Monday, July 28, 2008

The People of Berlin

In Switzerland, people don't even look at you when you pass them on the street. They are appropriately, very neutral. But in Berlin, they really get into things--either nicely or angrily. Overall, the people in Berlin showed much more emotional range than the people in Zurich.

When we first arrived and were in the subway station trying to figure out the direction of the hotel on our map, a friendly guy helped us (auf deutsch, natürlich). That evening, we were asked by a young Berliner if we liked his haircut as he wasn't sure if he liked it. It was all very amusing.

But then there were the crabby Berliners. The restaurant bathroom attendant at a pub where we ate--I didn't know the German tradition of bathroom attendants at restaurants since the Swiss have nothing like that. So I didn't have any change and apologized to him, saying, "I'm sorry, I don't have any change." He said back, "I know," in a very rude voice. Needless to say, I felt terrible but my husband and I did manage to spend 25 Euros on dinner at the establishment so it's not like they were really losing out.

Then at this same pub, a bunch of angry old people tried to sit between us and all around us while we had just started eating. They were taking chairs, waving their crutches at us, it was really ridiculous. Finally our waiter had to tell them to leave us alone. And we watched them go to another restaurant and do the same thing to some other people.

But when you think about it, it makes sense for a people with such a divided and tragic history to have a wider range of emotions than people from a country like Switzerland. It's interesting to see how people mimic their country's history--and it shows itself in fashion too. The fashion of Berlin looked as confused as its city's history. People wore just about anything--socks with sandals, gladiator leather boots in 95 degree weather, orange crocs with red bermuda shorts, and women sported blue hair. Needless to say, while a little strange, it was very refreshing to see so much color, as the Swiss favorite color of choice, as I've mentioned before, is the very neutral black.

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