Riding the Tram in Mannheim, 4-20-17

Riding the Tram in Mannheim, 4-20-17

A sweet little black girl, running around a flower bed at the parade square, her braids bouncing. She stops when she sees her mother trying to take a picture or a video, and does that cute little girl pose, half shy and half in love with herself.

I see a branch of the bank I used back in Salzburg, and feel a surge of homesickness.

Three young guys at a park bench, eating ice cream and laughing together.

A man and his short-legged dog stand in front of McDonald’s. The man is watching a woman help a little girl with her bike, the dog is intent on the door that leads to the good smells.

I hear “Servus” and “Grüß dich” and get confused about where I am.

The post-modern church with the minimalist clock.

I still haven’t made up my mind about Mannheim. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t funky in a cool way. It is, however, decidedly German.

I keep my eyes on the ground at the tram stop because it feels less intimate, I worry about making eye contact. An ant steps into a tile valley under my foot.

I had to take a picture of the Vietnamese Restaurant, which has the same name as one of my cats.

There is a castle, I’ve watched it go by while riding on the tram. It isn’t much to look at. I suppose I’ve seen too many castles, how can this dinky little thing in the middle of Mannheim compare to Neuschwanstein or Hellbrunn?

My view of the Rhein is kind of ugly, full of factory buildings belching white smoke, metal pipes and run-down buildings. Still, there’s a beautiful late afternoon sun making the water shine, and the trees are vibrantly green. It’s a beautiful kind of ugly. Squinting against the bright sunlight, one of the factories almost looks like a castle.