Friday, February 20, 2009


July 9, 1989

"Pop-tarts went first night in Berlin"

"West Berliners seem pushy. Stay off of their bike paths or they will run you over. WB more built up. EB more trees. WB many expensive cars (Ferraris). EB all cars Trabant...Rows of houses on EB side of Wall are abandoned and look black and dingy. It's obvious some were once magnificent homes. Many people ride bikes...Police Patrol EB more frequently than they do in WB. I see groups of 3 or 4 around all the time."

"I fell asleep on the way to Checkpoint Charlie. The longest darkest hours I have spent yet were at Checkpoint Charlie (a little melodramatic weren't we Lou). When they woke me up at Checkpoint Charlie, I didn't have that usual tiredness, I was up and alert. As we passed the sign and the US guy, I was scared. The bus was dead silent."
We were warned not to make any trouble at the border crossings, and this was our first one.
"We were going extremely slow. We pulled up behind some other buses. I wasn't paying attention, and when I looked up, I was looking into the face of a man in a green uniform. Gradually the din arose around me...

Then we had to fill out visas and after that, a woman came on the bus and stared each one of us in the face to make sure we were the same people as our passports. It took about 1.5 hours to get through the checkpoint.

After getting to the hotel, I went out swimming. The lake didn't really have a beach. Women and teens were swimming naked, which was a completely foreign concept to us. The bottom sloped gradually away from shore, so 100 yards out and the water was only up to my waist. The water was really dingy like there was severe industrial pollution. Jess went swimming with me and we got Tania and Jay soaked. Had goo for dinner. Walked along path with Jessica, Lisa, and Dan.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


July 8, 1989

Woke late and missed breakfast. Rode Metro into East Berlin and back (reference to The Hobbit redacted).
Me and Annette

Went to the British Embassy. Got Lecture on Berlin Airlift.

"It was nice to sit out in Berlin at a cafe and watch the wheels go round and round. Peaceful euphoric, might do it again tomorrow morning" (should have been redacted). Did some shopping. My roommates were 1.5 hours late for the bus.

After dinner went to a discotheque and had a sip of beer. I actually wrote this next bit back in 1989, "I felt like an adult so I didn't order every drink in the house like a thirsty American teenager who's just been given the privilege to drink with impunity. I was kinda scared that they would get caught because the girls didn't know how to hold their liquor. Despite my warnings they drank until a half hour before we left for the Metro. We met Mr. & Mr. & Mrs. Teacher Leader. Got back to the hotel and got lecture on relationships with girls with 3 weeks left. Right now, situation awesome. All girls "like" me or don't mind me..."(we'll leave it at that, it goes Sally Field downhill from there.)

I didn't write it down, but I have a vivid memory from that club that sticks with me today. We were out dancing at that club/discotheque and a couple songs came on that we knew..."Funky Cold Medina" or maybe "Wildthing" from Tone Loc & "Veronica" by Elvis Costello & maybe "Bust a Move" Young MC. Anyway, when we heard Tone Loc we just went nuts and sang along. Everyone else in the club was staring at us.


July 7, 1989

I was dozing on and off during the flight. Arrived in Frankfurt, hungry and tired. Saw the sun rise in the European sky through the plane window with Jessica. Short flight to West Berlin. Had a horrible lunch of cheese and butter. Had one beer a 24 ounce house pilsner.

Hotel Nord - Our Hotel

Weltkugelbrunnen or World Fountain - Breitscheidplatz

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche - Church built 1891 - 1895 and very nearly destroyed by Allied Bombing in 1943.

Stopped at Checkpoint Charlie

(L to R) Jim O., Jacqui B., Sean P.,Meghan B., Pam G.,Melissa K.

...And later that night...


July 6, 1989

Briefing at Marvin Center. Speaker totally trashed the Soviet Union. After lunch we met with the consulate at the Polish Embassy. The rest of the day was spent racing to planes at National and JFK. The movie "Rain Man" was playing on the flight.

Eileen M. on 747 to Frankfurt.

(L to R) Heather C., Jennifer T., Eileen M. Larissa M., Eve Smilack Frankfurt Airport.

(L to R) Meghan B., Heather D., Julie S. Rob Farkash


July 5, 1989

Three alarm clocks went off at 6am, they were not simultaneous. Breakfast was three blocks past Guam. Afterwards, we went to a briefing by the head of Public Relations and the Head of the White House "Thousand Points Of Light" Program. Their message was that we were Ambassadors for Peace. The White House guy wanted us to convey a message that the US is solving problems like homelessness. After lunch we wandered in and around the Smithsonian in the rain. (I wrote that dinner was at the Crystal Caverns - which I now know is Crystal City.) Took a floodlight tour of the monuments.



July 4, 1989

These were my photos and journal entries for a People To People trip that started on July 4, 1989 and toured Eastern Europe. The photos are embarrassing. The thoughts I had as a 17 year old male away from his parents for 28 days are even more embarrassing, so I reserve the right to poke fun at myself or in extreme cases redacting sections that are just way too embarrassing. In some cases, I've forgotten who is who, but I think by the time I have this finished, I should have everyone's name right for the pictures.

4.5 hour bus ride to DC. We stayed at Thurston Hall at GWU. We wandered around DC for awhile before an organizational meeting. At dinner, we met some Soviet students. Larissa, Joe (from Springfield, MA) and I took our Soviet charges down to the mall for the Fireworks (I remember being on the edge of some body of water, so it might have been the reflecting pool, or maybe the tidal basin). The fireworks were amazing and I seem to remember music as well.

Jessica (I think), Jen?, Eileen M, Jake

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