November 2007


A Colorado Kind of Evening

I could write a lot about the Whiney Ex-Pat Blogger Meet-Up in Dresden, but I figure that there were ten bloggers running around in a pack, and since we’re all writers, it’s going to be covered in a variety of ways over the next week.

Obviously, with an introduction like that, this will not really talk about the meet-up that much, rather I had a Colorado kind of evening with my fellow bloggers and my midnight activities.

Off the top of my head, at least three of us had Colorado connections—mine was the strongest because I was born and raised in Denver—and by Denver, I mean the City and County thereof—not any of this “Oh I grew up in Denver; Actually Parker, Colorado,” shit.

It wasn’t really clear to me how it came up, but suddenly J was asking me the name of that Mexican restaurant in Denver with the cliff divers. It took a few minutes and I could remember silly things like the fact that it was in the “JCRS Shopping Center,” and that they used Velveeta instead of cheese, and that when you walked in, you picked up a tray and went through a long cafeteria line-like mess before selecting your table with the optimal view of the “cliff divers.” I can bring you this wealth of detail and description based on my memories of my two visits to the restaurant amusement park.

Then it clicked: Casa Bonita.

During high school, I volunteered at the Denver Museum of Natural History (now something like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science). Often I was posted at the information desk, and people would ask us questions about how to get from our museum to other tourist attractions around town. We had predrawn maps ready to go for the Denver Mint, the Botanic Gardens, and several other cultural facilities. The only commercial attraction we had a predrawn map for was Casa Bonita—and it was given to tourists with an alarming frequency: the food is crap, it’s all about the entertainment.

Later on, when I lived in Indiana, I once helped a guy from South Korea plan a vacation for his family around the American West. I recommended a variety of places, like Mesa Verde, Zion National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Wall Drug. I included Casa Bonita on this list because he had small children. After he returned from his trip, he told me that his kid’s favorite stop was Casa Bonita—and, as I had warned him, that the Grand Canyon was not all it was cracked up to be.

After our dinner, which was held at Mama Africa, a themed African restaurant, I headed back to my hotel, got cleaned up and headed back out, grabbing a taxi and heading out to the “Think Pink” party at a nightclub located north of the Neustadt area—where I forked over 12€ and headed into the party. I almost had a wardrobe disaster when I checked my coat: I noticed that the numbers they were distributing to people turning in coats did not necessarily correspond to the number on the coat hanger—and indeed, mine was off by one.

Heading into the club, I ordered a coke, standing next to this guy who asked me a complicated question, and, kindly shifted to English, asking me, instead, where I was from. A difficult question to answer as I have three stock answers, I ended up saying, “Colorado.”

I was rewarded with a series of statements that I did not even begin to understand—and after it was clear I didn’t understanding him, he made clear it was from South Park.

Great—Colorado is best known for Casa Bonita and South Park.

Admittedly South Park is fantastic satire, but I haven’t made the effort to watch it since I left the country—great show, great writing, but I have other addictions that I didn’t try to explain.

As it was, it was a challenge at the bar: any and every drink was only 1€, and to compensate for the low-low-low drink prices, the bar had space for about 50-75 customers, along with three of the slowest bartenders you’ve ever tried to order from. They made no effort to try and work quickly, stopping to sip their own drinks, kiss their friends, and make mixed drinks in a minimum of at least 6 steps, none of which were at the same spot on the counter. I lucked out the first time and got served quickly. The second time took at least ten minutes and then I got the wrong drink (Becks Green Lime is disgusting). I gave up the third time, and the fourth time I tried another bar which was even slower, much to my surprise.

The club was happening, but unfortunately I was thinking—and whenever the guy, who saw me first, saw me again, he went off on a “CooooLOW-Raaaadooooo”-riff; complete with one of those funky hand shakes that I have never quite understood. I was also shunted between two guys, one of whom was in theory interested in me (and he was cute), and the other who was straight and trying to help his friend. However it wasn’t really clear and… well, I got confused, bored, and wandered on.

One of the dominate themes of Think Pink were the cameras and everybody (save for me) was doing their best to get photographed—and quite frankly I think there were too many cameras—toward the end of stay one of the photographers wanted my photo—but I kept walking, insomuch as one “walks” at a disco. If you hit up their website, you can see an agonizingly (or is that “disturbingly”?) long video from each of their previous parties, as well as a plethora of photographs.

There’s a lot I could say about Think Pink, but I won’t. It, along with my day spent with a bunch of whiney expatriates (and three Germans who were willing to listen to their country be skewered) have convinced me that Dresden is my second most favorite city in Germany, just behind Leipzig. I cannot help but notice that these top two cities are firmly in East Germany’s territory—and I have no idea what that means.

However, I will note that I took a taxi from my hotel up to Think Pink, and during the 10 minute ride, I had an actual conversation with the driver in German. It wasn’t a complicated conversation, I told him I thought Dresden and Leipzig were beautiful, and when he asked me where I lived, I said I lived in Weimar. He, like any good German, said it too was a beautiful city, and I proceeded to make fun of Goethe. I think that I’ve had some kind of German breakthrough in the last week or so. I’m clearly not far enough to understand what people shout at me in clubs, but as the taxi driver on my way back to the hotel said, „Ihr Deutsch ist besser als mein Englisch.“

Oddly, I often say that, only switching the location of “Deutsch” and “Englisch.”

10 comments to A Colorado Kind of Evening

  • Hey elmada, you’ve not only got a great little write-up of your particular angle on Dresden’s late-night activities, but you got a post away while you were there! Most impressive. So maybe I should have done Saturday instead of Friday?

  • @ian: Danke. Saturday was far better than Friday–better DJs, better music, cheaper (but harder to get) beer–and dancing galore. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to reading everybody’s take on their weekend in Dresden. I have more to say.

  • How long have you lived in Germany?

    It sounds like your language skills are improving!

    Do you ever dream in German? When I lived in Mexico and began dreaming in Spanish sometimes, I knew that I was becoming a bit more acclimated to the language.

  • @cameron: I’ve been here just over 3 years–but languages and me are like oil and water–everything is a struggle. There are times I have brief dreams in german, or when i overhear conversations in English and later realize that the speakers had to be speaking German. I think i definitely know more than i realize, but making it all work is nearly impossible.

  • Reko

    Senor Adamo, Perhaps it would be helpful if you were to meet up with a monolingual German-speaking BOYFRIEND in Weimar. You could speak German all the time, when you’re not attending to other boyfriendly duties and activities.

  • @Reko: you have an odd idea of how easy it is to meet gay men in Weimar; and how easily you think I make friends…

  • Reko

    You made friends with ME!!!

  • @Reko: you’re an odd case…

  • J

    I asked you because we were talking about theme and unique restaurants that we had visited and I remembered you were from Denver.

  • @J: You too have eaten there? It is an amazing place…