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This is the story-- no, it's true, no story-- of the greatest experience of my life. I will tell you about 11 great people meeting, all devoted TLK fans and great guys without any exception. They are:

Taka    -  Marcis Buhholcs, Riga, Latvia
Unicorn -  Jeroen van den Berg, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Kahn    -  Roger van der Wal, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Metutu  -  Fredrik Neij, Norrahammar, Sweden
Reebok  -  Richard Neij, Norrahammar, Sweden
Ihlosi  -  Christoph Franck, Dillingen, Germany
Kah     -  Oliver Jaeschke, Dillingen, Germany
kanya   -  Daniel Moehwald, Bonn, Germany
Jammet  -  David Mehrmann, Mellendorf (close to Hannover), Germany
My best friend over here for years-Oliver von Thünen, and last but notleast-me.

It started with Marcis B. about 2 1/2 months ago. I knew he wanted to spend his holidays in Germany, one day he said he'll will come to Hannover if I wouldn't mind. For him it was the first trip to Western Europe, he is Latvian,
which was part of the Soviet Union when he was born. There is no TLK merchandise in Latvia, and so he decided to visit me and get some plushies ;) Finally, more and more people joined...

Thursday, August 14:
11:20 am..... I just left tram and almost reached Marcis' hotel. He arrived the night before at about 3 am, and he phoned me from Berlin to tell me what the name of his hotel is. There he was, a bag hanging over his shoulder.... And we simply hugged each other. It felt so good, somehow like someone you know for an entire life! I never experienced something like that. We were doing some shopping, Marcis bought a UK HonD video and a Scar
pin. On afternoon we went to my place. 7:00 pm The door bell rang, and the 2 guys from Bavaria joined us.
At about 9 pm Marcis left for hotel and O. Jaeschke and Christoph F. left for the youth hostel. So I was alone again. And seriously, I wished for a moment nobody else would come. I was so unsure about myself, my English, not to talk about the many unknown people I would need... Then, at 11:00 pm finally Fredrik and his brother Richard Neij from Sweden arrived. They were looking for my place for about 2 h... <chuckle> And I scanned a map for them to make it easier.

I have to admit we needed a few minutes to get a little used to another, first we did not know what to say except "Hello" and some smalltalk, with the Swedish and the German guys.. I think because I did not want to make a mistake and say something wrong.

Friday, August 15th:
We met at my place, the first thing we had to do was waking up Fredrik and Richard, who were sleeping in their car. We took the tram to the railway station to pick up Daniel Moehwald from Bonn. At the same time David Mehrmann joined us. The first thing we did was going to a large book store. We found some TLK storybooks, and surprisingly:
2 UK TLK Studio Albums!! Another one of our crazy bunch found a dozen TLK pocket storybooks, certainly we all took one. Then, one floor down we found 2 different TLK posters, Simba and Nala in front of the waterfall and the movie promo poster, Mufasas head in blue clouds over Pride Rock. There is no poster left of them now ;) Still same store, but in the separated music notes department... Browsing through the books, we found 3 or 4 different TLK note books. Christoph grapbbed one of them and sat down in front of a piano which was standing there. He started playing COL and CYFTLT, and another one. We were all standing and listening. To me it was very moving and VERY TLK-ish! I bought the piano notes book, it has awesome pictures from TLK in US letter (A4) size and the texts fro the TLK songs written close to them. It was imported from the US.

The time had come to pick up Jeroen van den Berg and Roger van der Wal.Two guys emerged from the train, both having a pony tail. Jeroen is 2.03m tall, making a good basketball player! There is mostly a heartwarming
smile under his somewhat large nose! ;) Comments about his ears snipped!! >:)

We continued the shopping tour. The following hours were a pure looking for TLK stuff. There were about 6 Mattel baby Simbas and 3 purring Nalas getting a new home, along with a few TLK puzzles, storybooks, videos and
more. Finally one of us found 3 large piles with TLK beach towels! One of them shows Simba on Pride Rock! I was unable to withstand. I will hang it on a wall like a carpet. On our way back to the tram we got into a very heavy 20 minutes summer thunderstorm. <grins> Luckily we had the towels, but we were unable to avoid getting really wet.

Then we went to my place. We were talking, joking, taking photos, having plushie wars, using my plushies to act out the CYFTLT scene (GUESS WHAT HAPPENED) (mis)using my computer... and watching TLK. To my surprise, everybody came into my room to watch the GERMAN TLK when I announced to show it! There they were, 10 people, 18-28 years old, all in my small room and almost all of them holding one of my plushies in their hands, and YES, there were enough in stock.  Just Fredrik and Richard did not understand German. But we were talking English as much as we could, not to make anybody feel excluded. And that was one of my biggest concerns, I was very unsure if I would be able to find the necessary words, since talking and typing text on IRC are 2 different things. Um.. It worked ;)

I think some of them were a bit surprised about my dolby surround system. I was asking Marcis why he said "Oh!" and "Wow", his reply was "The sound effects", but I admit there is still a good center speaker and a subwoofer missing, besidesit was not THAT expensive. It was very quiet during the special scenes (Gorge, look into the stars, CYFTLT, Remember, King of Pride Rock. I think nobody saw my 2 or 3 tears vanishing in a handkerchief.

Saturday, August 16th:

We visited the Hannover Zoo. The zoo has just finished building the Jungle Palace, an area for elephants, monkeys, tigers and leopards. The first wildcat we saw was a tigress, and as some of you know tigers are my favourites, lions are #2 on my schedule (Sorry :-) ). So I was quite excited. <g> Originally I bought 2 films with 36 pictures each, but I needed another one. I also bought a little figurine, a white tiger cub with blue eyes. We saw quite a lot of african animals, like flamingos, gazelles, springboks.... Not to talk about lions. Now that was very special.

There were 3 lions, one male and 2 lionesses. They all looked awesome, the lionesses fur color was goldish brown with some darker areas. The male looked somewhat smaller and younger, he was also goldish brown, even his mane had the same color as the rest of his fur. I think I managed to take some awesome photos, the male yawning and another from behind, lying on his back. The b**ls and a pink spot should be visible very well <g>.

Fredrik Neij's brother Richard (Reebok) could not help but climbing over a smaller fence 3 feet away from the cage. He poked his hand in the cage, and at once one lioness saw it and ran towards him. He pulled the hand out right in time, the lioness stopped at the cage and stared at Richard angrily, her ears flattened. I just wonder if she preferred to have his hand for lunch or if she wanted to chase him from her 'Pride Lands'.  But the following was even more odd.

The male was lying at the cage's other end. I approached him from behind to take a photo. He did not look at the other people around. But when I wanted to take a photo he turned his head to me, raised and came as
close to me as he could and started to scratch the cage once, looking straight into my eyes. I can't describe what I felt... Then he turned to lie down again. I thought something like "You want to be free, my friend?" and again he turned his head to me. During the next 2 hours I watched him, and on 2 more thoughts he looked at me, thoughts that were directed to him. I have no idea what happened, maybe I'm paranoid, maybe I'm a completely
crazy TLK nut, maybe.... we found a language just for us. For a very few moments.
Judge yourself.

A little later we went to a place with a few tables, and Jeroen van den Berg did what he promised this morning. He made a drawing, showing a young tiger. It is me. Kublia. For sure this is the greatest gift for me! I adopted the identity of Kublia, the tiger from 'Junge Flame', andthere is also a drawing of Kublia by Dave Morris, but this one was the real Kublia, me, and suddenly I had a new, feline body, a new face.

After the zoo, Daniel Moehwald left for the railway station, for home.

The rest of us went to my place, Unicorn and Kahn had just 90 minutes until they left for the Netherlands, too. I was coming with them to the station, and this was the first moment I really felt sad to say good bye. Especially Uni's drawing of me as tiger is very special to me.

Fredrik, Richard, Marcis and I spent the rest of the evening doing some IRC and watching the UK widescreen TLK. Metutu has seen TLK for a LOT of times, but the effects he heard this time were new to him. I think he
was quite excited about my surround system, even it's not complete yet.

Sunday, August 17th:
Well, after picking up Marcis Metutu and his brother left for home on Sunday noon. Here I have to thank Metutu for a number of car rides, without him we would have had to spend much time on the underground and a bunch of money for tram tickets!
Fredrik: Thank you VERY much.

Now there was just 1 TLK an left: Marcis. We were watching some videos and had a great time. I had no idea what would happen the next day....

Monday, August 18th.

This day was for some sightseeing with Marcis mother and some more shopping. Sometime at noon, we entered the bookstore Decius. Just for a joke, not really expecting it would be available, I asked an employee of the
shop to enter the name of a special book into their computer system to check for availability. I was floored when I saw it appearing on screen:

The Art of The Lion King.... not once, no 3 times. One for 50 $, one for 35 UKP,
and a small version for $10. Needless to say I ordered the 50 $ version. I will have it very soon.

Tuesday, August 19th:

Now, this was the hardest day. Marcis left. One last hour left, taking some photos, and making some jokes. But there was no real happiness. A last warm and heartily hug, a last shake hands through the train's
window, even when it was starting to roll.

4 hours later Marcis gave me a call from Cologne, his last few Marks on his telephone chipcard. "Don't be sad" he said. The meeting was over.

A last thing I want to say:

Those days have changed many things. I know the guys I was chatting on IRC with now. I know their faces, their voice. This gives a completely new quality to my view of the TLK fandom. I don't want to miss you guys out
there, in no way. Even the ones I don't know yet.

Especially Jeroen van den Berg and Marcis Buhholcs. Maybe it is the 'Magic of the Gentle Kingdom' between us.
This might sound exaggerated, but I think this is a very special thing. Same for Dave Morris and John Burkitt, for whom I feel the same, even without ever having met them.

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