Monday, 4 August 2014
WTF of the Week: 5 things I will never get used to about Germany
1) The milk
It just tastes...different. I can't put my finger on it. A cup of tea here tastes nothing like the tasty warm beverage I know and love at home, and I'm 100% certain that the milk is to blame. No, I'm not drinking the UHT long-life stuff. Yes, I put it back in the fridge when I'm done. I have spent time typing 'why does the milk in Germany taste grim' into Google and yet to find an answer. It may be purely psychological, but all I know is that I'm not a fan.
2) The banking system
Possibly the most customer-unfriendly set-up I've ever encountered. What kind of bank doesn't let you pay cash into someone elses account? That's plain crazy. Because of this, I had to go to the Postbank and pay 10 poxy Euro just to transfer my rent. UK banks may be a bunch of snakes, but at least they attempt to present a veneer of helpfulness, and sometimes even a cup of tea to ease the pain of collossal waiting times. Not so here.
3) The handshakes. Y SO FIRM?
Germans love them some handshakes, which sounds very jovial until you discover that this is less of a friendly formality, more of an attempt to juice your little fingers like a ripe orange. Their handshakes don't just crush your hands, they crush your very soul. Why? Because you know that no matter how much you squeeze, or train with a wrist-strengthener, you will never, ever come away as the winner from one of these bone-splitters. A handshake of steel is pretty much written into the average German's DNA. I never considered myself to have a particularly weak handshake. Now I see how wrong I was.
4) The supermarkets
- You will rarely, if ever, be able to find everything you want under one roof.
- The only 24 hour supermarket is Kaisers, where you can expect to roughly double the cost of your usual shop.
- The queues are always endless, and there are never enough cashiers on hand.
- They don't open on Sunday. This is a particular bugbear of mine, because if you were too busy/drunk/hungover to replenish your food supplies on Saturday you're essentially fucked if you want to, y'know, eat the next day. The man who runs the spaeti round the corner makes a killing from buying bits and bobs at Lidl, then selling them alongside bottles of Advocaat at a vastly inflated cost when everywhere else is closed. Smart lad.
5) The stairs
Six storey apartment blocks. 34 degree heat. A country that appears to be violently opposed to the idea of lifts in residential buildings. My smoke-tarnished lungs can't handle this kind of abuse. I may ask the Hausmeister to install a Stena stairlift.
Betti Baudelaire xxx