Anyone who's read enough of my blog will know without a doubt that I love this dear city that I have called home since late 2007. And with Spring in the air, like last year, I am filled with a building excitement at the promise of many a beautiful day ahead, cycling through the streets, sitting along the river banks, glass of wine in hand and all the other treats that come hand-in-hand with Spring/Summer Berlin style. That said, I do have some pet peeves with regards to this City that I have wanted to get off my chest for a while now. So here they are, let me know if any of you Berlin-dwellers (or even non-Berliners who have experienced such traits in your own cities!) can relate!
1. Berlin Bus drivers. So, I lived in London for 7 years and that was more then long enough to get used to mean bus drivers but the Berlin drivers do mean on a whole different level. I guess there is a far smaller likelihood of them being stabbed or shot here so they feel more able to show their full disdain for us lowely people who dare to board their buses. I have many a story I could tell about bad experiences with the bus drivers here; their need to drive incredibly fast only to not give enough time to break properly so instead they slam their feet down on the breaks last minute, causing all on board to fly into the laps of their fellow disgruntled passengers is just one example but that isn't my biggest annoyance. Oh no. My biggest issue with the drivers here is their need to punish us passengers. The bus that I regularly take is the M41 running towards Hauptbahnhof and at certain times of day this route gets pretty full. Of course, with a large amount of people, comes the problem of not being able to close the doors because people are standing in the way of the door sensors. The normal person would call out a message over the tanoy telling people to please get out of the way of the doors. Some of the drivers here take such actions but I have witnessed many a driver who simply turns off the engine. No kidding. The turn off the engine and just wait. And wait. And wait. Unless you are at the end where someone is in the way of the doors (and we have bendy buses here so you don't always know this from your position) you are left meerly standing their wondering what in heck is going on? and why isn't this damn bus moving?! After a point, people will start to murmur. Then people will start to shout at the driver and then eventually he or she may decide to actually inform us as to why he/she has turned off the engine. This does my head in! I have spent up to 20 minutes stuck in a bus playing through this little scene and each time it fills me with such venom for the driver that I wish he/she could swap places with one of those London drivers!
2. Bar toilets. Now someone surely has to relate to this one! From what I have been told from my parents, I seem to have had a thing for toilets as a child. Not the specific porcelain bowl (I was weird but not that weird!), rather the rooms in which toilets were. I have been told (and have a slight recollection of it) that whenever we would be out at a restaurant or in a cafe, that I would always go check out the toilets to see what the rooms were like?! Even I think I am odd for this one. I don't so much have these urges in adulthood, although I do have a memory of the only time I went to the crazy club 'China Whites' in London (where tackily dressed Essex girls go to hook up with drugged up, ego crazed footballers, oh and Prince Harry used to go there too, figures!) and going into the bathroom and being super impressed with their sinks! Anyway, I have regressed. So, my point with Berlin toilets is thus; they are often quite interesting here. I have seen large rooms decked out like living rooms with just one toilet stuck in the middle (I took a friend to that bar when she was over visiting just to show her this amazing bathroom) and tiny cubicles with swinging doors akin to the entrances of bars you see in old Westerns which make you feel incredibly vulnerable to people just coming into the cubicle but cool nonetheless. This all makes bathroom visits here interesting as you never know what you might find but it also makes it hard to actually find the right toilet. I'm not kidding. There is simply no universal sign here for which bathroom is for women and which is for men. You can be faced with random pictures, the name for toilet in some crazy language and some places simply have nothing at all. WHY?! I'm not saying we have to have the typical boring British signs but at least some clear way of showing which is for women and which for men so I can avoid seeing way too much of some stranger man in the future!!!
So they are the main two pet peeves I have for this place. There are many other irritations of course (far too much paperwork and beaurocracy being one but everyone knows that about Germany!).
What are your pet-peeves about Berlin or your City? Come tell me at my blog...http://workingberlinmum.blogspot.com/2011/04/pet-peeves.html
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