Written onboard M/T Ek-Star August 2010
West Berlin November 1989
Thursday 9th of November 1989 and this is the day the Berlin Wall came down. I don't think I noticed it until the 10th of November. I was not listening to radio or watched any TV back then. Well, I still don't watch TV, but I listen to the radio while having my “TUNA SURPRISE” ® for breakfast when I'm back home in Bangkok.
November 9 is considered the date the Wall fell, but the Wall in its entirety was not torn down immediately. Starting that evening, and in the days and weeks that followed, people came to the wall with sledgehammers or otherwise hammers and chisels to chip off souvenirs, demolishing lengthy parts of it in the process and creating several unofficial border crossings. These people were nicknamed "Mauerspechte" (wall Woodpeckers).
Well, anyway, I don't think I got the news until the 10th of November and this was for sure a historical moment. I wanted to get to Berlin right away. But we had to go to Skåne during the Saturday 11th of November and I did not get away until the 12th of November.
Sunday 12th of November 1989 and I had got tickets to Stena Line's ferry from Gothenburg to Kiel, Germany of my friend. 2 tickets so I and one guy from the student home left Gothenburg on Sunday evening.
There was a bar and disco on the ferry. But we started in the restaurant and then we went to the disco for a few beers. We were enjoying our beers looking forward to our adventure in Berlin.
It would all have been nice if it wasn't for an f@cking Farmer John running around wanting to pull-fingers with me.
- F@CK OFF!
He didn't give up. It was a Norwegian truck driver and he was looking for a fight. I'm a man of peace so I tried to ignore him, but how easy is that whit this nit with was in my face all the time asking if we should pull-fingers.
Soon there were two of them, the second guy arriving to the scene was about 120 cm long so he had an obvious inferiority complex. My friend left for some dancing and he was back after a few dances with a girl. 2 minutes' later the truck drivers arrived to our table. Now there were 3 of them and this time they brought a big guy, obviously the guy that was gonna throw the punches.
I don't know, we never meet this people before and we were minding our own business. But these guys really wanted to have a fist fight. Well, maybe because they had a big guy with them and now they wanted to be though when he was there to protected them. Yes, can't help but being impressed by people like that. What are the thinking?
- You friend gave us the finger when he walked off the dance floor!
The big guy pulled my friend's long blond hair and I was just sitting there.
- This is not true! How did I end up with these troglodytes?
The small guy I just ignored, but the “Pull-finger” man. Yes, I did not want to hit him. I wanted to hurt him, I mean, really bad. How stupid are you allowed to be? But I knew that I would have the big guy all over me as soon as I got close to the “Pull-finger” man. So I stood from my chair and I could see that the big guy was really looking forward to a fight.
The other two imbeciles were really looking forward to kick my arse now when they had the big guy with them. Well, the dwarf was nothing I even considered a threat. My friend was screaming, of course, it hurts having 200 kg truck driver hanging in your hair. I kicked the big guy in solar plexus and he just felt and after a good kick in solar plexus you need a minute to recover. So I had one minute with the “Pull-finger” man. I remember it like it was yesterday, this imbecile had not yet realised what have happened and he was still relaying on the big guy. Motherf@cker! What a stupid guy!
Now I saw the guards coming running at us. OK, I have less than 1 minute. I remember his face when he got the first punch. He seemed to be thinking “This was not supposed to be happening”. Guards were approaching quickly so I hit him again and again, 3 times before I had 4 guards over me.
They told me later on that I could not go to Berlin.
- The German Police will come for you tomorrow.
- The Norwegian truck driver has reported you for assault and battery.
Now they reported me to the Police, looser. This nit wits was picking a fight and they got their arses kicked and now they were crying for the police. The best part was that I and my friend got a free cabin. No the best part was that the stupid “Pull-finger” man could not drive his truck. He had only brought one pair of glasses and they were left onboard in 1000 pieces together with 3 or 4 of his teeth.
Monday 13th of November 1989 and we arrived to Kiel and no sight of the German police, good. And no sign of the truck drivers. They told me that they would wait for me in Kiel to give me a serious ass whupping. Well, we left for the train station. I don't remember, but I think we had to change train in Hamburg. Well, for sure, we had to change train at some station.
I don't remember how many hours we spent on the train, maybe 6 hours, including train change and Immigration. We had to pass through the DDR, it was still east Germany.
But I don't remember it as any problem. Not like other times in East Germany. But we had to go off the train and I bought a few beers. Can come in handy, of course we went to Berlin to take down the wall. But even more important was the parties and beer drinking.
We arrived in the afternoon and we checked in at a hotel not far away from the Central station and then we took off to the Wall. We took a taxi to Brandenburger Tor and there were plenty people. Luckily enough there is people trying to cash in on every event so it was no problem to find beer.
The wall was still up in front of Brandenburger Tor. So the place was full of TV teams from all
over the world hopping to catch the moment when they open the wall at Brandenburger Tor for access to Unter den Linden.
The Brandenburg Gate
(German: Brandenburger Tor) is a former city gate and one of the main symbols of Berlin and Germany. It is located west of the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791.
We were drinking beer while waiting for them to open to Unter den Linden. Well, they did not open
when we were there. And it was cold and Brandenburger Tor in pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Of course, since they divide the city and the whole area is a no man's land where they
The Brandenburg Gate
When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the Wall fell, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin. Thousands of people gathered at the Wall to celebrate its fall on 9 November 1989. On 22 December 1989, the Brandenburg Gate crossing was reopened when Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor, walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German prime minister. Demolition of the rest of the Wall around the area took place the following year.
shoot to kill. So this was not the place you expected to find pubs. It was darn cold and we didn't want to miss something in the Brandenburg Tor area. We managed to find a restaurant in the Reichstag so we went inside. Almost empty and we understood why when we got the bill. We were introduced to a bill that came to millions.
is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire supposedly set by Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the Reichstag as a group were held in the Kroll Opera House. After the Second World War the Reichstag building fell into disuse as the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin and the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
- What the ??!!
We had ordered food and the food disappeared like an aspirin, the plate was almost empty. Of course, we had had a few beers. But anyway, it was not cheap. Well, we did not have to freeze and we got a few beers so never mind. we were in a good mood when we left. And it was freezing cold outside so we decided to go back to town to explore the night life.
West Berlin, must have been the best city in the world when it came to parties. Open 24 Seven so there were no problem to find a good time.
At Kreuzberg there we more nice places than you could wish for. Cafe Anfalt, yes, it was a very nice place with punk rock. I had been there before and it was still very nice.
But don't bother go there if you come to Berlin, if it still exists. Last time I was there it was turned in to some techno place and how fun is that?
OK, even though we had been up all night long we went to Brandenburger Tor to check out if there was any action. I took pictures while we were walking around the Brandenburger Tor area drinking beer. I had been in West Berlin before, but I had never seen the wall before. So this was probably my last chance before it was torn down completely
We spent one or two days at the Brandenburger Tor before we grew tired of the place. It was cold and there wasn't much around there. If there had only been a place to go drink a beer, indoors, but no.
It was interesting but enough is enough and we never got back to the darn wall again.
We were staying up all night long party until 8 o'clock in the mornings so we found it better to stay around Ku'dam. I had got my souvenir, I big piece of concrete of the wall. Painted with graffiti.
A few years later when I moved to Bangkok I dropped it and one piece turned in to many.
I still have 2 or 3 pieces of the original piece in my bedroom in Bangkok. But I had to throw most of it. But today, who cares? Not me, seriously, now it's mostly annoying having them lying around.
Kurfürstendamm, I don't like the place very much. Mostly tourists, but there were plenty pubs and restaurants in the area so no need to go freezing on the streets. And I think we lived at Lietzenburger Strasse next to Ku'Dam. When we got cold we just stopped for a beer or two, and it was cold so there were plenty stops.
The whole Kurfürstendamm was full of East Germans. Back in the days the West German Government had promised 100DM to every East German that came for a visit in West Germany. Easy to promise when there were 2 people coming every second year.
Now there was millions of East Germans in town and they had trucks parked everywhere to hand out the Besucher geld. Well, many shops accepted DDR dollars as well.
We spent day time around Kurfürstendamm and when the afternoon was about to turn in to evening we went to Kreuzberg. I remember, I think it was Stern Plaz, or if it was next to a church called Stern Kirche. Well, never mind, there was a few pubs that we visited.
We were out walking one evening when we passed a vernissage and we went inside. Fee beers and wine, we skipped the food. Beer is the same as bread.
Walking around watching art drinking free beers and chatting with the girls. Yet again my theory is proven right.
Having a few beers makes you witty and handsome and we must have been very charming because we were invited to another vernissage the day after. They didn't know what they let them self in to.
So we decided to go check it out. The name of the gallery was West End (I'm pretty sure this was the name) so we got in to a taxi and he did not have any problem to find the place.
OK, vernissage, I think it's just a lot of people dressing up pretending to like the art to get free beer. Well, it was nice to talk to people. When I'm looking for paintings I prefer to be sober. Imagine, God forbid, to wake up with a hangover force 9,8 just to discover that you have spent all your money on an f@cking plate with 3 oranges.
I like paintings but what they showed at West End in West Berlin this evening was nothing but pure rubbish.
We arrived to the place and it was packed. Plenty people and I doubt it was because of the art. This was rubbish so it was most likely because of the free drinks. As much as you could drink.
Seriously, who would like to have a plate with 3 oranges and a fussy frame work with attached white balls at home? Or what do you say about the grey tarpaulin with the light bulb above? I would not take it even if they gave me money.
Hmm, I would not take any of the crap back home, even if they gave me a million. Well, the girl that got her picture taken by the old guy was beautiful though.
I don't know what they were up to, maybe some performance act. Yes, today everything is art. Eat doggy poo and you will soon be a famous performance artist.
I had bought a new ZIPPO lighter. Hell yeah, seemed like I had to buy a new ZIPPO every time I woke up after a night on town. I was running out of gas so I left the vernissage. Wasn't really all that much to see. A quick glimpse on the darn oranges was enough to last me a life time. Well, I left to find a gas stop and some gasoline.
I remember coming to the gas stop. I opened my ZIPPO and I drained the hose from one of the pumps. I went down on my knees at one of the pumps and of course, I soaked myself in gasoline and my ZIPPO was brimmed with gasoline. I hope no one saw me there draining the hose with gasoline.
I returned to west end and I don't remember if we went to a Spanish Restaurant or if we went with people from Spain. Or maybe it was a Spanish restaurant with Spanish people
I don't know for how long we stayed in Berlin, but it was party every day. Well, at
least we managed to get up in the restaurant on top of Europa
(The Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) is located in Berlin on the Kurfürstendamm in the centre of the Breitscheidplatz. The original church on the site was built in the 1890s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943.
The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall.
As we can see my pictures of the darn church isn't much to write home about. So I can as well put a picture from Wikipedia. Well, when I'm busy copy the info I can as well nick the picture.
Center at Kurfürstendamm.
is a building complex on the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, notable for its high-rise tower. During the 1960s it became one of the iconic sights of West Berlin, along with the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It is a historically preserved building.
As we can see my pictures of the darn building isn't much to write home about. So I can as well put a picture from Wikipedia. Well, when I'm busy copy the info I can as well nick the picture.
Both the Europa Center and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche is located at Breitscheidplatz so we had a nice view from the restaurant. But my picture, what a waste. And seriously, if it hadn't been for Photoshop most of my slides had been in the garbage bin.
We had a bit to eat and drink on top of Europa Center before we returned down to sea level and the upcoming night life. There is always something going on in west Berlin.
I remember that we changed hotel from Kurfürstendamm to Kreuzberg to be closer to the party. I think the hotel name was something with a Swedish city or a Swedish place. Can it have been Gotland Hotel, well, I don't remember.
But I remember that we checked in on an early morning after a long night partying. We just passed the hotel and we checked in.
One night I meet a bunch of Polish people at Kurfürstendam and they were on the way to a party in Kreuzberg.
- Join us!
- Of course!
Well, everything has to come to an end and we got home sick. Wouldn't it be nice just to have a machine that brought you back home by the snap of your fingers? It would be great. I was not looking forward to our trip back home.
It is of course more fun to go away. OK, the Norwegian truck drivers wasn't all that fun.
But we were on the way to Berlin and it was party. Now, after a week or two of heavy duty party it wasn’t so nice to go sit on the train. But when we came to the train station the floor was full of people sleeping. So I felt better instantly, at least we had slept on a hotel.
It had been very fun in Berlin. But I can't help think about all the beautiful girls we meet. Mostly the girl at West End, she must be like 120 years old today. So no one is running around taking her pictures anymore.
Well, Aladdin was back at Sjöbefälsskolan on Kvarnberget. As I have mentioned before, I was never in school, except to take my exams and for beer drinking at “Ölautomaten”. But this 2nd and last period of the autumn semester we had, I think it was bridge simulation and attendance was mandatory.
So when I came back they told me that I could not take this course because I had missed some classes while in Berlin. Well, never mind.
Friday 15th of December 1989 and we did our last exams for the Autumn semester 1989. I passed all my exams, both for year 2 and 3. Well, except the one I was not allowed to attend due to my visit in Berlin.
But I was pretty pleased anyway, 2 years in one. And I had not been in school! I bet you could have done the whole course in 1 year without any problem.
Only party and a good time while in school.
Friday afternoon and as soon as we left the exam we went to drink beer at “Ölautomaten”. And more and more people arrived to Kåren for a few beers. Well, it was almost the same people sitting there all the time.
It was very rare to see any new faces in there. Usually one guy from second year Mate and 2 guys studying the last year to Engineer and a bunch from the second year to Engineer
Last exam and there was usually some kind of dance arranged for this occasion. If I remember it right it was the last year, Master Mariners arranging the event in order to get money to the class trip they were going to do during the spring.
This was my class, well, actually I was in two classes. Last year in Mate and Master Mariner
Well, these parties at school used to be a dull even and we usually left after an hour or so. Most of the time I did not even bother going there.
We went to Murvlen for a few beers, if we're returning to school later on in the evening we can as well try to do our best to drink our self handsome.
I don't remember how long time we spent at the school party. I don't think it was too much fun at the school. And seriously, how fun can it be in a gymnasium? I think it was a gymnasium where they held the party. Never mind how much coloured lights you put up, it’s still a gymnasium.
Well, anyway, it was nice to have put yet another semester behind, or it was actually two semesters. Now I will be back in January 1990 to take my 2 last semesters.
Monday 18th of December 1989 and I was soon to leave Gothenburg for Skåne and Berlin. But as I remembered it, I think they had elected a new Entertainment & Party committee. Well, elected, it was more like they were looking for volunteers. The Entertainment & Party committee was the guys to, well, I don't know what they did.
But the previous Entertainment & Party committee will make it to history by changing the sodas for beer in the vending machine. Before there were never any people sitting at Kåren. so we will see what the new Entertainment & Party committee will come up with.
So there was a new Sheriff in town, at least at Kåren and Ölautomaten
And I think the new guys got the keys to Ölautomaten this very day and this was the reason for us to go for a few beers. But I'm not sure, and it was not like we needed any special reason for go drink a few beers.
Well, when Columbus closed we must have taken a taxi to school to pick up a case of beer before returning to my room. A case of beer in the middle of the night in Sweden back in the 80's. Almost impossible and that's the reason for me to believe that this was the very day they got the key to Kåren and Ölautomaten.
Well, it was good to be friends with the Entertainment & Party committee. Many times we went to school to get beers in the middle of the night.
Well, Christmas was coming up and I had to buy a few Christmas gifts before I left for Skåne.
Well, anyway, autumn semester 1989 and my time 1989 in Gothenburg had come to an end. I was off to Berlin to celebrate New Year's eve 1989.
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