Archive for March, 2009


Contract

It’s arrived!! The few leafs of paper which I have been waiting for 3 weeks to get here–my Ausbildungsvertrag.  (internship-thing contract).

Within the envelope and clump of A4-format papers lies the most important information of the year thus far.  When I start, where I’ll go to school, how much I’ll earn, how many vacation days I get, etc etc.

I know I really haven’t mentioned a whole lot about this on my site, because I was mainly trying to catch up my life in pictures until present, but I’ll fill y’all in:

I’m moving to Germany in the summer (which I believe has come up several times in the site) but when I get there, a job awaits me, along with some additional schooling. I accepted an offer of a lifetime.  Ausbildung.  I will work as a Hotelfachmann in a hotel, in the Mercure Hotel Köln Junkersdorf.  3 years, and paid.  Over those 3 years I will be placed in different environments throughout the hotel–reception, event planning, housekeeping, kitchen, restaurant, banquets, payroll, personnel, etc.  And during those 3 years I will attend, on a block schedule, Berufskolleg Ehrenfeld, where at the end, I will get a certificate.

So that’s that in a nutshell.  Just call it the opportunity of a lifetime.  And it’s all happening, for real.

This is reallllllly happening, and I can’t believe it!! It’s so surreal!!

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PATH Train Station: WTC

Let me introduce you to a dear friend of mine… the PATH Train… ok, I’ll stop now with the whole “let’s turn inanimate, non-living objects into “friends”” deal! for your sake and mine…

But really, that is just how I consider my terms with the PATH.  As several people find it inconvenient and just a hassle, I find it just as much convenient.  Just what is it, you may ask?  PATH stands for Port Authority Trans-Hudson, a rapid-transit link between the edges of New Jersey and Manhattan, NYC.

The Low-Down:

PATH is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The system runs 24/7, 365 days a year, operating between several locations in New Jersey and several locations in Manhattan.  There are PATH stations found throughout NYC and New Jersey.

How do I take full advantage of all the PATH has to offer? Well, living where I do live in the Lehigh Valley, it’s just a quick hop onto I-78 towards NJ, a quick exit onto US 1/9, a quick dash over the Pulaski Skyway and then you’re in Jersey City in under 2 hours.  Park the car, hop on the cheap inexpensive PATH, and in maximum 22 minutes later, you are sitting in Gotham.  A great alternative to taking the Bieber Bus to Manhattan (costing now something like $40 round trip, and you have to sit on a bus the whole time)  Then once you are in the city, I always end up buying a $7.50 unlimite-ride-in-a-24-hour-period fun-pass for the Subway.

Pros:

Some advantages to the system would definitely be the rush-hour convenience… As I do not commute regularly between NJ and NYC, I really can’t speak personally, but I am able to put myself in someone’s shoes, who does actually regularly commute.  (hopefully their shoes are big enough, as I have pretty big feet!!)  But I do know, during the rush-hour times, trains run in a plethora to Manhattan and back.

Stations:  Plenty of stations are found along the PATH system.  All the NJ stations are:

  • Newark  (connections:  Penn Station, Amtrak, NJ Transit, Newark Light Rail, Airport and Buses)
  • Harrison
  • Journal Square (Transportation Center)
  • Grove Street
  • Exchange Place (connections: Ferries to NY & Hudson-Bergen Light Rail)
  • Pavonia Newport (connections: Hudson-Bergen Light Rail)
  • Hoboken (connections:  Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, NJ Transit, Ferry to NY, Buses)

and in NYC:

  • World Trade Center (Subway EAC23)
  • Christopher Street (Subway 1)
  • 9th St/6th Ave (Subway ABCDEFV)
  • 14th St/6th Ave (Subway FLV12)
  • 23rd St/6th Ave (Subway FV)
  • 33rd St/6th Ave (Subway BDFNQRVW, Penn Station, Amtrak, NJ Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Buses)

Fares:  a one-way fare for the service costs only $1.75, and for occasional (but ever more often!) NYC-goers like I coming from Pennsylvania, it is a much more economical way to get into the city, as compared to taking the bus or driving all the way.  Commuter books can be purchased, in 10-, 20-, or 40-trips, or 1-, 7-, or 30-day unlimited passes, pushing the price down to somewhere around the $1.30 mark I believe?

No panhandlers!  Since the trips between Hoboken and 33rd take only 15 minutes, its not long enough for panhandlers to profit… thus, well, no panhandlers, no hassles!

Punctual:  it stays true to the schedules.

Cons:

Unfortunately PATH is not operated in conjunction with the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), nor the NJ Transit, nor the Newark Light Rail and nor the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, meaning no free transfers there-between. 

Seemingly REALLLY REALLY annoying dealing with the MetroCard Madness.  It would just be so much easier if the MTA and the PATH and NJ Transit etc would all combine and unite… with one ticket!!  The PATH takes an odd $1.75 off your MetroCard (in the only cases when you CAN use your MetroCard:  When you have money loaded on (not with a 24-hour day pass)) leaving you with $.25 remaining, when a single subway ride costs $2.00

Parking:  Well, I’ve personally only ever dealt with the Journal Square Transportation Center, but in terms of parking, one time I was over in Germany, flew home through LGA, but on the way out to Germany I drove to JSQ and parked my car, but when I was in NYC waiting for the PATH back to JSQ, it donned on me that the car park closed at 6 pm.  Never before was I so annoyed. Who closes a parking lot at 6pm???  So, long story short, I got stuck in NYC and had to find a hotel for the night.  And that was a Monday.    But on a recent trip through JSQ, we found parking in the parking garage directly associated with the JSQ Transportation Center, and the prices were good.  I believe it was around the $10 mark for 12 hours?  I mean, the side non-affiliated parking lots offer great deals, especially with a combined Early-Bird special, but just be careful, not all accept  cash and are open 24/7.

Weekend service:  On the weekend the service is still 24/7, just the trains run only not SOO often, and on the JSQ-33rd Line, it takes a quick pitstop in Hoboken, but this only extends the duration to 22 minutes.

Cars: are kinda out-dated, but rumour has it new cars are coming in 2009.

Routes:

So the routes I’ve ever taken were always starting out from JSQ.  From there I have taken the JSQ-33rd line, and I’ve also taken the JSQ-WTC line.  The JSQ-WTC line is much shorter, and only has 2 stops between NJ and NYC, but it does drop you off in Lower Manhattan, well, right at the World Trade Center (see picture above!)  But as always with the NYC Subway, you can get anywhere very easily.

Conclusion:

Well, all-in-all, and despite the outdated-ness of the system, it still runs without a squeaky wheel, so to say.  And I will continue to take advantage of it!  See you on the PATH!

Mommy look!

So, when I experience something funny at work, (i.e. the pretzels and ice cream scenario) I post it here.

Few days ago, a kid sits on those electric wheel chairs for handicapped/elderly etc etc, and screams outloud,

“mommy, look! im an old lady”

that’s pretty much all it was, and it was very funny.  So, as a picture is a must at my blog, I decided to just draw it myself, which was also done at work.

Boy, I love using company time.

-Zac

Gotham.So I’m sure you all know NYC.  It stands for New York City.  Duh, but I had to say it because im sure there is SOMEBODY out there in this vast world who will read my blog and not know what NYC stands for.  I’m sure of it… and shame you, you who is reading this.  But anyway, today I would like to share with you my latest adventure to NYC, but I guess its actually pretty generic, and this time it’s actually rather tourist-y.  That’s what I hate about it sometimes, sometimes you just wanna go to NYC and live like a local.

I knew I was gunna have a long day ahead of me, so I went to bed at 9:30, after setting my alarm for 3:45 and pushing my clock time back an hour from Daylights Saving Time.  9:30, wow, can you believe that?  Lately I never get to bed until atleast after midnight, and usually around 2am.  Impressive!  But probably for that very reason, I woke up shortly after, at 11pm, and couldn’t fall asleep again until 1am.  Therefore, I overslept my alarm and didn’t wake up until 4:45, which was when I was supposed to leave my  house to drive into Macungie to pick up my partner in crime Alysia.  I even wanted to have filled up my car with gas before getting her.  And on top of that, I was sure to tell her not to be late, and to remember to set her clock forward and that I would be prompt.  Go figure, right?  Well, I woke up, gave her a ring and told her Id be a few minutes late, took the freakin’ quickest shower in my life (under five minutes!!!! impossible but real!), got dressed and ran out the door.  Got Alysia, got gas, and then we were off to spend the day in the greatest city in the world.

Drove I-78 into New Jersey, then hopped on US 1/9 over the Pulaski Skyway (an incredible and impressive sky-bridge made of cantilever truss-bridges built in 1932!) and down into Jersey City, New Jersey; parked at Journal Square and took the PATH Train from JSQ to the World Trade Center.  We got into the city at around 7-ish I guess, on a Sunday, and boy were we scared we were in the wrong city–there were absolutely no people in the city!  That I have never seen.  Our first human contact of the day was after walking past a Starbucks, we heard some feet chasing down the sidewalk to catch up with us.  We turned around and were “pleasantly” greeted by a guy whispering: COACH, COACH! PRADA! GUCCI! Now, I realize this is nothing out of the ordinary, but at 7am on a Sunday when noone was awake on the sidewalks…and we were not even close yet to Canal Street…

As it turned out, the City that never sleeps, was in fact, sleeping.

We then came to the conclusion that nothing would be open at this time, besides Duane Reades and Starbucks, so we decided to just enjoy the nice weather and walk around, in the general direction towards Times Square.  Since we really didn’t have a plan of what we wanted to do, we decided to try our luck and wait in the line at the TKTS booth up there in Times Square and try to score a deal on a last-minute, day-of Broadway show; but this doesnt open until 11 on Sundays so we were in no rush.  We walked all the way up from WTC to Union Square-just at 14th and Broadway–(the whole way windowshopping) when we decided we were just gunna hop on the subway the rest of the way… $7.50 for a 24-hour subway pass! Not too shabby.

We got to Times Square pretty quick as you can imagine, so we still had lots of time to kill… so we walked to the TKTS booth to scope out where we would have to go, then walked around more until we found somewhere to eat, and we ended up eating at the Europas Cafe up there just beyond Times Square, $5-something for a customized omelet, toast and potatoes.   Then we just killed time and got to the TKTS booth a little early.  The line was already gettin’ pretty long and we didn’t wanna risk it so we hopped on the line, and we got there at about 40 minutes-to-11.  But we got to the windows already at around 11:10, so the wait wasn’t too bad.  We went there with our hopes of seeing Avenue Q but when we got up to the windows, there was, to our dismay, only one seat left.  I should have been the ass-type and just taken it and left Alysia to fend for herself, because I really wanted to see it… but we decided on 50% tickets to the Little Mermaid, but only because im a true gentleman and a nice friend.  Plus, a broadway is a broadway, and anything will beat Mamma Mia!… Which the Little Mermaid surely did.

CHINATOWN ANTICS

So we got our tickets, and then we headed to Canal Street, so Alysia could get some shopping out of her blood.  And I also needed new sunglasses.  For those of you who DON’T know, Canal Street is the central hub of NYC’s Chinatown, home to the world’s best supply of counterfeit purses and bags etc.  We had heard of people being taken into back rooms, where the REAL fakes are (uh, i thnk thats a contradicting oxymoron!! haha) but last time we were together in the city, we attempted being guided to a back room but everyone (meaning the inhabitants of Chinatown, to be politically correct), was on their toes and keeping everything much more on the down low.

Today, we were going to finally get taken back.  Within seconds of getting above ground from the subway station, we were approached by a short lady carrying one Coach clutch.  She mentioned it to us, and told us to follow.  The whole time, she refused to engage in small-talk, and her eyes were constantly darting around looking for whatever may get in her way of leading us to the treasure chest of counterfeits.  Then she disappeared and we were handed off to another lady, and after something shouted in Chinese she handed us off to a guy who reached in a can on a shelf and pulled out a key, unlocking a basement door.  He ushered us in the door and down the creaky blue wooden steps, and at this point I secretly took out my camera, and pressed the film button, secretly recording all of this!! I even remembered to cover up the green light my camera makes when recording video! Clever, I know :D.  We went down a brightly-lit corrirdor and he grabbed another key to open another door, leading to another hallway.

Here, he took out a key and opened up one of the wooden panels on the wall, leading to a small closet, and on the wall hung a vast amount of purses and bags!  Gucci, Vuitton, Armani, Prada, Coach, you name it.  Now, to the untrained eye, they look like the real-deal.  Well, I have an untrained eye, therefore I’m nto sure if they were counterfeit, or just stolen.  My guess would be counterfeit?  After Alysia expressed the lack of interest, we just said thanks and found our way out at a quick pace, I mean, who really knows what he could’ve done to us down there in that dark dingy room!  But it was an adventure nonetheless, and one we were looking for.  On the way out of the basement, I recorded more video, and as we were leaving the store to go back out to the street, one of the lookouts caught me with my camera, yelled something in chinese to the man from the basement, pointed at me, and that’s when I snapped to Alysia that we gotta get movin’.  We darted out of the store and quick jumped inside the doors of a small little boutique next door.  Whew!

We did some shopping, got taken to some more back rooms, these ones were just hidden behind a wall of purses on the upstairs level, nothing drastic.  Alysia bought lots of jewelry, and I never did find a pair of sunglasses which I liked.  All I bought was some knock-off Acqua di Gio Armani cologne, which may have left a stain on my shirt!  Have to investigate into that one…


(Sorry my camera points a lot at your rear, Alysia, but I was trying to do it in secrecy!!)

Cowboys in NYC?

After some more shopping, well, lots of shopping, we hopped on the subway , direction:  5th avenue.  We hopped on the yellow NQRW train, but hopped on the wrong train, which stopped at 57th and 7th Ave. I mean, no biggie, it was just two blocks over to 5th Avenue, so we could’ve techincally waited till a N, R, or W train rolled in behind us, but we took advantage of the 65° weather and walked the rest of the way.  We had just enough time to do a little shopping and then we hurried down to 46th and west to B’way, to our show.  Now, as we were crossing B’way in that section of Times Square, we caught glimpse of a crowd with cameras.  Tourists, cameras, and shouting all mean one thing:  something other than a stationary landmark.  So we walked by on our way down 46th to the theatre, and low and behold we were wrong, it WAS a landmark.  This one, just happened to be a moving landmark–the Naked Cowboy.  Out of all the times I’ve ever been to Manhattan, I’ve never stumbled across him, but this time we did!  As we were in a hurry, because our show started at 3 and it was already 2:45, we only had enough time to snap some shots and hurry on our way.  But nevertheless, it was cool to see him.

THE SHOW

Now, The Little Mermaid.  As I said, it was much better than Mamma Mia!, Mamma Mia only had one main set, just a big thing which rotated, but the Little Mermaids set was actually really well designed and just modern.  I don’t really wanna ruin the surprise for any of you who might happen to see this show, but what was really cool was the use of those Heely shoes that kids can buy.  They’re like normal sneakers, only with a wheel built into the the heel of the shoes, so when you step back on your heels and raise your toes, you can roll.  Most of the performers wore these, I mean, it wasn’t obvious they were those, because they were designed to match the costume, some of them were even built into high-heels, but it was something I haven’t seen out of the three Broadway shows I have seen.  Though I really had my hopes set on Avenue Q, I would still recommend the Little Mermaid, despite all the screaming kids in the audience.  And waiting inline at the TKTS booth is definitely worth it, because most of the shows were selling tickets for 50% off.  And our seats were actually the best seats I’ve ever had in a Broadway, row V on the right side of the left section of seats, on the floor.  Great seats, in fact.

It was also nice, that the show we got tickets for was a 2pm Sunday matinee, so we were out by a little after 5pm.  We decided to take the PATH train again, from WTC instead of any of the other stops, because from the WTC out, its a straight shot for Journal Square, whereas if you take the other route you have A) more stops, and B) you have to , on a Sunday, take a pitstop in Hoboken NJ, thus making the ride a few minutes longer.  So, we wanted to finish enjoying the nice weather and we just walked down B’way a little further, found another H&M and Alysia wanted to go back in and get this one shirt, so we stopped there, stopped in a shoe store, she got some kicks, then we walked to Penn Station and took the Subway down to WTC, hopped on the PATH paying $1.75 for the trip and went back to NJ.  Got our car, drove home.  Met my parents at Perkins, ate a late dinner at around 8:30, dropped Alysia off at home, and that was that.  And what ‘that’ was, was another great day in the City of Right Angles. The Big Apple.  Empire City.  Gotham.  Neuva York.  Call it what you will.

PICTURES

Now to the tourist-y documentation:

Here I would like to make a promise, that NYC will be on my list of places to live.  I know everyone says this, but not that many people make it a reality (despite the HUGGGE population in NYC :P) But its such a great place, and setting aside all the charm that most people know, you know, Times Square, Wall Street, WTC, the Empire State Building, Broadway shows, etc etc, NYC is actually really rich in history.  I’ll make a post sometime about things that a lot of people do not know about New York City.  I think, after living in Germany for a few years, I would like to take a year or so off and work and live in Manhattan.  I mean, i will have had a 3 year internship in the hotel industry behind me already, and I think that would look good on a resume, so I’m sure I could possibly look into working at a hotel in the chain that I interned at, right?  But more of that to come later.

Before I close, I must add, that thanks to Scouting NY, I’ve learned to take a closer look at NYC, and everytime I go into the city, I now also look for those hidden treasures in NYC.  I will also make some later posts about personal tips I can offer those NYC-goers that I’ve learned over the trips.

and I also appologize for making such a long post 😀

Till next time,

Zac

Pretzels and Ice Cream

Dear gang, it appears I am indeed not the only ‘crazy’ person out there, who enjoys dipping their pretzels in a nice smooth, savory bowl of mouth-watering ice cream delight.  Here’s the scoop:

At work today, someone came through my checkout with two things.  Ice Cream, and a bag of pretzels.  Then, me being me, and how I am, I obviously had to ask them if they were going to be eaten together.  Boy oh boy you should’ve seen the look on their face!  Priceless.  Absolutely priceless.  Then I had to explain that that is how I eat it, dip the pretzels in ice cream.  Thats what my mom does, thats what my grandma does, thats simply what was passed down, I guess.

So then, once again, me being me, I obviously had to ask other customers if they have ever heard of this practice.  So I asked the customer in the lane behind me.  ‘Ma’am, have you ever heard of dipping your pretzels in your ice cream?’ ‘Uh, no??’ Ok, so fine, she also hadn’t heard of it.. But its more of how her children reacted when they heard the question.  They bursted out:

EWWW EWWW EWWW THATS SOOO GROSS, THATS SO DISGUSTING WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING??

and so it went on for actually quite a while.  Ok, yea, maybe like 30 seconds or so, but considering all things relative, pretty long time.  Then I asked this child, who is like 9 years old, what his favorite food is. Answer:

BRUSSEL SPROUTS

What kind of kid likes brussel sprouts???  But nevertheless, this kid and his brother were going on and on and on and on for the rest of the duration of their order.  GROSS.  GROSS.  GROSS.

Have you ever heard of this?

So that was the extent of my extremely interesting day.  See? I did tell you my life is pretty boring.

I google-d this technique, dipping your pretzels in your ice cream, and I found this on the NY Times’s website:

“To the Editor: In reading your article on salt, one gets the idea that sweet and salt together as a dessert is something new. My husband and I were school kids in Philadelphia in the 30’s, and often enjoyed ice cream served with a dish of salted pretzels. It’s a delicious combination.

RUTH RUTENBERG
North Plainfield, N.J.”

See? Not the only one.

May I add one last time:  Me being me, I continued asking other customers.  Most of them came to the conclusion that no, they had never heard of it, but they’d be darn willing to try it.

Moral of the story, you shouldn’t say you don’t like something until you’ve tried it atleast one time.


panorama of Hameln

Just to sum up the remainder of the great life I had in Lage, with Tine, eating freshly cooked-still warm applesauce near the sugar factory.  We continued to take trips with the French, we went to castles, towns, parks and museums, and here are the remaining highlights.

-The first few pictures revolves around a day trip to Hameln and the Schloss Hämelschenburg (castle), built in 1409.  Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed within the castle doors.  Woulda been a sight to see, for sure.

The first pic is a panorama of the castle grounds, second pic is Roxane, the little french girl, expressing her love a) for curiosity, and b) for the color pink.  Anything pink, and I truly mean anything pink, will be touched by her hands 😀  Then a few pictures later, we are in Hameln, and there is an interesting picture there of a girl chasing another girl with a bike, and I have , to this day, yet to find out what really went on, but it involved smashing beer bottles, and a girl chick cat fight 😀  Amazing stuff!

Then comes the picture of the bikes 😀  Tine’s uncle owns two, a Harley and a BMW, and while living there, I got the chance , several times, to ride behind him on his BMW (I’m personally no fan of Harley, dunno why) and we went soo freakin’ fast on these country roads.  Now, c’mon, you gotta imagine this:

Riding with the wind in your face, (well, yea, you have a helmet on but still!) on these country roads, in between fields of crops.  Then, on your left comes a field of windmills, peacefully generating energy.  Then you go up a wildly curvy mountain road, still full speed ahead, and you come to the top where a statue is, called Hermanns Denkmal, kinda like Germany’s version of the Statue of Liberty. Remember, the wind is still blowing in your face.  Then you comem back down that mountain and through the fields and then youre driving through a picturesque Old City of a village.

Wouldn’t that want to make you ride bikes too? Especially in Germany!! So this picture is of me, Gerd, Tine and Jürgen, Tine’s uncle.

Then come a series of pictures at a place called ‘Kirmes’.  A Kirmes is basically a fair, for thsoe of you in the Lehigh Valley, think practically Allentown Fair, just different 😛  More wild, lots of alcohol, and crazy rides with weird noises.  What kind of noises? I guess just maybe you can pretend you are tripping out, and you  hear these crazy laughing noises comign from the rides, and they are shouting, wanna go faster? how about now? You scared yet? Or picture crazy freakin’ ugly clowns chasing you, that’s honestly what it kinda reminds me of! So, Reinholdi is the Kirmes of Lage, where I stayed with Tine.

After Reinholdi, comes another Kirmes, in Blasheimer, called the Blama Markt… Here we took the train to visit a friend of Tine, Roman, and we basically went to the Kirmes from 1pm to 3am the next morning, I take it these things are open constantly until they close a week later… It was very cold, and afterwards we just walked back to his place and crashed while watching American X.

Finally, a few pictures from the Kletterpark (literally, climbing park), which is basically a Jungle-Gym for adults, climbing high in the trees, being held on only by one rope, and a helmet.  Pretty intense if you ask me!

(remember, if you want to see an enlarged picture, just click on the thumbnail!)

So that just about roughly sums up the first 7 wonderful weeks I experienced with my great friend, Tine.  Many more memories were made, but unfortunately it would take an eternity to list them all.  I will post more if I come to some…  (or maybe just some aren’t internet appropriate :P)

Thanks Tine, and thanks to your family and friends! I miss you all!

Berlin

Welcome to Berlin!  One of the most happening cities in Germany, and YES, it is the capital of Germany, for those of you who didn’t know… (more on that story in a later post)

Once again, with Tine, we took the train to Berlin for Biggi’s birthday.  In Germany, there is a train ticket offered by the Deutsche Bahn called the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (literally: Nice Weekend Ticket) , and with this ticket, for 37€, up to 5 people can ride ANYWHERE in Germany for a whole weekend (excluding the long-distance bullet trains which require reservations).  This is very impressive!

At the time, I believe the ticket was only 25€, so there were 5 of us, and that means, if you do the math, each of us paid 5 Euros to go COMPLETLY across the country round trip, in one weekend… Amazing, considering the ticket from Lage to Berlin normally costs , at a normal price, upwards of 79€ one-way.  So if you are ever in the area, meaning in Germany, do take advantage of this offer!!

So, anyway, it was Biggi’s birthday, and in Germany, its usually custom to be a host on your birthday, baking cakes and custards and pies and sweets and what not, and inviting a couple people over for cake & coffee, but Biggi did not want to do this, so we decided to leave Saturday morning, around 3 AM I believe it was, and take the train.  The only thing with this ticket, we normally would’ve taken the ICE train (bullet train) to Berlin, but since you cannot with this ticket, we had to transfer trains a few times.  But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t really matter 😀  So after a few transfers, we got into Berlin at around 9 AM approximately.

Though I have never seen Berlin before this, I think it was pretty packed ^^ There was a marathon going an, and there were Tents and Foodstands and the whole shabang set up infront of the Brandenburger Tor.

At this point, I’d like to introduce the smelly part of Berlin.  And to put it bluntly, it reeked.  Most of the time while walking around in Berlin, you catch a drift of this interesting, lightly put, ahm, fragrance if you will… Not sure what it was, some say sewage, probably from when Berlin was West and East Berlin… but I will leave that for you to decide.

But don’t let this be a turn off, it was a beautiful, dynamic city.  We saw the Reichstag (we wanted to go in, but the line was horrendous), Brandenburger Tor, the Fernsehturm, we went up to the Potsdamer Platz Panorama Outlook (thats just what I call it, not too sure of the name to be honest…), which was home to Europe’s fastest elevator-at a rate of 8.5 Meters per Second-and this is where the picture above of the Marathon in the sky was taken.  We rode around on the subway a little, saw some Embassies, went to KaDeWe, Kaufhaus des Westens, which is Europe’s largest department store… This place is a shoppers heaven.  We got attacked by dogs, saw the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, a church which was heavily bombed in the war, got offered candy by a stranger on a train, went to the Hard Rock Cafe, and finally found ourselves back at the train station Sunday morning around 2 AM waiting for our train back.

All in all, Berlin is a great city, and you should go visit.  Unfortunately, more can I not say, as I was only in the city for less than a day, and the city was absolutely mobbed with tourists and runners, so it was hard to move around.  Therefore, I would like to and will go back again, to get to know the city a little better.

Now, to the pictures below.

1-Panorama view of Berlin from the Potsdamer Platz Panorama Outlook, there you can see the famous Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

2-Hauptbahnhof (Main Train station), very impressive in itself

3-Runners infront of the Brandenburger Tor

4-the Riedels amidst the Holocaust Memorial

5-We saw the marathon kick off from above, as the streets filled with runners

6-KaDeWe

7-Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, here you see the damage that was done, and the new church they erected (tower)

8-Hard Rock Cafe, a place of interest in itself

9-Fernsehturm from below, all lit up

10-Reichstag by night (government building)

11-German flag by night

12-from left to right, Saskia, Tine and myself slumbering in the train station waiting for our train, after a fully loaded fun filled day walking around the streets of stinky Berlin.


On that note, in the words of JFK:  ICH BIN EIN BERLINER.

Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!

Memorial

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Židovský památník.

Mémorial aux juifs assassinés d’Europe.

Holocaust Memorial.

Just a bunch of hugmongous slabs of marble coincidentally thrown on a plot of land in Berlin.

Call it whatever you want, as long as the word ‘moving‘ of something to that effect is implied.  Because that is what this is.  Simply moving.

As you approach this, you are just simply in awe.  When you begin walking through, its just a series of hallways and corridors, all running parallel and perpindicular to one another.  There is actually a decline as you walk t’wards the mdidle, and as you exit again, you walk up an incline.  So at one point, a good majority of the stones are several feet above your head.

roxane in the phonebooth!

I’d just like to take this time to tell you that my life is boring.  But only right now, is it boring.  Why? Because it’s 11:55 pm, my dad is on the downstairs computer filing taxes, while I should be doing my homework.  But, thanks to Microsoft, my free trial of Office-the one you get with a new computer-has expired, and I am too lazy to download the illegal one , err I mean throw away my hard-earned greenbacks down the toilet, so Im upstairs on my computer , well, just basically explaining to you why my life is boring.

But that’s not to say when my pop is done on the computer and I can use Microsoft Word, that my life will be instantaneously more exciting, because that’s not true!  Why is my life boring? Well, I wake up, shower, check my email and my facebook, maybe chat with some friends, brush my teeth, and if its a monday or wednesday, I go to class.  If its any of the other 5 days of the week, I’m most likely getting ready to go to work.  Work, I work at the Giant in Trexlertown, but as my great finnish friend Mira calls it, the catmeat market.  (Don’t ask.)

But maybe one can contradict that statement, that just going to work is boring.  When in reality, Giant keeps me on my toes.  Especially days like today, when I was working U-Scan, the self-checkout section.  I experienced just about every kind of person you can think of, nice, fat, old, bitchy, quiet, rambunctious, sweet, dynamic, who knows, whatever adjective you can think of.  But this one lady really got my attention.  She was freaking out at me, why me? who knows.  Well, she was dissatisfied because the tomatoes were under the menu-heading Fruit instead of Vegetables , or was it the other way around, who cares… anyway, this is hardly a reason to get worked up over…

Another lady comes in with her kids,  and tells me she has never seen me before… C’mon, I hardly mean to be egotistical, but, I work usually 6 of the 7 days in the week, and I’ve seen this lady and her kids before.  She had the guts to tell me that I never am cashier on the front end…

And the one man comes up with glazed-over eyes and asks where he put his bread.  I have no clue sir?  Where did you last see it? Let’s sit down, and try to re-trace your last few steps… Ok, you picked up the tomato sauce, then you went a few aisles down and got some toothpaste.  Did you maybe leave it with the toothpaste and dental floss?

See? boring.  I tried livening up the post with some things I experienced today, but it didn’t cut it.

But what does cut it, is right now my wordpress , where I am typing this right now, said for some reason the “didn’t” in the sentence above this one was spelled wrong, so I right clicked, and the first spelling suggestion to come up was dildo. Wow.

I rarely hang out with friends, and I actually rarely watch TV.  But yet somehow I have come to the conclusion that there are not enough days in the week, to get things done.  But that’s just because I always spend whatever free time I do have, on the computer.

You’re probably bored just reading this.  That’s just because you are vicariously experiencing my life, through my blog post.  But I just hope that all my other posts are not as boring as this one!  Hence my title, contributed and quoted from Ms Emily Buck.  (thanks emily!)  My life is boring, so I’m just gonna reminisce about when it wasn’t.


So, lemme tell you know about this little cutie in the picture above, her name is Roxane, and she is the little girl of Brit and Eric, and sister of Johan!  Who are these people? Well, they are the french family friends of Tine (remember her from previous posts?) and her family.  And they lived with us while I lived with Tine, and together, we traversed the great vast lands of Nordrhein-Westfalen (one of the 16 Bundesländer (states) of Germany).  This picture was taken at a Dinosaur zoo type museum park thing.

nachtwächer

the Nachtwächter of Schwalenberg, me, and Biggi!  So, you may be wonderign what a Nachtwächter is, its basically someone who goes around after everyone is asleep, and protects the town, quasi a guarddog… He goes around, making sure everyone stays safe, and that their doors are locked.  He will even sing for you!