Man is it ever hot out there today. Actually, it’s not all that hot. It’s just that I am dressed for spring in PEI — heavy shirt, fleece jacket — when I should be dressed for the heat of spring in Berlin. Which I am not. So, for the moment, I’m hiding out here in easyInternetCafe on Kurfurstendamm letting my body temperature adjust downwards. I have a feeling, after lunch outside and a lot of walking around, that I have successfully developed a borderline sunburn. Oh well … I should have such problems.
Last night after leaving Plazes HQ I hung out at a wifi-enabled bar near my hotel called State O’ Maine. (Apparently I drink beer now.) Around 9:30 p.m. I headed south by foot to rendezvous with Stefan to enjoy some Italian food. Stefan was an excellent host and guided me through the complexities of ordering beer (did I mentioned that I apparently drink beer now?) and pasta in German. The pasta part of that involved an attempted translation of the German word for “sage.” For a time I was led to believe, by a seemingly helpful man at the next table, that I was ordering gnocchi with frankincense. I’m not sure what that would have been like, but I was delighted enough by the prospect to go ahead and order. I was sort of disappointed — although the pasta was very good — that it was simply sage.
After a good long supper, we emerged into the Berlin night and walked up the street into a bizarre sort of private club — Stefan had to show a secret gold card to get us admitted in the front door. Inside was a very pleasant setup, an adoringly pleasant barkeep, and vast arrays of luxurious seating that, it being a slow night, we had to ourselves. We nursed gin and tonics (apparently I drink gin and tonics now too) for a few hours and then parted company. I walked through the dark — and utterly silent — streets of East Berlin, located a night-tram, and was at my hotel and in bed by 2:00 a.m. Apparently I stay up to all hours now too.
This morning I ramped up slowly and didn’t make it out of the hotel until after 10:00 a.m. Following Stefan’s suggestions, I headed across to West Berlin (although at the time I thought it was East Berlin — I will never keep this straight) into the area known as Little Istanbul. Lots of energy there and a totally different feel than Mitte and over here in the more-high-falootin part of the west. I grabbed a cappuccino, paid 20 cents at an Internet cafe to check email, and then caught the S-train up to Plazes HQ.
Rendezvoused with Felix there and we had a good Thai-flavoured lunch in an outside courtyard around the corner and talked shop (lots of interesting developments there that I’ll discuss soon) and got a cook’s tour of l’affaire Felix that’s been playing out in TechCrunch et al this week (and completely passed me by …).
Once I’ve got my groove back, I’m going to wend my way back to my hotel, pack up for the flight back to Canada tomorrow, and either fall straight to sleep or screw up my energy and catch an outdoor screening, in German with subtitles, of The Lives of Others tonight. No doubt the next time you hear from me I’ll be cooling my heels in some airport somewhere.