A Blonde in Copenhagen
A Blonde in CopenhagenI arrived in Copenhagen one cold December morning with the equivalent of a dollar to my name. After working on a Norwegian freighter for several months, I signed off in Alicante, Spain and made my way north stopping here and there along the way, spent a week or so in Paris living in a small room on the Left Bank where many of my favorite expatriate writers lived, walked the streets, sat in cafes then made my way to Denmark where I somehow managed to live for several months.My journey began in Brooklyn where I signed on as a galley boy. I had twenty dollars left after waiting for a ship that would take me to Europe. I had dropped out of college in my freshman year determined to be a writer and knew that to get a real education I had to experience life, be “out there” and not in the safety of the ivory tower. I wanted to be Odysseus lost at sea facing the unknown with his mind and open heart. I wanted to see, feel, taste, smell as much as I could, to meet people, hear their stories, bump into the nitty gritty, know in my gut what I could not learn in books and believe me, I did.My plan was to get off the ship in Lisbon, but two days out at sea learned that Portugal was cancelled and the first port would be Beirut, Lebanon. I thought, perhaps, I could sign off there and find a ship back to Europe but decided to stay aboard, earn some money, see the Middle East. It was extremely hot, often a hundred and ten degrees and hotter in the galley where I peeled sixty pounds of potatoes every morning, scrubbed pots and pans, scrubbed the floor after each meal and did all the dirty work, but I was glad I stayed on board.Stopping in ports in Egypt, Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait then up the Tigris River, almost to Baghdad, seeing the date fields of Iran on one side and palm trees of Iraq on the other, walking the dirt streets of Basra and many other backwater towns. Seeing people throwing out their nets to fish, watching the brown skinned dock workers loading and unloading the ship. Watching them on their knees facing Mecca to pray, handing me their tin cans with tea to get hot water, my mind taking snapshots of a way of life that hadn’t changed in two thousand years. Karachi, Pakistan was the last port before heading back to the Mediterranean. Signing off in Spain ended that part of my journey and eventually brought me to Copenhagen where Ataşehir escort bayan I met Inge, a beautiful blonde woman I will never forget.One of the things I had learned while traveling is how important it is to find a café or bar I liked and keep going there day after day and gradually becoming known. I had hoped to find a job, but first I needed a place to live. I went to a realtor to ask if there were rooms available I could rent, explained my financial situation and that I would be getting a job. Fortunately, I was able to get a room in the home of an elderly woman. She took me in with the understanding I would eventually pay her once I got a job, but then found out a visitor had to prove that he had several hundred dollars in order to be allowed to stay in the country and be eligible for working papers. I couldn’t do that because all I had was a dollar and there I was stuck, not sure what I would do.What I did, however, might appear foolish. I went to a really fancy restaurant and had a delicious steak dinner with a glass of wine. In those days, food was very inexpensive. I figured if I am going to be broke, I might as well go out with a bang and not a whimper, so I had my delicious dinner and then faced the harsh reality I was completely broke. My landlady was kind and gave me a tiny room and each morning brought me coffee, toast and jam. She often brought me tea and a snack in the evening. I had a little desk and I wrote every morning and evening, but during the day would go to the café I enjoyed, gradually got to know a lot of other travelers and had many stimulating conversations. I was never without a cup of coffee or something to eat because of the generosity of so many people. Even the waitresses got to know me and often dropped me half a sandwich or something tasty.Many times, I was cold and hungry and would go to the café to see if anyone I knew was there. When there wasn’t a familiar face, I would stand, look around and see someone finishing a meal, leaving some food on their plate. I would go to the vacated table and finish what was left before the bus person or waitress cleared the table, sometimes a few French fries, a crust of bread, a remnant of a salad. It was awkward, but I would do it as casually and as inconspicuously as possible, hoping no one would notice and usually Escort Ümraniye no one paid any attention, except one night when I noticed a young blonde woman sitting at a nearby table watching me with a smile on her lips. Our eyes met as I was putting a piece of bread with a little gravy into my mouth and was caught, red handed, as they say. Rather than try to hide what I was doing, I smiled, shrugged my shoulders and was surprised when she left her table with her cup of coffee and joined me.“I hope you don’t mind if I join you,” she said, smiling into my eyes then looked down at the now empty plate. I was struck by her deep blue eyes but I couldn’t help notice her slender body, her grapefruit sized breasts in the tight sweater, her snug jeans and the way her long straight blonde hair fell well below her shoulders.“No, I don’t mind,” I said, embarrassed, “though I admit, it’s not the best way to meet someone.”“Well, I liked watching you eat,” she said. “l never saw anyone do what you did.”“It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I was hungry and broke.”“So you’ve done this before,” she said, an amused look on her face.“Yes, it’s surprising what people leave. I could have gone for a few more French fries though.”“I’m Inge,” she said, reaching across the table to shake my hand.“Peter,” I responded, taking her hand, “Glad to meet you. Are you Danish?”“Yes, I grew up on a dairy farm not far from here. I go to the university.”“Oh yes, the university, I have eaten there. A student I know gave me some meal tickets. I lucked out because it was all you can eat,” I said.“You did luck out,” she said, then sat back. “I’m curious. You look interesting. I can see you’re American, but why are you here. Don’t Americans have a lot of money?”“Some do, but most people struggle to get by. You probably know America from Hollywood movies. Believe me it’s not really like that.”“I love American movies and also your music,” she said. “I’m a musician but I play the cello. My music is very different from rock and roll, but I love Elvis and Buddy Holly and actually sometimes, play along with the records I have.”“You play rock and roll on your cello,” I said, surprised.“Yes, I like letting go and just get into the rhythm, its fun, but very different than the music I play with the string quartet I’m in or the university orchestra.”She Bostancı escort glanced down at the book I had been carrying and placed on the table while I was sneaking the food. “Nietzsche,” she said, nodding.I glanced down at the Portable Nietzsche, a collection of all his writings, a book I had picked up on one of the docks somewhere. Often men had tables with books that I was able to trade for a pair of socks or underwear. I ended up with a suitcase full of books and very little clothes.“Yes, I’ve was just reading his “Birth of Tragedy,” I said, then opened to the page I had been reading earlier, “Listen to this,” I said, then read to her, “Truth is whatever is life-affirming; false is whatever denies or impedes growth.”“Interesting,” she said. “I didn’t expect to be getting a philosophy lesson when I saw you sneaking food, but I like that.”“Well, I didn’t expect to be caught and have you join me, so we’re even,” I said, our eyes meeting.“So, what’s your story,” she asked. She spoke perfect English but I could detect her accent and found it appealing.“I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours. You seem like an interesting person, coming over after catching me eating someone else’s food and you play rock and roll on your cello.”“Okay, but let me buy you a meal and we can chat,” she said. “You look like a hungry man,” she added, somewhat coyly and I sensed something was going on between us. I couldn’t stop looking at her deep blue eyes, the way they sparkled and though I tried, I couldn’t help glancing at the way her breasts strained her sweater.Thank you, I am a hungry man,” I said, smiling, our eyes meeting, nodding.She called the waitress over while I glanced up at the blackboard listing the food and knew I wanted more French fries and added a hot roast beef with gravy while Inge ordered a Greek salad with feta cheese.”While we were waiting, she told me she was a vegetarian.“I tried being a vegetarian but didn’t make it. I like a good steak once in a while.”“To each, his own,” she said then added, “I grew up on a farm and we ate meat, but when I was a teen decided I didn’t like the idea of eating an animal.”“I understand,” I said, “but maybe you can answer a question.”“What,” she asked, sipping her coffee, looking at me over the rim of her mug.“Well, I know that people who eat only vegetables are called vegetarians, but I can’t figure out why cannibals, who eat humans, are not called humanitarians.”She laughed and almost spat the coffee out of her mouth when I said that, “Good question,” she said, picking up a napkin to wipe her lips.When our food came, I thanked her and we both began eating, talking and our conversation flowed.