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Archive for June 20th, 2008

Entschuldigung, but why do you photograph your beer?

One of the local heroes has discovered a newcomer who is not even following The Netherlands trashing Romania up on the screen.

The stranger has a distinct feeling the long day is catching up with him, and he stumbles over the German words. He tries another language.

Ich verstehe keine English.

Well, then. I think I manage to get across that I write about beer from different countries on the Internet, illustrated with lavish photos. The conversation grinds to a halt. The local might be a bit drunk and worse for wear, but this foreigner must be totally verrückt.

The small pub is a few blocks from my hotel in Steglitz, Southwestern Berlin. The beer range is limited, and after sampling a Berliner Kindl, served following the 7-minute-rule, and a Pilsator, also on tap, I round off my participant obervation by asking the waitress which brewery the Pilsator comes from. She doesn’t know and neither do any of the guests. I get the point that beers are to be drunk, not photographed or discussed. Time for me to pay my bill and stroll a bit further.

My last stop for the night is, of all things, a New Zealand pub with the owner behind the bar. He claims that this area of town has gone seriously downhill, and that I should be careful on the streets here. The Kneipe I’ve just visited is a place that is particularly to be avoided. I try a small glass of a Czech Dunkel from the Breznak brewery, which is on the sweet side, but otherwise very decent. The bar owner tells me he also imports a range of beers from New Zealand, and that the place is filled up whenever there are sporting events where the Kiwis take part. I try one of his beers, Monteiths Original Ale. Rather malty, but on the whole thin and watery. I decide that I am not in the condition to appreciate any more beers and bid my farewell.

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Berlin Tegel airportYou haven’t picked up your luggage? No, you cannot go back in there, this is a customs line. You will have to go to the lost and found office and pick it up, straight ahead through terminal B and down the stairs.

Willkommen in Berlin.

Tegel airport was fairly run down when I was here a decade ago, and I am not sad to hear that they are closing it down, building a brand new airport. I did not see any signs for baggage pickup, so, with another similarly bewildered passenger, we follow the instructions from the stern female border police and find a large room underneath the terminal where a helpful employee tells us that all bags which are not picked up from the baggage belt will be delivered there, and it will take about an hour. Someone in charge has been a bit sloppy, as we don’t even have to fill in forms in triplicate, we just have to give him the flight number.

I go back into the terminal, where the facilities are rather limited, but, luckily, there is a bar still open that offer draught Schöfferhofe Hefeweisse, which makes the waiting time all right. And the bag is actually there after 40 minutes, which is decent.

One thing is for sure, I’ll take a taxi to the hotel after this instead of spending prescious time on public transport.

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