Friday 20th May 2005 – Kreuzberg
It’s about 9.10am and I’ve not long since woken up. We arrived here in central Berlin/Kreuzberg without any problems at about 8.30pm last night.
The arrangement was to arrive at Gorlitzer Bahnhof and give Henning a call. He told me that he lived right opposite the bahnhof. For the 2-3 minutes it took for him to arrive we looked around Kreuzberg and wondered what he would look like. The craziest man in the world? The scariest man in the world? Suddenly there was someone standing in front of me who had to be Henning. He stood there with a big grin, to all appearances – the friendliest man in the world.
We went up to his apartment and dumped the bags. From Henning’s lounge window, there’s a terrific view of Kreuzberg. It’s a really bustling and vibrant immigrant community.
We went straight out for something to eat. Henning recommended a Vietnamese stall on the street corner. I bought Henning some food and promised to buy his beer for the evening. As soon as the food was ready we stood at the tables and troughed. It was perfect – cheap, filling and absolutely delicious.
After that we went to a bar. Four dunkel hefes later and we’d talked at length about all kinds of nonsense. It was good to get to know Henning and relax.
Back at the apartment, the day really started to catch up on me. Henning offered something to smoke and some red wine – I went for water. I think the fatigue generated some waffle (from my point of view, at least) but then Phil took a turn for the worst and that was really the end of the night.
It seems cruel now but there was something extremely comical about Phil’s rapid demise, deathly white face and contrite demeanour. I got a terrible fit of the giggles and passed it onto Henning. Phil sat at the end of the sofa bed with a glass of water and a banana looking like he’d just been to hell and back.