We’re not in Honolulu anymore! . . . Those words came to mind in recalling Dorothy’s observation as she landed in Oz, transported by hurricane from Kansas.
(Above: A street scene, about two blocks from our hotel.)
Differences emerged as Margie and I disembarked at the Berlin airport, after two LONG night flights from Honolulu. First, the bags arrived by conveyor belt unusually quickly. And no long hike from the arrival gate! — the bags were right there.
The taxi cabs were all lined up in orderly fashion — and zero wait time. Our cab driver was from Turkey — that’s pretty exotic. And checking into our hotel, the Concorde Berlin, was unusually quick and easy.
Going out for a run the next morning, I noted that the well-kept sidewalks had two “lanes” — one made of bricks, the other concrete. I chose the brick lane but then noted that a bicyclist had to swing out to get around me. After a couple of more bicyclists approached, I realized — oh, I’m supposed to be in the concrete lane! Then, on this morning’s run — it’s Monday now, a work day — there were packs of bicyclists in the brick lane, confirming my observation.
I also noticed intriguing sidewalk advertising devices — multi-sided, turning frequently to expose more pitches to the pedestrians (and bicyclists). Very efficient!
I also saw LOTS of smokers — far more than one sees in Honolulu. Is smoking more “in” here, more fashionable, or is that the dangers of smoking have not taken the same root as in America.?
Anyway, it’s fun to be “different ” in this big, important country — although my ignorance of the language makes me embarrassed at Americans’ lack of internationalization. Almost everyone here speaks English, and rather well, some with total fluency.
In the days just ahead, a horde of runners from other countries will begin to arrive, running gear in their bags, prepared for the excitement of the big day. Almost 40,000 are registered, attracted in part by this being the Berlin Marathon’s 40th anniversary.
Almost by definition, any of the few runners here from Hawaii will have traveled the longest distance to Berlin — half way around the globe!
It’s fun to be nutty.