So says my Time Out guide to Berlin. Poor Stuttgart… it’s not so bad. And Germans are Germans no matter where you go 🙂 Well, Helmut Kohl did declare that Germany was “not a land of immigration.” If you do not speak German perfectly, they will look at you like you are speaking Swahili. My Swahili definitely gets a better response 🙂
But my German is not all “weg”. Last night I managed to order dinner without speaking any English until it was time for the “Rechnung”(bill). The server was very pleasant and when he finally understood and pronounced the word, I realized – ah, my “ch” was off… spoken like a wimpy North American, not a true Deutsch.
This morning was more entertaining. Ironically, I am here in the land of technology and I have an iMac in my room… but nothing works! The hotel’s technology offerings are a disaster. In Paris and Istanbul, it was seamless! Oh, but would the Germans hate to hear that!
Getting on-line to post this blog was quite the ordeal. The connection parameters are far too complicated, they are not intuitive and there are no instructions in the room – or even on the iMac.
So I was finally forced to call the front desk… we had the kind of classic argument you can only really have with a German… I was trying to get the password right… she kept saying ‘’i’’ like easy… I kept saying, “that doesn’t make sense in English.” But she just thought I was a stupid foreigner who didn’t know English very well. Luckily, I speak quite a lot of German and “i” sounds like “e” auf Deutsch so I tried it when the “i” didn’t work – and I am on-line!
I learned long ago that you have to be patient with the Germans – and leave your ego at home. Most of them have egos for two so you can use some of their spare capacity. I guess that’s what happens when people tell you are “the master race”. But, once you get past the frosty exterior, most of them are wonderful people with a wicked sense of humour.
I just smile as they diss my Deutsch and we swap over to English. I come from a country that prides itself on immigration so I enjoy listening to butchered English and trying to see if I can figure it out.
It is practically impossible for me to not be able to figure it out, no matter how bad it is… and here, auf Deutschland, long ago I learned how to speak a pigeon patois form of Englisch complete with a Deutsch accent. It’s my little secret – they all think their English is so great because they sound just like me… but I am just messing with them 😉
Other than the technology, the hotel is very cool and pictures will be forthcoming… It is true that Berlin is not Stuttgart and can’t wait to get outside and explore. I am in the former East Berlin, in Mitte… last time I was here it was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And this was the neighborhood to be in… we’ll see what has changed in three years. Ich bin nicht ein Berliner aber Ich liebe Berlin…
We will go back and catch up on the stories from Istanbul… where everyone was so supportive of my butchered Turkish… 😉