So anyway, eventually we got to Berlin. Gene’s best friend met us in baggage claim. We arrived around 10 AM and we stayed awake as long as possible…by which I mean we were passed the eff out by approximately 3 pm. Yes, that’s the wrong thing to do but I suck at time changes. And it was a truly awesome nap, by the way. Shortly after the nap, I informed Gene that I would be replacing our yellow quilt at home with a mostly identical setup of the bed we slept in there.
“Okay,” he said.
“I…don’t remember ASKING, sweetie,” I said.
Anyway, here’s the deal. I’m writing a lot about the getting to Europe stuff and other minutiae because our trip wasn’t about seeing the tourist sites (because there are none. Checkpoint Charlie is now literally in the middle of a fancy shopping area. You can get your picture taken with a guy in an Army uniform. I guess Charlie was a real guy. Hmm). Our trip was about hanging out with our friends and their children (our godchildren, in a “in case of emergency” way, not in a “attending your Confirmation” way) and trying to not look like Asshole Americans, trying to order food.
One day, the group of us went to a fancy multi-floor department store (seriously, click on the link and check out the picture of the food hall….yummmmm). Hanging out there for hours was the only thing that I didn’t do that I would have liked to. The place was like Nordstrom on steroids with a 4 star restaurant instead of a food court. Two words: chocolate mousse. I also learned that in public bathrooms you have to tip the attendant for opening the stall door. Maybe it was just the ladies room at the store – either way, I gave her about 3x more than people typically give but it was worth every cent.
Other adventures: went to godson’s preschool to pick up a few times, went to goddaughter’s swim class (entire class in German…), used the video camera to take video of goddaughter’s first haircut (at the kiddie hair salon in the fancy department store, with me sweating bullets that I wouldn’t work the camera correctly, and promising to pay for a reshoot), got lost in the forest behind our friends’ house (a leashless dog park type place, but heavily wooded). Considered giving a German hobo 100 euro in exchange for his hobo dog (poor puppy, cuddled under a blanket next to the human hobo). Ate at a McDonald’s but had to share a table w/ two teenage boys, debated making a MILF joke (but didn’t). Got lost trying to find the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin but did manage two find two (count ’em, two) gay fetish nightclubs, located within a block from each other. Saw the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his younger son out a window. (Seriously, Berlin wants a tourist trap to bring in some euro? I think a booth called “Have your picture taken dangling your child/spouse/etc out the window of the Adlon” would be awesome!).
And then, by…oh, let’s say Wednesday, I ended up with the traditional souvenir: a cold. (BTW, know what’s fun? congestion + a steamy swimming pool + German toilet paper in lieu of tissues). (Feeling better now, hooray!)
For my grande finale in Berlin, I door dinged the car next to us at the airport. Luckily for me, someone was in the car to see. Impressively, she did not get out of the car and yell at me in the language of her choice.
And this brings us to Amsterdam. Yeah, we had fun plans, but the aforementioned cold put a damper on things. Thanks to an in-hotel magazine about things to do in Amsterdam, I did learn (sorry for the TMI) that sex and a BJ (sorry) would run a person approximately 50 euro and that a pre-rolled joint would be around 8 euro. Beyond that, Amsterdam is big into adopting homeless dogs, practicing English and not big into selling Chapstick and frisking me in case I was wearing a bra with an underwire from the Al Qaeda collection. Next time we go to Europe, I am definitely advocating we spend some time in Amsterdam. And next time, I’m packing less clothes and better tissues. (My plan is to be able to pack for an entire week in a roll aboard suitcase).
(ha ha ha ha ha, yeah, I know).