Friday, May 08, 2009
holding the line for prague
Day 4 – Berlin
Have to make executed decision. Because tomorrow we’re meant to take a train to Prague. And spend two nights there.
We’re loving Berlin so much and although we’ve done loads already, we haven’t even maxed out. Plus Prague in two days would be rushed. But this would mean a change to the itinerary and missing out on Prague this time round.
We decided Prague could wait. I’ve never done that before, shifted an itinerary. That’s how much we’re fucking loving this place.
Strolling through the Stasi Museum (full of spying equipment and crazy files documenting, maybe, a guy going for a pee at the same time of day everyday, and they decided it deserved a large spying file of its own. Crazy freaks.)
Peas: Are you a commy bastard?
Peas: Is your favourite colour red?
Peas: Is your favourite DIY tool a hammer? Is your favourite garden instrument a sickle?
Peas: What’s the capital of Russia?
Tis true what they say about Germans following the rules though. If there’s one thing that infuriates me slightly about Germans is that they will follow the rules completely regimentally; no bending, no breaking, no rubber arms. I do enjoy them for the most part, but it’s rather interesting:
It’ll be 2:00am, not a car in sight. And a group of people will wait for the green light to cross the road. They openly frown at you if you jaywalk across the road or step foot on the tar before the light changes.
Logically they know they won’t get hit. There’s not a car in sight. But they think it sets a bad example to the children. Especially the grannies walking around.
One guy got shouted at by an old lady waving a cane about, ‘Child murderer!’ When he didn’t wait for green.
They also go via a trust system with the U-Bahn (Underground.) It’s super efficient in that the trains arrive on time, everytime, but you don’t swipe any cards like for the Tube. Where chavs would take WELL advantage to the plenty. You buy a ticket, but nobody checks. Basically.
They follow the rules.
Day 4 – Berlin
Last night we went to a ballhaus. A place where they play swing music and everyone dances like in the 1920s. It’s like a living timewarp, completely fascinating. They dance like my gran, yet they’re wearing punk. They were pretty good too. A group of us went, drank beer and danced like Nancy Sinatra.
We should be on a train to Prague, but instead we’re hiring bicycles. Are we just so talented? We’re WELL tidy.
This place is as flat as a pancake, competing nicely with Holland. Cycling an entire day around a city was effortless. Had a sore ass, sure, but this was definitely one of our best days.
We cycled under Brandenburg Gate along the bicycle lane, stopped at the Bauhaus Museum – fuck yes – and bought a very stylish-looking coffee canister. Rode through the giant Tiergarten, which sounds lovely, but we had pollen blowing up into our faces. Stopped for a bratwurst. Went up the Reichstag. Stopped for a beer. Stopped for an espresso. Ate sauerkraut. Stopped at the shops. Rode the place flat, fuck it was great.
I tend to harbour brief obsessions with phallic-looking towers. Say what you will Freud, I happen to think they’re aesthetically pleasing to look at. When I first arrived in Jozi, I took endless pictures of the Hillbrow and Brixton towers. The Brixton Tower looks very similar to Der Fernseturm (‘Deya Fanzah-toohem’ – what a cool name!)I love this thing.
Today a German mate of mine arrives in the city, staying just up the road with a friend, and is promising to show us a good time. Including taking us to the good clubs and doing local things.
I met him for lunch in this cute little square that you wouldn’t know was there if you weren’t local, and then met Dove at Alexander Platz. The East. Where suddenly the fabrics are more synthetic, and the buildings look like big slab concrete blocks, all very ugly, all very Stalinist, but also so raw and aesthetically pleasing, you can’t help but warm to it.
Right now I really couldn’t be happier. It’s not reality, but it feels so fucking good anyway.