October 14, 2016 by anelim
This blog started on 1 October 2012 when I came to Berlin for 300 days. It was called, of course, 300 days in Berlin, and ended 300 days later. Now I’m back! And I don’t even have a time limit on my stay this time. I hope to stay much longer than 300 days. The current plan is for at least 1826 days.
But the number 1826 takes us into contested political history territory. Some events were unequivocally positive for human culture, such as the establishment of University College London in the year 1826 (sensibly known as London University for the first decade of its existence, and more confusingly named ever since). Others were exciting in a local pride or engineering sort of way, such as the opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, linking the Isle of Anglesey with the north-west coast of Wales. It was also appreciated by the sheep. Some were responses to evils of the day, such as the establishment of the American Temperance Society on a damp and grey Monday, 13 February 1826, in wind-swept Boston, by a bunch of people convinced of the perils of alcohol consumption. The founders celebrated their newly-taken pledge to abstain from distilled beverages by sharing pints of local brew. But others were less happy, such as the perilous flight of 10,500 Greeks from Messolonghi after a year’s siege by Turkish forces, the bloody riots in the Lithuanian capital Vilnus which caused the death of many Jewish citizens, or the invasion of native Mexican territories by a certain Benjamin W. Edwards who promptly declared himself ruler of what he called the Republic of Fredonia.
So no, in this blog I shan’t step into the marshy waters of world history with my cheap, non-waterproof historian’s shoes. Instead, it will document, similarly to its time-limited predecessor, the first-hand experiences of an Idle Ethnographer going native in a bustling city. It will have pictures, because picture speak louder than a thousand misspelt German words, and because the Idle Ethnographer has never really been properly idle, and will mostly be busy working on other more grown-up pursuits, such as trying to earn a living and to lead a fulfilling offline life. But it will also have some words and stories. And hopefully readers, browsers and commenters. Readers are most important. Though browsers are useful too. My favourite one currently is Chrome.