This week has been pretty calm. I think I'm getting used to the rhythm of the city. The weather has been really warm the last two days, I feel like I'm in Florida again. General advice for people doing this program next year: Don't take the train without buying a ticket. Yes, you can basically ride for free and not get caught but eventually, the cops will pick your train and will give you a fine. It's like the German version of musical chairs, and I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I got fined for 40 euro, and I had to basically go to the main BVG office (Which is quite the commute) and resolve the issue myself with no translator to help me out. Luckily, I somehow managed to reduce the fee to 7,5 euros.
Also, when you get over here Intrax will probably try to tell you to get student passes. When you go to the local BVG to get them, don't be put off if the German people working at the stand are really rude. I had an encounter like that, but the second time I went it was a different guy and he was really nice. If at first you don't succeed, try again. I ended up getting my discounted rate :)
I still have yet to get a chance to explore the city, but I will this weekend. This past weekend I was exhausted from the work grind, but I have a 4 day weekend starting now and I'm looking forward to it. My manager, Fernanda, recommended this excellent website for me called http://www.newberlintours.com, where apparently you get a free tour of the city.
This week me and the Intrax interns did decide to celebrate 4th of July, though. We went to this bar/hostel that was giving out free shots to Americans, and we definitely took them up on the offer. I think the place was called Belushi's, and it was near Alexanderplatz. Anyway, we met some pretty interesting people but called it an early night because we still had work the next day. This weekend I definitely do plan to check out more of the nightlife. I went to this club called About Blanc and I think it was pretty awful, so steer clear of that one unless you like being in an overpriced club with bad music no lighting whatsoever.
But I did make some good discoveries near my work. There are some hot dog stands that look promising. And there was this hamburger place that was absolutely delicious which was probably like 2 minutes or less away from the workplace. Word of advice, go to these places instead of McDonalds. You'll end up paying 2x the amount.
One thing that I love about this city is that everybody seems to be into books. Back home, I guess it's less visible because we all drive everywhere. But over here, you always see people reading on the train. It's just a random thing I noticed. It's not just people on their kindle reading whatever is hot on the best-sellers. (Looking at you, 50 shades of Grey fans.)
So I guess the moral of this blog post is buy your train passes, and avoid American franchises. Unless they're Subway, which is reasonably priced. :p
It's so bizarre to me that we're heading into the mid-point. Time has really flown by and I've hardly have started peeling off the layers of this city...work has been good, though. Had a meeting with my boss this week about where we plan to take the project I'm on and the general direction we're going to take for the next couple of weeks. I'm definitely stoked to get started on that ASAP.