I am now in Paris, struggling with a French keyboard. I never realized how much I typed by touch!!! The 'q' is where I expect the 'a' and despite my best intentions, I'm sure a couple will sneak through uncorrected!

I arrived from Berlin yesterday. My flight was a little late, never a surprise flying into Paris, I understand. What was a surprise is that there were only 11 people on the plane; and three of them were airline employees hitching a ride. I had taken the train from Berlin to Hannover to catch the flight, since all Berlin flights were full. Considering this, I was expecting more crowds. Not that I'm complaining - it's always nice to have some extra space on a plane! Security got a kick out of the fact that my laptop is a Mac. I caught one of them grinning widely when I exclaimed "The Best!". In all of my security checks, I haven't found a surly one yet (well, except for the ones outside the US embassy in Berlin. They only had to look at me for me to know I was getting too close)

Since I last wrote I have finally been dancing a couple times, and had a blast. Both the Munich and Berlin scenes are very welcoming and upbeat. Between the two cities I have had a chance to do waltz, salsa, cha-cha, tango and foxtrot. I declined the opportunity to Polka, as I am rather uncontrolled at that dance...

I worked in my fair share of touring. Sights I missed last time and finally saw included the Reichstag (their capitol) dome and Alexanderplatz (in all its faded East German glory). I also toured their film museum, bought music, continued exploring night photography and got my initial rolls of film developed. Unfortunately, due to her new job, my hostess Birgit had limited time to entertain me, but we had some fun dances.

Inside the Reichstag's Dome
Colored Fountain
Sony Center at night

One of the more powerful places I visited was the Jewish Museum. The Holocost Tower is a stark cement tower that has faint light at the top. Once the door clangs shut behind you, you feel imprisoned and isolated. I'm not sure words can truly express how it feels - this is architecture at its best. They had a temporary exhibit on the architect, who is also designing the new World Trade Center in NYC. I hadn't seen the design yet, so it was nice to see that. I had an English language audio guide that translated the German guide into English. What this gives you is the architect speaking in English with a voice over saying essentially the same thing, again in English, but slightly off because it had been translated to German and back!

S-Bahn Reoute!
S-Bahn reroute!
There were a few reroutes on the subways due to construction that had me unexpectedly shooting off in totally unplanned directions, but as always, the kindness of strangers got me back where I belonged. The bonus, of course, is that I saw even more sights...

On my final day in town the Berlin marathon took place. I stumbled accross a section of the course where a group of people had formed a drum circle to cheer the races on as they whizzed past. I witnessed the initial pack (flock? gaggle?) of roller bladers as they zipped by like a giant greased snake. Then a loooooooong gap and the rest of the skaters started passing by! Over 9,000 in all according to a police officer, so I did not bother to witness them all.

Berlin Marathon

Movie of the first Rollerbladers

So now I am in Paris! Despite my experiences last time with friendly Parisians, I've received several warnings to expect a chilly reception from the locals here. Once again, my experience with Parisians has been very positive, starting with the taxi ride into town. He spoke no English. I spoke no French. By the end of the ten minute ride we were laughing at our attempts to communicate! So to the naysayers out there, I hope you finally experience the Paris I've been seeing. I feel so at home here, and that is because of the people here. OK, and maybe the art. They have no shortage of that either!

I'd better stop typing now, or I won't have time to have adventures for my next letter...

Au revoir,