Friday, 7 March 2008

Berlin part two - Abandoned in Berlin

After our weekend in Berlin Mrs B had to return home, a little soggier than when she arrived but now brimming with German culture to make up for it. Leaving me to face the Germans on my own. I’m afraid I don’t have a good track record with dealing with groups of Germans. On an individual basis I get on quite well with them, I just don’t get the whole "taking over thing" when they group together? (Liebenstrauber, if I remember my history classes. I end up feeling like Poland after any prolonged dealings with groups of “Them”).

Let me take you back in time, to when I was not much more than an ankle-biter. The scene is an empty beach in Portugal. A group of English kids are playing football on that beach, which stretches out for miles in both directions, did I mention it was empty. Out of nowhere a group of German teenagers, probably about six years older than us, arrive and set up a volleyball net in the middle of our pitch. Wow, that left an impression on me I can tell you – especially when I ran into one of the Poles holding up the bloody net (They were obviously doing all sorts of menial jobs in those days as well). We put up a valiant fight but without the help of the Yank kids sitting at a nearby cafe, who were doing a passable impression of Switzerland ie staying neutral, we were soon driven off the beach.

Move forward again to the present and I’m having breakfast in the hotel dining room. I had just sat down at an empty table when a couple of over-stuffed German battleaxes began “occupation” of the table next to me. Shortly after this a friend of theirs (same build, equally ugly) plonked herself at my table without saying a word. I looked around the fairly empty breakfast room and spotted more of their friends relentlessly trundling towards me. My first thought was to stand my ground and try to hold out. I then realised that I was on my own with no hope of reinforcement. Besides, after I had sat down at the table I realised the previous occupant had spilt their juice all over it. It might have been a retreat but I feel it was a glorious one, in the best traditions of Dunkirk. They were more than welcome to my damp old table, if it was that important to them. Without a backward glance I went off in search of dryer parts of the dining room, preferably a table without room for a volleyball net (don’t say I never learn).

Berlin Airport Security
I wrote this part of the Blog on a much cleaner machine (As a reader ask yourself “Can I tell the difference?” I bet you can’t.) I had been abusing the waiting time at Berlin airport, putting together my Berlin trip Blog. I completed some of it while having a coffee outside the departure gate and then decided to proceed through security. Things went ok as I put my lap top in the security box and then started the process of removing everything from my pockets, my watch, my belt, my jacket - the works. I proceeded through the metal detector. Nothing. As I put myself back together one of the security women pulled me to one side and said that they needed to do further checks on my Lap top. (God had someone been reading my less than flattering German comments?) I was frogmarched back out of the departure lounge and taken half way around the airport to a seedy little room, containing a funny little man and what looked like a futuristic vacuum machine that was built in the 50’s. He proceeded to Hoover my keyboard and used a cloth to clean the screen and the outer casing. How nice I thought, caught feeling somewhere between grateful for the free cleaning service they were providing and victimised by an over-zealous security regime. Once he had given my PC a clean bill of health, I was escorted back to the Departure lounge. At least I would get fast tracked through security, I thought……. Not a bit of it. There I was, back stripping myself to the very core of my being. If you remember last time I walked through the metal detector: not a peep. This time it went off like McG when you put down an empty food bowl for him. I looked into the eyes of the very same security guard who had ushered me through 20 minutes earlier. Out came the magic wand that beeped its way across every inch of my body. Not only did I get a free laptop clean, but an intimate body massage to boot. Did I miss something? Was I the 1,000,000th Airberlin passenger?

It’s a small world.
On the way out to Berlin I found myself sitting in front of Steve and Rachel, who live near us and who I occasionally run into at the gym. They were off on a fact finding trip to Berlin to check out property investment opportunities. While Mrs B failed to complete the purchase of an umbrella, despite Berlin having a Noah style rain setting for our entire stay, Steve and Rachel not only found but purchased an apartment. What can I say? There are a lot of different umbrellas out there, and you should not rush into making a choice. I just hope that they have purchased a property on high ground….

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr B, Glad to see the blog is still going strong - and great to see some new material. As someone who doesn't get out much, it's so helpful to have your body of work when striking off places to visit on my atlas.

    By the way - not keen on the new design - I think the 3rd or 4th version was the best.

    Oh - and Leibensraum is probably the word you were after - "Living room" I believe, which is crazy really – Poland is surely only fit to be a back bedroom at best.



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