Tuesday, April 05, 2005


So, I’m lying in bed reading my Let’s Go Europe 1999 guidebook for my upcoming trip. I absolutely LOVE reading guidebooks, especially AFTER I’ve been to a place.

Then a thought occurs to me. It’s been scratching its way from the dusty nooks of my cranium for a while, and has reared its head:

I want to live in Berlin.

I’m not going to Berlin next week. But that’s ok, because I’m convinced that I will live there soon.

If I cannot get my work visa for San Francisco, I’m going to live there. In an east Berlin apartment, filled with Bauhaus furniture. I’m going to speak German like froiline Maria, eat spatzel and schnitzel and invest my life in the underground parties and other deutsche shenanigans. I’ll lie in the Tiergarten sans clothes, go to the Love Parade and open my mind to art, history and The Wall, and say stuff like, “Ich vershteh nicht, eischlikke Herr.Und! Und! Ich bin ein uber taschenpuffer.” [“I understand nothing ugly man. And And! I am a super hipflask.” Phrases that I may find REALLy useful on the street.]

What to do?

Berlin vs San Francisco.

Berlin pros: German, retro culture, great clothes, spatzel, beer, museums, close to Amsterdam, the nightlife, history, two different cities, I can ski close by, it’s like Johannesburg.

Berlin cons: The Germans, neo-Nazis, pigs knuckles, I’ve done Europe, its cold, I need to learn German; might get tired of the club scene.

San Francisco pros: Very cosmopolitan, biggest China Town outside of Asia; the coast, Californian tan, Napa Valley, Victoria’s Secret, Tahoe for skiing, public transport, friendly yanks, can do American Dream road trips, it’s pretty, it’s like Cape Town.

San Francisco cons: steep hills, Americans will ask lots of “do you live in a hut” questions, beef jerkey, it’s foggy, is far from home.

Choices, choices.


Two | Face said...

HAHAHA Neo-Nazis HAHAHA they're less of them than a minority. There are however a lot of Turkish and Maroccon people living there and with a lot I mean Berlin is the second largest Muslim city in the world. And with Muslim I don't mean the ones living here, I mean the originals.

Eastern Berlin jobs pay less than Western ones even if it's the same position. "Nearly a quarter of western Germans and 12 percent of easterners want the Berlin Wall back." - Yahoo News.

Berlin is a beautiful city to live in especially near the parks, it's funky and the old architecture is very nice although the west seems to become more and more modern especially with the Potzdammer Platz. If you want to work there, you need to speak German fluently or get contacts in the english speaking community.

Peas on Toast said...

Wow, thanks for all that info mrarty. The only way I could work there, as you say, is to get a job at an English-speaking company or work as a correspondent.
Very interestiong about the Muslim community and the wall. I didn't know that stuff.
I want to go there more than ever now! But I was talking to my boyf about it last night, and he said he'd come to San Fran with me, but not Berlin. So I'm in a tight spot. May just have to go for an extended holiday and sell my body/poems/singing voice for extra cash. :)

Two | Face said...

Hey selling your body is easy in Amsterdam we have the Red Light District remember, just close your eyes and breath through you mouth and you're fine, don't forget to think of a happy place though.


Oh in German stellenangebot means job offers. So google for something like stellenangebot berlin (english).

Peas on Toast said...

Thanks dude. I will check out the site and google stellenangabot berlin in. In the meantime, I need to organise my US visa too....oh the stress....

Two | Face said...

Hey just check the site when Berlin is a real option, it's in German anyway.

So what have you done so far to get it (the visa)? How does that work anyhow?

Third World Ant said...

No shit, L! New York/Berlin/Edinburgh - 3 cities I've always said I'd live in! Greg (best friend in Canada) and I have made a pact to live in Berlin sometime in the not-too-distant future! Ich bin ein hubschraube (I'm a helicopter, but probably way badly spelt).

Stephanie said...

Berlin is super cool. I went there a few years ago with my ex and we had a fabulous time. Love to go there again.

You could alternate between San Francisco and Berlin. Odd numbered years in one and even numbered years in the other. Very sensible. :)

Ed Abbey said...

Well as your American representative, I have never heard anyone declare public transportation in any American city as a pro. Due to our large country size and laziness, public transportation is not high on our list while owning several gas guzzling vehicles is. As far as friendliness goes, it has been well documented that the friendliest Americans are not on the east or west coasts but right here in the middle. I doubt that you would get the "do you live in a hut" question but you might get a lot of "what is South Africa like" ones. Beef jerky? It is not all that popular in California which is one of the more health conscious places to live. Never heard San Francisco as being described as foggy. Seattle yes but SF no. San Francisco IS known for their gay scene though.

Peas on Toast said...

mrarty - nicht to get the visa yet - still not sure where I'm headed!

Pimp - Dude, seriously??? Let's go together and show those Berliners what it's REALLY about. We'll buy a hubschraube, become krankenschwesters and throw ourselves at Berlin with a vengeance.

Steph - alternation? hmm, now that's novel. Might be tricky, but definitely worth a thought...oh, so many things to do!!!!

Ed - My US representative! Yay! I have been faced with copious "hut questions" in Colorado, but they certainly bearable. And the gay scene is huge there, much like Cape Town, so it must be wonderfully cosmopolitan. It looks like I'll still probably be heading there. It's just a matter of how. I'm going to phone the US embassy tomorrow and find out how to go about this...

Nettie said...

I love my country. I think it has a lot to offer. But I didn't like San Fransiscio that much. Nobody told me it was cold in the summer and I was freezing the whole time. The shopping is awesome though- the Godiva chocolate store-bliss. I loved the Bavarian culture when I went and if I could speak German I'd want to live in Austria. But in the end, I have to vote for the U.S.- after all, we speak English and some of us wrestle alligators.

Ed Abbey said...

If I had to choose a town to live in instead of somewhere in the mountains near a crystal blue medallion colored lake, I might choose Flagstaff, Arizona or maybe Lander, Wyoming or maybe some small town on Idaho or any town in Alaska. I would avoid California like the plague mostly because it is too crowded for my tastes.

Blog ho said...

I love San Fran. great place. nice people, good food, garlic restaurants, shopping...ah, i could live there if I made 10x more than i currently make...just barely.

as to living in huts...you don't live in a hut? that kinda screws up my image of you. ah, well. as long as you're regularly attacked by sharks I think we can salvage something.

Peas on Toast said...

Nettie - Oh man, Austria! It's beautiful and now I want to and live in Salzburg now. See? I'm as predictable as south east Asia weather patterns.

Ed - You sound like you thrive in a small town. And the image of those places certainly sounds idyllic. However, after growing up in a tiny place for 18 years of my life, I needed out. Perhaps I just get bored really easily and need constant pace and excitement of a city to keep me going. I know when I go to the coast for holidays, I crave Joburg again.

Blog - I know it sounds FAB. Apparently quite expensive too, so I may have to build myself a hut on the sidewalk. We Africans are good at hut-building :). Also, do you think they'll allow me through customs with a bone through my nose??