As I wrote about in a blog post not long ago... the coming of the Karneval der Kulturen was a point of pure excitement for me. After seeing the blog post one of my book club friends invited N. and myself to meet up to enjoy the event together. The group ended up being N. and me with two book clubbers and their husbands, and what a group it was! I really enjoyed myself, but I must state here and now that it is quite hard to attend such a cool event and NOT enjoy yourself.
The weather was perfect! We've gone every year since I've moved here... even if we attend only the parade. One year it was pouring down rain and we went anyway because we knew there would be people dancing and didn't want them to feel like they were doing it for nothing. Besides, it was much easier to get a good view of the goings on without so many people vying for good placement.
This is only part of one group of dancers from only one float. But I think that it gives you the basic feel of the event. What can't be portrayed by these pictures is the liveliness of the music, it is like another character of the parade. Each float has music representing their country and may I say that I love world music.
It is hard to explain the thumping/pounding/thudding that I feel in my heart when the drums play. For me it is a call to move, to dance, to shake... and I love it. While I am certainly not alone, I notice that the great majority of people either do not have this feeling, or they do a great job of covering it up. The Germans in particular seem to be able to stand stock still while the music plays all around them, dancers whirling and flitting and posing in front of them... without even so much as a smile from many people in the crowd. This is incredible to me!
This next guy was part of a cool float. At the end of the float when the dancers with gold hats and people with money signs (the Yen, Dollar and Euro) plastered all over their bodies had gone past, there was a sign that said something like, "And at the end when the last tree has withered away, the last fish is eaten and the rivers are dead... then we will realize that we cannot eat money."
It was a lot of fun at the parade but it gets hard to stand in one position for a long time. Soon we found ourselves on the move because of rumblings in bellies. The booths were just a few streets down so we took off looking for culinary adventure. Yes we found it. All the German mainstays were there with some welcome additions from other countries. Aside from the foods were many booths of handicrafts and clothing.
So many colors, so many different shapes and textures... it was like an overload! I love it. In fact, I loved it so much on Sunday that I took Mimi and headed back on Monday. I was there for about an hour just soaking it all up again. Actually I went specifically for Dresdner Brot which is basically a bread dough about the size/shape of a fist with cheese and bacon placed inside and then baked. When it comes out of the wood oven they put a dollop of sourcream and a bit of chives on top for good measure. Oh MY MY!
As I ate my bread I just stood to the side and watched the people as they passed by. There were a multitude of languages and cultures represented. Of course the normal Berliner types were there with their eyes aghast, but on top of this were the hippies and artists enjoying themselves as they opened their minds further. There were the colorful ebony beauties wearing full headdresses, and obvious tourists clutching their Berlin books. I saw people with purple hair, with African face paint, henna ink running up and down arms, and a group of blonde blue-eyed people who dwarfed the rest of us that I assume were of Nordic decent.
Check out the full set of pics on Flickr.