i’ve been tramping around Munich like a failed artist, resplendent in my tweed & destitution. It’s the first nice city i’ve lived in since 2011, the first i can imagine as a kind of home, at least for a few years. It is, i believe, Germany’s most expensive city – i pay (with electricity etc.) about 400 €/month for a basement room in a house full of clutter and mice, garden full of crazed dogs and kangaroos and cats and yet more clutter, for which one could rent a good-sized studio flat in a good area of Ultima Thule.

It is the antithesis of Ultima Thule, the city where everyone knew everyone else, and everyone’s grandparents had been born within 500 metres of their descendants: whereas the UT locals stare at anyone different, and fail to understand non-UT German, the Münchners accept that most people are either tourists, have drifted Munichwards from other cities or countries, or are hip or eccentric or at least not identical to everyone else. i excite no curiosity here; i am just one of many oddbods.

Very little graffiti. Ultima Thule and Kiel were infested with graffiti, of cancerous intensity – a building was renovated, painted a nice canary yellow, and defaced within 48 hours; repainted, it was defaced again within hours.

Another difference – the women in Munich dress well, with ass-hugging jeans. After 18 months in Kiel and Ultima Thule, where one could only guess at a woman’s buttocks, under baggy, functional garb, this is most welcome. They are also unperturbed by my gaze, whereas in UT and Kiel attention excited only alarm or confusion. The women here at beautiful – not any more so than the beautiful women in UT & Kiel, but whereas in UT/Kiel, the honeys were a minority (perhaps 5%), here they are the norm. It is ugly or even plain women who seem exceptional, here.

It is an almost Italian city, in that the languages i hear most are German, English, and Italian. A beggar even started talking to me in Italian in the Hauptbahnhof, and i got my money’s worth out of him by practicing my spaghettisprach before paying for his ticket (i normally spurn beggars, especially when i’m earning 1/4 of what i need to survive, but for some reason i warmed to him).

There is an easy grandeur here. Kiel and UT were small, mean little towns; this is in every sense large. Walking through the streets, past the rich folk and their rich boutiques, under great buildings, i feel a little too small, insignificant, as if i must earn 100 times my pittance, to fit here. Like a coat a couple of sizes too big. And yet there is an “almost” feeling, as if i need only grow into the place.

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