A Day in Christiania

I arrived in Copenhagen just in time to go to bed. As soon as I awoke, my girlfriend and I went to a bike rental place so we could explore the city. Of course, I was mainly interested in Freetown Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous commune. There are open-air stands selling cannabis and hashish in a part of Christiania dubbed The Green Light District. Though Christiania is centered on concepts that most Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn types would understand, The Green Light District strictly controls photography.

Strictly illegal
A sign before entering reminds everyone that what's going on inside remains illegal under Danish law, and indeed the residents have had problems with the authorities in the past. Nonetheless, there were people whipping out smart phones with no concern. I managed to photograph some of the graffitti and art, which was truly original. Sadly, I couldn't smoke so I can't comment on the quality of the goods, but it struck me as if everyone seemed satisfied. There was a concert by Reptile Youth, and they did some amazing things. The Christiania beer was like a euro at a local store just down from the main concert area, and like two euros in the main bar area.
Though a "commune," the place is run pretty smoothly, and it's truly a self-sufficient town. I saw bycicles throughout Copenhagen made by them, so they have a thriving export industry. I was told that the beer was not brewed locally, but that it was organic. Then I started bar hopping and ended up in a cool place full of people who seemed Asian. I was curious, because diversity in Copenhagen is not very visible. At first I wondered if they were from Finland, but then I asked a Dane at the Reptile Youth concert who the Asian-looking people in the smoking bar were. He told me that they were alcoholics from Greenland. Much to the dismay of my girlfriend, I figured that I had found the coolest bar in Denmark.

My girlfriend wasn't too excited about joining me in a smoke den full of Greenlandic alcoholics who were not particularly outgoing. It's fair to say that Danish people are introverted; most of them don't make much conversation, and indeed the Greenlanders were distant as well. One was super-outgoing, and he constantly and very proudly kept showing me his ticket for a Roger Moore concert. It was noon and we were all drunk, or at least I think it was noon, but the Reptile Youth concert was at night -- I think -- so take all of this as just a vague reconstruction of that day.

I do vividly remember seeing a VHS copy of Starship Troopers, and wondered if these guys were still trading VHS tapes. Apparently, yes, VHS is alive and strong. I wanted to continue interviewing those extremely different people, but my girlfriend wanted to explore more things. Nonetheless, I think that no trip to Copenhagen can be complete unless you go smoke and drink with Greenlanders at noon. 

We exited the bar and made our way around some corners, only to bump into a Latin Reggae band. The lead singer called himself Tony Silva and if I'm not mistaken the band's name is Los Karizmatikoz, a mystic spelling. I got the distinct impression that the guys love traveling and remaining cryptic. Their music made for an amazing exit to Christiania.