Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Things I like about Deutschland

I had a feeling before I visited Deutschland that I would like the way they do things. That turned out to be mostly true. First of all, EVERYONE rides bikes. Kids, students, grandmas, blue-collar types, executives, you name it. In fact, this can make for quite a jumble in the "parking lot."

I also very much like the bars/restaurants. Very close to Lisa's apartment is a place called the "Wisse Schwan," or White Swan. (Lisa may have to provide the exact name.) I struck up a very formal relationship with a waitress there (I should have taken a picture of her, you can only see her back in the photo below). She was the only person who asked me why I walked with a limp. I tried to explain to her in broken German why that was, and she expressed her sympathy in broken English. Well, not broken English, really. It was WAY better than my German. Anyway, the folks at the WS are friendly and they have a real live Stammtisch (Regular's Table) where patrons are allowed to bring their doggies. How civilized!

In the above photo, you can see a regular member of the Stammtisch in the lower left. Here's a better picture of Chika:

And finally, in a previous post, I took the Germans to task for their love of cigarettes, a habit I find all things "not German": stupid, illogical, sociopathic and reckless. But that's not for lack of warnings. Check this out!

Obviously, printing "smoking kills" and "smoking causes fatal lung cancer" right on the box in huge letters is quite a bit more progressive than the wimpy warnings we have in the States. (I'm sure my friend Lyle, who designs packaging for a living, blanches at the prospect of such labeling becoming typical in America.)
I hope that someday Americans can easily bike to their favorite pub and take their favorite doggie in with them, even if they have a cancer stick dangling from their lips!

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