Over the next two days I took it easy a bit, woke up kind of late and just wrote and read in the mornings. Planned my schedule for the festival the next week and made sure everything for the start of my final semester was squared away. Early afternoon on Wednesday I headed out into town, my plan was to go to the museum of science but once I got there and found they had limited hours that day I didn’t think it would be the best idea, I was sure it would take more then 2 hours to get through it. So I walked down to Kreuzburg, an area of town known well for its food. I had looked up online “10 Best Cheap Eats” and this place called Curry 36 came up, saying that it had Currywurst prepared the traditional way. I was passing by it and figured I might as well have another. I ordered my meal and stood at the table sipping my Berliner Beer listening to the multitude of languages unfolding around me, the cold glass stealing away the warmth from my hand but with each sip, a slight recovery. I guess the traditional way to have a Currywurst is to have it without the skin, I actually think I enjoy the not to traditional one, it has more crisp to it, but it was still good.
I had heard that there was an independent film festival going on so I checked that out and found that there was a bunch of showings at a local theater not far from where I was. I got on the U-Bahn and headed to Babylon. When I got there the door was closed and I peered inside the glass to see if anyone was inside. A man at the far end of the room saw me, smiled and came to open the door. He explained that they only open 10 mins before a showing. He gave me a pamphlet listing the shows for the evening and I looked though it trying my best to decipher the german. In the end I mostly worked off the picture in the booklet and the flyers scattered about to make my decision. I had the choice between a spanish film, Pescador and german film, Uber Das Meer. The spanish one looked rustic and maybe something about a struggling family or a forgotten love, perhaps a drama. The german one looked dark and mysterious, with a cover of a man far out on a foggy dock, like a suspense or thriller maybe. I went with the german film.
I got my ticket and my beer, yes beer in the theater is great, and followed the mans directions on how to get to the screening room which is not located in the main theater area. Out that door, down the road, to your left, down the stairs. I sat down and had some small talk with a group of german business men sitting behind me, we clanked beers and the movie began. It started with a scene of two german men in all black wetsuits looking quite sneaky. I found out quickly that there were no subtitles but by no means did this ruin my experience. I have gotten used to watching shows without subtitles, I watch Turkish soap opera with a friend of mine from time to time and its quite entertaining trying to figure out whats going on. Since I don’t have someone with me to confirm whether I am right or wrong about the storyline whatever I tell you about the movie is purely my impression of it, it may be way off.
Uber das Meer translates to Over the Sea, after watching for a bit I realized that it was also more of a documentary about a mans story about his near death experience out on the water with a friend. The area of the sea that they were swimming was a dangerous one and it was guarded heavy by Nazi troops, they could not just go swim freely they had to sneak in. One time they were apprehended by an officer and taken away in there vehicle. Another time they were stopped at a road block by a group of inspectors, in the trunk they had all there equipment and knew if it was found they would be in trouble. The officer tried opening the trunk from the back and it was jammed, then he tried getting into the trunk from the folding seat cushions but his light was busted and he couldn’t see inside. Luckily they got away.
These men would practice their swim technique in the local pool then swim way far out to sea whenever they got a chance. Until the day disaster struck and the mans friend almost drowned, In order to save his life the man attached a floatation device to his body tied a room to his own waist and tugged him back to shore. They were something like 20km out, which is almost 12.5 miles! Crazy far! I watched as the mans face explained the struggle he had out at sea, on screen he looked like he was reliving the event, shifting from disbelief and horror, to fear and anxiety, to perseverance and willpower. His face was ridden with wrinkles of time and beaten down with scars of the past, his eyes looked like dark green marbles, swirling in shades of emerald and black. When I watched only his eyes, I learned more than what any words could have expressed. The eyes are such an incredibly transparent part of ourselves. It is almost impossible to hide what is hidden within them.
When the movie was over I called Edrin, his work is right up the street from the theater I was at. We went out for a beer then I headed back to my new home. I took the M4 tram going in the direction of Zingster street and got of at Indira-Ghandi stop, oh cool thing, I am staying at the corner of Indira-Gandhi Strabe and Chopinstrabe, pretty good combo I think! Anyways, I rung the bell when I arrived and headed up the four flights of stairs to Flo’s apartment. He was playing WoW! His troll mage on a private server, Wrath of the Lich King patch. It made me really want to play again. Maybe I will treat myself to a month of two when I return home, its been a while. I made some eggs, as it seems to be the cheapest and healthiest option on my budget then went to bed. Who says you cant go to Europe for a month and live on only $500 total? Not me.
Thursday I walked around Berlin quite a bit exploring the stores and local galleries, in the evening I went to a Chamber Concert at the Berlin Symphony. Trio Jean Paul was playing a very enticing set for piano, violin and cello. Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Trio No. 1 in E flat major Johannes Brahms String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major (arr. for piano trio) Franz Schubert Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat major I got discounted tickets for being a student which was a nice surprise, so with the extra money I bought myself a nice glass of whiskey to start of the show. I went and sat in, waiting for the musicians to revel themselves. They are greeted onstage by about a 1/3 filled audience, the room is wonderfully designed almost like the inside of a very modern temple. The ceiling is funnel-shaped, asymmetrical with the cut out in the peak relieving a slightly off-white interior. This is where all of the wires are hanging down for the lights and microphones. From where I am sitting it looks like a canopy in the peak of the ceiling with a web of wires attached to it. I am slightly indecisive if the wiring adds to the overall look or detracts. The musicans begin to play and the hall fills with beautiful harmonies, bouncing off the carefully designed walls to make the sonic experience that much more powerful. My favorite performance must have been Brahms, it had a strange melancholic feeling to it. There were these two voices within the pieces that would talk back and forth to each other, at some points arguing, while at other times in agreement, but at all times in conflict as to what the other one wanted. Like neither could be pleased with themselves or with the other. Schubert came second and Beethoven was third. When it was over, I decided to go for a night walk in Tiergarden to revisit the places I had walked in the daylight a few days earlier, and to recreate the water and photo experiment I had been captivated by. I walked into the cold woods, the air was brisk but at least I was dressed for it. The park was so different at night, it was hard to even tell you were in the middle of the city. The lights behind you would slowly start fading out as you continued deeper into the trees, there weren’t any people around but every once and a while you would see a small critter running about through the bushes and up in the mess of branches above. I found the stream I had been to before and sat by the water for a while. The top of the stream had a layer of ice of it now giving a nice opaque background to some of my photos. I searched for a rock of some sort so that I could throw it in the pond and capture the transitions between the water and ice. I couldn’t find any rocks! What is this place did they clear out all the rocks from the park or something? I searched and searched and finally found a small stone. I set up my camera, threw the rock and pressed the button. Firing off at 4 frames a second I captured the transition of ice to water. Sadly only a small part of the ice broke off, I guess the stone wasn’t big enough. I stayed in the park for a while, trying my experiment a handful of times till I got tired of trying to find rocks. Then I made my way out of the trees once again and into the forest of metal and glass.