Archives for the month of: August, 2010
View of Simon Dach Straße

It feels like Fall and it’s only the middle of August.  I have even noticed a few leaves turning color. It has rained all day, and the streets are quiet.  As I was walking down the street, I overheard a couple say, “It’s been raining cats and dogs.”  I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time.

For the first time in a long while, it’s pleasant to walk in the neighborhood.  The summer holidays are almost over and the high school students will be returning to school in a few weeks.  I, for one, am looking forward to quieter nights. The bars and the restaurants will be less crowded, and I won’t be awakened in the middle of the night by drunken loud mouth kids. In fact, I frequently see kids stumbling along the streets in the early morning hours when I get up.   

The drinking age for beer and wine is 16 and for everything else it is 18.  The age of consent for sexual activity is 14 (13 in Spain).  As a result, European young people tend to mature earlier than Americans. The USA tends to be more protective, and I’m not sure “that’s a good thing” as Martha Stewart use to say.

Two days a week, I take a German conversation course. The course participants are mostly Europeans trying to improve their German, but there are a few Americans in their early 20s. When I see how the young Americans act compared to their European or South American contemporaries, there is a big a difference. For the most part, the Americans are still kids while the Europeans are adult in every way. With the non-Americans, I can have an have an intelligent conversation. With the Americans, I’m limited to topics revolving around Lady Gaga, the latest action or romantic comedy, or where a person can get drunk. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but from my observations, the Americans are still immature.

As my mother use to say, “You only live once and youth is fleeting; you need to enjoy life while you can.” Her common phrase was, “You need to make hay while the sun shines.”  I’m not sure her use of the phrase was appropriate in this context, but I understood her meaning.  It’s like the title of this post, “Están Lloviendo Gatos y Perros.” Despite having heard non-native Spanish speakers use this phrase, I doubt whether a native speaker would, especially when referring to “it’s raining cats and dogs.” 

View of Simon Dach Straße

It feels like Fall and it’s only the middle of August.  I have even noticed a few leaves turning color. It has rained all day, and the streets are quiet.  As I was walking down the street, I overheard a couple say, “It’s been raining cats and dogs.”  I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time.

For the first time in a long while, it’s pleasant to walk in the neighborhood.  The summer holidays are almost over and the high school students will be returning to school in a few weeks.  I, for one, am looking forward to quieter nights. The bars and the restaurants will be less crowded, and I won’t be awakened in the middle of the night by drunken loud mouth kids. In fact, I frequently see kids stumbling along the streets in the early morning hours when I get up.   

The drinking age for beer and wine is 16 and for everything else it is 18.  The age of consent for sexual activity is 14 (13 in Spain).  As a result, European young people tend to mature earlier than Americans. The USA tends to be more protective, and I’m not sure “that’s a good thing” as Martha Stewart use to say.

Two days a week, I take a German conversation course. The course participants are mostly Europeans trying to improve their German, but there are a few Americans in their early 20s. When I see how the young Americans act compared to their European or South American contemporaries, there is a big a difference. For the most part, the Americans are still kids while the Europeans are adult in every way. With the non-Americans, I can have an have an intelligent conversation. With the Americans, I’m limited to topics revolving around Lady Gaga, the latest action or romantic comedy, or where a person can get drunk. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but from my observations, the Americans are still immature.

As my mother use to say, “You only live once and youth is fleeting; you need to enjoy life while you can.” Her common phrase was, “You need to make hay while the sun shines.”  I’m not sure her use of the phrase was appropriate in this context, but I understood her meaning.  It’s like the title of this post, “Están Lloviendo Gatos y Perros.” Despite having heard non-native Spanish speakers use this phrase, I doubt whether a native speaker would, especially when referring to “it’s raining cats and dogs.” 

Architecture That Literally Makes a Statement

The middle field translates, “We’re doing rather than waiting.”

Architecture That Literally Makes a Statement

The middle field translates, “We’re doing rather than waiting.”

Berlin City Cut

Recently, I’ve tried to get a haircut in each country I visit.  My goal is to compare and discern any cultural differences in haircuts.  I’ve had haircuts in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Finland, Northern Ireland, England, Germany, France and Italy (um, fewer than I thought).  My most memorable haircut was a razor blade cut in Namur Belgium.  The barber only used a razor blade!  The haircut made such an impression that I still remember it 28 years later.  

In Berlin, I’ve been going to different barbers trying to find the one that suits my taste.  Last week, I found one at City Cut in Charlottenburg (Wilmersdorfer Str. 43, 10627 Berlin).  I’m not fussy about my barber, but I do look for speed, price and style.  The price for a haircut can cost anywhere from 6 – 20 Euro, depending on the location and the amenities offered.

I got a haircut, last year, in Mitte that cost 15 Euro, but it included a shampoo, coffee drink and scalp massage. The cut was merely okay but not fantastic. The haircut I got at City Cut was nearly perfect. The stylist was quick, the result exactly what I wanted (aiming for a longer look), and the price reasonable (9 Euro).  If visiting Berlin and seeking a haircut, I would avoid tourist areas such as Mitte, Friedrichshain, or Kurfürstendamm Straße (known as K’damm).  In these areas, I find the haircuts to be overpriced with long waits.  Also, I’ve learned, long ago, that price is seldom a benchmark for quality.

Berlin City Cut

Recently, I’ve tried to get a haircut in each country I visit.  My goal is to compare and discern any cultural differences in haircuts.  I’ve had haircuts in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Finland, Northern Ireland, England, Germany, France and Italy (um, fewer than I thought).  My most memorable haircut was a razor blade cut in Namur Belgium.  The barber only used a razor blade!  The haircut made such an impression that I still remember it 28 years later.  

In Berlin, I’ve been going to different barbers trying to find the one that suits my taste.  Last week, I found one at City Cut in Charlottenburg (Wilmersdorfer Str. 43, 10627 Berlin).  I’m not fussy about my barber, but I do look for speed, price and style.  The price for a haircut can cost anywhere from 6 – 20 Euro, depending on the location and the amenities offered.

I got a haircut, last year, in Mitte that cost 15 Euro, but it included a shampoo, coffee drink and scalp massage. The cut was merely okay but not fantastic. The haircut I got at City Cut was nearly perfect. The stylist was quick, the result exactly what I wanted (aiming for a longer look), and the price reasonable (9 Euro).  If visiting Berlin and seeking a haircut, I would avoid tourist areas such as Mitte, Friedrichshain, or Kurfürstendamm Straße (known as K’damm).  In these areas, I find the haircuts to be overpriced with long waits.  Also, I’ve learned, long ago, that price is seldom a benchmark for quality.

Flughafen Tempelhof Entrance

Since my last visit to Berlin, the old Tempelhof Airport has closed and become a city park.  It opened to the public in May 2010, and is also used for open air concerts and festivals.  Built in the 1920s, Tempelhof was one of Europe’s largest airports at the time it was build, and was vital during the Berlin airlift in the late 1940s. 

I remember visiting Tempelhof in the 1990s and was struck by its fascist architectural style:  very dramatic and inspiring.  It was meant to convey the power of government and was based on Roman and Greek ideals.  Unfortunately, the airport’s interior is now closed to the public.  However, if you visit Berlin, there are plenty of other buildings, which survived WWII and designed in this particular style, including the Japanese, Spanish and Italian embassies (all former fascist countries).

Windsurfer

The city intends to develop Tempelhof Park over the next 10 years; but right now, it still looks like an airport with its old runways serving as places for people to run, walk, skate, windsurf (on a skateboard), and cycle.  I also saw people flying kites and model airplanes.  There are observation decks throughout the grounds, including a Biergarten where you can drink and eat, as well as play badminton, boules, or sit on one of the folding chairs.  The park is also a refuge for a number of endangered flora and fauna species, including wasps, bees, and butterflies. 

  

Public Laughter

While I was riding my bike in the park, I happened to catch the Public Laughter Group doing their “laugh exercises.”   According to research, the lack of laughter is a major contributor to many of our health problems.  Did you know that a child laughs 500 times during the course of a day while an adult laughs only 15 times?  I’m lucky if I can laugh once a day; although, I did smile and laugh as I watched the group go through their laugh routines.  If I had more time, I would join the group.  It really looked like fun!!!



Flughafen Tempelhof Entrance

Since my last visit to Berlin, the old Tempelhof Airport has closed and become a city park.  It opened to the public in May 2010, and is also used for open air concerts and festivals.  Built in the 1920s, Tempelhof was one of Europe’s largest airports at the time it was build, and was vital during the Berlin airlift in the late 1940s. 

I remember visiting Tempelhof in the 1990s and was struck by its fascist architectural style:  very dramatic and inspiring.  It was meant to convey the power of government and was based on Roman and Greek ideals.  Unfortunately, the airport’s interior is now closed to the public.  However, if you visit Berlin, there are plenty of other buildings, which survived WWII and designed in this particular style, including the Japanese, Spanish and Italian embassies (all former fascist countries).

Windsurfer

The city intends to develop Tempelhof Park over the next 10 years; but right now, it still looks like an airport with its old runways serving as places for people to run, walk, skate, windsurf (on a skateboard), and cycle.  I also saw people flying kites and model airplanes.  There are observation decks throughout the grounds, including a Biergarten where you can drink and eat, as well as play badminton, boules, or sit on one of the folding chairs.  The park is also a refuge for a number of endangered flora and fauna species, including wasps, bees, and butterflies. 

  

Public Laughter

While I was riding my bike in the park, I happened to catch the Public Laughter Group doing their “laugh exercises.”   According to research, the lack of laughter is a major contributor to many of our health problems.  Did you know that a child laughs 500 times during the course of a day while an adult laughs only 15 times?  I’m lucky if I can laugh once a day; although, I did smile and laugh as I watched the group go through their laugh routines.  If I had more time, I would join the group.  It really looked like fun!!!



Hund Parkplatz

I love Ikea.  In fact, most of the Berlin apartment is furnished by Ikea.  From the sofa to the silverware, the Swedish stores’ imprint is everywhere in the apartment.  Ikea’s furniture is stylish, reasonable and well crafted.  I also enjoy the Ikea restaurant.  I sometimes go there just to eat.  Now, that’s an Ikea fan.  The salmon fillet with potato cakes and vegetables is my favorite dish, and the desserts are good too.  And finally, for your shopping pleasure, there are 3 conveniently located Ikea’s in the Berlin area.  (Wow, that sounds like an ad.) 

Ikea also pays attention to our four legged friends.  As you enter the store, there are dog resting spots.  Each “parking platz” is sheltered from the elements and includes a bowl of water.  There is a nearby exercise area for your friend as well.  The day I visited, this little guy was enjoying his little patch of green (albeit, Astro Turf) and watching the customers enter the store.  He was extremely well-behaved, but a bit bashful for the camera. 

Hund Parkplatz

I love Ikea.  In fact, most of the Berlin apartment is furnished by Ikea.  From the sofa to the silverware, the Swedish stores’ imprint is everywhere in the apartment.  Ikea’s furniture is stylish, reasonable and well crafted.  I also enjoy the Ikea restaurant.  I sometimes go there just to eat.  Now, that’s an Ikea fan.  The salmon fillet with potato cakes and vegetables is my favorite dish, and the desserts are good too.  And finally, for your shopping pleasure, there are 3 conveniently located Ikea’s in the Berlin area.  (Wow, that sounds like an ad.) 

Ikea also pays attention to our four legged friends.  As you enter the store, there are dog resting spots.  Each “parking platz” is sheltered from the elements and includes a bowl of water.  There is a nearby exercise area for your friend as well.  The day I visited, this little guy was enjoying his little patch of green (albeit, Astro Turf) and watching the customers enter the store.  He was extremely well-behaved, but a bit bashful for the camera.