10 October 2008

Bureaucracy and Berlin

Oh, and one more thing: I had to make a scramble to Berlin on Wednesday to get a new passport because I can't get a new student visa until I have a new passport and if I didn't hurry, I wouldn't have it on time for my trip on the 28th. Yikes.

Here's the amazing thing. It was a good experience, paper work and all. The people there were friendly and helpful, including security. I wasn't sighed at or sent away because I didn't have everything (like stamps). The man at the window took my money to the cashier for me, got change so I could buy stamps, and, get this, my newly-taken passport picture wasn't the right size though I had them taken at a passport booth, but the nice man TOOK IT ANYWAY, SAYING HE COULD PUT ANOTHER PIECE OF PAPER BEHIND IT! Are you kidding me? Then, to top it all off, he said it would take about two weeks (WOW!), but he wrote a special note on the application about when I would be traveling just so they would hurry.

I was in and out of there within thirty minutes. American bureaucracy wins this time, hands down.

And, just to keep you entertained, when I was done, I saw a few things in Berlin. However, I forgot my camera (a tragedy, really, I loved the repeated forms at the memorial). So here are some pics from Google images.

Potsdamer Platz has cool architecture (throat clear, Tanya) and a piece of the wall with some explanations and pictures posted on them (you can see it in the lower right-hand corner). I get teary-eyed every time I see pictures of people jumping out of their windows to get to the west when the wall was being built. There's something about having to flee your home, a place that is supposed to be your sanctuary, that gets to me.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is made up of big rectangular blocks that get taller and taller until you are engulfed, with a hilly base made up of individual cobblestones.
Wikipedia claims the artist didn't use any symbolism. I beg to differ. The ground being hilly makes it unsure, like the course of politics during the holocaust. And though you start out being able to see the big picture, you soon become enveloped by the blocks. You are unable to see around the corners (I even ran into someone) and it becomes one continuous, darkened state (interpret that how you will, I think it's obvious):

Here's what a regular Döner meat cooker looks like:

Here's the Balli Döner famous to all Berlin Germany missionaries (in case you can't tell, that thing is enormous):

The meat was perfectly seasoned and the garlic sauce was amazing. If you're ever in Berlin, make it to Lichterfeld Ost.

P.S. You still have time to guess which songs are on my roommate's American CD.


  1. Thanks for comment. I left you one awhile ago to inform you of the time our little family spent living in Landshut Germany (summer 2007). It was amazing,as you can obviously relate. If you're ever in that region, I would be more than happy to introduce you to the Auras familien. They are our best friends on the planet and would welcome you in such a way. You'd have free lodging for as long as you'd like to stay. Landshut if 50 miles (or so) from Munchen. If you're interested, please don't hesitate to ask. They're the absolute best.