Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our Last Day...Middle Eastern Food and Hamlet!

Ok, I know it is a few days after the end of our trip, but I just wanted to add in a bit about our final day on this trip and some final impressions.

Wednesday was a pretty relaxed day since our only program was dinner and theater that evening. Boy was it an awesome restaurant. I feel like the Egyptian/Moroccan specialities were exactly the kind of nourishment I had been craving for a while...beans, lentils, falafel, more beans, hummus, and this DEELISH bread. Ahhh I can still taste the garlic. So glad Janet treated us there, I ate till I was super stuffed. Hey, I did my part in trying to clear up those four family sized platters!

Now for the play...whooo do I have a lot to say about this one. Let me just say that I was super sceptical at first when I saw the pictures of actors with clown make up and what not. And even more so when we got to the little chamber theater of the Deutsches Theater and saw wooden crates covering the stage! Now I was really in the mood for some traditional, straight up German rendition of this beloved tragedy (which luckily I had spent enough time studying in my 12th grade English class so I knew what the dialogue roughly was). Plus, I had heard how the Romeo and Juliet play had been awful so I was a little worried.

But it turns out that I was to be pleasantly surprised. More than that.

So yes the play was bizarre and completely took apart the original to create this wacky interpretation where all the characters except for the late King Hamlet's spirit had clown faces. And some of the characters such as Hamlet, Horatio, and Ophelia still looked quite attractive. So I'm sure many of you are familiar with Hamlet's loser friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, right? How they are pretty much useless. Well, this director decided to give the fools a new purpose...yes a making them the English narrators of the plot, crazy and sadistic (since death makes them excited) and wanting to eat a member of the audience (yeaaahhhh...). Boy were they ugly. But cute! And get this...Hamlet had a bunch of black balloons floating over his head constantly and Polonious wore no pants. he only boxers with the flag of England on. So one thing is for sure, you have to applaud the director for his clever ways of turning the characters into caricatures of themselves. And those actors managed to prance over the edges of the wooden boxes. An interesting stage.

Hamlet was hilarious and satirical and even used humor to a point that it enhanced the grief of the play rather than overshadow it. I enjoyed it. Then again, crazy bizarre random things are totally my taste. Just not violence and jarring moments like in "Die Stunde...". And this is also probably the first play I have seen that didn't have smoking in it.

Other than that, I felt a bit sad to see my classmates leave = (. I am staying here in Germany a little longer to visit some old friends. I hope everyone had an awesome time learning as much as I did!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Firstly, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, lovely tour guides, ISAC, the Ginsberg Center, the Brown Fund, the Residential College, and all others who helped to make this trip a success! I hope you have enjoyed following our trip through this blog.

I'd also like to thank our courageous leader, Janet Shier, for organizing an unforgettable trip--Thank you!

And finally, I would like to thank each and one of my classmates, for either sharing in such an experience with me, or creating a friendship with me through this experience.

Andrew Nicholson--Thank you for partaking in our class, and for assisting Janet in organizing us ruffians. There was never a dull or uninspiring moment when you were around, and I find your creativity to be a good way.

Jeff Zuschlag--Hey, Jeff! Hink-Pink! Yuckyuckyuck--just kidding :) I'm so glad you got to come on this trip. It was cool watching you experience your list of 'firsts' while you were here. For serious though, thank you for introducing Hink-pink to us. How many hours of entertainment did we get out of it? Hours. As you are aware.

John Burnett--Thank you for sharing daring adventures with me, and for making each moment delightful. All I can say is China/Korea/wherever better watch out!

Maggie Reil--Oh Maggie, you may not have realized it, but I felt particularly close to you on this trip since you too are staying. Thank you for always being so positive, and I look forward to seeing you in a few months :)

Michelle Lakey--I am so glad you got to experience this trip. I mean, listening to you talk about how you would like to study abroad now, and whatnot. I hope you realize you can do anything :)

Rashmi Satapathy--I can't tell you how excellent it was to watch you open up to us! I saw a side of Rashmi I didn't know existed. I feel honored that you feel comfortable enough with us to partake in our shenanigans.

Roxy Shooshani--My chocolate-partner-in-crime :) Enough said? No, there's tons more. Thank you for being my bed neighbor, and for helping to carry groceries for what seemed like miles.

Sarah Zawacki--First of all, check the Rashmi post. Secondly, thank you for being sweet, and sharing train conversation with me!

Sophia Blumenthal--Hello friend. Cuz that's what you are, my friend :) Fostering a friendship with you has been one of the most rewarding parts of this trip for me. I hope your flight, unlike the one to Moscow, was now delayed.

Veronica Long--Thank you for sharing your theater experience, & always being willing to discuss a theater piece we had viewed. Also, I will forever remember our '4 uncles' conversation!

And to all: Thank you so much for the going away card & gift! Truly special. I will treasure it always, for it was kindness I was not expecting, therefore making it all the more special.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AH HA!! We found a Michigan fan!

It happened. What I've been looking for this entire trip. A Michigan fan in Germany! And he passed right by my table at breakfast this morning. I shouted, "GO BLUE!" in the middle of the Hostel Cafe. And what was he wearing? A Manny Harris jersey of course!!
Chatted it up. Yeah, Michigan is Great.

Photo update 2!

Photo update

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Can't get no satisfaction...

Imagine a city, a capital city even, with over 2,500 restaurants in a 7 square mile area. Now imagine ALL of these establishments devoid of food and nourishment. Such was the case for three lonely Michigan students as they stumbled through the cold damp streets of a windswept Berlin Germany.
Our tribulations began on a cool spring afternoon in the Three Little Pigs Hostel. A cosy little place with but one issue... an Absolut (ha ha) deficit of dinner. Emma Kriss, Jeff Zuschlag, and myself decide to brave the mean city streets and satiate our craving. We were hungry, famished even, yet the 5 euros in our respective pockets left very few options to our starving party.
We wandered the inhospitable plains of Potsdamer Platz, but to no avail. The opulent restaurants seemed only to sell cocktails fit for kings and steaks of ambrosia. Though the morsels beckoned to us, the 5 euro notes warned us to ignore their siren call. We fled the wasted plains of Potsdamer for Alexander Platz, hoping to kill a boar...or something. No dice. Apparantly the Berliners arent big fans of wandering hunters in the streets (good to know). Eventually Emma shared a mighty legend, one that might change our fates of inevitable starvation. She had heard as a child of 3 euro pizzas served in the shadow of a church near Shoeneberg. However, to reach such holy ground one must brave wastelands, underground serpents, and other hellish deities.
The road to Alexander platz indeed proved a long and desperate quest. The roads twisted in upon themselves and trolls... I mean germans (cough cough) roamed the streets in packs, waiting to gnaw upon our weary bones. Yet we persevered, humming tunes mocking the communist leaders in an effort to convince ourselves that we were still brave. After several hours, we desperate pilgrims happened upon a mighty tower signaling the gates of Alexander Platz. We cheered in joy, Emma had not led us astray (no doubts at all... right Jeff?). However, one challenge lay between us and sweet relief. The dread worms of Berlin.
As is tradition, every Berliner youth must one day ride these ancient worms as right of passage. We hoped to emulate their example by luring the beasts close with small cards scrawled with an illegible script. With a triumphant roar we hoisted our starved bodies onto the bulk of the grotesque worms (the locals kept staring at us though... I'm not quite sure why). After repeating the procedure 3 times, we finally reached the gates to our promised land. We had finally reached Shoeneberg (I did find it ironic that our destination was named Beautiful Town).
We forded the gold paved streets of our dreams as we pressed onward towards our goal. We slowly began to lose hope as our eyes swept the empty walled houses in vain. Until... yes... DON ANTONIO'S!! 2.50 Euros for EVERY pizza. Our 5 euro bills concurred: sweet nourishment was ours! We would be satiated!
We ate and drank till we could eat and drink no more. Grand toasts were made as the proprietor welcomed us as heroes and champions. We had found our niche in the world and Berlin in the form of a tiny Pizzeria near that one cafe that Carroll recommended.

This place rocked! 5/5! Get some now!
-John Burnett

our group

This is one of our last days! The group has been great. Here are some photos of us from Dresden and from our our dinner at Morus 14.