September 2004


Schwul or Russian

So last night I went out clubbing in Erfurt, a 20ish minute train ride west of Weimar.

The goal was to visit the schwul club, but instead I found Russians.

According to the Gay Thüringen web site, Test-It is the party location for gays, lesbians, and the curious in Erfurt-and it opens up once a week, Fridays at 22:00. Katya and I got there at 22:00 to find- a group of people telling us that nothing was going on at all, in German. Katya translated this and also told me that there was a Russian party going on upstairs in a different club.

Katya, as a Ukrainian, speaks Russian and suggested we go- so we went.

Immediately I was transported into one of those worlds I’m not accustomed to, as I was searched and asked, “Do you have any guns or drugs?” The question was asked of me in English, but- I was so stunned at the question that I failed to comprehend it-and I had to have it repeated again.

Naturally I denied the existence of any such substances on my body as he patted me down.

Katya was amused as she waited for me and walked in the door.


I think I was more than slightly perturbed at this turn of events. It seems to me that given recent Russian experiences, they would have searched everybody entering the club, regardless of gender.

Later, when two of Katya’s friends came along, I asked, and they were not searched either: both were female.

The music was not entirely in Russian-there were several English language songs, but other than that, I was at the double disadvantage because the primary language was Russian with occasional German thrown in. In advance of my German classes, I can confidently say that I don’t understand much spoken German unless it is contextual (at the train station) and animated (gesturing wildly with hands). (Put the two together at my little local train station where there are no message boards and you get: “The train is 10 minutes late.”)

We got to the club at 10ish, and naturally it didn’t start getting crowded until 11:30-which is not actually atypical, I suppose, but I have a little issue: transportation.

The last train from Erfurt to Weimar is at 00:20, followed a few hours later by the next train at 4:19. That was, in fact, while I wanted to show up at the schwul club so incredibly early: I wanted to be able to make a relatively early escape if it was dreadfully boring.

Anyhow, I stayed. For an agonizing 45 minute or so, a Russian rap group performed. I tend to have a somewhat negative image of rap groups (see Eminem), and at first the trio of girls were into it. One of the pieces turned all three girls off-evidently it used lots of Russian swear words (“It was shit,” I was told.) and they failed to be enthusiastic for the rest of the performance.

We left the club around 3, and Katya went home with her two friends. I could have stayed with Katya, but I wanted to get home-so I walked around Erfurt’s core and read a book until my train left. I didn’t bother to walk home from the main train station; I opted to hop a taxi.

I had trouble falling asleep, and I might note that just before I fell asleep, I heard my roommate (who is here for awhile) get up.

1 comment to Schwul or Russian

  • Chris C

    I’d think the Russians would search everyone.

    Oh, not sure if you got it in your international news, but Denny Hastert basically said that Al Queda wants John Kerry elected… he’s not backing down on his comment either. Sheesh…

    Next thing you know the Repugnant-ones will be running campaign ads with John Kerry dressed up like a Turkish terrorist.