Dateline: 11.25 19 Aug 1996
Location: Christiania Free State (Denmark, Copenhagen)
Since our last episode: our intrepid hero took
a couchette from Stockholm to Copenhagen, spending the night in the company
of an elderly couple of WWF promoters and a very quiet unrelated girl.
Wow. Where to start? At the beginning,
Christiania Free State looked like just a politician's description of the
horrors of anarchy: grimy, graffiti-covered buildings, lots littered with
garbage, strange and mostly unpleasant smells including a certain weed...
shops selling expensive crap to tourists, shocking little old ladies with
cannabis-leaf insignia... if they even recognized them, which I doubt.
You could almost imagine how at night each corner would have some wreck
of a junk addict moaning quietly as gunfire peppered the walls around him.
But once the veneer of capitalism started to fade as one moved onwards,
the real Christiania started to emerge as well. It turns out the plastic
junk and random (as opposed to pretty) spraypaints were left by tourists,
whereas real Christianites recycle and clean up dutifully. Almost no cars,
relaxed people and plants, plants everywhere. Further down it looked like
a village of summer cottages, never checked by zoning inspectors with each
building entirely unique and the plantlife running haywire.
One of the numerous things that astonished me is the
green tunnels formed by vegetation. Bushes, trees, vines, weeds all grown
together to create a jungle-like canopy over the well-trodden paths on
the coastline of Christiania.
Fuck the goddamn budget. Not every city has Christiania
and I'll gladly pay 40kr extra to get fresh fish'n'chips instead of the
usual bread'n'crap. And I really did need that tie-dye T-shirt...
assuming I'll ever have need for any non-white clothing in this weather,
The hash street was a depressing sight. A row of ugly
little stalls, partially staffed by people sellin crumbly brown bricks
off plastic plates. Hand-scrawled price tags indicated the obvious benefits
of legalization - less than one quarter of Helsinki street prices! - but
also the undefined status of the free state in a state, as selling and
possessing hashish remains a crime in Denmark. Probably in a bow to the
authorities, Christiania is liberally splattered with posters, stickers
and general propaganda against hard drugs, invariably depicted with a broken
needle. Given the number of stoned and/or tripping people chilling out
in the parks and along the coastline, psychedelics are evidently not in
this category. Can the totalitarian system of "representative democracy"
tolerate an enclave of happy anarchy in its capital? There are not many
countries in this world that would, but hopefully Denmark is one of them.
The day's budget
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