Europe: The roundup. Reflections, nauseau, rejection   Leave a comment

I stumble into my room at about 5:30 a.m.

I see someone sleeping in boots in one the beds that was unoccupied for a few days. I squint, and realize those aren’t boots, those are feet. A giant is in the room. The individual begins to snore, and it sounds like a freight train with a nose. After I toss my clothes in a cigarette-smoke smelled heap in the corner, I try to go to sleep. The freight train keeps me awake. I’ve never heard someone snore that loud. It was the ultimate reflection of the big, bad, roommate. The guy was so big the sheets barely fit on him, and I swore the windows rattled a few times as he inhaled. I plugged fingers into my ears and somehow fell asleep that way.

I’ve been partying for almost fifteen hours straight, at this little gem I found near my hotel called Bar25. I found the place sort of by accident, as I was on my way to another spot called Yaam which is also close to where I was staying. I was snapping pictures on my bike while I was heading to Yaam, and I saw a lot of cute girls and oddly dressed guys going into what looked like a mechanics shop. It turned out to be a place where they had been having a party since Friday. The day I went there was Sunday afternoon.

For five euros, you could party for four days straight. I clocked a Sunday-Monday partying time block, but even when I came back (after sleeping for a few hours) I saw many of the same people at the venue, they hadn’t slept, bathed, or anything. Some were sleeping dangerously on a gangplank that was right beside a river, and other people jus kept dancing, dancing, dancing. Probably acid-tripping.

The kind of music playing was called minimalist , which is essentially dance music stripped down to beats and a few light ambient touches. Its not music you can dance very hard to, but you can definitely move to it for oh—five days or so. When I come into the place, I’m a little intimidated. Naturally, I assume everyone in there is German and speaks German, and I hadn’t gotten over my langugage barrier culture shock yet. My friend advised me that almost everyone in Berlin speaks English—later I would find out this is true—but I didn’t think it was true yet.

Girls had fantastic hairstyles. Many of them had short haircuts, mullets and assorments of dyed hairstyles. The fashion between the people varied, but there was definitely a style to the way many of the people dressed. It was interesting contrast to the Pub Crawl I went on a few days before. When I think of America, I think millions of people in non-descript t-shirts, khaki shorts and cheap, open-toe slippers. That’s the general idea anyways. This was confirmed to me while traveling. Every American I met was pretty much dressed the same way.

This is not to say that Germans don’t fit that mold, but the style of dress was different. Either way, I liked the vibe.

Many of the girls were tall and lithe. I’ve always liked tall women, and there were a few plodding about I wanted to say hello to. But alas, it seemed that many people knew each other and spoke German. As the night progressed, only a few random gay German men would say hello, and I would sit for most of the time people watching. I hung out with a few Irish girls who literally sat on a bench for about eight hours talking about nothing in particular. I met a few other people who lived in Berlin who all told me why it was an amazing city. These people were Italian, French, Canadian, English and Irish. After a few hours at the place, I noticed that many of the people who I thought were all German were actually from somewhere else! This hit home when a tall, semi-blonde guy with a barrel chest bounced into me as he passed me on the dance floor. “Sorry, mate.” He said in a thick Aussie accent.

This was an eye-opener. So I hadnt’ been talking to anyone because I thought they were all German, but pretty much everyone spoke English. When I realized this people were very drunk, and seem tripped out on something. With one day left, there wasn’t much I could do. A lady wearing a fake rose in her hair started following me around. She wasn’t my type, but she was very insistent, just hovering constantly. She told me about her young son, and how she had to leave in a few hours to take him to Kindergarten. She tried to give me information on where she lived, both of her phone numbers, and e-mail and even asked me if I had a map to show me where lived so I could find it. If I liked her, it would have been on. But there was something odd in her eyes. A darting, scary insecurity that bothered me. Also, I didn’t find her attractive.

At some point she followed me to by bike and as I was giving her a hug goodbye she tried to kiss me. I didn’t return the favor. As I rode home I remembered how bad I am at letting certain girls know I’m not interested in them.

The last day made me regret leaving Germany. During my stay at the Singer109 hotel, I met two lovely sisters from Brazil who I spoke to the most on my trip. One sister gave me the run-down on places to go, the other gave me a little tour of the place called Yaam, and incidentally shared a bike ride with me to get there. On the last night of my stay (I had hours to go before I headed to the airport) they were having a party in the lobby. I had a few drinks with the sister, learned how to sing happy birthday in German (both sisters celebrate their birthday on the same day) and played fooze ball with the older sister, who used to be a fitness instructor. That night I felt ver comfortable. More comfortable than I had for a long time while I was traveling. At that point I had a sense of at least five square miles. I knew how to find places, eat cheaply and take the train. I meet a few interesting Berliners and we share a few huge bottles of beer, Beck’s. I’m enjoying myself. We snap pictures and talk about nothing in particular. Everyone tells me to return and contact them when I plan to do that. A sinking feeling hits me; I was just starting to get a taste of Berlin when—

I’m on the plane heading back into D.C and my stomach feels like someone has twisted it into three knots. The last leg of long trips always seems to get me, and I’m not sure why. I was fine no the 8 ½ hour leg into New York, fine for the first 58 minutes of the 1 hr, 18 minute flight to D.C, but as the plane started to descend I felt nausea slapping me in the ass. I close my eyes for a few moments and then—

I’m back in my room. It smells musty. The windows have been closed for a few weeks and the room looks exactly like how I left it. Half clean, half dirty. I was in a rush and many bottles of lotion and hair products were all over the place. Guess I’ll bring those next time. I flop onto my bed and groan. I feel nauseous, but there is not food anywhere in the house. I get up and—

Rain hits me in fat drops as I walk down the street. Long streaks of lighting pepper the sky and I hope I don’t get hit by a stray bolt and make the evening news. I’m listening to some DJ Tiesto while I walk, which shares a nice relationship with the madness of a thunderstorm. I walk into a train station and fish a few quarters out of my pocket and slip them into the provided slots. A guy with both hands in his pockets with a “I’ve got no money on me” expression on his face does the usual walk around, feeling, feeling, feeling for money that isn’t there. I practice completely ignoring him and not making eye contact. I head to the train and now I know.

I’m back.

Posted June 5, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

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