Sandwich of Doom

[A little comics reference there for you, dear reader. I know my audience. It’s of a manageable size. :)]

You know how you’re supposed to sandwich unfavourable feedback or bad news between nice things? You should if you ever did teacher training. Constructive criticism and all that. Aaaanyway. On my fourth (fourth?! already?) day in Berlin I surrounded a lovely experience with two less successful ones. It was the best veggie burger imaginable in a dry white bun of ultimate despair.

Bun bottom. Apparently, KaDeWe is the department store in Berlin, and rather like I once walked through the ground floor of Harrods just to be able to say I’ve been, I thought I’d have a quick look at what the main shopping area of the old west side looks like. Yeah. Except I wasn’t at all in the mood for it and just needed the loo which was hard to find without a floor plan (why would you not have a floor plan visible? the place is massive, after all). I did find it – I had to – and then went upstairs to buy some chocolate because I learn from my mistakes, i.e. try to carry something edible with me at all times. (I’m terrible at finding places to eat. I’m grumpy when I’m hungry. I don’t like being grumpy. Or hungry.)

Many many shops in Kurfürstendamm. Big ones. But of course too much choice makes decision-making more rather than less difficult (can’t remember where I read that, but I’m pretty sure Oliver Burkeman has written a column about it – he usually has), so I’m probably better off doing my shopping at home.

The best burger ever (carrot, in my opinion). I took the bus from one temple of consumerism to another, to the dreaded evil tourist complex of hell from Tuesday, aka the Sony Center near Potsdamer Platz, and after queueing with a hoard of American teenagers eager to see the last Harry Potter film (argh), I got a huge quiet theatre all to myself for a good ten minutes. Lovely. Reminded me of going to see day-time films in Amsterdam years ago. A handful of other people arrived and we saw Pina, which was very beautiful and moving. It made me want to learn more languages (because I have to admit that listening to a dancer speak French/Italian/Spanish/Russian/whatever while reading subtitles in German meant that the sum was often less than its parts as far as comprehension was concerned). It made me want to move. It reminded me that the moving body is always beautiful. It was easily the most watchable dance film I’ve ever seen, and the first 3D film that didn’t make me queasy or headachey. It was intimate and inventive and well-edited and just really rather brilliant.

More of the stale bun. I should’ve left it at that, but no, I had to squeeze in a museum as well. The Story of Berlin. I wanted to understand where I am. I should have known better than to trust a newspaper article that picked this alongside a Currywurst Museum as places to visit in Berlin… *sigh* It was noisy. It was chaotic. Many of the interactive displays didn’t work. The ones that did could not be controlled beyond pressing play. The video and audio alternated between German and English which meant you had to wait around. Audio everywhere meant that it mixed to create cacophony in every section. The order of things was confusing. There was far too much to read and too little to see, especially up until the 20th century. There was no focus. Actually, the best bits, and I suspect the ones people are most interested in, were all about the 20th century, so why not just do that really well and leave the rest to other museums?

Ah well, can’t win them all. That was Thursday. I’m getting the hang of this city, little by little, and I’m coming up with more things to do than I have time for. We’ll see what I end up doing tomorrow. Depends partly on the weather, which has actually been mostly quite good. I’ve yet to find a reliable forecast – today was supposed to be rainy and we didn’t get one drop – but I guess I’ll just keep carrying my umbrella for insurance.


Howl at the moon

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