Now, now, what do Reggae, coffee and the Fish market have in common?! Sounds like a rather unlikely trio.

Enter Jessy Greaves.

Give me a minute brother! Let me set the scene very quickly before my readers scoff at your beloved trio.

Come Sunday morning at the Hamburg harbor and life is bustling with energy. The stragglers from last night refusing to go home, bring the party to the Fish market. There are live bands, food and drink until the gong sounds at 9:30am and then you really have to go home. Most have celebrated the night away at the Kiez or the Reeperbahn which is the rather famous or infamous (depending on which side of the world you’re opining) party street of Hamburg.

Those that are not red-eyed but with sore-throats and flushed cheeks are vendors at the many tiny kiosks selling vegetables, fruits, clothes, hats, chocolates, fish and plants. As the clock inches towards closing time, their prices drop and their offers get more generous. Of course, they claim, the offer’s only on because they are in a good mood and feel like being nice to you.

The chaos and color of the Fish market immediately appealed to me as a stark and vivid contrast to the general German orderliness and quiet efficiency. What a delight!

Then comes someone who defies all rules of conventional German markets. The Rasta man and his sinfully energizing Barista. Jessy Greaves markets his coffee like never before. His customers are treated to soul-searching, pulsating reggae tunes blaring from his cart while sipping steaming hot coffee and being enthralled with his antics. An unsuspecting lady found herself twirling in Jessy’s arms to the beats of Buffalo Soldier just as she leaned in to figure out what he was proclaiming to the mountains and tree tops and ships at the dock- “Lecker lecker lecker!!!” (Tasty, tasty, tasty!)


“Lecker” describes not only the coffee and this amazingly spirited man, but also the mood that catches on like wild fire once Jessy decides to turn on his charm. A startled man was asked “ Hast du Angst von dem schwarzen Mann?” (Are you afraid of the black man?) To which he quickly replied “No Sir!“ and Jessy bellows out with laughter saying- “But I am!”

If you’re in Hamburg early on a Sunday morning (5:30am even), you must visit the “Fischmarkt” and smell the aroma of the Rasta Barista!

Reggae is among my favorite music genres and as I let myself be swept off in a trance of Rasta happiness, I pumped fists with Jessy and sang along to say Thank-you. Floating away on my little cloud I suddenly realized how contagious we are to each other. Happy or sad, you do pass it on. Is your mood worth catching?



Street Artists in Hamburg

The creative ones fearless enough to bring their talent to the street always fascinate me. Perhaps it’s because I often daydream my way into dancing on street corners and hearing the clink-clink of coins into an upturned hat amid hoots and cheerful applause… but that’s where it stops. A dream.

I live out my fantasy  vicariously through the many talents that jump out of every nook and cranny in this beautiful port city. Here’s a list of the artists I passed just this weekend in a span of an hour’s walk around the center:

  • Teenage boys blazing up the pavement with gravity-defying hip hop
  • An aspiring country singer making music and magic on her guitar
  • A chubby man blowing gigantic soap bubbles into the air and hearts of every child- young and old alike; if you know what I mean..
  • Soulful tunes from a lone trumpet player
  • A man painted in white and skilled at standing so still he would pass for a statue. (This talent leaves me a bit wary. See below for why..)*
  • And my all-time favourite- an old gentleman with his ancient musical instrument: the Barrel Organ. This man’s commitment amazes me. He’s a regular feature at the markets, come summer, winter, sun or rain. I believe he does it not for money but for the sheer passion of his art.

*I once came across a statue in Dresden that I thought was rather disproportionate. I said so quite audibly. I might have said ugly. The statue growled and I fled! In my defense I didn’t know it was an actual person in paint and standing ramrod straight.In the statue’s defense, she was so good she fooled me. I take my time around statues now. Catch me voicing my opinion loudly? Not before I’ve stared it in the eye and made sure it isn’t alive.

(PS-This picture was taken before I gave my grand opinion.. lol)