So while I was in Berlin, the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out. I had some time to kill in the evening, so I decided to go see it.
I went to the movie theater in Alexanderplatz, which is a pretty touristy area in town - it’s also where the giant TV tower is located that you see in all the Berlin skyline pictures.
I went to the box office and had a bit of an odd conversation with the ticketer:
Me: Hallo, one for Pirates. Bitte.
Him: Do you want English, or German?
Him: Are you sure you don’t want German?
Me: I’m sure. I don’t know that much German, sadly.
Him: It’s good in German.
Me: …I bet, but I want to understand what is happening during the film.
Him: Johnny Depp sounds sexy in German.
He was looking like this:
And I was looking like this:
I saw the movie in English.
So if you want to read them, you can. They’re all quite interesting. Germany and I have a very strange love-hate relationship.
Moments I Remember from Germany
Or, why Assassins are Everywhere
So, I was leaving Germany for the second time, taking a flight from Berlin to London. After shitting myself for 35 minutes riding the S-bahn without a ticket and being terrified of being caught (see this post), I finally made it to the airport.
I bring my laptop with me everywhere. My laptop’s name is Altaïr, after the Assassin’s Creed character, because it’s a Mac that has no personality whatsoever and just listens to whatever I do regardless of how destructive it might be.
It also has the Assassin’s Creed logo stamped on it over the Apple logo:
So to go through security, I had to pull Altaïr out of the bag and put it through security, of course. I put it in the tray and the security officer noticed the symbol on it and nodded at me. He said, with a straight face,
“Nothing is true.”
I was SO EXCITED that a fellow member of the Brotherhood was with me, so I said as I removed my jacket:
“Everything is permitted.”
He nods at me once, again with a straight face, and then pulls out a bottle of lotion from my bag that had exceeded the volume limit and replied,
“Except for this. Too big.”
He confiscates it, but man, I didn’t even care. Perfect comback was perfect.
It was, pretty much, the perfect end to a more or less perfect trip.
Been a while. Mostly because I was just thinking of this one a few minutes ago.
This happened on the plane trip from London to Berlin. I should have known that this would be a marker of the oddest trip I have ever been on. I should have turned around right where I was, except I couldn’t because I was on a fucking plane.
The plane left at 06:30 and was scheduled to arrive at 07:45. I had pulled an all-nighter shuffling myself and 70 kilos worth of luggage through the streets of London to make this flight. So, to say the least, I was fucking tired and in no room for bullshit.
Anyways, so I was on the plane. We had hardly entered the atmosphere, and the flight attendants had just finished their safety speech that I had heard two billion times. The safety belt sign was still on, meaning nobody was supposed to move.
Then, one girl from about ten rows up from me stands up and BOOKS IT towards the back of the plane. She trips, I guess, and passes out right in the middle of the aisle right next to me.
The flight attendants are up and they stretch her out on the seats behind me. She was Japanese and didn’t know much English, and even less German.
Her friend and travel companion went to her aide, and the conversation was as follows:
Flight attendant: What is wrong with her?
Friend: I don’t know.
Flight attendant: Has she had anything to eat recently?
Flight attendant: Has she had anything to drink?
Flight attendant: What was it?
Friend: Some wine.
Flight attendant: How much?
Friend: Three glasses.
Let me reiterate this: THIS GIRL HAD THREE GLASSES OF WINE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH AT 5 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING AND THEN PROCEEDED TO FLY THROUGH THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE.
The rest of the flight, she was passed out on the row behind me while the flight attendants gave her water and juice.
Now keep in mind that I was flying Ryanair, which is a budget flight service. It’s so budget, they use comic sans on their logo.
So, naturally, it was the type of flight where nothing was free. Water, food, extra luggage, etc, cost money.
So while they were feeding this girl things to try and get the alcohol out of her system, I heard a Scottish couple ahead of me say:
“Next time dear, I’ll pass out on the flight so they can give me free drinks.”
That quote kind of made the whole flight.
On my last hours in Berlin, I had already turned in my bike and spent all my euros, so I decided to pass the time people-watching at Brandenburg Gate. I had been sitting by myself for about ten minutes when I heard two gentlemen on the bench next to me discussing possible flight cancellations because of the ash clouds over Iceland.
Having to leave for the airport in about an hour to catch my flight back to London, I decided to see if they knew anything about my flight. The men were from Ireland, and having just spent some months over there, we had a lot to bond over. One of the men had been living in Berlin for the past fifteen years and worked as an English-speaking tourguide of the city.
One thing I asked him was if you needed to buy a pass for the U-bahn, as there are no ‘barriers’ to prevent you from boarding if you don’t purchase one. Our conversation:
Him: Absolutely. Plainclothes ticket inspectors are the most feared men in Berlin. If you are caught on the train without a ticket, they will tackle you to the ground, drag you into a holding cell, and intimidate you until the police come.
Me: Oh…wow…I mean, I’ve been going about two weeks without one…
Him: You are exceedingly lucky. Even Juvenile delinquents and gang members don’t dare to ride the train without paying.
We parted ways soon after, and because I couldn’t find a cash machine nearby, and I was completely out of euros, I decided to press my abnormally good luck a little bit further and ride the U-bahn all the way to the airport without a ticket, one more time.
So while I’m on the train I’m like:
Expecting a plainclothes ticket inspector to see me and my no-ticket self and tackle me to the ground like this:
And drag me off the train in a sobbing heap.
I was on the train for an hour, and fortunately I didn’t run into any such persons, but still…
I was in Berlin for two weeks and committed the most feared crime in the city, risking a confrontation with the most intimidating men in the country, and not only did I get away with it, I didn’t even know the risks.
CHILDREN, ALWAYS BUY A U-BAHN TICKET. ALWAYS.
One day I went to a small town south of Hamburg to visit a Danish friend of mine. It was an adventure in itself getting there, but on the train ride home I happened to sit in front of a group of German university students who were going to Berlin to celebrate their team reaching the German football finals. They got my attention, and we had an interesting exchange:
Him: Ihre Tasche ist hässlich.
Me: Ich Weiß nicht Deutch sprechen. Englisch?
Him: Ah. I was saying your bag is ugly, but it is okay since you’re a tourist. (I had a pink Hello Kitty backpack)
Me: I’m…sorry? I like my bag.
Him: It’s okay. We don’t like commercial names in Germany. Where are you from?
Me: Hello Kitty is everywhere here, though. I am from America. I am in Europe on study. I’m just visiting Germany.
Him: Why? Germany is boring.
Me: I love it here. I am staying in Berlin and it is my favorite city that I have visited so far.
We proceed to make small talk about America and Germany and football and whatnot. He then sits next to me and gives me a half-pint of beer he had with him.
Him: Here. If there is one thing I like about Germany, it is the beer. I will sit with you for the rest of the train trip, but I have to see my friend first.
He gets up and leaves the train car, leaving his beer with me. He is gone for about fifteen minutes while I drink my beer. Then he comes back, and proceeds to sit /behind/ me where he was originally with his buddies and reaches over to grab both his beer, and mine. Seeing as how it was given to me for free, I didn’t say anything.
However, a German woman nearby had been watching our exchange with interest and stood up when she saw him take my beer. I don’t know what she said exactly, but she basically bitched at him in German to give me back my beer and that he was being rude. I believe I caught a few curse words in there.
So she was like:
And they were like:
And I was like:
Don’t fuck with German women.
The first time I went to Berlin, I passed by Brandenburg Gate a few times. In front of it there are usually 2 or 3 pairs of costumed entertainers - sometimes they’re in military uniforms (usually American, USSR, or GDR uniforms w/flags) or they’re in random mascot costumes (Luke Skywalker Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck Vader were there one day). You can take a photo with them for about 2 euro.
When I went, I saw two of them dressed as a Soviet officer and a GDR officer. I decided to indulge my small Hetalia side for the first time that trip and I took a picture with them for my Gilbert’s sake, and I wanted to support them since I had seen them out there all day (and it was hot!) While the photo was being taken, this was our conversation:
Them: Hello! Where are you from?
Them: Oh, cool! Are you from New York City?
Me: Haha, no. I live near Washington, DC.
Them: Oh, is that near New York City?
Me: Not really. It’s about an 8 hour drive or so.
(the photo is taken)
Me: Thank you for the photo, you guys look amazing.
Them: Thank you! Bye bye New York City girl!
So, while in Berlin, I was in the bike rental place in Alexanderplatz dealing with my stolen bike, and there was some American guy who was on one of their rental computers on Facebook. He comes up to the counter to ask the guy something, but he had just disappeared to the back so I answered his question. This was our conversation.
Him: How do you say ‘I am a Berliner’?
Me: Um, I believe it’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’.
Him: Okay, thanks. (he goes back to his computer and starts to type, then returns a moment later) How do you spell ‘ein’?
Him: Thanks. (he goes back to the computer, then hollers to me from it) Wait, how do you spell ‘Berliner’?
Him: Oh, thanks. You’re so knowledgable! Are you Canadian?
I was pretty much like: