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My Response to Maneesh's "7 reasons you should move to Berlin today"

I was in Berlin for an extended weekend recently, and the whole time I found myself agreeing again and again with what I had read about the city in Maneesh's (hackthesystem.com) post about it. It's a great post and introduction to Berlin, even if he oversells his reasons a bit. Below is his article, with some of my additional thoughts in italics.

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It had been a long time since I’d stayed in one city for so long, but I’d engineered it so I could spend my final quarter of Stanford abroad…and receive financial aid at the same time. I’d heard nothing but great things about Berlin, and when Stanford  offered me a paid summer internship, meaning I’d be living scot free in the city, I couldn’t say no.Within weeks of arriving, I understood why Berlin had received so much praise—the only other city I’ve ever seen as revered is Buenos Aires. Let me tell you now exactly why you should log on to kayak.com and buy a ticket to Berlin, Germany.

I was blown away when I saw the prices in Berlin. Living expenses are as cheap, or cheaper, than most cities in South America! (Buenos Aires included). I could afford dinners an the nightlife—Berlin is by FAR the cheapest capital city in Western Europe. Here are some examples of my costs (everything is converted into dollars at 1 € = $1.50)

[Side note: one time I only had 1EUR on me, and I entered a gas station to buy water. Water cost € 1.25. Beer cost € 0.60. Needless to say, my decision was made for me]

Coughing Hell

On Where Pianos Roam

Yes, that would be me.  The one on the ellyptical machine in the gym coughing like mad.  People seemed to be a little disturbed by my allergy-induced coughing fits during my w0rkout yesterday, and I suspect that, with the current onslaught of the Swine Flu Virus heading north, people are a little paranoid about these things. I was SO tempted to "fall" off the ellyptical machine while mouthing the words "I can't breathe." and "I think I'm going to die!"--the fantastic vision of me flailing my arms about and with just a little bit of spit oozing out of a corner of my mouth.  The reaction this would have elicited would have been priceless.  I wonder what brave soul would have helped me instead of running away due to a swine-induced panic. I guess I'll never know. If I had blurted out "Oh, I just have syphilis, it's fine!", would this have made a difference?  (For the record, I officially do not have syphilis, but wouldn't it be interesting if I did?) All of this flu hullaballoo has got me thinking about the limits of other people's compassion.  To what degree could a person forgo their own personal health and safety to help someone who is a danger to themselves and everyone else.  Does the threat of compromising one's physical safety truly  justify shunning and excluding others?  How do we determine what is the greater good?  If it is more like a lesser evil, then well, it's still evil, isn't it? I don't really know the answer to these questions, and perhaps, it is best that I never be in a situation to find out. Nonetheless, I know I'll be back at the gym before this stubborn cough resolves itself, and I'll wonder who might become uneasy from the incessant hacking and heaving of my poor body.  If only music could start playing after a particularly awful fit.  The lights would dim and suddenly people would start dancing on the treadmill (in the vein of Okay Go, but with spirit fingers). I would start singing, of course.  (Duh, because I so would.)  I would cough in perfect rhythm after every verse (just for effect, really).    Naturally, I'd have my hot-red sweat pants on, and my hoodie would start to sparkle!!!  (Shouldn't hoodies always sparkle?) What, pray tell, would I be singing?  Maybe something like THIS .  .  . (A pretty piano would be playing in fast broadway staccato) THAT'S RIIIIGGGHTT!!!!!!! I'M COUGHING. AND YOOOOOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!! (cough cough, cough cough) YOU'LL SHRIEK IN TERROR AND SHAKE YOUR FISTS!!!! WE  AAAASSSSSKKK whyfortheloveofgodandbeaarthurandstrawberryshortcakesandblueberrypie DON'T IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII HAVE SYPHILIS!!! (cough cough, cough cough) THAT'S RIIIIGGGHTT!!!!!!! I'M COUGHING. AND YOOOOOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!! (cough cough, cough cough) JUST GET OFF  YOUR TREADMILLS AND YOUR BICYCLES TOO I WONDERRRRRRRR whypeopleweartightspandexatthegymthenipplespopoutewwgrossewwgross I HAVE A DOSE OF MY GERMS FOR YOUUUUUU!!! (insert evil cackling in the vein of MUUAAAH AAH AAH AAH) (cough cough, cough cough) THAT'S RIIIIGGGHTT!!!!!!! I'M COUGHING. AND YOOOOOU'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!! (cough cough, cough cough) At this point in the song, I step on a stairmaster as a beam of light shines down on me.  (This is my stairway to heaven, so to speak.) The pretty piano plays softly while a cello swoops in (just for effect, really). I stop stairmastering just as I step into the light.  I turn around to face the audience (and the camera, of course).  I raise up my hands and sing .  .  .  . YOOUUU'RE ALLLLL GONNNNA DIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! (A full orchestra chimes in as all of the people in the gym fall down and collapse.) On second thought.  Eh, I'll probably just stay in my coughing hell. -g (cough cough, cough cough)

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