Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mauerfall--The Dominoes

In the cloud of chaos that surrounded my arrival in Berlin, my camera went missing, so these three Mauerfall posts won't have photos until those I talked into taking photos to E-mail to me actually do so. Ah well, it's already been photographed from all ends; Radio Free Mike makes it pretty clear how miserable the rain was. I'll just add that the temperature that day managed to rise from 5°C to, well, 6° (41 to 43°F for the Celcius-challenged among you). I gambled wrong and left my umbrella at home. Despite that, I was in a cheery mood, hanging out with one group of friends, then taking a sushi break at Potsdamer Platz (I do like the little place in the Pasarelle) for an hour to dry out a bit and finally hooking up with E. for the Mauer Mob. Seven hours all told, some of which were dry or only lightly drizzling. My secret is Glühwein and more Glühwein (the hot mulled wine that's ubiquitous in German outdoor winter markets).

At the start of my perambulations, I caught the dominoes before sundown, walked as much of the length as possible (things got complicated around the Brandenberger Tor stage area) and got myself pretty wet. When I braved the elements again, Mauer Mob had about 10K of the 33K needed and I had called it right -- we shored up the very end of Zimmerstraße where they ran out of people. It was neat to look all the way down the length of the street to Stresemanstraße and see the line of people. Then we walked to Postdamer Platz to check out how easy it would be to steal a domino. But we got there shortly before 9 PM and they hadn't even toppled that section. Unbelievably it was possible to get close enough to watch that happen (thanks to the rain, I'm sure). So I was pretty pleased with our timing.

The guards at the dominoes didn't seem to go for my request for a domino as a gift. [E. interpreted as I didn't know the German word for auction, meaning the dominoes will be sold off; for this the wall toppled??] But despite the rain, the guards smiled at my attempts. I remember this feeling, of knowing that I finally have Deutschland figured out. It is possible to crack that stony tough-man exterior. A super-extroverted gringa just in from Spain: that's the secret.

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