I think I am developing a love-hate-relationship with Berlin. I find it way too crowded, very dirty, loud, I don’t understand why so many people want to move here. But then again, when I am here, I find it exciting to have the center of political power right before your eyes, to discover all the shops and things that only exist in Berlin and I am drawn to the museums that are home to unqiue collections. Unfortunately, this time again I will probably not make it to the German Historical Museum even though it has been on my list since high school.
I spent the entire day preparing the event both in Hamburg and here. Let me tell you my feet really hurt.
On the platform to Berlin, we met Giovanni di Lorenzo, the editor in chief of my favorite, the best and most important weekly newspaper and of course we were a little star struck. Now I am sitting in a café on the most expensive street in Berlin, basically the German Champs-Elysée, in the most expensive café. I should have known this is a tourist trap since I am not a foreigner and know exactly about this street. So that is why I am telling myself now I deliberately treated myself to a 4-euro-cup-of-tea. (At this place, very direct Germans hang out. When the waitress came and asked if everything was to their liking, the young girls said, “Well, the cake was quite dry. But the coffee was okay.” Berliners are known for not being overly polite in case you wondered.)
I even passed a “culture warehouse” on the way here and I could not resist and went in. It was the materialization of a typical German trait – intellectual culturedness. Germany is called the land of poets and thinkers for a reason. Despite our shameful array of brainless TV shows, we do still have a large variety of very high quality newspapers and magazines, radio and TV and generally, a rather vivid intellectual scene. Bascially, there is a lot of thinking going on in this country. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s not.
The shop was open 9-24 which in itself is amazing but given the fact that this was a book store it is even more peculiar. On the outside it said, “poeticize yourselves” and inside, I sat in a chair and read Iranian poems. In German of course because my Farsi sucks. The poems were unusually good and I felt spiritually elevated as I left the place.
P.S.: The title is a translation of a German song by famous Hildegard Knef (if you want to properly germanificate, look her up!) about Berlin. Whenever I hear the name of the city, the song starts playing in my head. “Berlin, your face has freckles and your mouth is way too big. But you never say, “Oh, what shall I do!””