Sunday, June 08, 2003

More of the weekend blog.

June 6, 1983.

...We met two fellows at the hostel [in Hannover, West Germany]. One, a German who travels from hostel to hostel in the summer, or on his vacation, or something, to talk about Jesus to foreigners; and the other, a New Zealander who bums around the world -- "professional traveler" he calls himself.

Willi, the German, has a big forehead and thinning blond hair, though I don't think he's much older than I am. [I was 22 then.] His English is pretty good. His conversations start off on some point of language -- "I have a question about a word, please," -- and always turn to Jesus before long. Willi is not much of a listener, except when he wants to learn a new word.

Then there's Paul, from New Zealand, who's considerably older than me. No religion about him, that I can see. He talks all the time about the many places he's been, and he sings and even dances a little, and otherwise generally calls attention to himself. He travels as cheaply as possible, has friends everywhere, and so forth -- he's not much of a listener, either.

Later in the day, we [I think that means Rich, Steve, Paul, Willi and I, but I've forgotten for sure] took a walk around suburban Hannover, had a beer, and wandered into an undeveloped area, coming across a Nazi-era manmade lake (1936 according to a sign; must have been a public work). Speaking of such things, the running joke at the hostel about the men's showers there -- which are in a large square room, and have only one entrance -- well, never mind. It's in bad taste.

June 7, 1983.

Willi and Paul got into an argument over religion at breakfast. Paul baited Willi, actually -- beginning by remarking to Willi, "Look at all that temptation walking around," referring to some of the girls at breakfast. "I am beyond that," said Willi, and Paul mocked him roundly for that.

Willi: You must have Jesus.

Paul: Why would God allow World War One, Two, etc.?

Willi: Men did those things.

Paul: Religion is a manmade thing.

The statements flew fast and thick, very standard religion vs. irreligion. At least it didn't come to blows.

Postscript, 2003: Unlike some other things I've written down, I remember those two characters well. Especially the way Willi said "Bible," which he said often: bib-el, short i, so the first syllable sounded like what you wear when you eat lobster.


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