Archive for the ‘Berlin’ Tag

Germany day 4: The Czech Republics, beaches and underground clubs   Leave a comment

 

Its Sunday afternoon. I just woke up with my head in my hands. I’m fully dressed, in my outfit from the night before. I hear room door open, and my roommate walks in and starts using his computer.

 

I vaguely remember a moment a few hours before.  I—

Burst into the room, obviously drunk and I struggle to take  off my shoes. My roommate, a Japanese dude named Yoshi, asks the obvious question: “Are you allright?” he says. “I’m fine.” I reply, then I flop into bed. A few seconds after hopping into bed, I feel like my head is spinning and I run to the bathroom. Yes, Berlin was that good.

This blog is in two parts: Day and Night.

DAY

For me, the day was somewhat introspective. A friend of mine was in Berlin for a few hours and I hung out with her. We shared a meal at a Vietnamese place near Weinmeisterstralle and chit-chatted about life. We traveled on the train a bit, took some pictures and talked about humanity and monogamy. She explained to me that her brother had been recently cheated on by his girlfriend of three years, and he was a mess. I said “damn,” to myself when I hear that, but that’s life. Who can really trust anyone?

Either way, after I said my goodbyes to her I hung out in Alexanderplatz for a little while. The best way to describe the place:

The area is the size of a stadium with no stadium. For a stretch of roughly half a mile, is nothing but pavement. Two massive buildings are on this concrete tundra, and people look like ants as they walk to and fro. It is almost like staring at infinity, or God’s empty paddling pool, its that big.

 

Yeah… so I was sitting there for a while just thinking about my life. Here I am in Berlin, sitting by myself. I’ve achieved a great goal by coming here, and I feel happy to be here, but my mind runs on many other things.  Occasionally, I think about my ex-girlfriend and wonder what she’s doing. I wonder if she’s sleeping alone, or with someone,  or taking a shower in the middle of a summer morning. I want to talk to her, but I’ve been afraid to call her lately. I don’t like feeling needy. I need to disconnect a bit. A statement I came up with for a book I’m working on has become a theme for me of late, especially since I’ve been traveling. This was supposed to be a statement in  a movie or something…. But basically two people are talking, and one person says. “You don’t know what love is like.” And one says,” Love can eat you, and love can sting you, but you’ll never know how small the world is until you are in love.”

This statement hit me profoundly (even though I came up with it). You can travel thousands of miles away from someone, but all you need is a thought to put them right beside you.

I didn’t mention it in my blogs when I was in France, but one night was really bad for me. A few years ago one of my best friends died, and  it has  affected me to this day. When I was in France, one on night in particular, I remember a conversation we had. “We are going to Japan.” He said, “We’ll travel, we’ll do it.” We had made plans to go to Europe as well, traveling, having fun sight seeing and living it up. That will never happen. I don’t know why that night in France that realization hi me so hard. In the middle of everything I was doing I started to feel like I was losing it—I wanted to network, to get into parties and have fun, but all I could think about was my friend.

Now I’m in Berlin, one of the places we might have traveled to. I don’t feel bad today, (not in the way I did in France) but sitting in this massive, expansive place can make a person think about things.

Sometimes I want to just forget everything I left behind. My past, my old apartment in DC, my past thoughts and memories. I didn’t’ really want to travel thousands of miles to sit and think about things I can’t change. I guess this is the real spice of life, sitting in a foreign country thinking about all things Marcus.

I also think about my family. I wonder what they are doing, how things are in Jamaica, and if they have any idea what I’m doing in Germany. I think of the future, a possible family of my own… and the next step for in my life. I think on these things for a while, then, I realize I need a drink. Fast.

 

NIGHT

I’m at the beach, in the middle of Berlin.

I’m near Freidrickstralle, an area that reminds me of bad b-movies with great art direction. I’m meeting up with the English girl I met the day before, and some of her friends.  On my way to meet them, I waited at the wrong street for a while. I saw a Pub Crawl taking place. Seeing all those tourists walking to a bar was like watching a 2008 American pilgrimage.  I’m sitting on my bike sipping a beer—I still havent’ realized I’m in the wrong place yet—and I talk to a few fellow standing by the road. When they hear I’m from Jamaica, they seem to be in shock. “Dude, why are you in Berlin?” they say. I try to answer this question when another guy comes up and he also asks me the same question. Why are you in Berlin?

Eventually, I meet up with the guys. They suggest we go to this place called “The Beach”.

This place is like a dream, I’m serious. A huge shadowy building is in front, and almost all of its surface is covered in graffiti, in the shadwos and in the lights, are people, walking through sand, yes, sand and sitting on benches, under tents, drinking and laughing.

What’s dream like about the place is that (a) we have this huge old German building creating the perfect spooky grunge backdrop. (b) we have sand in the middle of a big city, plus trees and beach chairs (c) graffiti makes the area seem dangerous, but its all very chill.

I half expect to see a six foot seven German man in a leather jacket covered with trinkets point to me and then I get tossed out by a few smaller but equally swarthy cronies on the street. I would lay on the ground for a moment gathering my senses when a huge boot would kick me in the ribs and someone would shout in a BAD accent, “Go back to zer Amerika!”

Of course that didn’t happen.  At this point I’m starting to feel a good buzz since I was pre-gaming (alone…sad I know) earlier. Liquid confidence gives me the balls to approach random German people, which I’ve found isn’t a pleasant experience. Germans seem friendly during the day, but at night it’s a whole different story. I see two Slovak looking ladies sitting down and I say my one liner:

“Halo, vie geht es inen?” (Hi, how are you?)

The give me a look that makes me feel like a wisp of grass that accidentally landed on the table. I say “whatever” and find my group. Vanessa is with her long time high school friend Rich and they seem to be getting very chummy. I get a few signals that I’m not supposed to be there when she keeps asking me which girls I want to talk to.

I’m not worried… this is Germany baby! I head over to a small bar where there is  a large group of VERY blonde women. I BS and get a drink and initiate some conversation with two of them. They are from the Czech republic! They speak perfect English. It turns out they are on a class trip to Berlin and they will be here until Monday. I met a Monica, Martina, Elle and someone else. They were all tall, pale and almost platinum blonde. “We are from Prague.” Martina said.  I want to go to Prague now.

I joke around with the ladies for a little while and get a few nasty looks from some of the Czech fellows sitting nearby. I dub the ladies, “The Czech Republics”.

After I chat with the ladies for a while I go back to Vanessa and crew. Massive, the Italian with an Aussie accent is part of the group now. He recommends buying drinks at a corner shop outside to save cash. I agree and follow him. A bottle of Beck’s twice the size of the one I bought in the company of the Czech girls for 3 euros is 1.50 at the stand. I talk to Massive for a few moments about German girls. He too agrees they are kind of hard to meet, but once you get in, oh boy!

At this point I’m probably drunk. I can’t tell for certain, but I started doing some crazy things. I get annoyed with Vanessa for a reason I can’t remember and spend the next hour in the company of the Czech Republics. Unfortunately, I met the teacher of the students (Monica) and breaking in to that group seems like a very shady exercise. The girls were 18 and 19 respectively. Plus massive German guys swarmed around, full of that “I am very tall and very strong” swagger.

I give up on the Czech Republics and head outside for another beer. This time I’m walking alone. The street is buzzing with life. I get a different beer, this one is a Berliner. The lady working the stand looks like a seasoned participant in life. She is in her late forties to early fifties, heavy set with red patches from overexposure to the sun and a hard face. She cracks it open. “Danke.” I say.

I’m walking back to The Beach and I see a tall attractive girl eating some pizza. I make conversation and she tells me about a club she’s going to.  “You should come.” She says.  A fellow pops up, a shorter guy (shorter than me, meaning VERY short by German standards) and this is Benny. At some point I whisper to the girl (who’s name is Marie) and ask her if Benny is her boyfriend. She laughs, a cute, twinkling German laugh. “He is too little!” she says, pointing at him. Benny hears the statement and smirks. Another guy comes along, also shorter than me. He is Yohan. Yohan gives me some vodka to sip on.

The adventure begins.

We take a turn off the main road, Oranienburgerstralle and go up a dark, quiet street. I’m definitely drunk now, and just going along for the ride. I learn that Marie spent one year in London, which explains her good English. She said she just finished school… high school! She’s 19. The group stops at gate that looks like it was stolen from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula prop set.  Two men in black jackets speak in hushed tones to Yohan and Benny. They check their IDs and wave us in. I’m looking for my ID, but I realize I left it back at the hotel. The bouncer waves me in. I follow the group through a very dark parking lot and we enter what looks like an apartment building. After walking up a small flight of stairs, I can hear the music pounding through the walls. House music!

I ask Marie how much is the entrance fee. “Its about six euros.” She says. I nod after she says this, and I turn to the bouncer. “Halo my friend!” I say with a big smile. He is short, but very muscular. “Mi name ist Marcus, from Jamaica, first time in Berlin!” I say. “Thomas.” He says, shaking my hand. “I am happy to be here!” I say with more energy. Then I turn back to the group. The guys paid, and I look at Thomas and he waves me in. Free entrance baby!

 

Two things happen at this point. First, I feel amazed. I’m in a real German club now. There were no tourists in this place. The interior of this building resembled a mini cathedral. There were several dance floors all packed with people. The air was hot and wet.

 

The second thing that happens is I lose the group. I was following Marie around for a few minutes, then she disappeared. After that, I was on my own. I think, and I emphasize, think  I bought another drink at this point but I can’t be sure. I vaguely remember having a conversation with a German guy who happily proclaimed he was 197 cm tall (probably like 6’6). The music was good, but I couldn’t really dance. I was people watching. I was inside, but I felt exposed. I’m this drunk Jamaican guy running around with a polo shirt with a tie on! This is where the night gets blurry.

So I lost the group and listened to some underground music for a while. I don’t think I attempted to talk to anyone seriously. I said hello to a few girls, but I needed some air. All the beer and Vodka was getting to me now.

I’m directed to an exit that puts me on a street I don’t know. The sky is a purplish-blue. Damn, its almost daybreak. I’m not walking straight and I’m lost in the middle of Berlin! I curse a little and stop almost everyone that walks past me:

“Ver is der Frederickstrasse?” I say. (Where is Frederick street?)

People point me in the right direction, but I walk around in a daze for a good twenty minute before I find “The beach” again. I go inside but everyone is gone. No Czech Republics, no English crew. I unlock my bike from the entrance of the beach and start riding home. I don’t know why, but I’m hit with an overwhelming desire to call my ex-girlfriend. For that moment, her voice was the only thing I wanted to hear. I think that desire saved me.

I could barely ride the bike straight and I had about a three mile stretch from where I was to my hotel. This mind you, is through winding roads and streets, between underpasses, ten lane roads, and over routes where these large (and deathly quiet) tram cars drive. Dangerous.

I fuel myself with thoughts of my ex, and this keeps me semi-sober for a while. Twice, I crash the bike. The first time, I almost rode into a wall and a did a poor braking exercise. The second time I had a full wipeout about two hundred feet from my hotel. Even though the sun is starting to rise, it’s still very dark. To get to my hotel I had to navigate through a narrow path filled with lots of trees and hedges. I was doing a good job. “yes, I’m almost there!” I said gleefully. In moments I would be inside my room, on Skype talking to the one person whose voice I wanted to hear. Then, I lost my equilibrium.

My front tire hit a hedge and the bike shifted into the hedge. I braked up, but badly and I fell to the ground. Now I’m on my back and the world is spinning. I try to get up but I can’t, I’m too wasted. I laugh.

“I’m in Germany!” I say to myself with a weak chuckle. I lay there for a minute or so, catching my breath. I think of calling my ex again, and I find a second wind. I get up and finish the ride to the hotel. I lock the bike outside and walk to my room. All I want to do is sleep, but somehow I take my laptop from its case and open it up. (The next morning I would see the laptop on the kitchen table and wonder how it got there). I call my ex but I’m not successful. She doesn’t answer the phone.

At this point the blog begins.

I flop into bed fully dressed hoping to sleep. The Berliner and Becks I drank don’t want to stay inside me, so I run to the bathroom. I go into the room and fall asleep immediately.

Wicked night.

 

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