Thursday, January 7, 2010

Berlin, Berlin the Divided City

Berlin in itself is an iconic place. It embodies a spirit of a special kind of people. The natives of Berlin make it such a unique city. Only in Berlin would you find such nicknames for places like the bombed out Wilhem Memorial Church as 'rotten tooth.' Or the tv tower as "the pope's revenge' because of the cross that is illuminated by the sun at certain times of the day, and the House of Cultures of the World dubbed "the pregnant oyster.' And of course the installation art, 'Berlin Berlin the Divided City.' 
It takes a certain kind of people to withstand 374 air raids, 50 000 tonnes of bombs, and over 25 000 of it inhabitants killed during World War II. 

There are remnants of the division that was imposed on Berlin everywhere you look. From the trams only running in East Berlin and the Ampelmann telling people when it is safe to cross the street to one of the biggest symbols of the Cold War, the infamous Berlin Wall. Now it is more or less unified even though there are 5 distinct districts within the city state. As Kevin Kennedy described to us the residents of Berlin sometimes only associate themselves with the district that they live in, some haven't even been to the other districts. We also learned never to call someone from the district Charlottenburg a 'Charlottenburger' as in Berlin slang it means 'blowing your nose without a tissue.'

They may have taken a few punches but Berliners know how to roll with them.

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