a unique perspective on this crazy world

geologists rock :)


I figured my friend Iain – one of my loyal readers – would enjoy the headline 🙂  It was inspired by my visit to the Neues Museum.  Personally I think the name is a bit misleading as it’s full of OLD stuff.  But I can just hear some German pedantically explaining to me… well, the stuff was in the Altes Museum and then this was renovated and stuff moved over so natürlich it’s the Neues Museum…

But, hey, the German love of facts and precision is very useful in a museum setting.  That’s how I learned about early Cypriot copper mining, which made Cyprus a big deal in the ancient world.  I apologize that I definitely acquired a cold (likely all that kissing in Istanbul :)) so my brain wasn’t capable of retaining all the facts I would have liked.

But here are my general impressions of my visit to early history and some impressive archaeology.  Mining rocks to make useful stuff is good for your economy.  Peace is great for cultural advancement (apparently that is why Egypt made such a big splash on the world stage).  We have always been trading – long before money or plastic shopping bags.  Migration and multiculturalism have been around practically as long as mankind – and have always enriched their societies and advanced progress.  Some dude with a spear, sword or gun is always trying to pull some alpha male crap and wreck it all…

As John Lennon sings,” imagine a world without possessions.” Pretty impossible.  But watching countries fight over possessions is pretty amusing.

Going to museums in Berlin is pretty interesting.  The place was pretty much annihilated during WWII.  Thinking ahead, the most valuable objects in the precursor to the Neues Museum were packed away in crates and stored all over Germany in secret places.  When the Red Army declared victory, they hauled away the most valuable crates to Moscow as part of the spoils of war.  A couple of items have been returned but generally they are still in crates somewhere in the Soviet system.  The Germans seem pretty bitter about this – but there is no mention in the placards about how Egypt wants the statue of Nefertiti back…

Personally I have decided the world’s treasures are best served by being in a stable country with proper preservation skills on view for anyone who wishes to see them for a minimal charge.  Because who really owns history?  Of course, I also think national borders are one of mankind’s really bad ideas so…

Once I had finished dragging myself around the Neues Museum trying to get my money’s worth while running to the bathroom every few minutes for more incredibly scratchy German toilet paper, I decided that food might help.  It was tempting to just go back to the hotel but I had been in Germany three days now and hadn’t had any Italian food yet!

The way it works is this.  The Italians are crap at running an economy while the Germans excel at this.  The Germans are crap at cooking but they love Italian food.  So lots of Italians escape their moribund economy, move to Germany and open an Italian restaurant.  When I lived in Germany, I ate Italian food almost exclusively and it was fantastic!

My pizza caprese did not disappoint.  And the real Italian server was very charming.  Once I had wolfed down far more pizza than I had planned on, I returned to the hotel and had a nap instead of doing two more museums.  It’s tough to do when you’re travelling but sometimes it’s the right thing.  My nap proved extremely fortuitous this Easter Monday.

Part of the reason for the nap was so that I would hopefully be sufficiently recovered from my cold to go the Bassy Club.  I had discovered it on my recognisance mission of the neighborhood the previous day.  The poster outside advertised the upcoming concerts.  Who can resist an Australian mariachi band? 😉

When I arrived, some lady in a dress that would have looked perfect on Doris Day was barking instructions in German on swing dancing to an entire floor of dancers, most with tattoos and sneakers instead of poodle skirts.  It was a fascinating cultural adventure and I felt like I had found the ‘real Berlin’.

After the lesson broke up, some English guy named Mike asked me to dance.  Apparently performing complicated dance moves with strangers is what I do in Berlin.  The same thing happened in 2009!  At some point I should actually learn how to dance so I will be ready for these chance encounters 😉

The band was fascinating.  They were good musicians.  And dressed up and made up to look like an authentic Mexican mariachi band.  But when they played, it sounded like mariachi music filtered through a little AC/DC.

I was anticipating that I would just go home after the music stopped but my nap had mostly ridded me of the cold so I thought I might stay a little longer if there was someone to talk to.  First I spied the Brazilian guy I had chatted with pre-band.  We said “hi” but I was distracted by a cute guy with a killer smile who seemed to be smiling at ME.  As they say, the rest is history…

I got back to my hotel at 3am, chivalrously walked there by Björn, the German guy with the Scandinavian name.  I had taught him the word “player” and agreed that he didn’t seem like one so I accepted his invitation to meet up the next day.  It was my last day in Berlin.  He had just returned from vacation in New Orleans and Nashville so didn’t work again until Thursday.

So Berlin ended on a brilliant high note.  I never made it to the Deutsches Historiches Museum – but I got a personal tour by a local of Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg.  My goal this time in Berlin had been to see the “real city” and get closer to feeling like a local.  What better way to accomplish that than actually wandering the streets with someone who lives in Berlin.

I know I will be back.  So I will get to all the museums eventually.  And maybe Björn will show me more of the city – or come with me to a museum.  He is from Hamburg and has only been in Berlin for five years so he could likely play tourist for a few hours.

Hanging out with locals has been a big theme this trip.  The perfect way to see any city…  So, what can I say, don’t forget to hang out in bars when you travel…  Don’t drink too much so you can remember the names of the people you meet – and are sober enough to exchange information so you can be in contact to actually get to see the city with them 😉

Free wi-fi is a great concept but it isn’t working very well so I have a few posts in the queue but no guarantee when you might see them…

Comments on: "geologists rock :)" (1)

  1. It’s true, we do 🙂

    Geo-Iain

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