I’m on vacation. And I’m back. Back in the cold. Back in the old. Back in the winter. Back in the wealth (unfortunately not mine). I’m back in Germany. And it has been the coldest flight ever, maybe TAM wanted to prepare me for the late autumn in Germany, which feels so much colder than I remembered. As a result I got a cold even before I landed in Germany! And overwhelmed by too many impressions, here is only a quick list of things that struck me as odd in good old Germany.
In the Brazilian summer you have to cool down to survive. And since it is summer in Santos most of the time, going to a store, the shopping center or taking the bus (or plane) means feeling the cold breeze of air condition. In Germany on the other hand the outside temperature in Frankfurt was 7 degrees. Entering the airport I felt the familiar warm breeze of a heating system. Such a relief.
I remember how strange it seemed, to not throw toilet paper into the toilet in Brazil and in all the Latin American countries I have been to. Because, you know, the toilet usually handles stuff quite bigger than toilet paper, so why not throw this in there? But since I am and adaptive person, I learned to throw toilet paper into the small trash can beside it. And today, after living in Brazil for a year, it feels strange to not care about this anymore and throw the toilet paper into the toilet.
Houses in Germany usually have a central heating, where warm water is produced for the heating in the rooms as well as for shower etc. What a pleasant surprise it is to open the water at the kitchen sink (or in the bathroom) and feel warm water running over your hands. Especially nice when it is damn cold on the house.
In general Germans don’t have the best reputation for being friendly. We like to blame it on our honesty, but the truth is: it is more complicated. A lack of humor has also a role in it. And, let’s face it, a general unfriendliness of some Germans (there are regions where people are amazingly friendly). An example? When boarding the plane to Berlin in Frankfurt, I was in one of the first groups to board the plane (because I was sitting in the back). But there were a bunch of people standing in front of the gate and it was not quite clear, if they were standing in line or not. So I asked a woman “Excuse me, are you standing in line?” I received not only a furious look back but also the words: “No, I am just standing in the way quite stupidly.” And she was. And I don’t know if this was meant to be funny, but the aggressive undertone was quite remarkable.
The Berlin Air
It is said to be special and people usually refer toe the city atmosphere, which is fascinating indeed. Despite the fact that the city has been overrun by moneymakers and international cooperations for some years which are trying hard to transform the city into one of the boring pieces of global consumerism. But there is in fact something special about the air too. You can smell this even on the airport: it’s a hint of fir trees on a sand soil, from the big woods, that surround the city. Wonderful.
Germany is known for cars, beer, football technology, Hitler, chocolate, wine and many other things. But one of it’s main features is bread. Really! You don’t find such a variety of awesome and healthy types of bread anywhere in the world. In even the most simple German bakery you will find not only the white baguette-style bread or rolls, that you can find all over the world, but at least a dozen types of bread and rolls. And cakes. And sweet stuff. It’s a paradise.