Tag Archives: city

Berlin – a guest post from my friend John

What John, my friend from Pennsylvania, USA, has to say about the beautiful city of Berlin, and why he has chosen it as his home:

“Berlin. You just say the word and the preconceptions swirl in. David Bowie, the club scene, the Führerbunker, the Wall. For Berlin, history has been hidden beneath the surface, but it is lurking only just beneath if you care to look for it. Berlin is as much still an idea as it is a city. Each neighbourhood (or “kiez” in German) has its own feel to it and its own “kiezkultur”. Whether it is child-friendly Friedenau or artist centric Kreuzberg, Berlin sometimes feels more like a Pandemonium than a capital city.

Berlin is a kaleidoscope not just its apartments and in districts, but in foods and languages. German still dominates many businesses here in Berlin, especially outside of the start-up scene. But English dominates the streets in many districts. French, Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Russian all have their communities and sometimes entire districts. Hipsters have infiltrated most parts of the city, nowhere is truly safe from them. The food likewise comes from all over the world with specialities in Mexican, Indian, Indonesian and Turkish foods on top of the Döner and Currywurst that Berlin is perhaps best known for.

The stereotype of Berlin also relies on its jobless, artistic cool. The division of Berlin kept companies and many people out, keeping rents low and government aid high. While this has largely persisted during the long and expensive process of reunifying the city (and the country), Berlin’s cheap rents have encouraged many young entrepreneurs from across Germany and Europe to make Berlin their home. The rush of new faces into Berlin has raised rents, but the artists are not leaving without a fight. Berlin has never been without its strong counterculture to the Prussians living around it – not in the 30s before Hitler and certainly not today. The art seen will remain and will evolve. And in the meantime, the artists will have to share the city with the yuppie businessmen and government ministers. Berlin is in its own way all things to all people.

Berlin’s incredible variety, its opportunities and its cost of living drew me, and many others, to the city. Moving to Berlin is a chance to live in many cities all at once; each neighborhood and community can seem a world apart.”

John and me
John and me
Molecule Man, Spree River
Molecule Man, Spree River
Berliner Fernsehturm
Berliner Fernsehturm
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‘Sawatdi’ Bangkok! :)

After very calm and relaxing last days in Sri Lanka, arriving in Bangkok seemed like arriving in another world. Lots of busy people, noisy traffic, high humidity, … yeah, a big city.
Bangkok is home to around 8 million people and a very international city. Our hotel was very well located (close to the ‘Great Swing’ or ‘Sao Ching Cha’), so getting around was easy and for the most part we could walk. Everyone said to not take a tuk-tuk as they would bring you everywhere but not to where you actually want to go. So, we never took a tuk-tuk but a cab or the express boat instead. (If you have experiences with tuk-tuks in Bangkok, I’ll be happy about comments below.)

There are many places, museums and temples, you can visit in Bangkok, but what I loved most about the city is its liveliness and the vivid atmosphere! It seems like there are food stalls in even the smallest streets with amazing (and sometimes highly interesting) food and fresh juices.

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We didn’t actually plan to be in Bangkok for Chinese New Year, but it was a great coincidence. Chinatown was packed with stalls full of food, red New Year’s decorations and dresses. Walking around we saw many interesting shows and colorful tiger dances.

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If you want to get the ‘ultimate tourist experience’, Khao San Road is the place to go. This street is full of people from all around the world, mainly backpackers, and you can find everything from tailors (who offer you to send your tailor-made suit back home while you can continue your travels), to crazy street food, to grannies selling you the weirdest music instruments (or anything else you could(n’t) need), and much more… Of course, the Khao San Road is not authentic Bangkok but it is definitely worth experiencing – especially at night time, when it turns to an international party street. And after a long dancing night you can get a foot massage. 🙂

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By the way, did you know that with its full name
“Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit ”
Bangkok has the longest city name of the world?! 🙂

This roughly translates to:
“City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s behest.”
(Source: wikipedia.org)

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Sri Lanka’da çok sakin ve rahat geçen son günlerden sonra, Bangkok’a inmek bize sanki bir başka dünyaya gelmişiz gibi geldi. Meşgul insanlar, gürültülü trafik, yüksek nem, … evet, gerçekden büyük bir şehir.
Bangkok’da yaklaşık 8 milyon kişi yaşıyor ve çok international bir şehir (en azından ben öyle hissettim). Otelimizin yeri çok güzeldi (‘Sao Ching Cha’a yakın), ve nerdeyse her yere yürüyerek ulaşabildik.
Bangkok’da gezecek çok yerler, müzeler, tapınaklar var, ama en çok beğendim şey bu şehrin canlılığı ve atmosferi oldu. Hangi yola dönersen dön önüne pazar çıkan bir şehir Bangkok. Her tarafta yemekler, taze meyve suları, vesaire vesaire… Tezgahdan tezgahla gezerken insan asıl gideceği yeri unutuyor gerçektende… 🙂

Çin Yeni Yılı için Bangkok’da olmak planımızda yoktu aslında, ama bu güzel bir tesadüf oldu bize. Bangkok’un Çinler Mahallesi, kocaman bir pazar yerine dönüşmüştü ve her tarafta taze pişen yemeklerin kokusu vardı. Gezerken, birçok ilginç gösteri ve renkli kaplan danslarına tanık olduk.

Eğer Tayland’in en turistik yerini görmek isterseniz, Khao San Caddesi derim. Bu cadde dünyanin her tarafından gelen insanlarla dolu, ve gerçekten ne ararsanız var. Üstünüze göre giysi diken terziden, acayip yiyecekler ve tuhaf müzik aletleri satan nineye kadar, her şey var bu caddede. Khao San Caddesi tabiki otantik Bangkok değil ama kesinlikle bir kere gidip görmeye değer. Özellikle akşamları her tarafta müzik çalan ve çok canli bir yere dönüşür Khao San ve uzun bir günden/geçeden sonra bir ayak masajı yaptirmanizi tavsiye ederim. 🙂

Bu arada, Bangkok’un gerçek ismi aslında
“Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit”
ve böylelikle dünyanın en uzun şehir ismi! 🙂

(Anlamı: Melekler şehri, kutsal mücevherlerin kaynağı, fethedilemez yüce topraklar, büyük ve önemli alem, dokuz değerli cevherle dolu kraliyet başkenti, büyük saray’ın şehri ve kralların evi, ilahi sığınak ve yeniden beden bulan ruhların mekanı)