The Eastern Guards surprised us. They were all really friendly, joked around with us, etc. Those on the border are almost all young but picked on the basis of family in the East since it is easy for them to escape. Guards are picked who have family the East who would suffer too much if they did.
Western Berlin is full of modern buildings, well dressed people, much prosperity and is a bustling lively city. In the east you see big boulevards sporting only a handful of cars (no Volkswagens), few people on the streets, old worn styles and poorly dressed people (no high heels, leather coats, etc.) small dingy stores. All the big buildings, museums, operas, theaters and cathedrals were cut off in the Eastern Sector and now those gorgeous buildings are empty and literally falling apart. It is very sad to see and only by seeing it does the real impact hit you. There are huge red signs all over buildings concerning youth, the party freedom, co-existence, etc.
We drove down the Karl Marx Allee, blocks of new modern but poorly built buildings. A gift from Moscow. There were police all over. We were continually watched, even through binoculars. When we noticed this, we waved and about three blocks away a policeman watching us through glasses waved back.
In the afternoon we went back to the West, each pondering what we'd seen. As we left we could see Easterners and Westerners standing as close as they could get to the the wall and barbed wire, gazing at the other side.