Monday, July 09, 2007

One Last Day

["Die Straße," Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1913)]

Turns out the internet cafe stays open til 2 am, so I'm able to make one last post.

Bruce has been in a great deal of pain. His back is spasming more intensely than it has in years. In order to reduce the pain and stress he has to do three hours of stretching exercises a day. I went to the pharmacy this morning, but they said that they can't give him any muscle relaxants without a prescription from a German doctor. They gave him magnesium instead.

We got to the Brücke Museum in Dahlem a little after 2 pm. Bruce loves how pedestrian friendly Berlin is, and how comprehensive the public transportation system is. We had no difficulty getting from eastern Berlin all the way down to the far south western corner, as we took first the S-Bahn, then the U-Bahn, and finally a local bus, which dropped us off two blocks away.

The museum's current exhibition is on watercolor works by Brücke artists. We had a delightful time going through the museum. It's one of my favorite museums in Berlin, though it isn't particularly well known. Afterwards, I bought three catalogs and some postcards; they through in a poster (he wouldn't tell me which) just for fun. Bruce joked that I was buying the whole museum, but I told him I was buying for two (years) since I couldn't buy anything last year.

Because he needs at least 8 hours sleep to help relax his back, Bruce told me he didn't think he could make tonight's opera of "Die Fledermaus." He has to be up by 10 am to return the wheelchair and needs to get to bed early tonight.

I headed off to grab a quick dinner before hand at a middle eastern restaurant, but it turned out to be closed, so I had some past across from the Jewish high school. The table wasn't stable and as I sat down, I nearly tipped it over. While I was able to keep the vase from falling and breaking, the candle flew over and somehow splattered wax all down my back right pants leg. I still can't figure out the geometry of that. What that meant was that my last pants are now all covered in white wax. That means that no matter how cold it is tomorrow (and it's drizzling right now), I'm wearing my shorts.

The Jewish High School, by the way, is surrounded by a high metal fence and had a whole security contingent that rivals the U.S. and British Embassies. Unfortunately this is typical of Jewish communal institutions throughout Europe, despite the fact that Nazi Germany was overthrown 60 years ago.

I got to the Komische Oper in plenty of time and sold my extra ticket at half price to an American student. Given how wild the last two performances were, I was expecting all sorts of nontraditional things, but beyond casting a man as Prince Orlovsky (who sang his parts in falsetto), it was all quite conventional. They had an elaborate, revolving set, and at one point provided champagne to those sitting in the front row and along the aisles, but unfortunately, those of us in the middle had to buy our own at the intermission.

Well, I'm back now and almost all packed. I've set my alarm for 6 am, and should be at Tegel Airport by 7:30 am at the latest for my 9:35 flight. Bruce is quite worried: he's got tickets on the 12:15 train, but the locomotive engineers for Deutsches Bahn are striking from 8 to 11 am tomorrow, so his train may well be delayed.

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