Thursday, November 01, 2007

Berlin Adventure

I had a rather intense time in Berlin. This city is unlike any other city in the Western world. I doubt there is any other city like Berlin anywhere on this wretched planet.
When one flies into Tegel Airport one looks at the window and wonders what they are landing into. The first day I arrived, my Swiss A320 made its landing approach from the east. From the east one flies low over Pankow and Heinersdorf. Blocks and blocks of great chunks of grey concrete buildings occupy the ground. These are the Stalinist housing complexes. One gets the sense of landing into a psychiatric hospital complex.
The second time I flew in Tegel, this time on a British Airways A319, we made our landing approach from the West. The view is even more startling. One sees huge hulks of rusted steel twisting up into the sky. 500 meters from the runaway one sees an imposing Atomic reactor and power station. From which ever angle you fly into Tegel, one gets the sense of arriving in a traumatised city.

Berlin is a rather intimidating city. Unlike New York which inspires awe and wonder, Berlin inspires a feeling of great uncertainty. It is an oversized city in terms of dimension and depth. The streets are unusually wide. The buildings are imposing structures of grey austere cement, though not as tall as New York's skyscrpaers, nevertheless makes the individual feel small. The spatial dimensions due to 60 years of war give Berlin a hallow feeling. There seems to be too much empty space between the buildings and streets.
What is most intimidating to the newly arrived is Berlin's lack of illumination. After sunset the city is preternaturally dark. The street lamps, while turned on, glow very dimly. On the larger thouroughfares of the city, the headlights of autos provide most of the illumination. On the smaller side streets, the street lights have a dim yet ominous glow about them. The shadows are everywhere in Berlin at night. Most of the parks do not have any lighting at all. Take a walk through the centrally located Tiergarten and Görlitzer Park after sunset and one might as well be in slightly wooded area on the outskirts of town. The lack of street lights and the spatial distance from lit apartments only add to the darkness. Even the moon glows dully in the Berlin sky. The full moon seems to have no affect on the evening glow at all. One rarely notices the moon at all in Berlin. This past August I failed to see the moon at all until the last couple of days of the month. Berlin is a dark city. It is la ville noir par excellence! Fortunatly Berlin has a low crime rate and violence rarely rears its head except for politcially motivated actions such as left wing protests or attacks by Neo-Nazis.
It has been 18 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It has been 17 years since the re-unification of the city and Germany. Not many people are happy with the present state of affairs. One could say, without exagerration, that hundreds of thousands of native Berliners want the Wall back. Both West Berliners and East Berliners want the Wall back.
West Berliners like most West Germans greatly resent the Easterners. The Westerners resent having increased taxes to rebuild and subsidise the East. West Berliners hold Easterners in utter contempt. They view the Easterners as lazy, ignorant, reactionary welfare bums. The Westerners blame re-unifaction for the rise of the far-right as Neo-Nazis are many and strong in East Berlin and the rest of the former DDR. Therefore the Westerners want the Wall back to keep out the Easterners.
East Berliners like most former East Germans are bitterly disappointed with developments since 1989. As I stated in a previous post, East Germans wanted Democracy and human rights. They did not want capitalism. Since 1990, the East Germans have experienced too many shocks. First the adaptation of the West German Deutsch Mark saw prices and the cost of living in the East skyrocket. For East Germans, they experienced somewhere to the order of 500% rate of inflation. Second, the adoption of the Euro in 2002 has only increased inflation. The Easterners have seen their communist housing complexes privatised and converted to market rate apartments. They have seen seen both their housing complexes and social community centres transformed into strip malls. Most have been chronically unemployed since the early 1990's when the Westernerns shut down unprofitable former East German state enterprises. Most of them are on social assitance and those over 40 do not have the adequate skills needed for a high tech information and service economy. They have seen the plunder of East Berlin districts such as Mitte and Prenzlauerberg by the West German and foreign Western rich. They are disgusted seeing superficial Western tourists parade around Oranienburgerstr., Kastinallee and Helmholzplatz as if they were the owners. Worse they see the German captialist state reintroduce and upgrade surveillience, control and repression which hark back to Der Stasi Terror State of the DDR. No one wants to return to the totalitarian dictatorship of the DDR but they recognise that the Communist proganda against captialism turned out to be 100% true. Therefore the Easterners want the Wall back up to keep out the Westerners and capitialists.
As Morrissey stated: "We cannot go back to the old days anymore."
The Wall is down for good. German reunification is a done deal. East and West are tied together with the ball and chain. Like it was in the 19th Century, there is no divorce allowed. Worse still, seperation is not an option. It is a very unhappy marriage with both sides wanting out but chained together. It is only the generation born after 1988 who are content with the status quo. The future of Germany is in their hands.


Berlin is an exceptionally flat city. As I mentioned, the spatial dimensions of the city are remarkable deceptive. Walking around Berlin is exhausting. On the map, distances do not appear as geat as they are in reality. As one walks one feels as a mouse a maze. The sidewalks are the widest I have ever seen. The buildings, while not remarkably tall, more or less look the same only with varitations in the shade of grey changes.
I am an avid walker. I enjoy walking in Montreal and New York but Berlin is just plain exhausting. It is not not walking in the rual areas where one is confronted by plain landscapes. To the contrary, Berlin is not boring. Simply, its grand size which makes it seem as if one is walking endlessly through a concrete jungle. The longer one walks the more deadend one feels.
There are no statutes concerning littering or dog excrement. In this respect, Berlin is exactly like New York circa 1982. People through their litter on the streets in spite of litter boxes on every corner. The problem is that litter boxes are very small. They are boxes rather than barrels. Between Thrusday night and Monday morning there over thousands of beer bottles, half of them smashed occupy the streets. Indeed, many of East Berlin's improvished earn a significant sum of money to supplement their welfare cheques from the bottles.
Dog feces is omnipresent, particulary in the Eastern precients of the city. One must always look down as they walk. Dog feces hurdling and dodging is an Olympic Sport one takes up in Berlin.
The best way to get around the city is by bike. No one would ever guess that Berlin is one of the greatest biking cities of the world. The bike paths and lanes are extensive and exceptionally efficient. As the sidewalks are wide, many sidewalks close to the curb are reserved for cyclists. When the sidewalks are too narrow, the bike paths move on to the street. Berlin auto drivers are the most respectful towarders bikers than any place in North America with the possible exception of San Franciso and Seattle. When the streets and sidewalks are too narrow to allow bike lanes, then cyclists must venture in street triffic no more than 500 meters before the lanes reappear on the sidewalk. For a month I had a bike and took advantage of it. It is really the best way to get around town. Biking is faster than walking and public transportation. Once I biked from the southeast to the west. I thought it would take one hour when it only took 40 minutes. Taking the U-Bahn between the two points takes 45 minutes. All of the bike paths take shortcuts through the city. It takes no more than 15 minutes from Pankow to Tiergarten by bike.
On a bike, one appreciates the landscape of the city in a much less exhausting way than by foot. Berlin's flatness makes it easy for the cyclist but this too is an illusion. The Earth is not really flat. In Berlin by bike I encountered the curvature of the planet first hand. Berlin's spatial dimensions are deceptive. One can see 2-3 kilometers straight ahead. With the eyes one thinks the distance is near. For example: If one looks West from the Brandenburg Gate along Strasse des 17 Juni one can see the Victory Statue clearly. One thinks that it would be a hop, skip and jump away. However when one starts biking the curvature of the Earth makes itself felt. Moreover, I felt as if I were on an excercise bike. Pedalling but feeling as if I were not moving. Rather it appeared that the more I pedalled it was not I who was moving but rather the lanscape moving. To my eyes it appeared as if the Victory Statue was coming towards me rather than I towards it. The Victory Statue stands in the midst of a rather large traffic round about. It takes minutes to go around the statue and continue West. From there Strasse des 17 Juni continues on. One realises that they are only halfway across. Again one can clearly see the end of the road as it turns into Bismarckstrasse. Once again, I pedalled and pedalled getting rather exhausted but feeling that I was not moving at all. Again I saw Ernst-Reuter Platz come towards me rather than I moving towards it.
Biking is highly recommended as the best way to get around Berlin.

Berlin is an inexplicably exhausting city. No one seems to know exactly why. New York with its fast pace is rather tiring but the frentic speed keeps one awake, alert and charged up. Berlin is not fast like New York. In fact, Berlin is not really an action orientated city. When I first arrived in Berlin, I would get enough sleep. I would get up and explore the city, take in a musuem and grab a meal. I never felt as if I really excerted myself. Yet by nighttime, I was wiped out as if I had done a full day's work of moving house.
Berlin is the latest metropolis I have ever been to. Nothing really opens before noon. Noon in Berlin is like 8AM in most other cities. Yet everything stays open rather late. That was one of the reasons why I was not able to be as productive as I wished. My first weeks I had decided to wake up early and actually get things accomplished. I would hit the pavement at 9AM only to find the streets deserted. Most of the cafes are closed and if they are open the only patrons are invariably tourists or out of towners. Only the bakeries are open early and that is the safest bet to have a morning coffee outside of home.
Berlin is the party capital of the world. Berliners party hard. There is always a party or concert or event going on. In fact, the busiest hours are those between 3-5AM with druken revelers looking for the next bar. Coming home at 6 or 7AM became my routine. Of course there are people who work the business hours but they reside mostly in West Berlin. I have never encountered so many people in bars at 3 and 4AM who were scheduled to report to their job by 8 or 9AM. They were loaded. When asked how they could dare contemplate getting up for work, they invariably reply that they only need 3 hours sleep and that they go into work still intoxicated or hung over but by lunch time they are up to speed. I suspect that the productivity rate in Berlin is one of the lowest in the industrial world.
I must have wasted 3 months doing nothing except drinking, dancing, drugs, sex and sleeping. I have never done so much but have gotten so little done.

I have had the most intense yet strangest erotic experiences of my life in Berlin. I have had the best sex to date but the worst relationships. After alcohol and illicit drugs, sex is the biigest addiction to afflict Berlin. Berliners go through sexual partners the way they go through bottles of beer. Berlin has always been noted for its extravagant sexuality. A sexuality not permmited by the Puritanism of the Anglo-Saxon countries.
Women and men use each other sexually. I must elaborate. Cities like Montreal and New York are promiscuous yet there is a human connection. A one night stand in New York ends either with one of the people slipping off while the other is asleep or with a amicable breakfast and coffee. When couples decide that they want to see each other more often or to develop a relationship, there is the normal warmth, intimacy and the buddings of love that accompany such liasons of development.
Berlin is different. Berliners view sex as an agressive contact sport. Women and men will go to extreme lengths to screw one another. It is almost invariably a fight to have sex. There seems to be a general social contract in Berlin that having sex with a person gives them the right to be abusive and mean. Women seem to think: "Well since I opened up my legs to you and let you in, I can now be manipulative, nasty, and mean."
Men seem to think: "Since I have given you the pleasure of my cock and the priveldge of my golden sperm, I can treat you like a bitch whore cunt and behave like a super asshole."
People seem to have sex as a way to settle scores with one another. Berliners have no compunction about screwing someone they don't like or hate. For example, I had sex with a Nazi skinhead woman. It was one of the most intense and unforgettable experiences. (I have discovered that quite a few Nazi females like to have at least one sexual experience with a Black man.) Of course, after we had sex in a shadowed corner on the street, we parted ways. Berliners are keen to have sex outside. They are discreet enough not to do it in front of others but parks, car parks, docks, canals, inner courtyards of buildings and trams are sporting grounds for recreational sex.
My additonal sex experiences were bitter-sweet to say the least. Each of my sex encounters were the best of my life. The next woman would top the previous and on and on it went. I made the mistake of trying to have relationships with women but none ever lasted more than 3 weeks. This was shocking. After the intial sex, it appeared that we were the best of lovers. Intimate, kissing, holding hands and all the usual foolishiness of fresh lovers. By the third week the sex would would be dynamite as we both grew accustomed to each other's bodies. When the sex was at its best was the moment that women would suddenly terminate the relationship. After receiving their best orgasms, they became cold as ice the next day. Cold as a January day in Edmonton, Canada. They became nasty and viscious out of the blue. The pevious day we were the closest and most intimate of lovers, the next day it was as if had long standing resentments and hatreds. I would be coldly and brutally dumped. Nasty exchanges of insults, slurs and acrimony ended these relations as I stormed out of their houses. I had never felt so used and violated as I have by Berlin women.
I have talked to other men about this and they tell me that is the norm in Berlin. A woman hooks up with a man. Then once they receive their climax they dispose of the men as they would a soaked up tampon. That is how I felt after these expereinces. I felt like a tampoon that had been dumped in the trash or flushed down the toilet.
Of course, the Berlin men have their own petty methods of exacting revenge on women. I have concluded that men and women have sex with each other in order to express their anger, resentments and disappointments from their previous lovers.
Still, Berlin is the city where I have had the best sex and will never forget any of the women I had sex with for the rest of my life.

Austria wins. I prefer the Austrians to the Germans. The Austrians are warmer and much more light hearted than the Germans. Moreover the Viennese have a sense of humour which the Germans poorly lack.
I needed a break from Berlin and have decided to relax in my beloved Vienna for a month.
Vienna is truly my hometown in Europe.
-Vienna, Austria

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Anonymous Anonymous said... you're black and you hooked up with a Nazi skinhead woman? How in the world did y'all meet and hook-up??

Thursday, December 27, 2007  

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