Monday, May 06, 2013


The clock in the photo below showed the exact time I checked out of my hotel as police started cordoning the Theaterplatz area in Bad Godesberg, the left wheel of my overloaded luggage busting off as police let me off their barricade into an undecided moment whether to take the slow underground train to Cologne or the faster regional train, seeing my first neo-Nazis gathering in a park as I made way to the regional train station, and smelling them up close and personal as I get up the train while they get out.

[The polizei is seldom visible on the street and I have never seen so many of them in Bonn and in serious deep green uniforms too!]

[My first option was actually to stay around and satisfy my curiosity on how neo-Nazis look like, maybe take some photos, until my Greenpeace colleague whose hotel is right in the line of fire decided that the best way is to take off, which I did in deference to my Oxfam sponsors who I'm sure want me to do the same].

I have plenty of time to kill in Cologne.

But I thought I've seen it all so maybe I'll just get a closer look of some of the famous 12 Romanesque churches starting with St. Andreas' near the train station where a bum-doubling-as-usher-for-tips told me to come back after an hour because a mass is going on (that's my camera exposing me which I have to tote like a tourist since the strap of my pseudo-camera bag snapped several days ago), to Great St. Martin's which is unfortunately closed for the hour even as the zipper of my pants joined my busted list while I desperately searched for a place to pee, and then to the Cologne Cathedral which I finally got to shoot with the right camera.

[I first heard about the neo-Nazi action from a UN security officer advising who I thought was a diplomat to avoid the Bad Godesberg area].

[Ate Linda while driving us to a Birkenstock shopping spree told of how the neo-Nazis crashed a Muslim demonstration in an Arabic school which resulted the wounding of several police officers.]

What's new are the 40,000 or so love locks in the Hohenzollern Bridge and an unknown church along the other side of the Rhine which waved to me as I desperately searched for the Chocolate Factory.

[Lando while driving us to the annual "Rhine in Flames" rites said that the UN has issued a high security alert status on the Bad Godesberg event, which means that there is a high probability of violence erupting.]

Tired and wafting of putrid urine from an unrelieved bladder and a 3-day old replacement trouser, I settled for a lunch of pork Schnitzel and a glass of beer which is the cheapest I can find in the menu, retrieved my luggage-with-the-busted wheel crammed with cheese and sausages and my jeans with the busted zipper and the camera bag with the busted strap, and took the Platform 10 S13 train to the airport.

[Except for a bottle of water thrown at the neo-Nazis aka NRW by counter-protesters, no other adrenaline rushing incident occurred at the Bad Godesberg demonstration. I should have stayed.] 

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