[…Berlin Schönefeld Airport, Café , 4:36 p.m…]
When the French people talk, it’s music to my ears. A small group of them are seated behind me engaged in a lively conversation. I don’t understand a word they’re saying but I don’t mind sitting here with my cake and coffee listening to that lovely tune in the background.
There was a Green Peace demonstration this morning in front of Angela Merkel’s office, the Kamzleramt. I could hear them from the hotel and was wondering what that noise was all about – drums beating, whistles blowing, a cacophony of voices chanting rhythmically. I thought there was a parade going on. When I left the hotel on my way to the Reichstag, there they were, accompanied by journalists, camera crew and security. I pulled out my camera and took a few snapshots.
I waited in line at the Reichstag for 2 solid hours. There were screaming kids running around and endless chatter of different nationalities speaking in different tongues. It felt like Disneyland meets Babylon. I felt trapped in line for 2 hours, not once hearing a lick of English anywhere in the background. Sometimes I would be confused as to what language was being spoken, so I’d look at the guide book they’re holding and that usually answers my question. If it says Berlino, then I know they’re Italian; if Berlijn – Dutch; Beirlín- Irish; ベルリン – Japanese; and a bunch of these 베를린 or these 柏林 has to be Korean or Chinese.
I’m only doing this because the last time I visited this place, they were cleaning inside the cupola and visitors weren’t allowed , so I only took shots of its exterior. Not doing it this time around would be a missed opportunity, so I kept reminding myself why I was there.
A few times, I was just about ready to quit but I held on. At the one-hour mark, I knew I was committed and backing out was pointless as I’ve already waited long enough. What pissed me off was the cutting in line and the groups of people who were given privilege to skip the line and use a dedicated entrance. When I finally got inside the building, I was trapped in a cramped elevator with more screaming school kids who were shoving and jostling each other. I held onto my patience like a true sport although deep inside me I was seething with suppressed agitation.
All that torture, and when I finally reached the cupola, it only took me five minutes to take my shots and I headed back down with more screaming kids. By then, the sun was high in the sky and the light was just too harsh, and I was just about ready for lunch.
I had a couple of hours to relax in the hotel lobby after I checked out. With my iPod on, I put my feet up and looked outside the glass windows where the blue skies are beaming bright, a few cumulus clouds building up right on top Alexanderplatz’s skyline. They look like heaps of floating cotton. I could see the Reichstag’s cupola, the Kamzleramt, the Hauptbahnhof, and the Fernsehtrum from where I was sitting. I had Berlin in a nutshell right before my eyes.
It’s an okay way to end my trip, I guess. My flight back home should be coming up soon.