Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
'Where Angels Fear To Tread` or: Berlin's Building Sites - Uhrgh!
actually I wanted to write a post about a wonderful discovery I made on Monday - I give you a hint: Italy here, around the corner - but I can't do that now: it is too loud.
Almost everybody - at least in Germany - knows that Berlin is a permanent building site. They dig up the roads and tunnels, they build new houses, renovate the old ones - and the symbol for all this might be the Airport Schönefeld - a billion-dollar grave, that will not come to an end, and those that are responsible get even more money instead of social condemnation or prison - and the news even reached other countries and they have a good laugh about this play from the madhouse.
But I can live with that.
More disturbing - because they are very, very near - is the renovation of a house at the end of our street - can you imagine that they stick on to the facade all the stucco ornaments that a mad city council paid to be destructed in the early decades of the 20th century - to make the buildings more "modern" and easier to paint (I believed that the masses and masses of these 'modern' houses were the sad relicts from World War II, but no: these houses had survived the bombs, and then the city paid (!) for 'modernisation'.
An example: both houses are built in the same year.
But more awful (for us) is the drainage that 2 (!) building labourers are giving to our neighbour's house (all the houses in the street, though very posh, are joint by a wall).
The 2 (!) building labours (though I hesitate to use the word "labour") are the typical and perfect impersonators of building labourers.
They arrive between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m.
They turn on their radio. Having often worked with a pneumatic hammer, they are deaf as - a nut. So they need LOUD music - and they SHOUT. Why should other people sleep when they have to work? They discuss this important question before they start to - "work". And because Law allows to start this "work" not before 7 a.m., they use the time before to playfully test their jackhammers - at the wall between the two houses. When the baby of the neighbours starts to cry, they stop and bang on their big big basins - to clean them a bit - better to be done in the morning... more attention...
But the worst thing are their cellphones. I put "Work" into quotation marks to hint at a certain mistrust on my side: half of the time (at least!) they do not work - after the big overture in the morning they rest for an hour, smoke and shout into their cell phones - (nobody told them that a cellphone is a sort of telephone that enables you to talk with a person at normal pitch - but no, not them -- Shout, Shout, Shout! You might hear them easily at the Alexander Platz).
By working very slowly they manage to prolong their "work" till doomsday - this wonderful hot summer is definitely spoilt for those who intended to enjoy their balcony (I flee to other beautiful parts of the city, but the old people can't).
To make it even worse: in our house the landlady has engaged craftsmen to renovate the flat on the groundfloor: wall breakthroughs (we are in Berlin :), floorboard abrasion and varnishing (smell!) and polishing and, and, and - the full monty.
And when I looked out into the Hinterhof (backyard) I saw another couple of workmen (though they finished after three days).
The rents in Berlin soar, because Arabs and Russians and Italians etc buy houses or flats like mad. Sometimes it is merciful that they see only the "new" flats they buy. Since last year a clever salesman let this house beside the KaDeWe be renovated (I only heard Polish sounds at the building site - I think they are good workers, but often are treated and paid not much better than modern slaves). These flats (of about 110 square meters) cost over 1 million Euros each - but with that goes the privilege to look at really sordid houses on the other side of the street, hear the suppliers for the KaDeWe in the very early morning bring tons of flour or lobsters etc - and look into the "patio" which leads to the car park of the KaDeWe.
Sometimes it is very good to have not seen your "bargain" before in its original state...
I'll show you the photos of "before" and "after" in another post.
Till then we'll book a holiday on an island... I think we'll give up...