Fun in Berlin

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 14th, 2008 by MadDog
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It’s been a long time since I was a functional American, but the lure of a Wal*Mart was simply too strong to resist:Walmart has invaded BerlinYesssss, kiddies, there is a giant Wal*Mart in Berlin and it is chock full of the same crap that you would find in Berlin, Ohio or Berlin, Indiana, or any of numerous other Berlins in the USA.

As I reminisce about the connection between so many childhood fears of instant annihilation by a nuclear ‘device’, I recall clearly that Berlin was constantly on our minds.

I’m sure that many people lived with a sort of dull background noise of fear for a long, long time, but probably nowhere was it louder than in Cold War America.

So, as I approached the Brandenburg Gate, I was feeling a little emotional:Brandenburg Gate, Berlin - The standard tourist shotThat’s the standard tourist shot.

This one is a little more dramatic, but it doesn’t show the whole thing:The pretty horses on top of the Brandenburg Gate, BerlinI like this one better. It’s the side that nobody ever bothers to notice:The back side of the Brandenburg Gate, BerlinHere’s an interesting marker out in front of the gate that shows exactly where the Wall was:The marker in the street that shows where The Wall was - BerlinAnd, of course, everybody wants a photo of the wall. There are lots of places where you can see old bits of it painted colourfully, but the section that I liked best is the one that you can’t get near – it’s behind a protective barrier for very good reasons:A part of The Wall that you can't get to - BerlinI can remember watching the TV with tears streaming down our faces as we saw Berliners pounding away at the Wall with anything that came to hand.

What a time!

In the American mind the focus of unease was Checkpoint Charlie:Checkpoint Charlie - BerlinThere is an excellent Checkpoint Charlie Museum nearby. I highly recommend it.

And what would a visit to Berlin be without seeing a hopped-up Trabant:The unreliable and terribly smelly Trabant all blinged up - BerlinI don’t remember what this statue was all about, but I do recall that I liked it, so I’ll show it to you:

A beautiful statue in Berlin of a young woman releasing a dove
I didn’t like the distracting scaffolding in the background, so I made it go away:
A beautiful statue in Berlin of a young woman releasing a dove (without the distracting scaffolding)
You can always tell when I’m having an impossible day. I throw a bunch of photos at you with little comment.

It is the thinking and the writing that sometimes take more time than I can give, but I’m not going to cheat myself by skipping a day just because it’s been hectic.

I must do this. It’s becoming an obsession.

Robot blogger.

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Workers of the World – UNITE!

Posted in Humor, Mixed Nuts on November 6th, 2008 by MadDog
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What miniscule political leanings that I exhibit are, admittedly, to the left. For me, however, this has a biological cause. I have an excuse, as it were, from the doctor. Let me explain.

When I was a small child I got all tangled up in a bush (ironic, eh?) while attempting to jump over it. I broke my left femur. When it healed, my left leg was shorter by about 2 cm than my right.

So, it’s not surprising that I’m celebrating the victory of President Elect Obama. I just love saying that name. Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama . . .

If I could vote, I would have only one criterion for selecting a president. He must be the coolest of the candidates. There was no contest.

In celebration of the victory of downtrodden workers everywhere, I’ll photographically reminisce about our last visit to Budapest.

Here’s an amusing panorama of the city on a grey day:

A panoramic view of Budapest

If you’d like to see a more detailed version, it’s here.

Budapest is home to some of the scariest escalators in the world. Here’s one of them:

A scary escalator

The only one that scared me more was in Prague. I’ll show it to you someday.

People gather everywhere in eclectic mobs. It’s as if they’re waiting for the next revolution to begin:

Waiting for the revolution to begin

One extremely charming place to visit is the “Statue Park” where they put all of the old Communist era statues.

Here’s Eunie demonstrating the colossal scale of this patriot:

Note the clenched fist

I think that a lot of wisdom was demonstrated by the decision to gather them all together in one place where they could be admired, cursed, ignored, spat upon, or saved for a rainy day. One never knows.

Look carefully and you will see your host peering through the star-shaped hole:

Peek-a-boo Commie-style

I reckon that this one is the largest in the park. That’s teensy-weensy Eunie down by his left foot:

A Communist Colossus

And now, it’s just me and Lenin:

Me and Lenin

What a cool place.

They have a kiosk where you can purchase all sorts of old Communist paraphernalia. They also had t-shirts featuring the Trabant, possibly one of most horrible cars ever built. We wanted to purchase a Trabant t-shirt for our son. Shirts showing a red Trabant were on display, but the clerk absolutely refused to sell us one. It seemed to be an emotional issue.

The Hungarians were never very enthusiastic about Communism, to say the least.

I wonder what they do with all those t-shirts with red Trabants on them?

I’ll leave you with two of my favourite images of the Trabant:  (both ripped from the web)

The horsed horseless carriage 1.
The horsed horseless carriage 2.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD – UNITE!

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