Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Taxi ride to Anja and Alexander's

Last night on my way to Anja and Alexander's in the taxi I took notes [this morning's blog notes on last night's bumpy handwritten taxi notebook notes are in brackets]:


Today because I have a cold and I'm pretty out of energy I'm taking a taxi. Moving faster, lower down, nobody getting on and off of course! [This is in comparison to the bus ride I chronicled a little while ago.]

Mostly noticing bikers, and this evening they're all female. Just now one was pushing what looked from behind like a big black vender's cart, but came up alongside and passed her, lo and behold it was a pretty fancy, mega-serious heavy-duty baby pram-for-a-bike riding in front of her. With I think reinforced metal sides - a very cool oval-rounded shape. Super-sturdy. Wow. [What I was struggling to convey last night while taking my bumpy notes in the taxi was that it was an industrial-looking object in its blackness and hugeness and sturdiness but that there was an element of softness, comfort, and baby-appropriateness in the rounded edges and in the glimpse of baby bedding I could have sworn I caught. (Watch it have been a samosa cart after all?!)]

The biker we passed before that had on the sheerest lacy black top I have ever seen outside of a dressing room or my own boudoir (OK, confession here - not even there because I don't own any such thing). We passed her and fell back and passed her, etc. a couple of time and I kept craning around to try to see how it could possibly look in front because she clearly had nothing on underneath. But I just couldn't see - she was hunched over her handlebars . . .

Before that we nearly sideswiped a pretty lady in pastel colors with a spray of flowers out her back carrier.

Just turned into the Strasse des 17. Juni, majestic boulevard with the Siegessäule [victory column monument] ahead shining golden and wingy in the late afternoon sun (it's almost 8 p.m. but the sun son't go down here for another 2 hours surely).

All those bikes I reported were in a stretch of a few blocks on the KufĂĽrstendamm [Dam of the City Electors, West Berlin's old glittery main stretch], which we left behind a while ago, but it took a long time to write all that down. My taxi driver had no idea where Claudiusstrasse was so he's following his little street-by-street smart screen. Since I only ever usually come here by train, I'm also unfamiliar with this route - right now it's a little leafy green street we're on, ferns and droopy branches (willows?) and something with red berries and something else with reaching branches, reaching, branching . . . can you tell the taxi is stuck for a few minutes and I could really look? Back there it wa all dark green with a little patch of light spring green somehow stuck on in front.

The Berlin birds that sound like the fruit bats I grew up with in Kinshasa are oing their 5-tone warble. A little mousy gray-brown-black bird was just hopping along the sidewalk in front of those greens I was describing (taxi is now idling about 2 blocks further along).

Chatted with the driver a bit. Much more traffic than the usual because the S-Bahn [fast city trains] system is down. Opened my window finally - I'm eye-to-eye with a parked red bike you can rent, next to an old baked-yellow phone booth. Make that two parked red bikes-for-rent.

[This last paragraph is almost impossible to read/decipher - looks almost like my grandmother's script in her last years but much harder to read:] Driving again. Traffic eased inexplicably. Wind in the short tufts of my hair that stick out from under my cap. Hard U-Turn - taxi got lost? Or missed turn because enjoying the sudden ease of uncluttered driving!? One more hard turn - we're here.


[Postscript - I was delivering myself via taxi to Anja and Alexander's, where hubby and Alexander had been preparing an octopus feast for us! We ate it in the garden, an unbelievable place. The 80+ (maybe 90+?)-year-old former owner of their 3 or 4-story, maybe 8-apartment, house, started this garden decades ago. Anja and Alexander bought the whole building from her sometime in the last couple of years (they'd been renting a top-floor apartment for years already) and now the garden is their job but also their joy. Glorious place. The entire space was created during the war when a bomb destroyed the half of the house that used to occupy the space that is now the garden. Here's the thing: the garden is about the size of our backyard in Bloomington - except maybe half again as wide, I figured out later (looping and circling and overhanging alleyways and confusions of trees and bushes obscure the total size) - strangely, though, it looks nothing like it. They have apple trees, pear trees, tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce of multiple kinds, grapes, zucchini, thistles, flowering orange things that magically keep away pests, a wild phallic thing that shot up as a volunteer, borders and picnic tables and a picturesque falling-down gate. Truly an amazing place. If you're reading this, Anja, so many thanks again to both of you!

I stayed a couple of hours in spite of my droopy blahness with this cold, and allowed myself to be fed and cheered up and taken care of, which was wonderful. I left hubby there happily chatting with our old friends and rode home in another taxi - too dark to keep notes and besides this taxi driver was very chatty - we spent quite a while on the grasshopper that had landed on the windshield (?!).]

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