We’re on an EasyJet flight from Glasgow to Berlin. So are a number of exceptionally inebriated Scottish stag party loads. The seats all around us are filled with the distinctly boisterous stag crew for an Aberdonian called Flumpy. His shiny red face beams out from all of 15 matching t-shirts his friends wear. A couple of rows ahead, there’s another stag party bellowing and carousing. We finally deduce that they have dressed as “Germans” for their bachelor shenanigans in Berlin. At first we thought that we’d unintentionally ended up on a flight full of Toronto hipsters, but no, “nerd German” seems to be this posse’s theme. Two of them wear headbands. A couple more have sleeveless knitted sweaters and braces. All have ironic headgear.
It is 9 a.m. and the drunken Scots happily harass the cabin staff the entire way across the North Sea. It takes the beleaguered Tanya and Carlos more than half of the two hour flight just to serve the stags their drinks and snacks. We eventually get coffees — and apologies from “Wee Carlos”, ducking as my countrymen wage an empty beer can battle over our heads.
It is now later and we are in Berlin! We now live in the East Berlin neighbourhood of Friedrichshain. There are Germans everywhere! Speaking German! Even the children speak German! Amazing. The streets are cobbled and mostly paved in dog poo. Luckily it is bright and sunny, so one can see such “presents” and nimbly step around them. We live on an unpronounceable street off a major street called Frankfurter Allee. Adrian says this with a proper German accent, unlike my appallingly Scottish pronunciation. Listening to Adrian speak German is my favourite thing about being here so far. “Frenkfootah Elllehh”. We live opposite a music emporium called Puke Music and next door to a market that sells wine for less than $2. When Adrian and I ordered a “flaschen” of wine for Eur 7/$9.50 with dinner, expecting this to be a conservative carafe, we were presented with an entire bottle! Obviously this made us squeal with glee and love Germany — at least temporarily — with all our hearts.
I have added to my German vocabulary substantially in the few brief hours that we’ve been here. As well as “flaschen”, I can now say “rot wein” and “getrankeshop”, “red wine” and “drink shop”.
Much later. Just returned from my new local smoke-filled bar where one has to climb through a hole in a brick wall, slither down a ramp and clamber up stairs in the dark to get in, in order to witness acts such as tonight’s heavily-bearded German in a flowery house dress singing a pleasant ditty called, “I’m gonna break your knees”.