Friday, November 21, 2008

Berlin, Jodona

Monday, my first day back in Berlin, she threw another enchanting day at us; Spanish is the best way to say it -- es una gran jodona, she loves fucking with us. Having been granted brilliant sun and relative warmth in the middle of November, I simply had to hop on a bike and head down Unter den Linden toward the Brandenberg Gate, as it could very well be the only sunny biking weather of my whole stay. Didn't have my camera with me, as usual, and couldn't shoot the bulldozers demolishing the last bit of the Palast der Republik, the old DDR parliament building, as I biked onto Museum Island, but here's a pic I snapped in June. This has to have been the slowest demolition on record (granted, asbestos seems to have played a role), it having been well underway when I arrived in Berlin over two years ago.

This time the only thing that remained were four extremely well-built (bomb-shelter strong, I'd say) concrete stairways leading up to the sky, and I've plagiarized this great pic from the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. People had stopped on the bridge over the Spree to watch -- this demolition has divided Berliners into the nostalgic reconstruc-tionists (much of central Berlin consists of perfectly faithful reproductions of various historical buildings that were bombed to oblivion) and the historical realists (who think the damn thing should just have been left there, asbestos and all). I fall into the historical realist crowd, which puts me in the minority, of course. But then my readers are already well acquainted with my penchant for Berlin's dark side.

Returning here in the sort of weather that did, on Day 2 of my visit, readjust to normal, I immediately slip into my tough-woman persona; today I was biking around in my winter coat and 3°C and it started to spit rain, which eventually progressed to steady rain, and I was just saying, "snow, SNOW, dammit" because at least then it would be slightly less wet. The snow didn't happen till I got back to the flat I'm subletting, and I'm watching it out the window, that impossibly wet, heavy stuff that will disappear almost immediately. But still, it's cozy, isn't it, the first snow of the year? And rather cool that I've been here in Berlin for this each of the last three years.

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