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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back from Germany

I was lucky to catch great flights back especially the sunset-flight from Philly to Salisbury which revealed the beautifully complex ecosystem in which we live. I have added a slide show on this blog of some of my photos and will forward this link as soon as I update it.

I really am ambivalent today about Germany, prejudiced by being more than a bit tired, I confess, as I try to figure out if I have jet lag or jet thrust. Any way, if you enjoy European history, particularly castles and palaces at every turn, then definitely head for Germany. If you are into technology, high speed trains,well-kept public transportation and what cars look like in a country where gas is constantly around 5 bucks a gallon, check Germany out for impressive trucks, tiny cars but look out on the Autobahn for those who can afford Mercedes, Audis, BMWs, Ferraris, Maseratis, etc, because they will definitely leave you in the dust as they rip by at, in our guess, roughly 100 to 120 miles per hour. Cars at that speed make a really nifty noise somewhere between a sexy growl and a sexy scream. Sexy-fast is certainly cool in Germany, but I fell for the Smart car which looks like a fish bowl strapped to a roller skate, like you could take one home for a pet. And there is a sports model, roadster looking one, in convertible that looks simply like a roller skate. Just gotta have one.

On the other hand, if you don't like trying to conjure which ramp to take from the Autobahn while zipping along at 89 in the slow lane (there are no route numbers only city-names on the exits and the cities may be hundreds of kilometers from your destination) then maybe Germany may not be for you. Or if you would rather have more than a couple hundred yards of notice before discovering the Germans have dug 3-4 feet into the Autobahn, leaving only one lane for trucks from all over Europe, all those sexy-fast sport cars and your Honda to squeeze into with about 3 seconds of notice, then maybe motor-touring in Germany won't make your wish list. I am positive that only the inordinately lucky are able to find any destination by direct route in Germany, even Germans.

Mark Twain wrote a ton more adequately than I ever could about the German language, and I add only that German is more than a mouthful. Yes, you can probably look at a German caption or brief news article and see words that you will recognize as corresponding to our American, but for sure the words will sound nothing like they look. Consider counting six equals sechs but is pronounced zexs or I think it was, sounded like sex to me. And seven is seiben but pronounced zeebeen or zaybeen? So for some, Germany is enchanting, for others, entz├╝ckend and while you and I smile at strangers we meet on the street, the Germans rarely, zum Lachen bringen and no wonder. I wouldn't be smiling much either if it took all that to say "smile."

I was totally impressed in how quickly the grandkids (OK so I am bragging but take no credit here) have latched onto German and was even more impressed with how granddaughter, Quinn, could show me with her tongue exactly how to form some of the sounds; my old tongue will not move about in my mouth like hers moves and flips and rolls. And what an opportunity they are having to see a different culture and to pick up a second language. More thoughts after some rest, Auf Wiedersehen for now.

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