from Sweden from the Swedish side, and I was now sure that in front of me was an industrial park and not a beach. I later found out I was wrong and that I was probably just 5 minutes more from it, but its no real loss. Instead I walked back towards the apartment towers till I found a small corner shop. Like all corner shops in all of Europe they had a better selection of porn than anything else, but I was there for a Magnum Ice Cream Bar, one of my main travel food groups (that and orange Fanta). Before I arrived back at the apartment I passed some sort of nicely designed community center, and I saw a door cracked open and lively music was emanating from within. Peeking in through the eye-wide crack were many people dressed in white robes in a circle as two guys in the middle danced the Brazilian caparara. I watched for a while before I returned to the apartment shortly before Rikke and Anders arrived home. We talked music for a while and then I did some drawing until bedtime. I turned off my small lamp and laid on my little blue mat beside the open balcony door and listened to the drip of rain in the alley garden and the horns of big ships far-off in the channel until I fell asleep.