Unfortunately Sindhuja could not join me on my many trips out this month but we did go to see the film Truth or Dare which you need to be able to cope with jump scare to sit through the whole film and I cannot! Sindhuja was mostly preparing for and attending the Global Solutions Conference https://registration.global-solutions.international/ as she was one of the few young people from around the world chosen to attend - she met Angela Merkel, Arundathi Bhattacharya (SBI first Chairwoman) and Nobel Laureate George Akelorf to name just a few.
I contributed to the Carnival of Cultures this month by assisting with safe passage and viewing points for those visiting in wheelchairs. The event aims to celebrate cultural diversity in Berlin and I personally believe that it does a fantastic job. With stunning costumes, dance, music and traditional rituals - the carnival is a great opportunity for members of Berlin's ethnic groups to make their cultures visible to everybody and to celebrate their cultural diversity.
I went to the alternative May Day Celebrations in Kreuzberg which got so busy that local U Bhans had to be closed down for safety. This holiday is a big deal in Berlin as a celebration of springtime, the city shuts down and everyone comes out to join the celebrations. Unfortunately the police have to show up as there are usually protests and demonstrations (but this year was the most peaceful for three decades which was lovely). People just set up on the pavements outside their flats with barbecues and homemade snacks to eat and sell. There are also lots of street side vendors, families picnicking and buskers everywhere, it takes on a life of its own and I really felt the energy on the streets alongside the music, dance and entertainment. Not as sedate as our Maypole dancing, stalls, Morris dancers and people spilling out onto the village greens but nice all the same.
I did visit the IMAX Cinema with Beatrice, but more of that in a moment. She is here from Latvia as she finished her Architectural Degree and needed to find work. How cool it us that she is willing to move around the world to find employment, how motivated is she? Well it has paid off as I was able to visit the restaurant at Checkpoint Charlie which she has been commissioned to refurbish inside and outside, very impressive. Anyway back to films, Beatrice and I joined 10 of my Geek Club mates and we went to see the latest Avengers called Infinity War which I found amazing as the cinematography was breathtaking and it was nice to see most of the characters together. I also went to see the Solo movie and took my new friend Imad who had not ever seen a Star Wars film. His thoughts were that it was interesting but he is fine letting that be his only Star Wars experience! Cameron was over from England and knew no one in Berlin and wanted to do non touristy things so he contacted my Board Game Club and I and some friends took him to a Games Day right by the East Side Gallery. He said he not only had a great time but now has people to hang out with in Berlin when he passes by again later in the year. I also attended my first Natsu-Matsuri (Japanese early Summer Festival) with a small group of 5 of my friends and we got to play traditional games and learn some Japanese dances. This had us all laughing very loudly at each other’s attempts to conquer the steps in the right sequence. We also got to eat yummy food and generally have a great time hanging out and being informed of the history of this type of Festival in Japan.
TOP TIPS FOR BERLIN
1/ Get paid to recycle plastic bottles – buy water for 11 to 19 cents, take your empty bottle back to the supermarket and get paid 25 cents – great in this heatwave!
2/ Free Gallery and Chef style food at subsidised prices at the Nordic Embassy and Café M-F after 1pm round the corner from Zoo http://www.nordischebotschaften.org/nordic-embassies-berlin
3/ Always interesting mostly free art, exhibitions, concerts and bands at one of the Universities in Berlin https://www.udk-berlin.de/kalender/
4/ Take the 100 Bus if you have a day travel pass then it is a free way to see all the Central Sites (3.30 for a single ticket)