30 March 2008

Some family time, some "me" time...

Today we used the car that we rented yesterday to visit the Biosphere in Potsdam. The German took the scenic route to get there and it took 45 minutes and a very pretty drive past bike trails and pretty buildings (I only realized that when the return trip was on the Autobahn and took 15 minutes).

This is only of import because we totally didn't realize that last night was Daylight Savings Time and when we woke up today we were already an hour behind our departure time.

After (a late)breakfast (and putting the carseats in), we scooted out. It's another chilly day here in Berlin and we were looking forward to the tropical atmosphere of the conservatory. They were having a focus on orchids and I am really enthralled by orchids: I had a co-worker that raised them in our office window, but until the German gave me a Phalenopsis recently, every orchid I ever had died. This one has lived beautifully for over 6 weeks and is still gorgeously in bloom. That leads me to believe that my orchid black thumb is not personal but locational and that our current apartment, with its radiators (and therefore not central air) is more conducive to orchid health.

Thing2, above right, is enjoying running around before we enter the dome.

To the right is one of many gorgeous orchids that we saw.

There was a section of seascapes and this was a particularly nice one, with anemones and clownfish. This really made Things 1 and 2 happy (Nemo is one of 2's words). They were lovely and made me wish that I either had the knowledge or the money to have a salt aquarium set up, complete with anemones and anemone dwellers (they all seem to be beautifully colored). I also have a real fondness for sea horses, but I believe that they are difficult to keep in captivity.

Because this was the last day of Easter vacation, there was still an indoor playground set up, with excitingly large and interesting bouncy castles. The girls had a lot of fun with everything (1 helped 2 out a goodly amount of time.) Thing1 also got to to try out the "climbing wall" That didn't work out too well because sheis too small to reach between the holds, but she went from being afraid to try to doing it, so I think that was a victory.

I visted the shop on the way out but wasn't interested in buying the very exotic orchids ( because, of course, I can't take them back to the States with me) so I picked up a Vanilla plant and a Kaffee plant (the former is an orchid, of course) and will see how they do.

Then a bit of a rush home because I needed to go to a book club tonight (first meeting for me of an ongoing club) but the German needed to unload the car seats and return the car first.

I got lost on the way to the meeting place, which was a bit silly: the street I needed started with a different name and changes after a block and so I kept heading the wrong way and being given bad directions by shop kepers and passers-by. When I finally found the building (asked a woman on a bike if she knew where it was- she pointed at the building across the street!) the correct name was not on the door/buzzers and the two I tried without names did not answer.

Then, my handy didn't work (another story which left me with a handy whose pin I did not have on me) and Berlin is not a city of public phones and the three folks I accosted to ask if I might make a local call (like to that building there) from their handy for a Euro said "no". Finally, a restaurant owner directed me to a pay phone, I reached the flat holder, and discovered that there was a second door, which did have her name. Phew!

The club meeting was interesting. The book, The Girl who Played Go, was set in the late 30's Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the protagonists are a Japanese soldier and a Manchurian school girl. The last question was whether we would recommend this book to others and my answer is "Yes, but I don't know to whom." There are scenes of graphic violence that make it unsuilable for some but the writing is lucid, the book is easy to read, and I found both the setting and the characters interesting. There is, however, a tragic ending. The nextbook is one by Amado and I look forward to reading it.

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