Saturday, April 30, 2011

Berlin3. If Vices Define a Person

I'm coughing sick, please send me virtual pity hugs. And some spare lungs. Nonetheless, let's continue the ride. It is a race against my deteriorating brain.

In the morning of day 3, April 8th, I went out searching for things I didn't bother to bring, but were essential: cheap sandals/flipflops for hostel showers (they were clean, but floors were... slimy), hair brush (I was already having unwanted dreads by this point - note to myself, fingers are NOT combs), body lotion without paraben (paraben is a preservative that also is a xenoestrogen), tissues and a hand sanitizer. I found everything else except a body lotion and a hand sanitizer.

No hand sanitizers in drug stores?!? I showed my last drop of sanitizer to the storekeeper. I demonstrated how to use it and everything. She apologetically said no, they don't have it. What, didn't you guys get Swine Flu and Bird Flu scares? I was worried a little, but could forget about it (that's a lie, I actually NEVER forgotten about it) after a while. Time moves fast, we move slow, just let things be. I continue to live without sanitizers after I got back, and now I'm sick. Aaaanyways.

So, the third day was the day I move out of my prison cell. I didn't know how the new ensuite room would look like. For all I know, it is the same prison cell with a toilet bolted to the ground without toilet seats. I packed everything, put my luggages in a locker and head out to Pictoplasma. It gave me this unsettling feeling that I'm always in transit. Not having a safe room to go back to is unsettling. I'm kind of person who's constantly in and out of my room during the day. I don't know how people go on backpacking for a whole year. I don't enjoy living out of suitcase even for a week.

I kept falling in and out of sleep during the talk because of jet lagging. I don't quite remember having it this bad. The entire trip was delirious. Did I really love Berlin, or was it all a dream?

More photos from Pictoplasma:
Ryan Quincy, lead animator of South Park

SFA. I love these guys

I love cobble stone streets in Europe. My kitty shoes have seen better days...

In the afternoon, I ran to the hostel to check into my new room. Holy shit. For 10 euros more, you get a pretty nice room (yes, it is small though)! It didn't smell, plenty of lights, cute closet and a nice & clean bathroom! I know for some people, it doesn't matter where they sleep because it's just for sleeping. But when I sleep in a nicer place, I am much happier. One negative thing about it was that the internet connection was barely there. I learned from my friend Hieng (after I got back to Toronto) that there is this thing called Air BnB. They list hostel/hotels run by regular people. I wish I knew about it before. Renting an entire apartment would've been cheaper than staying in a hostel. FML.

Nonetheless... I absolutely loved it while I was staying there. The location was amazing, looking down on Torstraße street. I'd sometimes stand in front of the window and watch the street, the people. It was on top of Rosenthaler Platz, where five streets collide. I loved this platz (is it called platz?). It reminded me of Korea. I don't know why some things in Berlin reminded me of Korea, other places in the world never remind me of Korea. This place brought out a vague memory of the poor town in Seoul I grew up in. I was five years old, I'd be sent to buy cigarettes for my grandpa. I'd walk unpaved roads. The pharmacist's seven year old son would take me upstairs to show me his room in one of low-rise buildings, where three streets collide (everything looked bigger then).
 The white building is StOberholz, apparently a famous restaurant/cafe. People are on their laptop all the time there. I finally got to check it out on my last day. Very friendly people with nice chai latte with soymilk. If I lived around here, I'd work here everyday
There was no seats for woodcut printing workshop with Roman Klonek again. I gave up and set out to get some vegan treats at Kreuzberg.

Eissalon Tanne B had a few vegan icecream options, and VEGAN WAFFLES! Yeah, I went all the way there for soy icecream. Oh the things I'd do for soy icecream... I wanted to try vegan waffles a la mode, but I didn't feel like eating there alone. Icecream waffles are the sort of things that you sit with your friend and eat them while having a conversation. This place would be so much fun under the hot summer afternoon sun.
It was a residential area. Kids seemed to be just off school, moms were picking them up and having an icecream on the way home. There was a playground right in front of the shop.

If it weren't so cold, I would've tried one more flavour

Soy chocolate icecream

VEGAN WAFFLES!! I don't know a word of German, but "Waffeln" must be 'Waffles"?

By chance, there was a farmer's market happening. Or maybe there is a farmer's market everyday. It was a small, neighbourhood market. I bought those picked shredded carrots and quinoa salad and had them for dinner later.
Farmer's Market

I don't know why people are so nice almost everywhere in Berlin. Owners of the vegan store, Veni Vidi Vegi, explained each kind of vegan bread spreads in detail. And gave me directions for two nice vegan restaurants to check out. I never got to go to those restaurants. One was a Chinese restaurant that serves vegan pecking duck. I'm going there next year for sure.
Vegan store, Veni Vidi Vegi
Stuff I bought from Veni Vidi Vegi - things I don't need, but I buy anyways.
The Vegan store had other store's bags

Suppose to be a spicy sausage. Still in my refrigerator. Not spicy at all

Salty spreads

I had to buy it because it's a Spacebar, dude! It wasn't very good, but it helped me survive long plane ride back without starving

Er.... so-so. Sad to say, but I make better vegan sausages. Now I feel all cocky

I think Barlauch is wild leeks my mom and I forage in spring. The shop owner cut a leaf from her plant and made me try. It's so-so. I don't eat much bread, so why did I get so many spreads?!?!

I accidentally bought another one of these, the same flavour too. But it's very delicious

Very good soymilk. I love strawberry soymilks. I KNOW looked especially strange when I pulled out soymilk packs out of my bag and drank it in mid-conversation. I don't usually do that at home (maybe I should more often). Travel makes a person even stranger

Why did I buy spreads, why?!

Cute napkins from the icecream shop. 

The vegan store person gave me flyers of vegan restaurants. I wanted to try both, but didn't have time

I was so thirsty. Having a tea
More photos of Pictoplasma:
I was in and out of sleep again. Dark, warm place plus jet lag wasn't a great combination.
Nick Cave. Interesting artist who makes crazy costumes. He was so eloquently spoken

El Señor

My favourite creation of El Señor: slimy cute monster
After the Pictoplasma talks, Arv (founder of the amazing motion graphic company, Pyramid Attack. He had a screening at Pictoplasma) and his cool friends kindly hung out with me. I am not sure if I were a creepy creep who just followed these cool people around. If so, my apologies. Arv's friend took us to White Trash. It was a very strange, yet fun place. A whole building was an entertainment, bar, restaurant, tattoo(?) centre. Basement was a dance club, upstairs was a restaurant/bar. Loud music filled the whole venue. A kind of place I'd never go normally, but in Berlin, I felt quite alright. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, maybe it's this magical city. I felt pretty relaxed. And this Swedish band, Chuck Norris Experiment, who was playing at White Trash was AWESOME in live. 6 euro cover charge was totally worth it. People were dancing, but no mosh pit, thank goodness. I hate mosh pit. Get your sweaty paws off of me.

Looking around, I realized I might be the only completely sober person here. I was once again reminded of what a boring person I am. I don't drink, smoke and I'm a vegan. I seldom drink coffee. If vices define a person, I'm the most boring person ever. I often get, "What?!? What do you do for fun?"
"I read books and watch movies...?" And long walks on the beach. I'm kidding. There is no beach near by where I live. But please don't get creeped out by me. I have good and valid reasons why I don't drink and smoke. I tried drinking, man. You have no idea, I TRIED. I get really bad allergic reaction because I lack ALDH2, so can't break down alcohol. I went blind once, and that's when I just stopped trying.

Some decor at White Trash (Caution - Boobs):

Pinball machine! I love pinballs games! Video games, I mean
On the weekends, people party all night in Berlin. I must say, it was fun even for a boring person like me. I read somewhere about Toronto's club scenes dying. I don't really party, but it's kind of sad, I guess? It is my neighbourhood, so I am contributing to the area gentrification (actually, I'm few streets up). Apparently, long battle between the residents in the area and the club district is coming to an end. As a resident, I really don't mind seeing people party and puking here and there. Why would people move here without accepting that, it's a club district! I like watching pretty people scantly dressed in cold winter nights. Arv told me some Toronto DJs have moved to Berlin and do well there. Good for them.

Walking back, we saw a rave (?) at a basement of this old building covered in scaffolding. A guy waved us to come in. It was like walking into an old crypt. Haha.. sausage party. We left right away. I was tired and had to attend the conference in the next day.

That concludes day 3. More to come. It's a very scattered writing, but who cares, I'm sure not many people's reading. Now I'm going to cough my lungs out and enjoy the sunshine.


  1. pfffft trust me lady, you've got vices.

    I like reading these travel-logs! Keep 'em comminnnnggg

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Irma>> Haha... I don't know what you are talking about. I'm a goody two shoes. Or three shoes.

    Hyunjin>> Thanks :)

  4. oops, removed my comment by mistake, :'(
    Let me say this again, haha
    Love your travel logs!

  5. A-maaaaze-ing.

    That's all I can say.

  6. Railex 5 day non-stop private coast-to-coast railway transport with state of the art quality controlled distribution centers and real-time GPS inventory tracking is the greener alternative to refrigerated trucking companies.