Dienstag, 28. Juni 2011

2 weeks to learn German

The deal of the week, by Die DeutSchule: 2 weeks of intensive German, with 60 Euro, instead of 120.
Wish I have more time to improve my German as often as possible!

Sonntag, 26. Juni 2011

Daniel Barenboim at Bebelplatz

Sunday, at 1pm, at Bebelplatz, the street was quiet. From time to time, a cellphone was ringing but a coherent conversation was interrupted by angry eyes and strongly whisteled "hush!" Many were prepared in time with picnic blankets, food, cigarettes and juice. Nobody was drinking alcohol around me.

A free open-air concert - at least the third as I understood - given by Daniel Barenboim. This year, for the first time was offeren an encore, with the ouverture from Noces de Figaro, by Mozart. Although crowded, the quality of the sound was excellent, the interpretation beyond reproche and the silence of thousand of people in between the two periods was amazing. 
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Donnerstag, 23. Juni 2011

Japanese morning at Hauptbahnhof

8 o'clock AM, Hauptbahnhof. A lot of action and movement. All the shops and restaurants were open and was very easy to drink my take-away coffee while waiting the train. Just before going to the train, discovered a Japanese fast-food restaurant, and I couldn't resist the temptation to buy one small green tea mochi, memories of other Japanese mornings. Only for 2 Euro.

Dienstag, 21. Juni 2011

Preußenpark for the day

On week-ends and holidays, if you stop at Konstanzerstrasse you will observe a permanent coming and going of Asian people, mostly Thai, running toPreußenpark, one of the biggest gatherings of Thai and Vietnamese people in town. A massage - Thai, of course - or maybe a new haircut, or simply some "freshly" prepared food. There are any other attractions too in the area - as, for example, a big gambling table with real gamblers guarded by too real non-Asian body-guards and theor dogs - or elegant outfits of ladies with high heels jumping happy to see each other on the ground. It is not only exotism, but a certain air of China town, disguised this time as a "China" park.

People were not too happy to see me with the camera and at least in the morning when I landed first, I was welcomed with loudly shouted "Nein" when wanted to do my ''job". And the place was almost empty, in this June morning. 
I've been told lately that the residents from the area are permanently unhappy with the noise and activities from the park and are very often submitting their requests for stopping those activities to the concerned authorities. 
A couple of hours laters, my presence was hardly acknowledged so felt more free to take my pictures and to observe the nature, ambiance and the rhythm of life, reminding me a bit more about the markets in Bangkok. 

This is another slice of Berlin and, at least at the first sight, apparently innocent and full of flavors and colors. Not a bad opportunity to spend a week-end in a different kind of West side of Berlin, with various opportunities to observe the new society of Germany's capital city.

To do or not to do air conditioning

The summer is still here - although in the last two days I had serious doubts about it - and, as in any normal corner of the world, you need, when you go inside, more fresh air. Mostly when you go at cinema - a tip for English speaking expats in Berlin CineStar Sony is probably the only place in town where you will always find movies in English - at all the seats are taken, you need to breath freely and not to faint before the movie is over. Or in the bus, in the middle of the day, in the touristic area, all you need is just a little bit of air conditioning. 
Two years ago, at my gym, I was about to faint and asked inocently one of the trainers: WHY we can't open the air conditioner, at least for 30 minutes? The answer: is unhealthy. Which might be true but after sweating for one hour I don't think you will benefit of too much healthiness, unless you are a trained sauna fan. 
I know also the "cultural explanation" - we, here, we are not like the Americans and their air condition everywhere - and maybe there are any other explanations of various colours and philosophical directions. I don't want too much talks and meditation. Only 2-3 degrees less of air conditioning. 
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And Henna for all

Berlin is a city where now, during the summer, you can admire the most creative and incredible tattoos. If for various reasons you can't afford or you don't want to stamp your body permanently, you have the temporary option and Henna is the easiest tool. Just in the middle of Berlin, daily, you can benefit of the services of some Henna artists, at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. 
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Questions of history

When I saw first this building at Witzlebenstrasse, in Charlottenburg, I was curious what institution could be hosted there. Huge rooms, big windows, massive stone walls. I walk a couple of steps and I saw the memorial note remembering those killed following the decisions took by the Supreme Military Court of the Third Reich.
During the First World War, German military law enabled military courts to try not only soldiers but also civilians held to have violated the military law. The situation continued during the Third Reich, which the Court served from this location from 1936 till 1943 - when it was transferred to Torgau. In 1951, the building became the temporarily base of the Berlin Kammergericht (Appelate Court). Since 2005, it is a private estate, hosting private appartments and various companies. I would hesitate a lot before deciding to move, live or work here...

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Montag, 20. Juni 2011

My newest friend

Messy as each time I am going to the East, I went down at Prenzlauer Allee and chilled out around Zeiss Grossplanetarium. By accident, I saw a small furry tail and I had the intuition that this could be the picture of the day. Run for 10 seconds, maybe, and arrived just in time to see her. Armed my camera and found her and before making worries about how high fidely my picture would be, she stopped and looked at me long enough to make her the star of my day. And this was the picture of my day.
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Dialogue Books, at a new location

Dear English book lovers in Berlin, I have a couple of good news for you: Dialogue Books, after a period of a couple of months of exile at Soho House reopened at Schönleinstraße 31 - a couple of minutes away from the station with the same name. 

You can order books almost impossible to find on Amazon, or attend cultural events and lectures - about Berlin, among other favorite subjects - and enjoy the presence of books with whom any dialogue is a worthy relationship.

It's a small and friendly place, but with enough books to keep you around for a long time. Maybe you'd even like to move there, only to take your daily potion of English books.

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