Things I learned In Berlin26-04-2010
Just back from a long weekend in Berlin with the lady friend (part of her present at Christmas since she loves the city and always wanted to go). I tell you it was fantastic time altogether.
While there I had a few moments of comedy that are worth noting before diving into all the other stuff.
1: It turns out that Vince Vaughn is still working as a tour guide from that movie he did with Jennifer Aniston. One day we bought tickets for a hop-on/hop-off tour and the tour guide was the exact double for Mr. Vaughn, right down to how he talked. Sure there was a germanic accent there but it was his double I tell you. What's more, he liked the ginger hair. Not many people point at the hair and say "Hey, I really like that.". Plus throw in the fact that we were Irish and he loved us.
2: German people tend to stare a lot at stuff that is a bit out of the ordinary. Such as the ginger hair. Any time we walked down the street looks came in our direction since it would appear that the old German race have very few ginger folk about. We didn't really see any the whole three and a bit days we were there.
3: Confusion reigned supreme when we ordered drinks. As most will know, I don't drink. At all. Correction, I don't drink alcohol at all, fluids still are required for general day to day living. So most of the time when we ordered a beer/glass of wine and a large coke the waiter would come back with the order and then be confused that the coke was for me and the beer for the lady friend. You have to love people's preconceptions of situations.
The trip itself was brilliant though. A truck load of history is just there, waiting for you to soak it all up. The Berlin Wall was something I had only ever read about but when you see it up close and personal you can really get a sense of how scary it must have been. Having some huge concrete thing split a city in two.
The holocaust memorial was a frightening place as well. Aside from a dozen Spanish students running around and shouting at the top of their lungs the place was silent, a mass graveyard reminding you just what went on back in the Bad Old Days. Huge stone blocks standing row after row after row. If you ever needed a reminder of why doing something was a bad idea, this would be it.
It wasn't all good though. Airport security in Berlin were a bit on the bastard side. For starters there is no niceties exchanged. I know they have a job to do but how hard is it to not just point at a person like they have been selected for the firing squad. You get a few dismissive waves and gestures and from this are meant to work out when and where to walk.
Plus for some unknown reason my laptop was held for longer than normal after going through the X-ray. We brought it along just in case an Ash cloud decided to ruin the return trip flight (how awful that would have been, stuck in a great city that charges a fraction of what Dublin does for better food and goods) and had had no problems with it going over. Yet as I collected my bag the laptop was just taken out of the tray and put under the table, with no rhyme or reason given. I speak alright German and was more than able to go out of my comfort zone during the trip but there was nothing said. It was just lifted up and put away and a finger held up to indicate I was to wait. Then after two minutes it was handed back to me. No idea what it was about.
But not it's back to the grindstone, back to the real world, back to prepping for yet another tech interview tomorrow. Good thing I booked the whole day off, could need a long day of relaxation after two hours of an exam.