Archive for May, 2009

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Telegram.

May 29, 2009

Still in Berlin. Stop. Not sure when I will leave. Stop. Things are good here for the moment. Stop. Those moments such as these are the things we live for. Stop. Rest assured, I am living very well. Don’t stop.

And so I will not.

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Haha, still in Berlin.

May 26, 2009

Remember how I was saying there was this guy who told me that Berlin is dangerous, how you can get lost here? I didn’t really put much stock in it as applying to me because I wasn’t even sure I liked Berlin. The nightclubs I was going to, the parts of the city I was experiencing, the historical monuments and museums I had no interest in. Except one.

Ramones Museum

Determined to see it before I went to Prague today, I had breakfast at the hostel and headed over just after it opened. And yay! Very cool. Took an insane amount of pictures, reveled in the history of the artifacts I was surrounded by, learned all kinds of things I never knew before. Such as, they took their name from the pseudonym that Paul McCartney used to use when checking into hotels Paul Ramon.Ramones and Talking HeadsTalking heads toured with and opened for them!

CompanyAlong with the pope, the ayatollah and Darth Vader, Johnny Ramone will be there at the end of the world. It’s amazing what I’ve learned!

Now there might be some out there who wonder at my taste in history. For me, this kind of stuff is much more pertinent than some dudes who decided that people should fight each other for no other reason than money or race or over a girl…whatever. Get over yourselves. Or giant buildings where small groups of dudes make decisions that affect people they’ll never see and don’t care about. Or ornate churches where corrupt priests demand that the public renounce earthly pleasures while adorning themselves in gold and jewelry. Or monuments to remember people who survived chaotic scenarios out of sheer luck, while their friends were blown to bits around them.

All of these things are celebrated as being important, but seriously, is anything as important as music?

Music is constant and universal and passion and life. So nyah. Ramones

Also, I was speaking with a very cool woman who was working there and we spoke of Berlin, I told her that I hadn’t really found anything here that came close to a scene I enjoyed particularly, tho I was sure it existed, I just hadn’t looked in the right places. She asked me where I had been and when I told her, she laughed and said, show me your map. Then proceeded to mark all of the places I should have been visiting. I had already told her I was to leave today, but perhaps I would come back sometime. Which surprised me, because right up until then, I hadn’t even considered that I would ever come back to Berlin. She asked what time my train left. I said, there’s no train, I’m hitchhiking to Prague. So she gave me a look and said, so why do you have to leave today?

Haha, still in Berlin. I had planned to come back to the hostel, book one more night and head out to see the places she pointed out right away. As it turns out, as soon as I sat down on the bed, I fell asleep. Good thing I didn’t leave for Prague after all! I think a week in Berlin is catching up with me. And when I woke up 2 hours later, there has been a most tumultuous electrical storm raging outside! Another good reason not to leave right away. Although I imagine that if I took a train to the south end of the city, I might pass out of the storm. But it’s a beautiful thing. It’s been very hot and stifling here lately, cottonwood pollen everywhere you go, floating into your beer, your eyes, your nose. It’s as though, now that I’ve discovered these places in Berlin that are more my cup of tea, the city feels a little calmer, the weather less intense, even while it’s slightly more exciting. And so I shall wander out into the rain to find them, and see if Berlin and I can find a happy medium. As well as that awesome falafel place she told me about.

Tomorrow, Prague.

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A thousand words.

May 24, 2009

Having just returned from a night of very gentle on the ankle type excess, I feel compelled to write about it before it fades because other than the stamp on my wrist, I have no proof that I was even there. The only thing they require you to check at the door is your camera. And they are strict about it. They ransack bags and pockets and specify that you are not to use your cellphone to take pictures either. There are no cameras, there are no mirrors anywhere.

This is the Panorama club in Berlin and I was lucky enough to be guestlisted to go with Peter and Felix, aka the dirt crew, aka James Flavor and Break 3000, aka supersweet dudes. They are truly ubersuper. We had a lovely dinner at a trattoria not too far and then headed to the club. Upon walking in, you are searched, like I mentioned. Your camera goes into check. You exit into a grand entry hall, all white and arty and benches. Then on past likely the biggest coat check I’ve ever seen to the right. And then into a larger room, this one dark with a bar to the immediate left, inimate couches beyond and further off into the darkness, the dark places I dared not visit, for fear of interrupting the most intimate of encounters. To the right, a giant metal staircase, at least wide enough for 5 people to walk shoulder to shoulder which went up 4 short levels to a wide open dance floor. This area of the club seemed to be predominantly gay throughout the night, though the entire club is probably 80% gay and 20 % open to whatever. But here, it was large, open, flashy flashy flashy lights and hard hard techno all night. To the right of this open space with it’s concrete beams going far off into the darkness of the ceiling, (far, far off, maybe 40 feet above us) was a glassed in room, which ran the length of the dancefloor and had a bar that did the same.  Here there were more couches, and large platforms hanging from insanely large chains that probably 10-20 people could sit on and swing gently back and forth.  Just inbetween the 2 platforms were a set of stairs that climbed up to overlook the bar. At the top? An ice cream parlor. Yeah. They also have fruit smoothies, much to my delight. And so there I am, sippin on a mango smoothie, standing in front of a glass wall that looks down over the bar below, which has it’s own large glass wall overlooking the dance floor. Which is pulsing with music and flashing light.

Ok, so now I wander back down the stairs and continue past the other platform towards the back of the building. From here there is a caged in catwalk that runs the width of the dancefloor and takes me to the other side of the room. A great way to go because trying to navigate through the dancefloor can be trying at times,  not to mention slippery what with all the sweaty muscley gay men bumpin, grindin, poppin and lockin like there’s no tomorrow. Which at this club, doesn’t happen until sometime sunday night. Serious. They open at midnight on saturday. They run until midnight sunday. Hooray for shuttered windows. Except, after sunrise, every hour the shutters ill fly open and everyone screams like they’re all vampires. As I write this, one of the dj’s I met, Phillipe is 1 1/2 hours into his 4 hour 8 am-noon set. Apparently noon to 4 is when it’s really hopping. I can’t possibly imagine that because the amount of people the by 4 am was insane. I was sad to leave before Phillipi played, but about halfway through the night, little miss clean living poked her head out and gave miss sore little monkey hell for being on her swollen ankle, regardless of whether it hurts or not. That’s the thing, the pain goes, but the swelling and injury is still there and do I really need to dance more than 7 hours at a time?

At any rate, we are now on the far side of the hard techno dance floor. If we have followed the catwalk at the back of the room, we can go left into the smoking area, where there are no window shutters, so be prepared if you go there after 5 am. Take sunglasses. Nice view of the train tracks, giant buildings, blue sky. And absolutely wasterd peeps of every variation. There are stairs here, but instead, wander back into the main room and head back towards the dance floor. To your left is another bar. Directly ahead, you will see another set of stairs that go up. If you follow them you will be in yet another hallways lined with couches.  To the left are the toilettes, and the way to the upper level of the smoking room and a set of stairs that leads to a small open room with places to sit and a balcony that overlooks the dancefloor of the panorama bar. To the right is the actual panorama bar.

Long tall windows, even here the ceiling goes further still. There are staircases to levels above, but as far as I could tell they are blocked off. I was fortunate enough that the Dirt Crew started the show at mindnight, when the first people were just being let in.  And since it was the second dancefloor, many people never got past the first, second or third bars, and first dancefloor just yet.  And so what does this mean for our happy hulaloopy hero? It means, shoes off, hulahoop assembled and a dancefloor all to herself to hula as much as she should like.  Which I did, and blissfully so. It was the highlight of my time here in Berlin, not because I was in this fancy club in Berlin on a saturday I would likely never get into if not with Peter and Felix, but because for just a moment, I could close my eyes and pretend I was on the beach at soundwave.  Music playing, ocean in the background, moon overhead, friends and family all around. Didn’t see that coming. The highlight of Berlin would be the thing that reminds me of Soundwave. Makes sense though.

Ok, so it’s a few more than a thousand words. But you get the picture.

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Ich bin ein sore little monkey.

May 22, 2009

Berlin is a crazy place. I can’t possibly express how I feel about the city because I don’t really know. I’ve been to a nightclub on the 15th floor of a skyscraper all fancy and then I’ve been to a bar on the 5th floor of a nearly destroyed department store that’s been squatted for the last 20 years.

Any guesses as to which I preferred? Crazy like that, I know. I’ve only met one person actually from here. I have no idea where the rest of them are, but there sure are a lot of everyone else here. I think. It’s so strange, the city is so huge but it doesn’t seem that populated.  A lot of ghosts I think. It’s hard to say because I haven’t been here very long and I haven’t done much wandering about.

There’s apparently a great walking tour but while dancing home the other night I rolled my ankle. And no, not the same one I did in Paris. Fortunately it happened after I had a tango lesson scheduled. Unfortunately there is a milonga tonight that my tango teacher demanded I come to. She said she wouldn’t give me the lesson if I didn’t promise to go.  But I don’t know that I could even do up the straps on my shoes over this swollen ankle of mine. Clumsy little monkey that I am…

There is however another on sunday night, so hopefully by then I’ll be good again. Looks as though I’m going to miss out on friday night in Berlin though. Which is okay with me because I’ll save myself for saturday! Dirt Crew! Whoop!

As for Berlin, it confuses me. Most european cities seem to have a very strong sense of self, of their identity. Berlin does not. I was told one by a mexican jewelry artist who works in the squat that Berlin is very dangerous, but at the time I didn’t understand what he meant. He insisted it’s not dangerous to walk around, something else. But now I think I get it. I think it would be very easy to get lost here. To be caught up in the whirl of the city to the extent that you hadn’t noticed that time had gone by..This might seem strange but Berlin reminds me a little bit of the Thief of Always. It’s the place that will be anything you want, it just wants to please you so you’ll stay. Maybe I’m not being fair to Berlin, how can I judge a city so after less than a week here? That’s just how I feel. Right now.

But for now, I shall do my best to heal and relax so that I can go slightly less crazy than I planned to tomorrow night. Such are the risks of excess darlings, next time I dance home at 7 am I shall tread a little lighter.

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Blissed in Berlin

May 19, 2009

Is there anything that can possibly compare to dancing home barefoot at 6 am with a very cute Swiss Dj after dancing all night?

Perhaps not having feet so sore from dancing that one is desirous of removing one’s shoes?

Either way, cute swiss dj…ha! ( If you’re listening to Electric feel by MGMT then you can almost imagine where I’m at. Almost.) Oh these tuesday nights in Berlin.

But now it is daytime so sleep is required before someone expects of me to do something. Besides sleep.

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Turmoil in travel

May 19, 2009

Cocksure will only get you so far. Optimistic a little further. But if the mojo’s not there, you’re kinda screwed from the get go. Hitchhiking Denmark was a breeze. Left Thomas’ place by 9 am (brilliant hospitality by the way, there is nothing I could say that could express how insanely awesome and cool he is so I won’t try here) and was on the motorway heading south by just after 10. 

Ride within seconds to a sweet spot. Ride within seconds to another sweet spot. Lots of these hop skip rides, but Denmark is small. From Koge to Gedser in 2 hours or so. Only one not so good ride, very short from slightly creepy dude, but once I told him my boyfriend was waiting for me up ahead, he backed off and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. Which was great! Because then I was picked up by Jans. I think that’s how you’d spell his name. Every so often you come across people who are just genuine and awesome and Jans is one of these. Would like to travel, but realizes that raising his family is the priority of the moment. We talked of his wife, his children and I couldn’t help but feel envy for this type of life it’s entirely probable I will never know. I like my life, I’m very happy, but one can’t help but wonder. Especially when one discovers men like this in the world. He took me to the southernmost part of Denmark and then brought me back into Gedser proper so I could catch the ferry to Germany. 

This is where I started to mess up  a bit. There was a bus at the terminal that went  straight to Berlin, but I was riding high on my successful excursion so far and everyone says how amazing it it to hitch in germany…

It’s great that everyone stops, but if they aren’t going the right way, it’s useless. 

But who cares, why dwell? I’m here now with a supercool couchsurfing host and we’re going to wander about the city because it’s beautiful out and I’m in Berlin! Whoop! Here we go….

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Delightedly distracted decisions in Denmark

May 16, 2009

OK, so I struggled with this decision for a long time. I could spend a good portion of my budget, fly to Iceland and experience it like I’ve always wanted to. Or I could head south to Berlin at a fraction of the cost, hopefully find someone to stay with and check things out over there. I think they even have canals one can fall into when drunk. I like this option. It’s not that I have any intention of doing so, (people pee in there!) but if the situation presents where I feel the need to drunkenly teeter into a canal, it’s nice to know they are there.

And so I thought, I pondered, I mulled, I debated and contemplated, sometimes at the same time, which can be tricky unless you’re very flexible. Gratefully, I am.  I paced and I sat, I looked to the heavens and I looked at a bug while it walked across the window, it was very cool looking. I pounded the floor with consternation and then I used my fist because it seemed more practical.

I could hear the whispers in my ear from the bartender at the Alto Jazz cafe in Amsterdam (berlin-n-n-n-n, wait, do whispers have echoes?) I could hear the faintest strains of music from the Dirt Crew, those super awesome musician dudes from Germany who come to Soundwave, what, every year, because it’s beyond dreamy? But then I could see a vast blue lake, volcanoes, tango dancers, Niceland, where I’ve wanted to go for such a long time. I railed against the idea, ‘But Germany doesn’t even have an I!!!’

And so finally. It was time to make my decision. Very solemnly I reached into my pocket, pulled out a 20 kroner coin, and tossed.

So heads, I’m going to Germany!!!!! Whoop!

It’s a good thing I don’t easily get attached (most of the time) to anything because my plans at this point are right out the proverbial window. But it all started with Denmark. It was never my intention to come here, but come here I did and it’s been totally sweet. If this is an indication of how things go when one doesn’t plan or expect and just kinda flows with it, then flow I shall.  All the way to Germany. And then to Prague. Ideally I’ll stay in Germany long enough to see the Dirt Crew play there next weekend, and head to the Czech republic after that. But who knows at this point.

And before anyone says, ‘But the year of the I! What happened to the year of the I! Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Istanbul! Germany doesn’t have an I at all!’

When I arrive, it shall. And it will be goooooood. Or something like good. Maybe sweet or awesome or superduper or ubersuper. Wow, can something be ubersuper? That’s seems a little intense. Like something you would say in a vision quest or something. I just used something twice in the same sentence! This is obviously an indication of the sick power that ubersuper has!

I shall seek out all that is ubersuper.

Yes. I think my chest just puffed out a whole bunch.  I get the strangest internal thrill when I even think the word. Okay, this is easily going to disintegrate into extreme silliness, I must go and get some dinner as it’s almost 11:30 and I’m going dancing in an hour. I love Copenhagen for that! No one goes out until midnight or later! Nightowls unite!

Ubersuper.

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