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Thursday, December 17th, 2015 08:30 pm
To finish the post I made earlier about Berlin, I paid a visit to c-base one evening. I had directions which amounted to 'cross this bridge, take the second left, walk through a series of archways until you can't go any further, then you're there'. Even though I could just as easily have looked up the location and let my phone guide me, the experience of following directions and not knowing for certain that I'd arrive until I actually did just added to the atmosphere of the place when I got there. Again, through dark, private-looking courtyards, past some incredible art nouveau tiles made by a company called Golem, and behind an industrial-looking door, was a corridor/tunnel dimly illuminated by blinkenlights and a touchscreen inviting you to be scanned in. Inside, the walls were covered in electronics, projected graphics demos, and hundreds of lights and switches. For the first half hour or so I just wandered around, taking it all in and listening to snatches of conversation. Then I bought a schwarzbier, and stood watching a game of Go between two long-haired guys who wouldn't have looked out of place at Intrusion. I've not played for a few years, so much of the game I struggled to follow, until a lock-picking event started up at the next table along. I moved over, said hello, and had a go at opening a couple of locks with rakes, picks and tension wrenches. Trying to discuss picking techniques without any lock-specific vocabulary was a little tricky, but with some help, I managed to reliably get one lock opening with a rake, and another, unrakeable one picked open once. There was also a door and frame on wheels, for practice on installed locks, although I didn't attempt that.

Earlier in the evening, I had been to look for a VolksKuchen, which I'd heard of from Ross and the internet as a communal kitchen, probably full of crusty/hippy-type people, where I could get something to eat, and a chance to meet people and chat a bit in German. I turned up at a warehouse in Storkower Strasse and wandered about, looking for any sort of activity, which I eventually found behind a closed door - an improptu bar, with the plumbing obviously hacked-up so that there was a bucket underneath where the waste should be. The guy who opened the door was obviously confused by why I was there, and my attempts to explain didn't get very far until he found somebody else, who realised what I was asking, and told me that nobody was organising it, but I was welcome to stay and have a beer.