An Ethel Among Mermans (thornwolf) wrote,
An Ethel Among Mermans

Observations(lol) of an American in Germany

So folks have been asking me to write down some of my direct observations of things I've noticed in Germany. Please note though, just because these are my observations doesn't mean that this is a "rule" or anything. =)

-Its been noted in several articles of folks visiting to Germany that Germans tend to stare a lot and otherwise make extreme eyecontact with folks and don't have any qualms about it. In the states, eyecontact can be seen as threatening and in some cases a bad thing. Think: Baboons. You make eyecontact with someone on the subway for example, shits either gonna go down or its just downright awkward. Here, I'll be walking down the street and will meet the glance of several Germans who, I don't know if they can TELL I'm foreign or not
(kraut senses tingling?) but they stare into me like they think theyre invisible (not unlike love you ;D )but they mean nothing threatening by it. Theyre just generally interested and want to look I suppose. At first I thought "oh god do I have toilet paper hanging from my pants?" or "did I step between a mother and her cub child?" Nope. They just stare.

- I've been noticing that folks wear the ODDEST color tennis shoes/sneakers with their day wear. For example, someone will be dressed in completely neutral earth tones and will have shockingly red sneakers with red soles and red laces, or neon orange sneakers, or oddly shaped sneakers. It doesnt match at ALL! I don't know if this is a fashion statement or if theyre just comfortable and they didn't have a matching pair or what. I asked Silber and he said this tends to primarily be a Frankfurt thing. Confirm, Deny?
Here's such shoes I'm talking about:
Augh! The colors, Duke, the colors!

- It is physically impossible for these folks to make bad beer. I have had the official WORST Weizen in all of Germany bought from the cheapest store in town and it still didn't suck as much as American beers. For the record the brand name was Karlskrone and it comes in a plastic bottle *heeee!*

-They call most things that aren't side orders but toppings, including dip, "sauces". Guacamole, for example, is "that green sauce you make with avocadoes". Sorry guys, its a dip. This is more than likely a language barrier thing, but I loved watching Solitary Weasel and Silber nom up my guacamole like it was going out of style.

-Ice cream is not as sweet here. I mentioned this in my EF con report but the ice cream here tends to taste much closer to its supposed flavor minus so many sweeteners. Needless to say, the coffee ice cream here is zomg AWESOME!

-The toilets aren't a still pool of water like they are in the states. In fact theyre very deep and have very little water in them. Some models also have a shelf where your um...pee...kind of pools in it before a gush of water pushes it to the lower portion where it goes out of the pipe. This was hard for me to get used to right off the bat, but I think I've been here so long I've forgotten what its like to hear the "tinkle tinkle sploosh" as you would with an american toilet XD Ok that was for something not so TMI

-The clerks here in the grocery store don't have to be nice to you. In fact, they don't even have to stand up while checking your items. They get to sit in chairs. AND!!!! They don't have to bag your groceries for you! You have to do it yourself...oh...and purchase your own bags cuz nothing here is free. Man, this makes being a "courtesy clerk" seem like such a glamorous job =)

-To elaborate on the "nothing is for free" thing, it really isn't. You go to a restaurant and order water, you're paying for that water. There's no sense being a cheap date here, you're better off ordering a beer or a soda or something. Oh and forget about munching on the free bread, you have to pay for that too. Order an appetizer, you look hungry ;P

-When you make the mistake of attempting to be a cheap date and ask for water, it will come to you carbonated and without ice. In fact, nothing comes with ice unless its requested. I prefer things without ice anyways as its still cold, just less watered down. But yeah the carbonated water thing being the norm? I'm in heaven :D (I hate water, and carbonation distracts me enough to forget that it is,in fact, water)

-But while we're on the subject of staying cheap, if you want something with a bit more flavor to it, order a beer. You get MUCH much more for your buck, much more than a cola (which are actually very small here, about half the size of what you'd get in a standard restaurant, but of course, without ice)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

-Cola here has actual sugar in it, not corn syrup. If you are American and are accustomed to the corn syrup you very well may describe German cola as "gritty". You can almost feel the sugar adhering to your teeth. Needless to say I tend to stick to beer and juice here D:

-Also, interesting fact, Hitler had an answer to CocaCola back in the 30's/40's. It was called Afri-Cola, named for the Afrika Corps, and is still in production. Please note the logo =)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Its comparable...but also "gritty". I hate Coke anyways though.

So there you have it. There's lots more I'm leaving out but I gotta let Silber use the computer for a change ;D
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