Bits of Berlin

15 years ago, we first visitied Berlin. Before we were engaged, before we were married, before cruise ships swept us away to sea. It was like a new universe and only the third time I ever visited a country outside of the United States.

Being musically obsessed and a Detroiter, I wanted to seak out every open mic and dive bar in the city. Odd, with all the construction and improvements from WWII, we had no problems finding an abundance of both. On our way to one open jam in the Hackersmarkt neighborhood, we had some tapas at a tiny place called Yo Soy! The bartender told us fabulous stories of his father living on the former East Side, being arrested in the night by the KGB, the wall coming down and how much work was ahead of them (even in the early 2000’s) to create a unified, updated and modern Berlin. We stayed and talked to Tom for way too long and missed the jam.

When we walked into the Blue Note (yes, there’s one in Berlin too), the band was already wrapping up. I overheard the piano player working out the melody to Stardust… He was great, but didn’t quite know the tune. So, I bravely walked up beside him and started singing it in his ear. He turned & the trumpet player next to him said, “This big voice comes from this tiny girl?” And, a 15 year long distance friendship began.

Melissa Behring Lionel Haas Live Jazz Jam Berlin Germany

Lionel Haas, was that keyboard player. We went to ACCUD Jazz Cafe after that to play music with the Africans. After that, we met up at a few other clubs around Berlin where each time I sat in and sang a variety of jazzy numbers that both Lionel and I were familiar with.

Melissa Behring Lionel Haas Berlin Jazz Jam Top Hat

Fast forward to 2019, and I find yet another opportunity to visit Berlin. I called up Lionel and low and behold, of course he had a gig I could sit in on at a club called the Top Hat next to the Zoo train stop. Ironically, it was right under the train tracks. It was like we no time passed, except we were both older and a bit more musically mature.

We played a few songs together and are excited to work on some new material together in 2020. I’ll be back in Germany in April and hope Hamburg will hold as much excitement as it did for us in 2016 and back in 2004 too.


You never know where you are going to make friends and sometimes there will be miles and years between your in person connections, but being open and keeping in touch on the internet sure does help.

Travel Tips on Cancun Mexico

So, my pal, Music with Ms. Carissa asked today about my travel tips for Cancun, Mexico. Here goes!

  1. Be prepared for a wait through customs to enter Mexico. Bring an ink pen so you can fill out your customs form while you wait in that long line. Yes, you have to fill out that bottom section of the form too. You’ll see what I mean… Be patient, the beach isn’t going anywhere.
  2. Leaving the airport: If your resort hasn’t arranged a bus/driver for your convenience, you can easily find a ride as you are walking out the exit through the gauntlet of taxi drivers. Or, you could just email my pal, Jose & he can hook you up with any one of his tour escort drivers that have access to the airport.
  3. There is a margarita stand at the exit of the airport. It is expensive. If you’re thirsty and ready to party, there’s no point in being cheap now.
  4. The drive to the “hotel zone” can be long, but the strip sits on a beautiful set of beach… so relax & enoy that margarita you bought.Isla Mujeres Mexico Travel Cancun
  5. Don’t drink too much alcohol on your first day. I repeat, don’t drink too much… in fact, take that advice for the duration of your entire trip.
  6. Wear sunblock and a big floppy hat… at all times the sun is out.
  7. Drink alot of water (from a bottled source).Mexico Cancun Travel Swimming
  8. Nachos are not authentic Mexican cuisine. Go to Mocambo’s on either Isla Mujeres or in the Hotel Zone. Try their ceviche, you won’t be disappointed.
  9. I’ve never been to Coco Bongos & probably never will, so I can’t vouch for them. However, the alley behind their place has a killer taco stand that makes an authentic al pastor that will set your taste buds a gas.
  10. Check out the funky market at Mercado 23. Buy a piece of pottery as your souvenir. You’ll smile when you put your salsa, guacamole or chips in it while you’re stuck back home wishing you were back on the beach in Mexico.


For some detailed locations to check out during your travels to Cancun Mexico, visit my Google Map

Cancun Mexico To Do Map Travel
Here’s a link to my Cancun Mexico Travel To Do Google Map

Ole! National Margarita Day

Here’s a photo of a lovely margarita I enjoyed while visiting Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It’s a scenic island just north of the popular tourist destination of Cancun.

National Margarita Day Permanent Workation

Many of you have asked if I feel safe in Mexico. Let me start by saying yes, but… I do not venture too far from the general tourist areas. I am not looking for drugs or other ways to cause trouble. I spend alot of time in the ocean and always travel with friends. I do not drink too much alcohol while I am visiting and am always alert. Sounds like common sense, cause it is.

Stupid things happen to stupid people doing stupid things all the time. That being said, don’t be a stupid person. Always watch your back. Pretend like you have a third eye. Trust your gut, if you think it might be unsafe and your intuition feels that way, it probably is.

Melissa Behring Mexico Margarita Travel