November 2006


Back Home Again…

My trip to Berlin was pretty darned good.


Now I will confess that I misplayed parts of my trip, but it is suffice to say that my opinion of Berlin has turned a corner. The city still has fundamental problems—like being too spread out and difficult to get around—but this time I kind of caught my groove, although I misplayed a few things here and there.

I opted to stay at the Motel One Mitte, the only hotel I could find that seemed to be close to SO-36, the gay Turkish dance club that I currently like. Foolishly I did not hang out around the neighborhood, I instead set out with my predetermined agenda that was more like checking items off of a checklist instead of enjoying myself in the small neighborhood that I was staying in.

Foolish—I had at least recognized that the restaurants in my neighborhood were likely to be good—so I had fajitas at a local Mexican restaurant one day and stopped by a fabulous bakery at 3:30am the next day for quality local food (I did grab a bite to eat at a tourist trap restaurant while out and about, but only because it was the only thing nearby where I could sit down). Along the way I also found a local t-shirt shop where you could pick designs out and have T-Shirts made for you on the spot. I had a cool SO-36 t-shirt made for me—something that will be fun to wear in the States—people that recognize the message will be travelers.

There were other soul satisfying moments on my weekend away: like the two hours I spent at the Allied Museum. It was smaller than I expected—but attention absorbing—with displays about the Berlin Airlift, the high school for the kids of American soldiers living in Berlin and a piece of a tunnel the CIA had built into East Berlin in an attempt to tap DDR phone lines. I know that when I arrived that two large tour groups were there, but by the time I looked up again, they had left and I was the sole person reading about espionage in East Berlin.

So it was with regret this morning that I left Berlin to come home. I’d originally planned on spending a few hours wandering around the city, but the prospect of a 20-30 minute wait to leave my suitcase at the left luggage desk scared me. Instead a rude German woman tried to get around me as I was waiting behind other people to get to my assigned on the train. I yelled at her.

And about comments: I had a legitimate complaint from my web host that centered on my blog eating up processor space—although they indicated one source of problems, I suspect its actually caused by the recent spam attacks on my blog (complicated by some of the underlying structure). For now you will be required to enter a special word in a box before your comment is authenticated and published. The word will change periodically, and if I can find a better way to deal with the comment spam, might go away. If you have problems with the comment system—please email and let me know!

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