I first arrived in Berlin the way I arrive for the first time in most cities: in dire need of exactly seven beers. I thought those beers were miles away, but what should greet me at the entrance to the station but a kiosk loaded with colorful plastic screw-top bottles of what was surely the German answer to Miller Light.
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I bought my first bottle and seamlessly blended into German culture.
I staggered up to the cashier with the wide, hopeful eyes of a child:
"Is this ... can I drink this here?"
The man laughed, but he did so in German, which sounds like a cross between a cough and a death threat. Of course I could drink down here. Germany doesn't have many fucks in its Fickbunkern to spare for people drinking in public, as long as they don't make a mess. Life in American cities made me expect such an attitude to be repaid a thousandfold in street urine and alley vomit, but no. Berlin is cleaner than any major American city I've ever seen, including Disney World.
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So much blood.