Although I can follow along and contribute significantly less, political discussions are much more enjoyable when had over wine and dinner in the backyard of a Parisian home and spoken entirely in French.
Running on three hours of sleep in my first eight hours in Paris I’ve already visited Notre Dame, eaten a flaky pistaschio and chocolate pastry, bought baguettes, perused a vintage store and glanced through the modern exhibits at La Centre Pompidou. I’m wiped but excited to keep up the pace.
Last night was another surreal experience courtesy of Berlin after dark. We went to Dr. Pong’s, our new favorite underground ping pong club, and our new favorite German bartender was working. He suggested we go to Alte Kantine, a club down the street to dance. We stopped someone on a bike to ask for directions and, like a movie, he pointed in front of us to a group of people streaming out from an old warehouse. We whispered the password (given to us previously by said favorite bartender), slid in and danced for the next few hours before walking home in the glow of dawn at 5 a.m. It’s good to be young in Europe.
And so, after a few nights of research, I bring you my guide to European clubbing:
1. Tone down the dancing. As someone from the dirty South, we get pretty excited about dancing, but as far as I’ve seen, subdued bouncing is more the style here. Watch and learn.
2. Whenever an American song comes on, scream the lyrics as loudly as you can. Represent your country. Everyone’s doing it- it’s like the olympics for young drunks. Plus French guys are really impressed when you know all the lyrics to the Fresh Prince theme song.
3. Eye contact. Lots of it. This is really important in quasi-establishing intentions and how you feel about someone who potentially doesn’t speak your language. Don’t let a few words (or a complete lack thereof) spoil a perfectly good dance partner.
4. Just work it. If there’s anything more European than bread, cheese and wine, it’s a healthy dose of confidence and a give-no-cares attitude.
I’m really proud because I just finished my final photo project for my photojournalism class in Berlin early so that I have all tonight and tomorrow to enjoy the city and shoot whatever I want. Then Thursday morning it’s on to Paris.
Went with Alex to go buy our train tickets from Juan Le Pins to Florence and ended up joining a huge Berliner punk parade that walked by, complete with people on floats playing live punk music and more mohawks than I’ve ever seen in one place. It’s like SLC Punk: Berlin edition out here.
Last night began with my group at an unmarked, underground, one table ping-pong bar where, while serving (at this place everyone runs around the table hitting the ball to determine who will play one another) I spotted three people from my high school across the table from me. Here. In Berlin.
After laughing and playing and meeting people for a few hours, one German guy I met offered to take us with him and his friend to a dance club. Together they herded us and some really fun tag-alongs (I don’t know where they came from) including a French guy and some Canadians like geese through the streets of Berlin. On our way we played “If I were you,” which equates to a game of repeated dares where you turn to someone and say “If I were you I would do ____.” It was pretty hysterical.
At the club we danced to techno polka music (it’s simultaneously as absurd and more fun than it sounds) with more conversation and laughter before walking the way back at 3 a.m.
New friends and incredible, at times ludicrous, fun in Berlin.