Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Strikes, Snow and Chaos... Oh My!

Today was the first day of a public transport strike in Berlin... and of course it had to snow during the morning rush hour. I bet that Ver.di were throwing a huge party watching Berliners by the thousands just trying to get to work in the not-so-nice conditions. Check out some more pictures.

We are experiencing a set of public-sector strikes which is effecting not only public transportation, but airlines, garbage collection (street cleaning), hospitals, and other sectors. All in all over 100,000 people are on strike which of course causes problems all over the city.

My boss and I discussed one major image problem for Berlin, the ITB. It is the world's biggest tourism fair, and it just started today. Kinda hard to get that many people around the city without public transport... so of course it doesn't look good for the Hauptstadt. In my business this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

On top of that, right now Hanover is hosting the mammoth CeBIT, the largest electronics trade show in Europe. Yesterday was the opening day and evidently was rather chaotic because the public transport went on strike causing delays. Of course the airports are basically at a standstill and it is possible that public transport in Hanover could strike again.

Fortunately we know about these things in advance, so there is time to plan. This morning I took the bike to the gym and eventually the office, only getting caught in white-out conditions once. Although it was cold as a witch's tit in a brass bra I must admit that riding the bike to work is really a nice experience and I should do it more often.

The sights, sounds and smells of the city are so exciting to me, yet they easily get lost while riding in the car or taking the bus. Berlin has it's own smell which is hard to enjoy unless you are out in it. After a light rain everything seems so clean and fresh, it is hard to imagine that there are three million people living around me. Pretty strange to hear from a "country girl", eh?

The subways have their own aroma... In the beginning I thought it wasn't very nice, but I've grown accustomed to it and now even I enjoy it, finding myself looking forward to that WHOOSH of air coming out of the entrance as I walk down into the tunnel and a train comes or goes. I've learned that I dislike it completely when they clean the stations and use some kind of perfume which simply covers the normal smell and thankfully only lasts a few days.

Oh well, Frank (the cat) is letting me know that it is time to go to bed. He walks into the bedroom where N. is peacefully sleeping and commences howling. Not normal howling, no. This is the kind of noise that has the neighbors envisioning us hanging him by his tail or something. So of course I go to the rescue, flying into the room, disturbing N. even more and quickly escorting him out. This has happened twice already, and he just left this room again... headed for the bedroom... Yup, there he goes! I'm outta here!

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