I arrived in Hamburg today for the CDF F2F, and walked around town a bit. A nice sunny day, and nowhere near as stiflingly hot as Japan. I’d asked the advice of the hotel clerk on where to eat, and she directed me to the non-tourist section of town nearby. As I looked for a veggie-friendly restaurant, I took in the local color… kebab restaurant, fruit stand, sex shop, muslim garment shop, pastry shop, gay bookstore, peepshow kino, church, sex shop, grocery, couple of prostitutes, bar, poster advertising an “orgie”… wait, what the f… er, heck is going here? This is just a normal section of town, but it’s awash with sex… turns out, a little googling later, that Hamburg is like the Las Vegas or Amsterdam of Germany. And I wasn’t even in the red light district of St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn!
On the way back to my hotel, a strange game caught my eye from the window of a cafe. Four guys with racks of chips like little playing cards were turning and tossing and clicking them. I stopped by to look and they motioned me to sit in the wide windowsill of the Turkish tea room, and half explained the game as they played, buying me a cup of tea. When I tried to reciprocate, the barista wouldn’t let me, waving me off with a smile. Friendly folks.