Friday, August 5, 2011

BEST: Week 4

Monday, 4 July 2011

Wanheimer Kanu-Club.  (from left: admin. building, glassed-in breakfast/lounge area, guesthouse (white buliding), new guesthouse w/ garage) NOTE: flags at right denote nationality of current guests.
After the long weekend, we somehow made it through classes and returned exhausted to the Kanu-Club.  There I learned the story of why the club has such a strict no-smoking policy.  Herr Rolf Heusner was called up to serve in the German army near the end of WWII but was promptly captured by the advancing Soviet army.  He and his fellow prisoners were actually held at Auschwitz concentration camp which the Red Army had recently liberated.   Given only meager rations, Herr Heusner would trade his cigarette rations for extra food.  He was the smart one; many of his comrades in the camp died from starvation.  As a result, he has a no-smoking policy which has been strictly enforced ever since.

For our Fourth of July celebrations Blayze, Ryan, and I ventured out to the Rewe to buy “hot dogs” for the group.  We settled on some bockwurst and dinner rolls.  The store actually carried one brand of hot “American” dog buns complete with the Statue of Liberty on the package, but the rolls we chose were cheaper and better looking.  We boiled the sausages, toasted the rolls, and sautéed some onions and peppers.  Altogether, it made for a nice dinner, completed by a selection of beers from the Trinkgut store.  Mike even attended; bringing a beer and a bottle of Tabasco sauce as a peace offering (remember, he’s British).  He did, however, jokingly advise us to remember during our celebration that our forefathers were really “a bunch of rich, white men who just didn’t want to pay taxes”.  After dinner we walked down to the canoe launch and skipped rocks on the River Rhine as the sun set.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

This afternoon I followed Ivy and Kylace around southern Duisburg while they visited several churches.  Being from Hong Kong, they were excited to see these old Western religious buildings.  Many Chinese are non-practicing Buddhists or Taoists, though Ivy told me that the running joke in China is that the “government is the religion”.  Anyway, they seldom see churches, so the two found even the small neighborhood churches in Duisburg very interesting.  I explained that in Germany one can tell the denomination of the church from the steeple decoration: ein Kreuz (cross) für eine katholische Kirche und ein Hahn (a rooster)für eine evangelische Kirche.  This led to a very quick lesson on Martin Luther and the Reformation which I´m not sure got through, but at least they understood that there was a denominational difference.

Afterwards, I wanted to cook dinner, and so with Meru and Ivy’s help I went to the Rewe and bought pasta, wine, and dessert.  Back in our kitchen at the Kanu-Club, I began to cook the tortellini and sauce while Meru made an omelet appetizer.  Clo walked in just then, and having more than enough to go around, we invited her to join us for our dinner of tortellini with a ricotta-tomato sauce, bread, Spanish olives, and a good Cabernet-Syrah blend.  We didn’t skimp on dessert either, finishing off the second apple pie from our 4th of July party along with some almond and caramel ice cream.

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