Donnerstag, 25. September 2008

*The Noble Savage in Germany*

Germans have this weird fascination with American Indians. For some reason, they take every chance they can to dress up with feathers and headbands and face paint and moccasins and dresses with those dangly leather flap things (even for primary and ward and university activities). Their dances and costumes are never anything close to authentic, not that I can say what "authentic" is. They reflect their ideas of what American Indians would wear (mind you, I also would be stuck with stereotypes if I were to dress up as an Indian, and yes, it is correct to say "American Indian," I emailed the Library of Congress about it once, and I was actually disappointed, because I also thought "Native American" was better).

Anyway, I think this fascination stems from two things, but I don't think they really get down to it. 1. There was this German author named Karl May who wrote all sorts of cowboys and Indians books that sold very well and are now considered classics, though he never traveled to America until after the publication of his books, and then not further west than Buffalo, NY. However, that doesn't explain the success. 2. Maybe Germans' love for nature applauds those who lived "closer" to the land?

Whatever the reason, I wonder that May's American Indians were always perceived as the innocent noble savages and the lasting impression he has left with modern Germans. Was he/were Germans bitter about German settlers going to America? Did Karl May just write so well that interest was picqued and continues to this day? I don't know.

Donnerstag, 18. September 2008

*Soapy Dishes*

Sister Dixon complained to me recently about this one. A lot of people here don't rinse their dishes. They dry with the soap dripping off, or sometimes they're put straight into the cupboard still wet. (Diarrhea, anyone? Maybe that's one of those stubborn ideas that Americans have, like Germans and going without scarves.)

Donnerstag, 11. September 2008

*Bike Ramps*

Germany has these brilliant ramps for all the people who want to
take their bikes or strollers all over. They go in and out of bike stores, up and down stairs to apartments, and to or from bridges (here is the Eiserner Steg in Frankfurt).

Mittwoch, 3. September 2008


As a small continuation from last week, here are the details of recycling in Germany. First of all, don't get discouraged. You'll eventually get it.

This picture only shows three bins, but there are actually four bins and something besides. The first bin includes anything that can be considered non-paper packaging. That's bags, cans, foil, and anything plastic. The second bin is for bio-degradable things. That's easy enough to figure out. The third bin is for whatever is left over after all the separating. The fourth (and unseen) bin holds paper products.

Then, somewhere random that may not necessarily be a bin, you will have your glass items, plastic bottles, and batteries. The glass items are to be split into green glass, clear glass, and brown glass. The plastic bottles are to be separated into groups of those you can get money back for (by simply bringing them to the store), and those that you can't get money for. Those that you can't get money for should go into the packaging bin. Batteries are brought to the store.

Where it gets really difficult is when things are mixed, such as a (paper) egg carton with (biodegradable) eggs shells totally stuck to it, or an envelope that has a plastic "window" where the address goes.

Good luck.
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