What happens when a girl raised in the conservative thresholds of the Mormon church encounters one of the most risqué districts in all of Germany.
All innocence is lost.
My friend warns me as we begin to approach Hamburg’s Reeperbahn (Red Light District) that all women wearing fanny packs are in fact prostitutes and to my surprise there are dozens of young women sporting the out of date 80’s staple. I am surprised at how many there are and they don’t just make cat calls to the men on the sidewalk and across the street in German but also in English “Ooooo, don’t be so shy, come here baby!” Most men glance in their direction but give no real attention to their calls for company that evening.
Soon we approach an ally way which I am informed is only for men of age, women and children are not allowed and even though it is a public street if you dared to pass through these red doors you can expect name calling and buckets of water to be thrown your way. Past these doors are women, clothed or unclothed I’ll never know, dancing in windows with what I can only presume are decorated in notorious red colored lights. Being from a country where prostitution isn’t legal (except for a few counties in Nevada) I wonder how many of these men really pursue physical affections from these women and what benefits are to be had from its availability. It feels odd not to be acknowledged by the men or the women, not that I make it a habit of wishing for such attentions but it is noteworthy that unless you are selling or buying physical affection you need only continue on your way, so we did.
My friend informs me that no trip is complete without 1: a shot called the “Mexican” a delicious shot similar to that of a bloody mary from what appears to be a complete and total dive bar by the name of Lucky Star.
2: A trip to a sex shop. Yep, little did I know that during my first week in Europe and as an expat I’d be visiting a sex shop!
We make our way to the more classy appearing shops known as the “Erotica Boutique Bizarre” and bizarre it was! I won’t go into details but let’s just say that I learned a lot about peoples varying sexual desires and I pride myself on not having a single clue to what some of the items were. I made a half hazard comment to my friend about what a terrible marketing and sales department this store had because I needed a picture or instruction manual for at least half of what we saw and none were available. I suppose I really owe them a thank you for that!
It is also worthy to note that just as I stepped back to take a photo of the boutique that claimed my innocence a couple (easily old enough to be my parents) walked up to the window, started discussing in a language I didn’t know and then promptly walked inside.
Will Hamburg’s Reeperbahn make it on your list of places to visit?
I am currently backpacking through Europe without an itinerary or schedule for optimized flexibility, to keep up to date on where I am right now be sure to join the travels on facebook & twitter and as always if you’re in the area and interested in meeting up or have any questions about traveling or expat life leave them in the comments or give me a shout!