Friday, September 5, 2008

adventures in paperwork

To to get to the American Consul, you walk a while, until you start to wonder where the heckthe Consul General is, and then you see this...

It's fortified like a jail, or like we're still fighting the Cold War. You stand in line for a long time, and then go in (leave iPod, cell phone, everything moderately entertaining behind) and stand in another line. the first day I was there for the whole day and still couldn't get a passport. All I could see to get was a WAY to get a passport. I went home unhappy, but that kind of took a turn when I went to introduce myself to my landlady's neighbor, Karen. Karen let me into her house and sat me at the kitchen table with her 3 8 year olds and 12 year old son. They were all kind of studying english, but mostly just used curse words. They were a loud sea of boys that bred a domesticity that it can be nice to be around. She would be trying to talk to me but would interrupt herself to yell "NO YOU CANNOT PLAY WII! IT'S ONLY 5!!!" And then you'd hear little boys yelling angrily. I didn't stay long though, since I was tired and hungry and really just wanted to listen to NPR and sleep.

Today was much better. I woke up early again, left before I could eat breakfast, and dropped off the last of my papers at the consul, eliciting a response of "Come back at 2, and you can get your passport." 2??! YAY! That also meant I had a few hours to kill, and I was already in the city, so why not go and make a morning of it? The first stop was in the Zoo, where I went to a bakery with which I had remembered I'd at one time had a good track record. The counters were swarming with yellowjackets, but that didn't really deter anyone, largely because they had dishes that looked like this:

i got a turnover of some kind and a cup of coffee and settled down outside the Aquarium to munch slowly.

The granulated sugar crunched so well, and the coffee had had some time to cool down just a tad. The cheese in the turnover was sweet but with some lemon and a consistency of risoto, which doesn't sound good, but I was a fan

Then I wandered around Berlin for a good while. I mostly hit the tourist sports, but I did go to Hackischer Markt (that's not the right spelling, but whatever...I'm jetlagged!)

This is pretty typical of what I saw, lots of familiar places, which I wandered through while listening to music, which suited me just fine. When I got done with that, I still had some time, so I went "Hoff Hopping," where you go from one courtyard to the next, discovering cool new things. My favorite discovery would have to be this place:

Full disclosure: It's not a new one, I had been looking for it a bit, because Raysh and I had been once.

The cool Kafe Kula isn't there anymore, but they do have a MAC cosmetics, and it's fun to look through their window at all the colors. I had a sandwich near SchoenhaeuserAllee and then went off to the consul...

Where I waited some more...2 hours more to be exact, but the very competant and alarmingly sweet consul himself (imagine the GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ with a crew cut) delivered my new emergency passport from the United States of America himself. I'm a person at last.

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