"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Aachen (Part 2)

Aachen (17/6) (Part 2)

Passion altar, 1515/20. The piece from which the Master of Aachen Altars got his designation.

Book cover. From the Upper Rhine area, 1170/80. Ivory plates Byzantine, late 10th century

Pope Gregory's Mass, 1525
This myth involves a skeptic about the transubstantiation witnessing a miracle

Life of the Virgin, 1485. Master of Aachen Altars

3 small relics. The belt of the Virgin Mary and the belt and flagellation rope of Christ

I was feeling very tired in the Treasury. Though I'd got more or less sufficient sleep, the guide to the Treasury was very long and tiring to read. I also think I had travel fatigue. When I saw another €0,60 gelato place I went for it and was slightly more energetic after the burst of Zitrone flavour. I have no idea why people would pay €1,30 for a pre-packed Cornetto cone when they could get a better gelato at less than half the price.

I thought I'd never see these (Malaysian Mannikins) in Europe outside of places like Greece. This shop smelled of and sold Indian incense, but the salesgirl inside was a German brunette.

The WWF was promoting something in one square, and they had a stuffed panda on a seat.

I had been considering going for a soak in the famous hot springs (€9,50/2 hours), but I hadn't brought swimming trunks to Europe. Besides, it'd be boring and not fun going alone. So I then took a very overcrowded bus to Kornelimunster

Kornelimunster - before the square

As you can see, it is indeed a historic town

The fair was very crowded and there were lots of things.

There was a caravan with an insect circus. Oddly enough, everything was in English - it was probably hauled over from England.

The Peaple(s)

The Grand Finale. I'd never seen an insect/flea circus before. I suspect they're all like this, bah.

I wandered around the fair and discovered that it was huge, but it was mostly normal fair stuff - food, bric-a-brac, games and rides. Somehow from how it'd been billed ("Historischer jahrmarkt": "Roncalli’s Historical Fair... travelling entertainers, fortune-tellers and carousels to arts and crafts and precious antiques"), I was expecting jugglers, jesters and jousts. Then I saw this:

Mystic tent
This was what I'd come to see

Falcon woman. Yes. *This* was what I'd come to see.

Snake woman (yes, I touched it)

Falcon. At first I typed 'Eagle'

There was a fire truck at the scene, but the firemen were also doing business on the side by selling their stickers for €1 each.

At the fair they were selling frites in cones and eaten with forked sticks. The mayo looked like Dutch mayo also. Ah, the benefits of being close to the border. I was hungry so I ordered a portion of frites with curry. I got Dutch curry rather than the awful German stuff, but it was hot and so was awful and the taste was spoiled (they spooned it from a vat placed above a heat source beside another sauce, and it was used for the currywurst also). Also, the fries were the worst Dutch fries I'd ever had, being a bit stale - I saw they didn't have the pile of post-first fry fries, but poured frozen ones straight into the fryer. Tsk. Shortcuts don't work!

This must be the most expensive toilet in the world.
I saw this sign on the toilet wall and was suspicious, so I asked the man what "Schwänzchen" meant. He pointed to his unmentionables (Babelfish/some other site translate it is "tail"). I then remarked that it must be the most expensive toilet in the world (at least for big business), and he said "you can lie". I would've left €0,10 but had no change so I left €0,30 €0,20.

I saw a man at a stall with a turban and a beard. At first I thought it was part of the historical part of the fair, then I saw he was Indian, and there was a woman in a tudung beside him.

There was another trailer with a mouse town inside, so I paid €2 to have a look.

The smell was unbelievable.

It's a model Dutch town (supposed to be Amsterdam but it looks nothing like it) - they have a slagerij, patat shop and windmill. Perhaps it's a snide jibe. But they got sloppy - there's an "eis" stand. Tsk (it's "ijs").

The inhabitants of Mouse Town, "Alt-Amsterdam". There're 900 mice inside. I wonder what happens if they escape.

Dog in between a woman's legs

Dog in between a woman's legs. I like the tongue lapping.

Looking at this, I feel my food is poisoned.

Quiet spot before the fair

Backerei (Old-fashioned?)
The stuff looked really good so I had one for €3

On a sour dough base is laid sour cream, onions, bacon and cheese. Excellent.

[Addendum: This was Tarte flambée / Flammkuchen, an Alsatian speciality]

I hope this evil-looking doll isn't cursed.

Water was retailing at one place for the same price as a soft drink - €1,50 for 200ml. Wth.

I am reminded of the "artist" who put his chainsaw to styroform and cast bronze monstrosities to be placed along Orchard Road. At least this guy makes recognisable shapes.

Man skinning and selling fish.

Fortune teller
I didn't want to disturb her or she'd rub her ball and send wraiths at me

At the bus stop, I accidentally made a foot print on this lady's skirt. After finding out that I couldn't speak German, she said "When you're in Germany, you should speak German". Bah. I should put her in the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece and tell her to speak all those country's languages.

When I got back to Aachen, there were these ecstatic blacks driving through the streets and waving flags (with many of them leaning out of the cars or sitting on the windows). They were shouting and blaring their horns. Meanwhile the white people on the sidewalk clapped for them. This can be called racial harmony, but in some countries, people would call this a racial riot.

If you look to the top left of the black streak on the window you'll see an orange smudge. A short while before this, it was hurtling through the sky, leaving a long tail in its wake. I'm not sure if it was a shooting star or some such, but it seemed to be moving too fast (and burning up) for a controlled re-entry. Then again, around the time of the photo it'd slowed down, explaining the much shorter tail.

Deutsche Bahn is so cute. On the LCD in the train there was a representation of the train line, with the stations marked out at intervals together with the expected arrival times listed beside the station. As the train approached the station, the icon representing the train on the LCD would likewise approach the station.

I was looking out the window, and have on previous occasions, trying to see if I could tell where the border between Germany and the Netherlands was. I couldn't tell - only the different flags or road signs glimpsed form the train afforded me a clue as to which country I was in. One day I want to try walking across the border, or any Schengen border.

On the way back I saw this guy on the train who was very cunning. He hid in the toilet when the conductor came to check, but when the train reached the station, the conductor had to exit the train to coordinate the leaving (making sure no one was getting up/off the train and blowing the whistle) and he came out and went past her. When the train moved off, she went down the aisle checking tickets again, passing the toilet. After she'd passed the toilet, the man came up from behind again and entered the toilet. These Europeans have fare evasion down to an art!
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