berlin love (free print downloads).

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

   For today’s installation of my print project, I’m honoring Berlin. It was the first time in P’s and my relationship that we got to live in the same city (let alone the same country). We lived there for two years and travelled all over Europe together using it as our base, and the only tragedy about that is I wasn’t into photography then. Jetting off to Istanbul or Cote d’Azure or Santorini, or even Cairo -a new place, often two, every month was part of the beauty of living there. Loads of our friends visited us there also, so we have many lovely memories with them. When my sister studied abroad in Copenhagen for 6 months we got to see her monthly, and that’s more than I’ve gotten to see her in a long time.
     P moved there first for a Fulbright fellowship and after saying he’d be back in 10 months (famous last words), good career opportunities presented themselves and eventually I moved there to teach Math at an international school (hi T!) so we could be together. Berlin, the city of too cool for school hipsters (you think Williamsburg is bad?), artists and “artists”, parties like you’ve never seen, cheap rents (like huge, 15 foot ceiling 120 sq mtr apartments for 1,000 euros cheap), bombed out buildings, an incredible public transport system, and of course the Flachspüler.   
     I put a heart on Yorckstrasse, the stop of the aforementioned incredible apartment. Not everyone lives at Yorck so here and here are the two maps without a heart (you could add one in any simple program, even Word). I’m most proud of this series so far, it took me forever to remove the backgrounds and get U-bahn system/bear/skyline to be the only thing that’s left (I’m a photoshop novice).
For private, non-commercial use only, danke schoen
1. & 2. Berlin’s metro map, 3. The Berlin coat of arms, and 4. The Berlin skyline.  

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Also this is for our Berlin friends who made the best photo-booth that ever was:

these are the days of miracle and wonder…

     One lucky thing about living in different countries around the world is that you get to take a little ownership of many different cultures. It’s always cool when those cultures mix in a way you hadn’t previously realized.  Paul Simon’s Graceland album was a staple on family road trips in a lot of childhoods of people around our age group. We were too young to remember or fully comprehend the controversy Simon caused when he came here to Johannesburg to record it in 1985; he was breaking the international cultural boycott against South Africa and her apartheid government (though the album showcased black South African musicians and obviously didn’t support the apartheid government). For the 25th anniversary of the Graceland album, the documentary Under African Skies examines that controversy through footage of recordings and tours, and interviews with Simon, Paul McCartney, David Byrne, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri, Joseph Shabalala and many more.
    It was really cool and touching to see the story behind such a fixture of American culture that was recorded right here in the city I love and live in as an adult. 25 years after it was made, apartheid is a thing of the past, but the country still hasn’t yet fully healed.
    I can’t decide on my favorite moment of the documentary. One was the interviews with Joseph Shabalala and other members of Ladysmith Black Mamabazo about their trip to the U.S. to promote the album and perform on Saturday Night Live. When they got to NYC, they asked Simon where they must go to get a pass to visit Central Park, it hadn’t sunk in yet that they were free to go where they pleased.
Here’s a good excerpt of all the artists sing N’kosi Sikeleli (then the unofficial and now part of the national anthem) and another one of Miriam Makeba and Paul Simon singing Under African Skies. 

an afrikaner and a zulu walk into a bar….

i want to unload write about crime and security and our daily routine of keeping safe in this infamous city….it is a huge pain in the @ss to get used to and being a slave to keeping safe and the car is the hardest adjustment to make for me. instead, since i have tons of unpacking and countertop painting to do i’ll leave you a funny south african commercial for the ford bantam. apartheid just ended in 1994 so it’s interesting and funny (and a relief as a foreigner?)when south africans can and do laugh at themselves.

4th october, 2011