Some Esperanto

Trip Start Jul 16, 2013
Trip End Oct 07, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Started the day over at Weißensee. Being a warm day it wasn't long before someone jumped in with their clothes on. The use of their here is especially handy as it was rather difficult to determine whether this was a bloke or a bird.

Obviously this used to be in East Germany. This Stalinist looking sculpture was of Ernst Thälmann, head of the German communist party, placed in solitary confinement for eleven years then finally executed. I've seen this sculpture more than once and without the graffiti there's a very legible relief just under the head saying who this is. I'm not convinced about this graffiti. It's another thing that makes many cities uniform in character. It's always the bloody same.

Plenty of nice pubs in this neighbourhood - workers pubs no doubt.

Blokes would just walk in and they'd end up with some drink in front of them without saying a word. I suspect they'd be really lost without their local.

Besides the usual beer(s) I had a saure Apfel - a sour apple. It's a spirit with a rather pleasant apple flavour.

I thought I might as well eat out here even though I'd already had a few pieces of sushi at a Vietnamese restaurant. My Cantonese mustn't be too bad as the Vietnamese waiter spoke pretty bad Cantonese but I could still understand him. He was actually rather surprised that he seemed to understand me pretty well.

I wasn't that hungry but I hadn't seen that many German restaurants around and the thought of a decent schnitzel rather appealed to me.

Some outside seating as well. Though the major sight were the yellow trams going past every few minutes.

I've only put this photo up because it's another new beer. I've given up counting unfortunately. It might be a bit late now but I'll see if there are any new beer tracking apps since I last looked.

The obligatory picture of the food. It was ok but they must start eating more salad. Even a pickled cucumber would be welcome. Did they really almost take over Europe eating just spuds?

Another inviting looking pub. With the usual derros... and me. It looks empty but the usual permanents were lurking at the bar. They often don't say much... or they say too much.

And this placard? Well it could almost be me. If they named a disease after me perhaps this is what it would be called.

Ordinary street with an ordinary looking tower in the back. The ordinary looking tower is the Berlin TV tower. There's a restaurant at the top but in general I find these buildings quite ugly and I prefer to stay away.

When I finally got back to my flat I discovered that I had a message about an impending Esperanto dinner. I was pretty keen to attend as one of the people that was supposed to be turning up was Richard Simcott, a pretty famous YouTube polyglot who speaks about ten languages but extremely well.

Anyway, the message implied that time was of the essence so I should make a quick decision whether I'd be turning up. I answered in the affirmative but got no reply so I decided I could either sit and wait for a reply that might never come or I could just turn up at the restaurant.

It was at an Ethiopian restaurant so I googled the Amharic for hello and off I went. Yes, I started learning Amharic a while ago but all I really remember is the word for yes.

I found the restaurant and when I asked at the bar whether there was a table booked someone sitting nearby spoke to me in Esperanto.

The bloke was American but that didn't stop us from speaking nothing but Esperanto, (besides a couple of lapses into Russian), for about three hours.

Bloody fascinating. Just when I thought I'd met or heard of all the major Esperantists around I meet this bloke. He seems to own!

And the other Esperantists that were supposed to turn up? Well we kept on checking our messages but nothing. We gave up in the end but at least I had a good chat in Esperanto. Besides finding out about all sorts of intrigues within the Esperanto movement I'm also a lot wiser about bitcoin, something else he supports quite strongly.

We were about to go when we started chatting to the two blokes pictured at the bar. They were taking part in an internet start-up bootcamp in Berlin. An American and an Estonian. The Estonian seemed to know a fair bit of Finnish, Swedish, Russian and Persian. Funnily enough so did my Esperantist.

The last pic here shows the Esperantist on the right, Estonian in the middle.

By the time we got back to the subway station it was after one o'clock and the subway had stopped running. Luckily there's a system of night trains that runs parallel to the subway once it stops running.

Unfortunately for me though, while waiting to change buses I started chatting to a couple of Chilean backpackers who had just got off the plane from Amsterdam and were heading off to find their hostel which was pretty close to me.

I tried to be a good Samaritan and help them find the way so it wasn't until three in the morning that I got back myself.
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Axe on

"so I googled the Amharic for hello and off I went."

As you do...

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