March 2011


Somehow I’m still not jaded…

Vietnam Veterans MemorialA few years ago I was in Washington DC, walking down the street, playing the part of tourist, when I came upon some locals – people playing football in the park, jogging down the streets, carrying groceries home.

I was envious – these were people who get to live every day in a fabulous city with tons of sites worth seeing and tourists crawling everywhere. Had that pass gone too wide, the football would have landed on the Viet Nam Memorial.

Goethe and SchillerThis moment of envy didn’t last too long because I realized that, by living in Weimar, I was living out the fantasy. I got to carry groceries home, crossing Theatherplatz, in front of the statues of Goethe and Schiller – walking between tourists taking photos and the object they so desperately wanted to capture.

Some how I was leading the life that I was envious of, without realizing it.

Part of it was, of course, because Weimar isn’t a tourist trap for me. It is the German’s German Tourist Trap – the place that old people who never read Faust as a kid go in order to celebrate Goethe, Faust, and all things symbolizing great German literature. In essence I was living in Stratford-Upon-Avon and not giving a damn about Shakespeare.

Now, of course, I live in Berlin – which happens to be a city that I revel in living in: history is very much alive here.

For the first month that I lived here, I got to walk past Checkpoint Charlie twice a day – once in the morning, before the tourists arrived, and once in the late afternoon when the sidewalks were jammed packed with tourists. At the time, I worried that I might become jaded and annoyed with all the tourists and they blocked the sidewalk I wanted to pass on my way to the bus home. I’ll admit there were a few times I was slightly impatient, but I would walk into the streets and around the people –but I never really got jaded.

I don’t go past Checkpoint Charlie every single day – I regularly cross the wall, but I do it on a bus and I don’t notice it every day – I did notice it today and I paused to reflect.

However, last week, as I was recovering from my cold, I had an urge for a hamburger – so I went to McDonald’s – which is conveniently located at Checkpoint Charlie – a brief walk from my office.

Checkpoint Charlie, as seen from McDonald'sIt turns out at the McDonald’s has a hidden secret: a balcony that you can dine on, and that overlooks Checkpoint Charlie. For some reason, even though all the tables inside were occupied and people were eating standing up, I ate outside – and most of the other tables were empty. The view of Checkpoint Charlie is outstanding and it is great for people watching.

And yeah, I’m still not jaded: watching people was fantastic fun, and some how I am still inspired by the history that is Berlin.

3 comments to Somehow I’m still not jaded…

  • mateo

    I hope you never get jaded, Adam! And I’d love to be one of those tourists there…waiting for you to walk by so I can snap a picture!

    • koko

      I agree mateo!! I wish there were a “like” button for your comment!

      • I’m jaded about a lot of things — just not Berlin…

        I’ll try to involuntarily be between you and what you are photographing next time you are on vacation.