Here is a first hand take in great colourful Jamaican colloquial terms on one of the participants experience at the Gay Games Cologne 2010 (photos taken in and around Cologne)
"My journey started on Wednesday July 28th with my 6:10am flight from Jamaica to New York. (Dem seh mi haffi reach a di airport by 3:00am! Dem head tek dem?!?!?!? Mi neva reach ‘til 4:15am. Mid did waan sleep yah) Anyway, from New York the next leg of the journey was to Frankfurt which and then from Frankfurt via train to Cologne. (di train fast yuh si! 250+
kilometers per hour dem seh.)
Of interest though was the fact that my luggage mysteriously disappeared on route, so I left Frankfurt with only stuff in my carry-on bag. I was told that someone would pick me up at the train station and then I was to go directly to the accreditation center.
Unfortunately, di people dem neva memba mi at all! Bwoy, soh life guh. Anyhow, when I eventually got to the accreditation center they weren’t ready for anyone as I arrived at 9:30 and they weren’t scheduled to be opened before midday at the earliest. (So weh di heck dem tell mi fig oh deh fah so early den eeh? SMDH!) After a long wait and getting bored, I decided to assist them in getting the place ready. At the appointed time I was registered etc and then I bummed a lift from one of the volunteers to take me to the place that I was supposed to be staying at.
Went inside the ceramics store downstairs as instructed in the email, got the keys and then proceeded to climb the umpteen stairs up to the fifth floor where I was staying. (wid mi totally rotten knee dem)
After settling in, I proceeded to take a nap and then was awoken by our hosts as they weren’t there when I first arrived. They introduced themselves then invited me downstairs to the living room to hang out with them, awaiting my friends arrival. (By this time mi did fid eh a di people dem choir practice but mi did tiad yah man. Plus mi luggage neva reach yet and mi did waan bathe etc) During this time we were also awaiting my luggage as the airline promised to get it to me asap. Fortunately it arrived at about 9:30pm that night. After this, both ladies asked me to go with them to find my friend as she hadn’t yet arrived and they were worried that she may have been lost. (Mi knee dem di a kill mi but dem bad mi up so mi goh wid dem.) Truth be told it made
sense for me to go as they didn’t have any idea what she looked like. We walked to the under ground train station and waited for about 40 – 45 minutes before she eventually arrived.
The following day (Thursday) I went to choir practice for most of the day. Actually it started at
9:00am but I didn’t get there until about midday and it continued until 10:30pm. My sojourn into being lost in around the various train stations began that night. (Memba mi tell yuh, if there was a way for me to get lost, I DID! SMDH!). From the train station at Rudolphplatz to the home should take about 3 – 5 minutes. That night it took me 45 minutes! Mi seh, mi lost ‘til it look a way. Mi walk inna circles ‘til mi get frustrated. The road that I was staying on was Erenstrasse, but there was another close by named Ebenstrasse. I couldn’t remember which was which, so I walked in circles for a while, doing all over the place. Eventually I got home at about 11:30pm, bex out hell! LOL! Fool mi fool.
For the remainder of the week, I had choir practice until the day of the opening ceremony which was Saturday August 1 at FC Cologne Stadium. I participated in the parade of countries with my friend, and then after walking in with our Jamaica sign, I left her to join up with the choir to perform.
I felt proud that out small nation was represented despite the problems of homophobia.
After the performance, I left as my knees were in pretty bad shape and I ended up having to elevate and ice them for a few hours. I didn’t leave the house the following day, but on the Monday I went to Neumarkt where I purchased a knee brace and then went walk-about and train hopping for a few hours. Daily, I would routinely go out to explore the sites and sounds of each train stop along the way from the Junkersdorf in the east to Rheinenergie Stadion, Universitatstrasse all the way to Messe Deutz to the north west and Zulpicher to South. I indulged at a couple of the ice-cream stores, had brunch at the 4 Cani della Città
café, lunch a few times at McDonalds and dinner at the Pizzeria down the road. Additionally I visited the gay villages at both
Rudolphplatz and Neumarkt. There was a women’s place at Neumarkt, where I hung out as well and had cappuccinos and flirted or just read. I walked on the “Walk of Fame” (with a red carpet and hugelounging cushions no less) which was close to where we stayed and was mainly for the gay boys but was still an option for a few of the ladies. (I basically used it as a short cut to get to the Supermarket)
This was the pattern for the remainder of my time there apart from two occasions. The first was when my colleague and I attended a special meeting for all scholarship recipients on Saturday August 7 and the second was when one of our hostesses took us on a tour of Heumarkt. While there we went walk-about and saw several historical sites as well as visited the Ludwig museum, which was showing many different pieces of expressionist art.
Exhibitions included pieces by Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein and paintings of Australian Aborigines among many others.
(Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside but I was able to snap two on the outside). We visited the Hohe Domkirche St. Peter and Mary Gothic Cathedral (known to the layman as the Dom Cathedral) for which construction began in 1248 and finished in 1880.
An interesting point is that it is actually a working cathedral which hosts masses on a weekly
basis. I had the opportunity to take the attached photos of some of its contents as well as outside shots.
The following day was Monday August 9 and my train left Cologne at 6:00am for Frankfurt, from there I flew to Miami (backside 9½ hour flight!) and then next here to Jamaica."
It was a wonderful experience for us as we really felt good representing our island there and the reception was wonderful towards us being there.