Australian girl goes to Hamburg to hang out, and finds that fate brought her there for a reason. The story of girl finds camera. Or camera finds girl. In any case, a true love is born.
I’d never been to Hamburg before.
At the time, there was no particular rhyme or reason for my visit. Sure, I had friends that lived there and it was in Germany, a country who’s people, traditions, and landscape had carved a little mark of respect in my heart, but I didn’t know much about the city at all. In fact, that was an understatement — I didn’t know anything at all.
It was only upon my arrival that I learned it was where commerce and media moguls resided in their mansions built from the profits of shipping and mass communication , and it’s red light district rivaled heavily with Amsterdam’s in sheer size and density.
The Saturday morning of my weekend visit, my friends told me that they were taking me to the Schanzenfest in the St. Pauli neighborhood which happened to be on that day.
Part illegal street party, part anarchist demonstration, Schanzenfest was notorious for literally running riot when the sun goes down, as barricades of police battle throngs of people that come from all over the country to rage against the machine.
Needless to say, I was not at Schanzenfest to partake in any destructive activities or smash any systems, German or otherwise. I wanted to meander amongst the neighborhood in the safety of daylight and check out the markets, indulge in some food and drink beer.
The atmosphere at the market was typical of any market – crowded, festive, social. After only a 50 metre stroll down the main street of Schanzestrasse, I peered lazily at a table that had random second hand wares.
It was amongst a crusty toaster and an old Cher CD that I saw it. I did a double-take: surely, what my eyes were seeing could not be real??
I casually picked it up, and without trying to look like a five-year-old that had been handed a box of Lego as large as my head, I looked at the stall holder.
“Does it work?” I asked trying to channel an air of nonchalance.
The tall German lady looked at me curiously, before looking at my friend blankly.
My friend Inga looked back at me like with her face screwed up in confusion before translating my question to her.
As she asked the vendor, I scanned the table and spotted something that made my heart skip a beat – the instruction manual.
“She doesn’t know — it might work but if you want it, it’s yours for five euros.”
I didn’t even look up from reading the manual, where I traced my finger over the back page with the stamp, and the model, year and serial number written hastily in blue ink. A certified 1996 compact Lomo LC-A camera.
I wanted it.
I paid the amused lady and grabbed Inga’s arm and hauled her off in excitement.
“You don’t even know what this is – I’ve wanted one of these for years!”
Inga looked at me.
“It just looks like a camera to me. An old one. That still takes film!”
Yes indeed. Yes, it was. And it was all mine.
Straight after that visit to Hamburg, I made my way on a holiday with friends to Rome and Barcelona where I brought the new prized possession of my existence with me, in hopes that it would was in working order and would turn my life upside down with joy.
It was. It did.