I just remembered that I wanted to post a lot more on daily life and experiences…. well, I haven’t done a post like that in months! But I do have some interesting things I experienced since.
I never mentioned it, but we took a shopping trip to Frankfurt a while ago (in January). I didn’t think it was that interesting but I keep remembering how different life was there.
We only went for a day and by no means I have seen much of the city, but I’m sure I saw two of the most interesting things! One being the Konstablerwache, somewhat of a market place in the city center, and second the red light district (during day time).
Avoiding Konstaplerwache is impossible if you’re in Frankfurt for shopping as it connects the main shopping streets (since there are no malls). However, it’s not exactly a nice place. Don’t get me wrong, it looks nice! But I was warned not to speak to anyone there, and not to get into a conversation if I’m spoken to. To be very friendly but distant. To avoid eye contact with the “weird” people. I thought this was a little over the top. After all, how bad can it be when it’s the hot spot for city life? But now I understand why this has been said to me.
On the square as well as around it, you see “weird” people. They aren’t weird by nature but by behaviour. They’re standing around, smoking, looking at people, checking them out. Trying to find someone looking for eye contact. Konstablerwache is the city’s hot spot to buy drugs.
At first I didn’t see them. Until I noticed a guy standing about 10 feet away from me. He was looking at Daniel – apparently, most of the time it’s men buying drugs. I kind of stared at him, which caused him to look at me. He gave me a short nod of head, kind of asking “What can I do for you?” with that movement. I realized that I must look very… strange to him. Wanting something. This short nod scared me so much that I immediately gave a panicked shake of head and turned away. However I have to say: I was not approached by anyone, I was left in piece and to my own surprise, I still felt very safe. There were A LOT of normal people just walking around shopping, so I guess as long as you don’t actually get involved with any of those weird people, you’re safe.
We had to go through the red light district in order to reach the train station. I was told what to expect before hand. prostitution is legal here, hence in certain districts, you’ll find prostitutes roaming around freely, doing business. I still expected it to be kind of hidden and not as obvious as it really was. Seriously, the entire district is plastered with brothels, sex shops, food corners and something called “wank cabins” (figure that out yourself!). I thought people would be very rude and dirty there, all on drugs and criminal, but they weren’t. I saw a transvestite in a window shop (probably selling himself) who gave me a friendly nod and a wink when I stared. I saw friendly women, business men in suits, students on bikes, people walking dogs, a hot dog stand with younger girls getting food. I saw a young prostitute (at least I guess she was one) entering a house with an older man. It said “Hour hotel” on the door. And I saw that “red light district” is not just a name, it’s literal. There are red lights everywhere!
Everything was very strange to me. A bit like my parents described these places would be, but not exactly. I didn’t think you could walk through that kind of places without getting robbed or killed. It was such a different world. I guess that’s the world you live in when you don’t belong to some sheltered group of religious freaks. These are just the things that happen in the real world. Obviously I would never go there at night or alone, but after my initial problems with it I’m glad I got to see this ‘other side’.
I don’t think prostitutes are the way they’re sometimes made out to be. I think it’s something you have to accept at some point. They’re doing a very hard job, some just got into it at some point, others are forced, others again do it because they genuinely like their job. I hate to see when people talk bad about them, using terms like “sluts” and “whores” and whatnot. It’s not like cheating on your spouse will magically disappear when there’s no prostitutes. It’s done everywhere, even in the fundamentalist circles. I honestly do believe there would be a lot more sexual violence if not for the women who work there. I think I’ve even read a study on it.
Anyways, I’m not trying to make it look good or anything. I’m just saying there should be more respect for what they do. At the end of the day they’re still people, not objects. Nobody should be treated like an object, even if she sells her body.