Berlin notes

Living here feels natural.  I am happy but oddly unfascinated.  Most of all, I notice the changed routines of my life.  Every day I take mass transit and have cheese for breakfast, rather than the car and cereal.  I am more likely to take in information by walking around different parts of town than by reading.  I have only five CDs, a Kindle, and a few paperbacks, including the new (and good) David Mitchell novel.

The Berlin newspapers seem uninterested in the collapse of Greece and the future of the Eurozone; that probably reflects the preferences of their readership.

They have a whole shop, on my street, for books about the German train system; there is another shop just for books about miniature model boats.

There are many more photocopy shops here than I had expected; I wish I could short the sector.  The Berlin Zoo has a "gay night."

There is a not-very-bohemian part of town, a somewhat bohemian part of town, and a "supposedly to be really bohemian but actually still quite German" part of town.  A funny kind of pointless Tiebout competition reigns.

Berlin is a big playground with relatively little busines life or production, lots of space, and amazingly low rents.  You can buy a good gelato for less than a Euro.

The vegetables are superb.

Sometimes you can't tell which national cuisine the Asian restaurants are serving and I don't mean that as a compliment.  Sri Lankan food is one of the best respites from the oppression of food preparation in Deutschland.

If there is one overriding principle of German food, it is to avoid anything in a sauce.

The Turkish integration into Germany and German life is a major postwar success story, yet it is not much reported on.

The musical life and museums are first-rate, yet the real sight here is simply Germany itself.


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