Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy 2K9, Volks!

So in Texas it's a little nutty on New Years Eve; we even have TV ads telling people not to fire off their guns into the air, but Berlin is different, right? This is Europe!

WRONG!

In fact, you can play with fireworks in city streets on Sylvester as they call it here. This is shocking information for me, and-- in the spirit of adjusting and integrating to a strange culture--P and I felt obligated to take part and bought a goodly amount of explosives.





like these, but in German-->



Almost immediately after sunset the air began to fill with gunpowder and smoke and noises rang out that would be very familiar to us Texans (gunfire...or something similar). Our fireworks were quite fun but small, some bottle rockets, some fountains, some lightey-uppey stuff and way too many firecrackers. It felt very southern--regardless of the freezing temperatures--to be with "mah boyfrieeend playin wid fahrwerks in thuh streets."

video
He's quite the little firebug.

The night didn't end there though, since we both had planned to go to the Brandenburger Tor for NYE. We were on the side behind a stage full of bad musical acts (schlagermusik type stuff ), so we were with the edgier tourists and Berliners packing the streets which were STILL FULL OF FIREWORKS. It was by no means safe, but it was pretty seeing people silouetted against colored sparks in a crowd.

Yeah, it's kinda like that

...then the fireworks, the big show, were a bit obstructed from view, but we were still able to run over by Tiergarten to see some of it.
We were worried about transit just after so many people were in one place, so we dashed off pretty early to make it on a train going to The Upside Down World of Madame Claude

Yup, it's like that

founded by a bunch of Frenchmen, this bar is quite hip and still has cheap booze. Since it's in a--errrr--harder part of town, we had to run through some quite rather dangerous looking ameture displays, but we did make it to the bar, which was far from full, so we even got a table. We then proceded to ring in the new year right

...WITH GIN
Even when the place got full (shortly thereafter) the mood was one of friends and company with music not blaring but more enabling. We were there till about 3-3:15, just chatting, fielding calls from friends (and their tanked Norwegian pop singer brothers...you know who y'all are), and sipping the night away.
The train back took FOREVER to arrive at the station, which would lead to problems even in a sober crowd of Germans, but with a bunch of soused Berliners and one Swissman the tardiness made everyone a little...well:


<--us

<--mad
<--crabby
<-- tense


We were home by 4 though, taking warmth in the ever-welcoming Pimms cup and slept through the first morning of 2009.

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