Mr. Muscato and I, for various professional reasons, pretty much have to take our big vacation around this time of year; it's also a good idea to get a little time out of the inferno back home, so that the memory of cooler weather can help one last until mid-September.
The result, however, is that for the third year in a row - and really, really, we're not trying and it actually has been in each case a fortuitous accident - we've ended up in a new city for its iteration of that annual phenomenon of modern life, the ABCGLBTQMVP Pride Parade (I can't keep up with the damn acronyms anymore).
After Paris and Amsterdam in previous years, this time around it was Berlin's turn. Of course, one of the main critiques that people who find fault with these kinds of festive events trot out is that no one ever pays any attention to the tens of thousands of ordinary Joes and Janes (or, in this case, I suppose, Wilhelms and Wilhelminas) who turn out, instead concentrating only the the broadest stereotypes of gay life.
I guess you have to count me in, 'cause I all I took was pics of beefcake:
...(And I have to say there was some pretty good eye-candy on offer, although our Berliner friends moaned about the cloudy weather, which kept far too many shirts on)...
...and drag queens. I'm loving Marlene, but her companion looks like the world's most depraved leprechaun.
I think we saw Bruno.
And I know we saw a number of haughty, disapproving mesdames (do you think that the camera and Nivea goodie-bag detracts from the look? The latter were, by the way, weirdly omnipresent - Nivea must have hired about 5,000 good-looking boys to hand out little packs full of travel-size samples - a fairly clever promotion, as the giveaways contained everything from moisturizer to deodorant, meaning that every one-night stand in Berlin last night included a handy trick bag).
In addition to the ladies, as noted, there were plenty of gentlemen...
...more than a little sheer, brazen, and very amusing bizarerie...
...and, in amongst the wild-eyed apes protesting to Angela Merkel ... tens of thousands of Wilhelms and Wilhelminas (of all nations) having a wonderful time.
As did we, with a day that included sekt and strawberries at one chum's glam flat just off the parade route, a turn 'round the massive rally/concert/party in the Tiergarten after the parade (German festival food: fabulous), and an evening of (for us) extremely late nightclubbing at an Arabesque dance party in Kreuzberg.
We've done most of the heavy-duty museum going and other duty-travel that we planned for here, and so now the last few days of vacation will be, one hopes, less taxing; I don't know about Mr. Muscato (since he's still fast asleep), but my calves are going to require some serious downtime.