First, I met with my friend Kristen (auf Deutsch, bitte) and we went window shopping at KaDeWe, which is the largest mall in Berlin, and is seven floors high. It's also extremely expensive, which is why we window shopped. After eating lunch, we walked around the city a bit, and Kristen showed me some...uh...interesting places. (Okay, only 1 interesting place, she also showed me a grocery store that's open on Sundays.)
Then we went over to a cake shop (der Kuchenladen), where we had amazing cakes. Each slice was 3.50 euros, but the slices were HUGE. I wasn't even able to finish mine, and I rarely leave a piece of cake left on my plate. And the cakes in the windows were so pretty! It was like the German version of "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network.
Kristen and I parted ways, and I met up with 6 other people from FUBiS at Alexanderplatz, where we had a light dinner. I had a bowl of spicy and sour soup, since I was still rather full from the cake, and while it was delicious, it was neither sour nor spicy. I'm too used to the Chinese restaurants around my house, I guess. We also saw a bachelor party running around, trying to get money for the groom-to-be. More on this later.
We walked over afterwards to the DDR Museum, which was a relatively small place with a lot of people inside. It had a lot of information about life in East Germany between WWII and the German Reunification, some of which I had already known from classes, but some of which was new. The others said it was the same information as was given in the movie, "Goodbye Lenin," but since I haven't seen it yet, the museum was pretty interesting.
We took the U-Bahn one station over to grab another small dinner (reading back on this, I feel like I ate too much, but I walked around and was active pretty much all day, so it didn't feel so fattening). While we were waiting to be seated, a bachelorette party came up to us and asked us to by small trinkets from them. Apparently, this is a German tradition, because as I said before, there was the bachelor party earlier as well. So, a few people decided to join in on the celebration (I guess it's rude to refuse a party like this) and gave a few coins and bought tiny bottles of vodka. I didn't have any coins on me at the time, so I politely declined, but enough people from our group agreed that it wasn't like I was holding out on them or anything.
We sat around, ordered our drinks and our food, and just talked and had fun. One of the reasons I like being on this program is that I'm meeting people from all over the world. Between the seven of us, there are 3 of us from the UCs (although even then, different schools), one from Oregon, one from Sweden, one from Taiwan, and one from Portugal. We had conversations going in English, German, Swedish, and Taiwanese.
Another bachelorette party came up to us, but instead of asking us to buy something, the bride-to-be had to ask us something from a card that she picked from her friend's deck, so she asked us if we would sing a "Städchen," or a short song for her. Since we had just been talking about how everybody knows Lady Gaga, we decided to sing, "Poker Face," for her (to which her friends shouted, "Oh mein Gott, POKER FACE!!!!" extremely excitedly). After we finished singing, she gave us little trinkets for our help, so we ended up with more vodka and a sailor hat. (The theme of her party was pirates, hence the hat.) I'm thinking if we stayed at that restaurant for much longer, none of us would have had to buy alcohol that night, and we would have all been drunk by the time the night was done. However, we had more plans for the night, and nobody had any desire to have more alcohol than we could handle.
We met up at that point (approximately 10:30) with some other people, a few said goodbye, and our group had grown to 9 people. We hopped back on the U-Bahn and headed over to a club in Kreuzberg. After a bit of mishap on where the club was (Note to everyone: Straße means street, Platz means place, and often the two shall meet-er, intersect), we finally found it and got in line to get in. Of course, the bouncer needed to see our ID's, and this is when the night got crazy. I pulled out my passport to show him, he looked at it for a second, and then said, "Hang on a minute." So I wait, he goes over to talk to somebody, and I have no idea what is wrong. He came back and asked, "Who did you let copy your passport?"
I told him that I hadn't let anybody copy it, but he kept insisting, "You copied it. The blonde girl has a photocopy of this exact passport." (Because, obviously, all blond-hair, blue-eyed people look the same. HELLO, have you walked around your country at all?) This continued for a couple more minutes, with a couple of threats of, "Do you realize how much trouble you will be in?" from him. Finally, he told me to just go, but continued giving me evil eyes, to which I pointedly replied, "Danke schön."
Once I was in, the club was a lot of fun, although a lot different from anything I've experienced in America. There was no bumping and grinding going on, just friends dancing with each other and sometimes singing along to the music (which was almost entirely American songs, until they started playing a couple of latin-style songs). In fact, the "creepy guys" at the club where the ones that started dancing with the girls before talking to them or knowing them. I wish I could bring that home with me next year.
I just realized, even without having regular internet access, I'm still updating quite a bit. We'll see how this continues throughout the year.