Some observations

February 5, 2009

Yes, you can smoke almost anywhere.  Not in train stations or fancy department stores, but pretty much everywhere else.  I got some middle eastern food today and there was a cigarette vending machine in the restaurant.

You can also take your dog anywhere.  More places than you can smoke.  As I was heading to the electronics store this morning, I saw a guy feeding his dog right there in the mall, on the linoleum floor.  Also, the vast majority of dog owners do not use leashes.  Many carry them in their hand, but they are not attached to a dog. Which means that on average, dogs here are about a thousand times more well behaved, since they have to cross 4 lane boulevards with streetcar tracks in the middle without getting run over.  I am impressed.

I am also impressed by the bike riders here.  There are a lot (like, I lived in Portland and there are a lot) and they are hardcore!  It’s February!  The temperature hasn’t been more than a few degrees above freezing since I got here!  Granted, most of them are wrapped up and still look miserable, but still, I’m waiting until spring to buy a bike.  (and for you bike snobs like me out there, this city is littered with mountain bikes, but it seems that the cool kids ride cruisers.  I’ve only seen one or two nice fixed gears or single speeds).  What is interesting, though, is that most of the bikes are really beat up.  Rusty chains and scrapped paint abound.  Then again, bike riders seem pretty casual about locks – I’ve seen a number of bikes without locks, or with one just around the nearest piece of the frame.  Perhaps there isn’t a lot of theft, or only theft of nice looking bikes.  People certainly don’t seem worried about their wheels being stolen.  The city is pretty flat, though, which means I am excited for the weather to get better so I can start getting around a bit faster and freer.  There are bike lanes everywhere: either on the street, marked and often cordoned off from traffic or on the sidewalk, denoted in a different color brick.

What I have learned in the course of writing this: German youth have horrible taste in music.  The group next to me is going through their mp3 collection and I can’t say I’m impressed.  Then again, I suppose I didn’t expect to be.


One comment

  1. You should be the first in Deutchland to rock a scrapper bike!

    Ok, no more Hegel jokes, but what about other German Philosophers?

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