Category Archives: Germany

A Catalan in Berlin

Catalans are notorious for being a stingy bunch. I’m not making this up – just ask any Spaniard or even Catalan and they will nod in agreement with a chuckle.

Living in New York, as a girl, I was spoiled by free alcohol that seemed to be readily available to me and in excess at bars and clubs. When I moved to Barcelona, I quickly learned to adjust my expectations for receiving free drinks. The economy was in the tanks so people frankly did not have much disposable income. That, coupled with the stinginess of the Catalans, made sure that I never once received a free drink from a stranger my whole year living in Barcelona.

In fact, the Catalans took it one step further – I’ve even been solicited for free drinks in Barcelona.

At the Elrow party, a Catalan guy asked me for a sip of my mojito. I handed him my cup, because, well, I’m a nice person. And also I had him lend me his nose in exchange.

But I did feel a bit like a clown myself after he took a HUGE sip from my drink and I was left with pretty much just ice. Ah, well, at least I got a cool pic out of it…

A month later, at Pacha Barcelona, when my college/NYC friend Jeff and his then-girlfriend were visiting, he bought a table given the low price of table service relative to in the City. That’s when I experienced what it was like to be on the other side of the velvet rope in NYC as a guy.

Soon after we sat down, a guy approached me from the dance floor. I was sitting on the elevated VIP veranda and even though the section was separated partially by a waist-high glass partition, he started chatting me up and giving me attention.

After a couple minutes, Jeff invited him up to join us so he drank with us for free for awhile.

Then he bounced. That’s when it dawned on me: This is what guys feel like when girls chat them up in order to drink for free… And then leave! I was used!

I hope no one takes offense from this piece. I lived in Barcelona long enough to find this quality of theirs to be endearing, and of course stereotypes definitely don’t apply to everyone. My best Catalan friend Ismael is one of the most generous and genuine people I know. I’m writing this piece in good spirits and to poke fun at stereotypes that sometimes turn out to be true. With that said, I do have one last incident for you.

My best facepalm moment dealing with Catalan men and their frugality was when I was at the legendary Berlin club, Berghain, in the summer of 2015.

Up in the Panorama Bar (the upper floor room in Berghain playing minimal techno), I was approached by this Catalan guy. We chatted for a bit and got along quite well due to my Catalan connection. He asked if I wanted a drink, which I graciously accepted (“omg! Is a Catalan guy really buying me a drink?”).

We went to the bar and he placed our orders.

As the bartender was getting our drinks, he reached into his pocket and produced two one euro coins.

Unabashedly, he turned to me: “Do you have some money? I think the drinks are four euros each.”

Taken aback, I shelled out six euros for our drinks. I was appalled but at the same time cracking up inside about stereotypes. I finished my drink and let myself politely disappear into the crowd.

A couple hours later, a Whatsapp text from him came … “Hey beautiful… Where are you… Don’t you want to come over to my place and have nice sex?”

WOW!

Well, the good music cleared me of my trauma in about 30 seconds, thank god for techno.

For more of my international flirting mishaps, check out A Bulgarian in Delft & A Brazilian in Germany. If you’re interested, also read my opinion how men from different countries hit on girls in clubs.

My Q-Base Misadventure

About the time I arrived at Dusseldorf with basically no money or accommodation and slept and showered at a stranger’s house, who I met by spilling his coffee in the train.

I’m writing this one year late, because frankly, I was quite embarrassed by what had happened last year when I arrived at Dusseldorf for Q-Base. In my Q-Base review post, I mentioned my encounter with a guy who spilled his coffee upon meeting me, without going into much detail. The story, to me, was as cringe-worthy as was is amusing, so I decided to finally share the full account here of my missteps.

Forgetting my bank cards on an international trip

I booked a whirlwind weekend trip to Dusseldorf in order to attend the Q-Base festival. My flight left Barcelona early in the morning on Saturday and the flight next day was due to return in the evening on Sunday. I didn’t bother to book a hotel to save money and reasoned that I’d just rally, skip sleep, and do some sightseeing to kill the time.

My misadventure began as soon as I stepped into the metro to the airport in Barcelona. I realized I completely forgot to bring any of my credit cards and only had around 50 euros on me. While I considered turning back to get my cards, I didn’t know if I would be able to make my flight if I had done that. I figured I could probably make do with the money I had for a 1.5 day trip… hopefully. Continue reading

Review of Q-Base Festival 2015

My rating of Q-Base: 7/10. My 36-hour whirlwind Q-Base + Dusseldorf trip was quite an adventure. Q-Base is an annual one night festival held at an old airfield in middle-of-nowhere Western Germany, and has 14 hours and 12 stages worth of hard dance music. All genres of hard dance are represented there, from the mainstream hardstyle, to hardcore, to even the smaller subgenres of terror or “hard drum and bass.” If you want to experience a breadth of styles of hard dance music without going to Defqon.1 for 3 days and camping, or if you simply don’t want to miss the last outdoors hard dance festival of the festival season, Q-Base is for you. Continue reading

Techno Tourism in Berlin

I admit it, I’m a huge Dance Music Tourist.

I went to Berlin for a month in July of 2015 because 1) Berlin is a really cool city, and 2) I wanted to experience the club scene of The Techno Capital of the World. Turns out, Berlin is home to more than 300 clubs. To experience all of them is impossible, but I did my best, going to 8 clubs and 3 surrounding festivals over 4 weekends.

Very basic pointers:

  • Resident Advisor is the single most authoritative source to find events in the city. On any given weekend, you’ll see that Berlin has dozens of events going on!
  • The best techno clubs in Berlin tend to be selective about who they let in. Because of Berlin’s status at the techno capital of the world, they feel that they need to do face control in order to preserve the culture of the place. While it can be frustrating, I can appreciate the need for them to do that. Basically, at more competitive places, don’t go in groups of 3 or more, and don’t look too posh.
  • Germany is big on recycling, even in the clubs. If you get a drink or a beer, they usually take a deposit for it and give you a coin. When you return the cup/bottle and the coin, you get your deposit back (usually 50 cents or 1 euro).

Now, for a rundown of the clubs I’ve been to — Continue reading

14 Unusual Reasons To Love Berlin

BERLIN IS THE COOLEST CITY I’VE EVER BEEN TO. My first time visiting the German capital was in May over a weekend, and I fell in love with it so I decided to spend a month in the city this July. The city is full of character and it’s a place where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong – whether it is to get electric blue and pink hair (my Bla Bla Car hosts), be an a musician that performs with masks (my flatmate), or have a face tattoo (the Berghain bouncer).

So, of course, you see plenty of peculiar but endearing things walking about Berlin, because Berliners really don’t give a sh*t about what you think. Continue reading

Berghain: The Ultimate Guide. What to Wear | How to get in | Techno | Panorama Bar | Berlin

Ultimate Berghain Guide: Third Time’s A Charm at Berlin’s Church of Techno

My club rating for Berghain: 8.5/10

There are many, many, many articles on the internet about the mythical Berghain Club in Berlin and how to get into the club with the toughest door policy in the world. Berlin is the Techno capital of the world, and Berghain is at its epicenter. People call it THE church of techno. Thousands of techno-lovers and curious tourists descend upon Berlin for the sole reason of entering Berghain every weekend, and less than 50% make the cut after waiting in lines that often exceed two hours. Berghain is famous for both for its legendary, avant-garde sound, as well as its tolerance for debauchery.  I put together this Berghain Guide based on my own experience to help you get in and survive your Berghain experience. Continue reading

Review of Airbeat One Festival

Rating: 7/10. Cool countryside festival with 4 diverse stages and genres. Music was curated really well with unbelievable lineup. Real German festival with cool crowd and nice communal feeling. The camping area is a sight to behold. Very hard to get to as a foreigner and consequently there were very few.

2015-07-16 21.45.07

Entering Airbeat One

Continue reading

Berlin Chinatown & Best Asian Food

Berlin is a truly multicultural city. You see Muslim women with headscarves working retail in Alexanderplatz, black people speaking perfect German, and Asians dressed like Berlin hipsters. So, you get great food from all cultures – including Asian food – which was very exciting for me as I came a long tenure in Barcelona, where the Asian food is only half decent! I was especially ecstatic to come across the Berlin Chinatown by chance.

Berlin is full of good Asian food and I’m sure this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the places I’ve been to that I liked, ordered by neighborhood. As you can see, I pretty much just ate Asian food every day. Continue reading

Ipse Club Berlin Review for the BNR 10YR Party

Rating of Ipse Club: 8/10. A very alternative and interesting venue. Great, eccentric outdoor space. Extra points for the random garden and hut with laundry hanging outside. Minus points for creating a suffocating steam room in the main dance floor.

My journey of techno tourism continued over the European labor day weekend (April 30th). Boys Noize has been at the top of my favorite artist list since I saw him at Ultra Music Festival Miami in March of 2013, so when he announced that he’s celebrating the 10-year founding of his record label, Boys Noize Records, at Ipse club in Berlin, I bought tickets with a Catalan friend of mine to go.

BNR 10 Years Party @ Ipse Club

BNR 10 Years Party @ Ipse Club

Continue reading