Diary of an Expat, Part 87
Pictures! And family in Berlin
Berlin doesn't do well when it's hot. There's nothing for us but ice cream and beer, and as charming as these are they don't do much for productivity.

Fortunately the heat wave broke as soon as it arrived; there were two days of 35-degree temperatures, and then a thunderstorm that drew away the heat in a brief, frantic orgy of lightning and heavy rainfall. Since then it's been quite lovely.

This entry will be short because I have family in town, although I'm going to try to make an effort to think about the things that seem odd to them — they've not left the United States in twenty years, and haven't been to Europe in more than thirty. So I'm sure there's some culture shock.

Right now it has been around minor things, like boxed milk.

I do notice American accents more when I'm around other Americans, I find. I'm not sure why this would be particularly attenuating, since Americans are extremely loud and it's not like you need to be terribly discerning to pick them out. But perhaps, I guess. Perhaps.

I have also noticed that when I am with my mother everyone speaks English to the both of us, even if we haven't said anything before, and even when I speak to them in German. So perhaps when we're traveling together there's some kind of weird English multiplication effect that happens.

Tiergarten was nice today; there's something very comforting about walking through the shade beneath those trees. It was a nice change from the bustle of Pariser Platz — the moreso because of the LGBT pride street fair that was going on today.

In other news, there is an extremely loud party going on more or less outside my window. People are dancing; they are drunkenly singing along with the music. The music is "Mushaboom," by Feist, because Berliners definitely know how to throw a party.

... Wait. We briefly took a stab at some KISS. We're listening... there's not so much singing going on. KISS is a bit aggressive for this crowd I fea —

Right now it's Stealer's Wheel.

Sometimes I try to think of things that encapsulate Berlin in a nutshell.

Ravers stumbling through the last motions of a party at 9 on a Sunday morning, for example. Strange little curio shops with taxidermied wild animals in the storefronts. A squat covered in dense street art. Drummers at Alexanderplatz. The sad excuse for architecture that is Potsdamer Platz. A park filled with people just enjoying a gorgeous afternoon.

Picking Feist and Stealer's Wheel for your party mix is probably up there. Actually this came to a head earlier today when we were out and about and I tried to explain the terrible music here.

"Berliners have relatively terrible taste in music," I said. We were passing a series of storefronts, down on Unter den Linden.
"What do you mean?" they said.
"It's bizarrely stuck in the 70s and 80s. It's kind of like it ended when the Wall came down, and there's a black spot of nothingness, and then just this Euro dance bullshit," I said. We stepped into a souvenir stand.
"I'm not sure it's that bad," they said.
"We're no strangers to love," said the radio in the stand, abruptly. "You know the rules, and so do I."
"... I see," they said.

Ach so, indeed.

Anyway, though, here are some pictures.

That Picture, finally -- I don't take many pics of the Gate (source: flickr)

Sculpture in the Tiergarten (source: flickr)

Very Soviet Architecture at Alexanderplatz. Even more lines, courtesy of some cranes (source: flickr)

The world clock thing is a pretty cool idea, if very Cold War in its design <3 (source: flickr)

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