Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kisses from Berlin

I have been neglecting the wife-search in the interest of getting the hell out of dodge. Now I'm writing from a grey-green velvet settee from a lovely little apartment in Berlin. My snowglobe needed some shaking, for sure, and luckily for me I had resources enough to skeedaddle for a month.

This is my first trip to Germany and is mostly the responsibility of my dear friend Tara who is Dominating and loving her way around Europe. I'm taking advantage of her trend-setting and hoping to find some queers to love on and some men to beat on. Or vice versa, if it comes to that :)

Also, I am excited to be meeting a prospective wife on this trip; as fas as I know this woman is the only person interested from outside of the U.S. Long distance love seems to be all the rage in my friend circle these days, but I doubt I have the stomach for it. I like to be all up in love's grill. Regardless I am thrilled that a Swede is curious enough about me to make a trip to Germany to meet, and she sounds like a wonderful person. Plus, I saw a picture of her in a sailor suit. Hello, sailor!

So far I have remembered why everyone seems so crazy about packing light (a skill I have yet to grasp) and why traveling alone can be a drag. I also met some sweet and generous, legally married fags on the plane who helped me get started on the bus and U-bahn. So while I already know I couldn't hack the weather/sunlight ratio/land-lockedness of Berlin, it's great to know that if I do happen to meet my wife here I could get my romance with a side of health care benefits.

On the trip into the city from the airport I felt a lot like I remember feeling on my way into Amsterdam, years ago, the air has a similar quality, a potent greyness.

Here are some of the first things I noticed about Berlin:

-White birch trees

-A restaurant called: Piraten Restauranten, all done up in Arrrrghhh!

-Dark, cold canals

-Beautiful brickwork, hyper modern glass building in a row of ancient brick row houses

-Giant cheesey-looking sex stores: I passed at least four on the bus, the first one with a giant neon sign reading "LSD"- Love Sex Dreams

-Quite a few Thai massage parlors

-An old man with his hound on the bus

-The U-bahn is cute an cozy, almost kitschy. Everyone sits on a long bench, no seat segregation, which is covered with patterned vinyl that reminds me of a granmother's shelf lining

-In Kreuzberg there is graffitti *everywhere*. I love it!

-A four story brick building with a giant astronaut stencil on it

-Few non-white people

-Punk buying a beer at 11am outisde the U-Bahn station

-Tiny washing machine aptly called: Privileg

-Many of the younger people in Kreuzberg have dreads

-There doesn't seem to be many German restaurants around here, mostly Turkish, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican-influenced cafe food

-A small Kurdish demonstration was flanked by about 30 Polizei in drab green uniforms with lopsided little black berets. Just standing around looking fierce and unnecessary.

-Not many people where bright colors, mostly black and dark brown, red, blue and grey

-Something about the bricks and the climate and the vibe makes me guess that heroin is a popular drug here

-Most people speak some English

-Hipster stores are easily identifiable regardless of language or cultural differences

-I always feel unsure of my queerdar in other countries

-Long chartreuse budding willow whips streaming over the canal

-Lots of creaky bikes, bike lanes on everywhere on the sidewalk, demarked by a different texture and pattern of cobblestone

-Lots of vegetarian options (even some vegan!)

-Lots of piegeon and dog shit

-Milk coffee with Malt!

One of the German fags on the plane told me that Germans never smile at each other and everything is very constrained. I've been smiling extra hard. Whenever I'm in an atmosphere of constraint I get intense urges to act out and be extra crazy. Kreuzberg doesn't feel very tight, but we'll just see if it gets to me running amok.
I hope to go to Prague for a day or two as well, I've never been and feel like it would be a shame to miss it since I'm so close. If you have any must-experience ideas for me in Berlin or Paris, please email me. Generally for a long trip I do a couple of months of research and planning, whereas this time I bought my ticket a week ago and feel like I am flying by my seat-less pants!

As always, my main interests are: art (especially weird/underground), sex culture, queer culture, food, nature, and maybe some "lefty" (as Tara's German friend calls it), politics.

Enjoy yourself, no matter where in the world you are.

And many many thanks to those who helped me errand and pack, it made all the difference.