Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Random Thoughts from Berlin

Things I Don’t Like About Europe:

(This is not a commentary on Germany per se, but is based on time spent in Germany, France, Italy, and England over the past 20 years.)

1. dog poop everywhere (on the sidewalks, in parks) – this is especially bad in Paris and Berlin. Generally I try to avoid saying I “hate” stuff, but this I really do hate. Why can't people just pick up after their dogs? And in the park? Next to the playground??

2. no clothes driers (you have to hang stuff up all around the apartment) (some people have driers, most do not)

3. no public drinking fountains, and at restaurants they don’t even give you free water to drink

4. pay toilets (but at least they usually have an attendant in them and are clean and well supplied)

Things I Like About Europe:

Pretty much everything else.

Seen / Scene in Berlin Recently:

(These two incidents happened when our friends were visiting from Geneva and we were spending a lot more time hanging around various parts of the city that we don’t normally frequent.)

1. At the Hackescher Markt: a man walks by wearing lion slippers over his shoes. He stops for a moment next to the building, removes the lion slippers, and places them on the ground. Then he walks away, leaving his lion slippers behind. Why was he wearing the lion slippers? Why did he leave them on the sidewalk outside the Hackescher Markt? I guess we’ll never know.

2. In Kreuzberg, walking along the canal: A woman is walking towards us in a slightly bizarre and weather-inappropriate outfit, I can’t describe it (I wasn’t paying close attention), but at the time I thought it was remarkably unflattering. Something like a very short formless dress and a formless jacket over it. But strangest of all, she was carrying a trumpet in her left hand. Not a trumpet case with an instrument inside it, just a trumpet. Not playing it, just carrying it.

This is one thing I love about living in a big city – the unexpected, the diverse, the spontaneous. After 6 years in Columbia, Missouri – even longer than that for my husband – we wanted to spend some time in a city again and experience that for a while. Hence we are in Berlin for 6 months, and those 6 months are passing all too quickly.

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