On one of my trips to Europe, we set up for a week at the Tollwood Festival. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! My first exposure to co-ed bathrooms. Very strange to enter a stall and see size 15 cowboy boots next door facing the other way… ha. That’s IF THEY USED A STALL. You had to walk past the urinals to get to a stall. A shocker for a small town girl from Oklahoma. No big deal to Europeans.
We had a group of dancers and drummers from the Pine Ridge Reservation who ‘packed the house’ with every show! They lined up for blocks to see them. It was incredible. We set up a booth and were quite busy all week. We had folks come from all over to see us and when we left Munich for the remainder of our tour, many of them followed us from stop to stop, like rock stars. Crazy!
We stayed with host families. Our “family” was Linda & her boyfriend (his name slips my memory). They were very kind to us. It was quite an experience to see how very different they live. Conservation was most important… showers were quick! Turn water on… get wet… turn water off. Soap up… turn water on… rinse off quickly… turn water off! They used a washer that could maybe hold a pair of jeans and a shirt or two. It was also the dryer! Couldn’t figure that one out…. They were vegetarians… and we AREN’T! We thought we were going to starve to death! I have never in my life ate so many nuts and berries. We asked her for meat, so she went to the store and bought sausage. The next morning we went to the breakfast table and saw the sausage laid out raw… with a knife for spreading. She thought you served it like pate. We had to explain that sausage had to be cooked or it could make you very sick.
They put us in the TV room. We had a nice bed in there. Only problem was… it was the TV room. Linda’s boyfriend really enjoyed TV. Every night, we would come in exhausted and collapse in the bed… with Linda’s boyfriend sitting cross-legged between us, watching his favorite programs until the wee hours of the morning. Ha. And… he kinda resembled Jesus… in short-shorts. But he was an extremely nice guy and took us wherever we needed to go! We were grateful to have his assistance throughout the week.
Another curious thing was that the concession booths had NO paper products. You would pay a deposit when you paid for your food for the real china and silverware. When you returned it all, you got your deposit back. The great thing about that was that you saw NO TRASH. Very clean grounds – very clean city. The only place we ever saw trash was in front of the Golden Arches! (They were one of the rare fast-food places that used paper products…)
There was an angry man who approached us during the show one day. He was accompanied by a huge white rat riding on his shoulder (which seemed quite a common thing). He was yelling at us in German, I assume. We had no idea what had sparked the anger and caused him to yell at us. Finally a woman talked to him and he smiled, giving us the thumbs-up as he walked away. I asked her what he was angry about and what she said to him causing him to leave. She said he was angry at the American government. She told him we were Native Americans and had troubles with the government as well. That seemed to suffice him and he left peacefully. It was a time of unrest with Iraq… with war looming. I was glad to see him walk away. It was an uncomfortable moment. Plus… I don’t like rats.
I will add more details about our experience later.
MORE ON TOLLWOOD
For three weeks, from late June unto July, the Olympia-Park terrain becomes a township of tents and stages.
Culinary delicacies from all over the world are on offer, and international music and cabaret artists perform. Numerous tents devoted to musical performances, circus shows, music hall and stage plays delight audiences. There are also many stalls selling craft items, jewelry and things from all over the world. Definitely worth a visit.
Location: the Olympia Park
Winter Tollwood takes place: 29.11. – 31.12.2006 · Theresienwiese · München
Summer Tollwood 2007 takes place: 14.6. – 8.7.2007 · Olympiapark Süd · München
Organisers: Tollwood GmbH, Tel (089) 3838500, Fax (089) 38385020
There is no entry fee, you just pay for what you buy in the way of food, drink and entertainment.