Thursday, April 26, 2012

Berlin Cont.

A sentence uttered by the tour guide today in Berlin. “so people pay 5 euros to a pair of strippers to invalidate their passport.”

I realized that I posted the pictures of Berlin without telling you what happened in Berlin after dropping in on the grand-parental units.
On the Thursday of my quick trip to Berlin, I took an eight hour walking tour that was awesome! Yes, everyone who has known me since I was little, I voluntarily went on a tour in which I had to WALK. As the shock wears off, it was actually a great tour and we had a lot of fun. It was four of us, two girls from China who were studying in Singapore and visiting Berlin for a break, and a guy from the states who was studying in London who was visiting Berlin on break, and me, teaching in Georgia and visiting Berlin on break (by this point, Easter vacation had begun). Out tour guide was great and showed us all over. I showed the picture of Takheles, the building that artists are currently in, and the bank is trying to kick them out. We went inside and I helped on the the artists set up his studio. It was fun and really interesting. I have tried to find out more about it online, but not a whole lotta-luck. Maybe you can find stuff and send it to me.
We walked all over Berlin and saw many really famous and important places, but the craziest part of the tour came when we went to Check Point Charlie. Now, as you know, I had been there on the first day, but this is what makes walking around and walking around with a tour guide so different. Our tour guide said this was her least favorite place in Berlin because it is so fake. She pointed out that the Americans did not have a huge issue with border crossing, it was the Soviets who would have had the major checkpoint. Then she pointed to the pictures that were up as a billboard to show you which side you were going toward. On one side was an American soldier and on the other, a Russian. Now, if they wanted to be accurate, they might have wanted to the soldier from America to not wear his pin that showed he fought in the gulf war. And the Russian would have had the Soviet flag, not the Russian Federation flag on his uniform... Maybe... But the worse/best part were the two people in American Uniforms. I mentioned them in the previous post, that one of my friends was thinking about getting the stamp because she hadn't gotten any stamps on her passport yet (silly European union). But when we saw how much it cost to get the stamp, we laughed and left. It was a good thing too, because, even though there were no signs warning you about it, letting the “soldiers” stamp your passport would actually INVALIDATE your passport. That's right, pay five Euros and then some hundred more in your own country to get another passport... Not a good deal at all. The stamp just said “east Berlin”... But the last part she told us about was the best! The people who stand there all day have another job. She asked us to tell her what we thought it was, and through we all guessed different professions, only one came close with the guess of models. They are “adult entertainers”. she pointed out the van that they are taken to work in and they are all strippers for this one company that obviously has a deal with the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Who wouldn't want to pay a stripper to invalidate their passport? Well, uh, I wouldn't...

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