Friday, May 15, 2009

Berlin is always alive

it's quite late, but I can't sleep, so here's an update to all of those back home
earlier today, we had a tour of Kreuzberg (a section of Berlin currently known for its immigrant population). I found the tour guide not only incredibly genuine, but also completely in tune with the pulse of that area of Berlin. While it was much more informal than the other walking tours that we've done, it really was the closest that we've come to a true Berliner showing us their side of the story.While every other tour guide that we've had has been extremely knowledgeable, it was very refreshing to embark with a person who has known the area all of her life. The Turkish lunch at the end of the tour was also quite delicious.

At about mid-day, I took a trip down to the turkish market (also down in Kreuzberg). I felt like I was in the opening market scene of Aladin. It truely was a cultural expiriance, and the fact that I was a forgiener alone amongst them truely added to the expiriance. There were a few other germans (meaning white/western), but I was culturally alone amoungst many that I understood very little. Times like those are the reason why I gladly explore alone, as I feel that having the ability to comment to another in english would dampen the momment.

I also had an extensive walking tour of my own in the neighborhood around the hostel by myself. It is really quite a bit of fun for me to walk around and act like I am a german while in fact I am obviously not... It is until I stop into a shop for a soda that my cover is blown (although many still speak german to me even after realizing that I'm from elsewhere.) Most can speak a smattering of english, So I'm quite proud of my pronunciation (I thank Janet for that), as it's been able to convince the locals that I'm able to speak enough german to understand them completely (or in some cases that I'm even from Germany itself).
The hostel truely is in a "hip" part of town, a little nook that I've already dubbed "the American sector". Many people I pass on the street are speaking "North American" english (I say this because I've met a number of people from canada here), something that I've grown used in the 3-4 blocks around the hostel. I'm not sure if it is the exact hostel that I'm in tha attracts these other native english speakers (the entire staff is complelely fluent in english and advertises the hostel as english friendly), or something else. Perhaps it is the distinct vibe (can't explain it) that this area gives that seems to attract North Americans. I think Berlin itself attracts North Americans, as even in the subways it is not uncommon to evesdrop on a couple of lost Americans. While I am tempted to feel superior in Language and cultural sensitivity (many make no attempts to fit in with the exsisting Berlin/German culture), I constantly remind myself that I was exactly where they (meaning americans without any german language/culture training) were about a year ago. A single year (or even a lifetime) of language or culture training should not allow one to be a snob.

anyways, I am going to try to sleep again. They say that writing things down can clear your mind, and I hope that this is the case.

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