So, day two in Berlin we set out on a walk with no particular destination in mind. We figured that we would simply explore the new city, starting with East Berlin.
East Germany is full of Soviet Era art and architecture. Kath and I also refused to smile in many of these photos in order to properly display East German emotions. Having grown up during the Cold War, there's something so fascinating about Eastern Europe and its Soviet influences.The GDR was basically a Soviet puppet state and after WWII East Berlin was rebuilt by the Soviets. So it definitely has that feel; lots of gray, boxy buildings.
Actually, that was one of the great things we discovered about Berlin. Everything is way cheaper than NYC, even taking into account the Euro conversion. Meals, beer, gummi bears, it was all so much cheaper than we're used to.
For the first day or so, I felt fairy self-conscious. While I wasn't sure if I were imagining it or not, I felt like I was getting more looks than I get in America. You know. That Look. That look that transgender women hate. That one that seems to say "Ewww, what are you?" It kind of bummed me out a little. Maybe they were glaring at me because I was American. I mean, I'd glare at Americans too. We're kind of awful and look what we've done with our own country. But, of course my mind went to anxiety over my presentation and passing.
It didn't help that I had left the lace a little too long on my wig. That kind of made it unfortunately obvious that I was wearing a wig and maybe that's why I got some stares. At home I would have just cut it with some scissors, but being on vacation I didn't have access to any. I thought about asking at the hotel desk, but that would seem too weird. So I made a mental note to find scissors at an aptheke if we found one.
But, as I needed a better jacket, and because, hey who doesn't like shopping, we did spend some time at the Galeria Kaufhof. The fun thing about shopping in Berlin is that pretty much everything is my style. It's all solids, a lot of black, and slightly gothy and/or punky. It's wonderful. Plus there are tons of tall women around. Did I say wonderful? It's more like paradise. We also, yes, hit the mall.
I found a cool motorcycle jacket, which something like 80% of the women I saw in Berlin seemed to be wearing. Plus, I found a nice beret that would help cover up my ugly wig lace screw-up. My anxiety and the looks did abate once I had my German outfit on; fashionable motorcycle jacket, all black clothes, skinny pants, boots, a hat, and sunglasses. Then I really felt like I was blending in a bit more. I even had people come up to me and start speaking German like I were a local. So maybe I was passing as a German and as a woman. Now that's a good feeling.
Back when Berlin was divided, the gate was something of a no-go area, but now you can actually walk under it toward the Unter der Linden and the Tier Garten. Naturally, we got quite a few pictures of the Brandenburger Tor.
Late that night we had plans to meet up with an old friend of mine from high school who now lives in Berlin. Of course I wore my best German frau outfit. I hoped I passed as a cis woman and also as German woman. These are my goals in life.
Next we went out to another bar to see a Rockabilly band play. They were pretty good and we had a great time. After they finished their set, we even got up on stage and danced. Until some creepy guys joined us. That made us duck out quickly. We set out to try this Alice in Wonderland themed bar near our hotel, but for some reason they wouldn't let us in. Maybe it was a private party, or maybe we didn't say the code word. Or maybe we're not quite as cool as I thought. We tried looking for another bar, but it was 2am at that point, so time to bid my friend gute nacht and headed to bed. There was so much more Berlin to see!