Jun. 15th, 2007 09:27 am
amalthya: (international incognito)
Friday, 9:28 am
June 15th, 2007

I'm surrounded by zombies. They sit listlessly, eyes glazed over, ripping pieces off of their sandwiches filled with stale, old meat.

No, I am not Blogging Like It's The End of the World. I'm in the Berlin Schönefeld airport, eating a disgusting vegetable sandwich that I had to queue for 20 minutes for.

But at this point, I'm so tired that I don't even care. I'm so tired that even though my well-travelled iPod headphones sound like a rice krispie treat in my left ear, I don't really pay it much mind. Especially during The Roots or Run-DMC. My *snap* Adidas *crackle*!

I ended up not sleeping at all last night, paranoid that I'd be unable to wake up on time. As it was, the taxi man was in the lobby waiting for me when I came downstairs at 7:55.

He was also awake enough to be a smartass.

Me:Are you the taxi?
Him: I'm the driver of the taxi.

Dude, it's before 8 am. Don't make me turn you into schnitzel.

The internet is pay-internet here, and seeing as I only have 40 minutes until boarding, I'm skeptical as to whether it's worth it. At this point, I could very easily sleep while sitting up. With my face in a pile of internet.

And if I weren't sleeping, I'd take a picture of that so you could all laugh at me.

Now, off to find a dark comfortable corner so I can play Mario vs. Donkey Kong. If I don't distract myself, I will go and buy that $40 Steif Eisbär plushie.

Oh noes!

Jun. 15th, 2007 02:41 am
amalthya: (top of the world)
Okay, it's like, 3 am? And I'm not packed. My taxi comes in 5 hours.

Instead, I'm making LJ icons.

And I'm thinking -- why am I procrastinating? I've thought I was ready to go home for several days now -- the exhaust of traveling, living out of a suitcase, nothing more and certainly no decline in my thirst for adventure.

But now, I'm thinking about being home, and it terrifies me, because it means that this trip, this adventure, is over. I was just getting to the point where it felt all real, and tangible, and it permeated my skin.

Everything around me feels exciting when I'm on the international lam. I notice every building. Every pair of shoes that walks by me. The intricacies of the ceiling. Nothing is wasted, and nothing is dull.

Maybe I'm not scared to be bored at home, but boring. Relegated to a life of the ordinary.

... Or maybe I'm just tired of packing.

3 am. Five hours to pack my life up again. For the last time in a while.
amalthya: (tattoo)
After being in all of these old European cities, something that strikes me as funny about Berlin is that it seems so... new. And there's something that you don't realize, and aren't exposed to even growing up in New York City.

Berlin, after being bombed, was a HUSK. And sure, Berlin might have been an appropriate military target. But Dresden? Uh, no. There was nothing there. And it was a husk too.

Being here in Berlin, I saw all these photos of Berlin after World War II, and it was sort of heartbreaking. Willi took this photo in the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial. The church had been this extraordinary thing to behold, and was just a shell after it'd been bombed. So instead of repairing it (which I guess was too difficult), they took the pieces that were left over and constructed this hideous thing which should be so beautiful but instead was put together like Lego Church Blocks by some foreign douchebag architect. It was just sad.

So yeah, there's an ugliness to the contemporary structures in Berlin. It's sort of like whoever put them together didn't care. They are clearly there for utility and not beauty. Cold, grey concrete with tiny homogenous windows. I can only imagine how bleak it looks in the winter. Willi says it's freezing too.

Willi and I took today to rent our scooter instead of yesterday. Of course, we'd started the day late and the instructions from were less than specific. So we ended up going all the way to Ruhleben (which I learned how to pronounce) and walking forever, only to end up at this place in the middle of nowhere that insisted Willi have his passport with him to drive the scooter.

So we caught a random bus, found our way back to the S-Bahn and back to Charlottenburg to get his passport. Thankfully, they had another branch in the Potsdamer Platz and finally, after 2 hours of annoyance, we were moped-ed.

One of the reasons that hanging out with Willi again has been so cool has been our reminiscences of Africa. It's really quite difficult acclimating to "normal" life because sure, you can add your little Africa references in here and there, but no one really gets them. Willi and I though, we've been all over. There and back again. And we have a hundred laughs. He even brought me a bag of Uganda Waragi and tonight, before he left to Greifswald, we had UG and Sprite together. Cheersing is awesome.

Anyway, remember when we rented a moto in Congo? Today was sort of like that :) There's something about riding together that bonds people, I think. I was cranky this morning, and after zipping around the city, everything just felt right again. We had currywurst and made plans to meet in Madrid next year too.

I am also officially a motorcycle junky. There's something about riding (and this time with a helmet!) that thrills me beyond belief. I can't get enough. And then it's time to return the scooter. And I cry! And also walk.

My command of German has gotten no better, but Willi says it is not really my fault. There are words that he laughs and repeats for me over and over, and I will probably never remember how to pronounce them. Like Kaisergedächtniskirche . It means "Kaiser's Memorial Church." But when German adds all sorts of qualifiers to nouns, they can get really long and complicated. I look at that word and don't even have a CLUE how to START pronouncing. I just hiss and spit some phlegm and hope it's a close enough approximation. Willi actually made a recording of what it's *supposed* to sound like. Maybe I'll upload it!

So, I've gotta pack tonight. And hide my meat. My tour of Berlin has been completely non-touristy. But absolutely brilliant, and filled with some of the best shawarma I've ever eaten, from this area that was a dead-on ringer for the East Village. Right down to the pretentious dreadlocked hipsters. I really felt like I knew the subway system well at the end. I love the S-Bahn, but man is the U-Bahn hot and smelly. The Alex costs 8.50€ but was still fun to do as a tourist attraction. But I really went ALL over, and that part always gives me a thrill. Plus, shawarma.

I'm on such a high. How will I sleep when I can barely even sit still? I'll pack, for sure. And watch Heroes on Home tomorrow! Woa!
amalthya: (skeptical)
Of course, when you're up too late, you tend to get a late start to the day.

Things I've learned about German culture:

  • People like bears
  • The reason David Hasselhoff seems to do well here is because all of the rest of their music sounds like a weird hybrid of 99 Luftballoons and Günther
  • Willi knows all the words to 99 Luftballoons
  • Everyone smokes, all the time. It makes the cheaper beer taste better. But cheap cigarettes only come from Poland.
  • Goth is called "goth" because of the Germans. And boy do they do it well.

We spent a big part of yesterday at the Reichstag and then the Berlin Zoo, which not only has chimpanzees, but gorillas, orangs and bonobos! They seem relatively well cared for. And of course I'm conflicted about zoos, but that can wait for another entry. There are photos from Berlin thus far!

What I've marvelled at was KNUT -- the baby polar bear here. My new officially favorite word to say is EISBÄR -- ICE-BEAR! Seriously. Coolest. German. Ever.

Eisbär, Eisbär, Eisbär.

See it for yourself

Today is my last day in Berlin, and of my European Adventure, and I'll be back in the States by tomorrow night.

Wish me luck!
amalthya: (rocking out)
I have to say that easyJet is cheap for a reason. But it wasn't a bad flight from Madrid to Berlin. And it was full of the most interesting people I have ever seen -- it seems that though mullets may have been popular in Spain, the RAT TAIL -- really long, ratty ones -- have taken over Germany.

But what is up with people wearing a high percentage of orange on easyJet flights (whose company color seems to be orange)? Do you get some sort of discount?

Funnily, a woman from Pamplona sat next to me, and despite being completely unable to communicate with me without wild hand gesturing, she gave me her home address and phone number/email, telling me to visit her next time I was in Pamplona.

...Um, okay?

Willi was there to pick me up at the airport, looking mostly the same and I realized how ultimately cool my friends are. Or the fact that I can travel to all these places and never be alone. You can never go wrong when you have a friend who uses the segué "Speaking of ass..." either.

He'd brought his car from Vietzler (spelling obviously wrong) so we drove off, catching up and expecting to find the hotel in some approximation. But, we got incredibly lost and got pulled over by the German Police. Which honestly is never, ever good. We did manage to get directions from them, though!

We finally pulled into the hotel around 1:15 am. Yes, we'd gotten that lost. But in the course of it, I did get to see the entrance of the zoo three times!

Willi isn't from Berlin, and doesn't really know the town that well, so this is an adventure for both of us. We checked in, dropped off the crap, discovered we had free wireless! and then went down to a 24-hour kebab place and drank too much beer. I feel more German already!

I'll say though, that it's just as well that I'm languaged-out. Because reading the signs in Germany, I don't have a single clue what its root could even be. So now, I don't even have to try!

And with that, we rent a moped and tool around. Provided we can slog our asses out of bed. Exciting!


amalthya: (Default)

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