Friday, April 13, 2012

Eine Seemannshochzeit

1970's Naval Wedding in nearby Kiel

Today I went to the female doctor.  No, I don't mean the female doctor as some kind of euphemism--I just mean the doctor who happened to be a female.  I say this because the German word for doctor specifies that you have to say whether it is a doctor who happens to be a woman or a doctor who happens to be a man.  Which makes me think about how fun talking about gynecologists or andrologists must be here:  It's a Female Male Doctor, it's a Male Female Doctor.

Aaaaanyway, I went to the doctor today with Paul as uebersetzer (translator).  Stuff dealing with my ears and sinuses and junk blah blah blah.  Can I just say that I was very impressed with the system.  But that's a different story.

Like I was saying, today I went to the doctor and on the way home we walked by the Rathaus (town hall) where there was a gaggle of full-dress-uniformed naval officers holding long boat oars at attention.  After a bit of eavesdropping, we found out that it was a "Seemannhochzeit"--a sailor's wedding.

Well, Paul had to get to work, but I hung around to see what sort of things might accompany such a set-up.  There were the requisite photographers, the requisite glasses of champagne at the ready.  One officer was walking around carrying what looked like a rolled-up red and white flag with a bunch of anchor-shaped dangly knit-wear hanging off the ends.

"This has to be something cool," thought I.

And, right at 11:30am, out came the couple and their family, through the oar-archway, and then, at the end of the walk, two officers held the rolled-up flag thing, blocking the way.  Then the fun began.

A jolly, tall, teddy-bearish officer started talking loudly (being nice so all the curious folks huddled around could hear what was going on--even though we all were nerdily trying to act like we just happened to be standing there for some other, totally-not-out-of-curiosity reason).  The jolly sailor yell-talked about how, unfortunately, the honor of the navy demanded that the groom had to prove himself by breaking through the "rope" before he could leave with his bride.  She totally just walked off to get a glass of champagne and talk to her mom, leaving the poor sailor to stare at the super-thick thing in his way.

"If the honorable groom has a little...donation...we can offer him something to perhaps help him with his task!" shout-hinted the jolly sailor.

The groom reluctantly pulled out his wallet and dug out a 50 cent piece for the sailor.

Which got him as far as a plastic picnic knife.

Well, that wasn't going to do anything.  So, then he "donated" a 5 euro bill.  Which got him a bread knife.

Again...not so far.

Then a 10 euro note -- a machete.

20 euro -- a small, tiny saw.

50 euro -- a slightly larger saw.

He was doing pretty good for a while there...then...clink!


CLINK CLINK CLINK went the saw.  And the groom made an audible, "Huh?" noise.

Turns out that somehow his officer friends had figured out a way to stick a steel rod inside the rope.  Hah!  They were all very amused--none more so than teddy-sailor-man.

After a good run of "I have no idea what this is, but I guess you'll need another saw" teasing the groom finally pulled out a 100 euro bill...("huzzah for the drinking money!" from the sailors) and was given a huge rod-cutter.

A few more chops and finally, made it through!

Big whoops!   Handshakes all around!  Pictures and man-hugs!

Then they were whisked off in a black Audi with a flower arrangement on the hood.

And, from all I can find, this is unique to Northern Germany.  Glad you could be a part of it with me today.

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