Hello everybody! I would post more even though I’m on vacation but it is not easy on the road. It is amazingly difficult to log on from Western Europe…more so from Germany than anywhere else so far. Internet cafes are a rarity here and few hotels have Wifi. If they do have Wifi, it is expensive. By expensive, I mean it costs over 22 euros (about $30 USD) for a 24 hour period. That’s right, $30 a day for an internet connection. So, no offense, I’m watching my connection time as I never have, not since the olden days when AOL charged by the hour. Remember that? Over 13 years ago? Well, that’s what it’s like in modern Germany. It’s rather shocking really. Even Colombia, a “third world” country is much more connected and much less expensively than a modern nation like Germany. Weird huh?
Speaking of Germany, today was Reunification Day, a very big holiday here being the 18th anniversary of the wall coming down. We went down to the Brandenburg gate with the rest of the city to celebrate. It was very strange for me. Some of you are so young, I don’t know if you can understand but it is still strange that there are not two Germanys anymore and not two Berlins (where we are now). Those of us who lived here during that time, could not have imagined life any other way. I lived in Germany from 1966-1977 (age 5 through 16). Of course many people dreamt of the wall coming down and being able to meet with their families again but it wasn’t something anyone really believed would happen. It was only a hope, something you dream of but in the manner of grey nebulous wishes you never bother to define with a hard edge because it will never happen. Sort of like planning a unicorn barbecue.
I enjoy Germany very much but Germans are not musicians (anymore); engineering is more their thing, not design. All of the music we heard at the RU party was from U.S. “artists”. Everywhere you go here, you hear music from the 70’s. I’m listening to the same music I did when I left thirty years ago. The tunes were in English of course. I didn’t see very many cool (german) clothes either. Germans are good at the execution and precision of cutting and producing but not at originating new creative or outlandish ideas as we think of them when it comes to fashion. We laughed a lot at some young men who tried to dress like urban hip hop people in the states. I remembered this because we were watching a german rapper on stage at the RU party. We agreed that if he or any of the young german “hip hop” males were magically transported to a rough patch in LA, we weren’t sure if the hip hoppers there could stop laughing long enough at their ensembles and accouterments to take offense and kick their butts.
Just like in France, dogs are everywhere. You can’t always pet them though, the owners get upset; I think dogs are an extension of the owner’s person. Some owners didn’t mind tho. One intimidating tattooed and body pierced tough guy today enjoyed that I pet his dog. It was a whippet mix, he was cold poor thing. The dogs never seem to mind. I always tell the dogs that I’m giving out free pets today and let them smell my hand before I try to touch them and they all seem to warm up to that. While they like free pets, I think they’d like free kuchen or free sausage even better but I haven’t had any handy.
A really weird thing. When we first got here, I was very excited that so many of the restaurant signs were in Spanish, making it easier to order (I don’t know how to say “I’m a vegetarian” in German) and helping to define choices altho some of it was strange; burritos were called quesadillas for example. It turns out, very few people speak Spanish, only the people who came from Cuba when this was the Soviet Bloc. A restauranteur explained to me that Spanish became very fashionable a few years ago and now, all the signs and menus are in it but not many people really speak it. Still, there’s tons of Argentine steak houses. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since there’s lots of Germans in Argentina. Both cultures are very meat centered.
Anyway, Mr Fashion-Incubator and I will continue with our testing and quality reviews of German breweries and bakeries and report our findings later, assuming we can still waddle to an airport to get back.