Delivered to a New Place
My cab dropped me at a building not far from Alexanderplatz. It’s about fifty degrees, cloudy skies, wet, early in the mourning, and the city has just woke up. It was completely foreign to me, I had never been to Germany before, much less Berlin. The buildings surrounding me are squared off and grey and seem to be left over from Cold War era Berlin. What was once built to house thousands of Soviet soldiers, is now apartment buildings or bombed out vacants dressed in fading graffiti and flyers for events. It’s also a perfect space for architects to secure interesting building projects. I didn’t expect this…and I didn’t have internet or a overseas plan on my phone, all I had was an address the buildings weren’t numbered very well.
I walk into a Kaiser’s grocery store in the hopes of free wifi and I soon find out that free wifi is something of a luxury in these parts. I begin to panic sweat. The bag on my back is heavy, the duffle bag I’m carry is becoming a nuisance, a woman working at the grocery (which ends up being a stones throw from where my place is) told me to head to the main station, there might be some internet there.
Alexanderplatz the Beacon the Light
So I lugged my tired ass, sweating and cold and lost after a nine hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Alexanderplatz station. Dodging overground metro rails and mid-sized Mercedes-Benz zipping by. Tons of bicyclist’s weaving in and out of traffic, and the sweat of my brow is stinging my eye.
Then nirvana…I reach the station. It’s a massive concrete block surrounded by open concrete space and Germans are flowing in and out of it like an assembly line. I join into the herd and find a McDonalds…America.
Seeing a McDonalds when you are lost in a foreign country is like finding the American Embassy. Everyone speaks the same language…Quarter Pounder, Fries, Chicken Nuggets. And internet…they had free wifi. I got in contact with Shon my AirBnB host and would soon become travel bud and close friend. He met me at McDonalds (he’s from LA) and we headed to basically all the back over to exactly where the cab dropped me (Alexanderplatz would become the landmark to find my way home on late nights). I made it.