Conference Day Two

Trip Start Jun 12, 2014
Trip End Jul 23, 2014

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Monday, June 16, 2014

Well, despite the late night yesterday I'm still up quite early. My subway station - the appropriately named Punkstreet... Well, perhaps not.

Language juggling. That turned out to be pretty impressive.

This bloke gave his lecture in a wide variety of languages - a sentence or two in one language before switching to another. Involuntarily switching between languages within a sentence is frowned upon but to speak perfectly. In various languages, from one sentence to the next is pretty impressive. French, Spanish, English, German, Dutch, Italian... He also spoke Arabic but he didn't bother with that.

I can't even remember what he was demonstrating here but he got these two up on stage, one of them was an American who spoke fluent Finnish and the other was Ukrainian but she also speaks Saami. Apparently there's enough of a similarity to have some communication.

Yeah, the bloke on stage knew some Finnish but probably not much.

The aligatorejo was on in the afternoon. It's a room where you may not speak your native tongue nor the language of the conference.

There were a couple of Finnish speakers there - both non native speakers but Finnish was their main foreign language so they were bloody good. One took me under her wing and coaxed me through a bit of a conversation. I could see that with the appropriate guidance I could manage pretty quickly.

No evening activities for me at the conference centre as Germany was playing soccer at six and I had an invitation to go and watch at a bar from one of my language exchange partners from last year.

She also invited another Russian speaker along - a Ukrainian. I don't think either of them were that interested in the soccer (who would be it is soccer after all). As usual with these sorts of events it's more the occasion.

We were out at a pub that while not exactly touristy was not exactly homely. But certainly plenty of German fans around.

The atmosphere was pretty good as it probably always is over here when Germany plays.

I sometimes wonder whether there was a similar feeling of victory when news of Germany defeating France or Russia meant quite a bit more than advancing to the next round of a football tournament. In fact I'm sometimes surprised that the EU doesn't step in and forbid Germany from so much flag waving. After all for a long time there was a lot of that crap talk about having to keep Germany divided and weak as otherwise it would rise up again.

More evidence. Standing for the national anthem. The words might have been changed but you can still sing Deutschland, Deutschland über alles to it in your head.

Flags everywhere; hanging from apartment balconies and flying on cars.

Blaring air horns as well.

And on the streets roving bands of fans. Decked out in flags... could it be any more nationalistic?

Back to my theme of inventive toilet layouts. This looked pretty impressive. There's probably also a big correlation between unusual/fancy toilet layouts and the price of the beer. Classic was in Shanghai where the urinal looked so fancy that I didn't dare piss in it; I thought I'd be abused for pissing in a vase or something... when David and I compared notes later on it turned out we'd both had the same reaction.

On the way back in the subway there was even a roving troubadour. I was impressed though the locals probably see it all the time.

I again had tea at the Croatian restaurant. Pretty good food. Good, friendly atmosphere.

And a complimentary šlivovic again.
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Phil on

Did you have the pirate burger? I think you'll find that thing is the sink; of course you'd get abused for pissing in it! ;)

Axe on

"The words might have been changed but you can still sing Deutschland, Deutschland über alles to it in your head." ... Nice Bob

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