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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26

Time - so far away
I have been ranting about time on this blog before, but it seems the topic is still occupying my mind. Time seems to have a strong influence on our world as we know it.

I grew up in a Germany which was just recuperating from a terrible war. But people were full of hope for a new future and everybody wanted to forget the war. In my part of the country the British Allies were still ruling public life. The first German-made cars after the war re-appeared in the streets. Some of them were made of pressed and varnished cardboard! Some of them came along on three wheels, like a trike. Every couple of weeks a guy stopped in our street with a three-wheeled pickup shouting loudly RAGS (Lumpen). 

We could bring him almost anything. He knew how to recycle, but his private enterprise was soon forgotten as society took a full dive into the glitzy world of unstoppable consume in the 60's.
Money became more abundant, people bought new cars, and TV-sets started to invade the homes, with the result that fewer people went to the movies or met with their neighbors. We started down a road which led us where we are today. When the seventies arrived, drugs had arrived as well. We heard of people dying of overdoses.

Radio stations had already changed the music-style they played. In my ears it was to the worse, but that's personal. Today I am listening to oldies from the 60's again.

I often went down to the harbour to see the fishing vessels unload flounders, herring and cod. Behind the harbour were the fish smokers. When they were busy the area would bear the unmistakable smell of the smoke and the fish. My aunt used to work in the office at one of the smoke houses. One day her boss invited us all for a tour through the facilities. In my remembrance we walked through dark, smoke-smelling corridors. There, behind steel doors, golden shimmering fish was hanging in the smoke. 
Germany, Europe, Eckernforde, Kiel sprats, Schleswig_Holstein, fish, market, Eckernfoerde, food, Europe, Northern Germ (1597-97857 / 10840568 © Prisma)
Fish (sprats) in the smoker
My parents loved fish for dinner or in the evening with a slice of dark bread. In those days fish was cheap, because there was so much of it. The fishing fleet in town was at least 15-20 vessels.
Instead of fishing nets we see the many masts of Twohundredthousand-Dollar sailboats

Time made it all disappear. And I don't even know when that happened. It all kind of disappeared over night, although I am sure it took a couple of years, but I never noticed, because I didn't pay attention to things like that.
Lighthouse at the harbour

Under my last visit in my home town I walked down to the harbour again. Yes, it is all very pretty down there, luxury yachts are moored where smelly fishing vessels used to be. The quay has changed. In an attempt to retrofit the harbour to a long-gone era, fancy cobblestone has replaced the blacktop which covered up the original stone-plaster along the harbour. There are benches too, benches for the tourists to sit down on and take in the nice view of the moored boats.   Every now and then the tourism organisation arranges a huge party at the harbour with false pirates, a fair for the kids and lots of vendors selling all kind of food. I went down there with friends and we bought a smoked eel. When I was a kid, this eel would have been smoked right there in town. Not so today. The eel came from neighboring Denmark! Well, I thought, Denmark is only 40 miles (60km) away, but then this eel cost more than a steak dinner at a restaurant. Time changed that too!

Visitors coming to my town say it is a pretty place. It might be pretty, yes, but it is not authentic anymore.
The atmosphere of reality is gone and the trouble is most people don't remember it the way it used to be. When we see places like the harbour in my home town we look at an artificially staged scene, made to please our eyes and cater to our ever increasing demand for comfort.
Some views hardly ever change -
the beach as it could have been in my childhood

Maybe that is the reason why I like to drive over to Head Harbour here on Campobello Island. I can still find authentic life  down there. Very few rich-boy looking yachts are around there, but I see the lobster boats of local fishermen with their bright colors reflecting in the dark water. And that pleases ME!

Head Harbour - Campobello Island

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