Thursday, June 26, 2003

Mini-golfing in Berlin
(posted from Hamburg)

When you visit a city and stay with locals, a different side of the city presents itself to you. Locals know the best bars, the best cafes and the usually hidden parts of the city. The inverse of this is that they are blissfully unconcerned with the aspects of the city usually laid out for tourists.

The best example of this was when walking near the city center with Mina and Sophie and Mizha. I was walking next to Mizha and he points out, as a side comment, an afterthought, ' Oh. This wall here is part of the Berlin wall, you know.'

The funny thing is that we had been by here before but nobody had bothered to point this out before. The wall was not a destination or a thing to be ogled at but had been part of our travels all along, interwoven with our walks throughout the city.

The entire visit was like that, full of impromptu moments:
- We found what I am convinced is the best and cheapest pizza in Berlin.
- We watched Sophie's womans chorus belt out folk songs at a club in East Berlin, with their teeth blacked out and dressed in garish clothes.
- We stayed in a flat in East Berlin thick with artists and heavy smokers
- Walking near a children's park, we stumble upon a strange, spinning contraption that looks like it violates every safety law one could think up and is surely illegal in every other country in the world. The five of us spend the next hour jumping on it and laughing and narrowly avoiding death.
- We played miniature golf in a small park teeming with locals. Sophie bests us all. My own scorecard is full of too many funfs and siebens.

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