Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Berlin

Note: this is the first in my catch-up series...

I left the U.S. on Jan. 10 for a few more auditions. Plus my agent in Deutschland had told me he hoped to have something to send me to when I was here.

First stop: Berlin.

But really, the first stop was JFK--5 1/2 hours in the airport (from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.) while the airplane was moved from one terminal to another and then prepared for us. Miserable. De-icing was the icing on the cake, so to speak, but at least that was necessary and logical. The rest of the delay was...somewhat ridiculous.

Second stop: Berlin. No. Not yet. Despite the fact that we arrived at London Heathrow a little before 3 and that my flight was at 3:45, the merciless minions at Heathrow declared that there was not enough time to catch my flight and bumped me onto the 7:20 flight to Berlin--after I had dashed through the airport to try to make it. So roughly 4 hours in Heathrow.

I'm going to avoid Heathrow in the future if I can--it has seemed to be a black hole of delays every time I've flown here. I had the opportunity to fly through Heathrow again this trip and--hee, hee--declined.

(Why not avoid JFK, you may ask, since the delay there was even longer? Well, first, it's harder to avoid and more importantly, I've had great luck much of the time going through there. January is just tricky, weatherwise.)

Third stop: yes, finally, Berlin. Berlin Tegel is a great airport. Tidily organized and well designed. I've flown in and out of it two or three times, and have found it easy to use.

The cabbie (from the airport to hotel) was a Greek imigrant. He'd been in Berlin more than 20 years, saying that he'd come for a bit and wound up staying. He chatted about the good old pre-detente days when you could enjoy talking politics without religion coming into it. He also said that Berlin is a young, vital, energized and energetic city--and so it seems to me, too--but that there still isn't enough employment. I haven't been in Berlin enough to evaluate that statement, but he should know.

Berlin is beautiful, too: a modern city of glass and steel, with huge parks, open spaces, and stately promenades. It was cold here when I arrived, and the ground was icy. Snow was expected, but not until midweek.

On Monday, I slept in to recover from the hours and hours and hours and...in airports without sleeep. Then I took the Ubahn and walked around Friedrichstrasse before practicing before my first audition, which was scheduled for Tuesday.

In an interesting coincidence, I met a violinist at the drugstore who was playing a concert that night as part of the West-Eastern Divan. (Concert was sold out, although they were thinking of adding a second one at 11 p.m., as they were leaving Berlin the next morning.) He was looking for a restaurant he'd seen near there the last time he was in Berlin and I caught his non-native accent. We wished each other luck, he with his concert and me with my audition. I hope he found the restaurant!

But Monday night, I got hit with a virulent 48 hour flu (I thought it might be food poisoning, but have heard from others in Germany that this is going around.) Ugh. Felt too miserable to leave the room--let alone sing--and had to postpone audition. Unfortunately the next audition date (Jan. 27) was all full, so it will have to be later. The hotel staff was very helpful and dug up some gingerale for me when I started to recover. Being by yourself in a hotel when you're sick is definitely the pits! Thank goodness I was better and able to travel on Wed. morning, as planned.

What I'm reading:
Hectors Reise oder die Suche nach dem Glueck (Francois LeLord, trans. into German). This is a sweet and whimsical tale that gets a bit slow in the middle--perhaps because I was reading it in another language. It's not a barn-stormer of a plot, but a pleasant feel-good read, nonetheless. Also, a seatmate on the flight to JFK told me about an online Graphic novel that I've just started (Grunerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell). I really liked the first chapter and will talk more about it when I get farther along in it.

What I'm working on:
Audition rep, natuerlich.
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