I catch a cab at Bonn Airport and shoot across the Hohenzollern bridge on route to city center. The Cologne Cathedral's gothic spires hover in the distance as the great Rhine rushes beneath. Coasting through the narrow stone streets my taxi pulls to a stop at the foot of the Dom Hotel. The building is aged, but beautiful, like much of the architecture in this section of Germany. An enchanting mix of war battered brick and modern steel, somehow coexisting in architectural symbiosis. The room is modest, with a single bed pressed against one wall and a small bathroom on the other. Abandoning my luggage I stop for dinner at a Persian Restaurant where a young waiter lights up at the mere mention of American music and recommends a night club three blocks down. The upturned collar of my black quarter trench fends off the chill, as a brisk January breeze pushes at my back. Inside Das Ding Jay-Z blares through the speakers and guys in skin tight jean jackets and
"F U America" pins, dance and scream, "Get - That - Dirt of your shoulders!" A pretty girl in an "I (heart) Debbie Gibson" tee shirt tells me that,"All Americans are arrogant and stupid," which I find ironic and immediately regret buying her a drink. Stepping onto the street I narrowly avoid being hit by a passing cyclist, accidently bumping into a crowd of students waiting to go inside. Fumbling through a mental rolodex of foreign pleasantries, "Excuse me, " is somehow all I can muster. "You're American! We love Americans!" Stunned, I was pretty sure they wanted my liver, but at this point I hardly care. I spend the night with them at a house party on the other side of the city, where I meet a girl with loose blonde hair and blue eyes. David Hasselhoff clips play on loop in the living room as we sit on the floor talking about Los Angeles and New York. She had seen the Empire State Building when she was five, but hadn't been back since. As the sun began
to creep through the window, I kissed her goodnight and slipped out the door onto the street. I stop by the hotel and grab my luggage before catching a train to Berlin. As I leave the city, with the smells of the evening stuck to my jacket, it occurs to me that David Hasselhoff was awesome on Baywatch.