Eurovision host country 2011
Actually this isn’t about Eurovision – except my friend from the US has no idea what it is. Me and some British exchange students are going to educate her tomorrow night.
I have about two and a half months left in Germany and I thought I should list some differences. This will probably sound like a rant but really, nothing much bothers me about this country. If it does I’ll say.
There is a main topic that I’ve been following in Australia and that is about the R18 ratings for games. I like how Germany has done their’s here, a photo from Saturn, kinda like JB HiFi but bigger with fridges etc.
You can easily tell which games are for what age group. No little kids getting their mittens on the other games. Downside – in Germany they are really touchy about violence and such, so sometimes games are edited or not allowed to be displayed or advertised in the store. That is really stupid as some times the games are altered to not give a realistic example of what happens if you shoot someone.
Despite the price of the tickets, DB is worth it, especially if its group travel. They have many excellent deals. The Bayern ticket is quite awesome. With it you can take all local public transport in Bavaria, for up to five people. And weekend travellers can get a Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket for all local transport all over Germany for 5 people or for parents and their unlimited children under 14.
On all the major stations one can get one of these 50 cent cups of tea/coffee/hot chocolate/soup. It’s an excellent idea, especially if you are on a platform, wet, freezing in -1 degree celsius on your way home from a concert at 11pm. But then again, all of DB makes sense, its relatively clean, on time (in the day time) and I think you get what you pay for.
Here in Bayern they have only just changed the laws so there is no smoking in bars. It’s weird to watch people leave their handbags on their tables with their beers to go outside to smoke. So many people smoke. There are smoking vending machines for crying out loud! One in my building (don’t know if it works) and two within a 3 minute walk. They don’t sell lighters unfortunately. That would be funner.
I find it very safe walking around Erlangen in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t walk from the other dorm building a block away to here in the middle of the night back home. God, I’d be afraid of being attacked going for a walk around my block. It might be because people are friendlier or I don’t know. It seems that the Franconian’s are willing to help you if you ask for it. Otherwise they just ignore you.
One thing I especially love is the amount of bicycles and that they have right of way. The thing I love more so is my bike Hercules, and that I don’t have to wear a stupid helmet. Might’ve mentioned that before. But it is seriously the best thing. I rode 12 kms the other day. I better be fit by the time I fly out in the last week of July.
The shops are not allowed to open on Sundays in Bayern so that means you have to have all your food organised by 8pm Saturdays. After working in Woolworths on Sundays I understand from that point of view, but when I run out of something I’m craving, or my milk goes off I really don’t like it. And it’s a major trek to the petrol stations and they cost so much.
Here in Germany you can get an Austrian delicacy of the scnapps kind. It’s called Ficken, the PartyScnhaps and it rocks. It tastes like Ribena but alcoholic and you can only get it from the local “Adult” store or a supermarket 1.5km ride away. For 11euro its pretty damned awesome. I’m going to have to find a way to import it.
Yeah, don’t say Ficken around many native German speakers. It’s kinda rude. I love the attitude to alcohol in this country. Actually the attitude to many things is “If you’re an idiot you pay the price”. No nanny-state here, except getting your license and the violence censorship thing. It’s a lot nicer. Everyone seems to get drunk here, yet I’ve seen one almost fight. In all that drinking you’d think there’d be more. I think it’s because people are taught to drink properly, like one with dinner and whatnot. Not like home where it’s like “you must not drink, you will die!” except when you are 18, then everyone goes nuts. The legal age for beer and wine here is 16, depending on the situation eg not in certain bars. That’s what is annoying. Germany has made me realise that there is too many safety nets for morons at home. I say, let them kill themselves.
Easter and spring here are pretty big. For instance, every shop had hares or eggs. Some still have hares. The major shopping mall had real bunnies.
So yeah. That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ll be back later.
Lovely to hear from a UOW student in Germany. Seems like you belong there.. you’ve navigated the transition relatively easily.
The subtle differences – like bikes as a mode of transport, smoking in public places, variations in alcoholic beverages, violence (or lack there of), vending machines, safety nets within society etc etc — all really astute observations.
Looking forward to the next installment.
May 17, 2011 at 10:04 am
I really enjoyed your German insights and am particularly intrigued by your ‘let all the morons go ahead and kill themsleves’ comment. How are things different in Germany in that respect? Does that translate into state attitudes towards things like health care? cost of education ? I’d be interested to hear more about their social services.
I foresee you will find some aspects of Australia hard to take when you get back! what do you think you will miss most(apart from that Ficken of course!)?
May 18, 2011 at 4:09 am
It’s just my own view that there is too much “don’t do this you might die” in Australia. Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t ride without a helmet, don’t go too near the cliff despite there being a railing there to stop you falling anyway. For me it seems that Germany have a lot more personal responsibility. They recommended getting liability insurance in case you scratch someone’s car and they sue you for millions of dollars. I agree, it is your fault, but you should only be sucessfully sued if you don’t pay to fix the scratch personally. It’s also against the law if someone is lying on the ground and you don’t stop to help them. You have to call an ambulance.
I think education is pretty cheap. For uni they only pay 500euro a semester. Only problem is that you need that and money to live, but if you start making too much you aren’t counted as a student. I think most people have private health insurance and hospitals are pretty well organised. However I am living in a town with a huge medical student population and a ton of specialised hospitals.
I am also in the richest German state so maybe I haven’t seen a bad side to this personal responsilbility thing.
May 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm