Gefuhl: GEKITZELT AMUSIERT
(Translation: Feeling Tickledly Amused).
Now before we say Auf Wiedersehen to Germany and embark on the Emirati explorations, just a couple (ok, a fair few) little nuances and foibles that are distinctly Deutsch (and before you think I’ve lost my nanny and am all confused and misspelling as to where I am, “Deutsch” means German in the native dialects).
- Listing Location Number Plates
So all German vehicles have number plates (as do all in all other parts of the word, but go with where I’m headed), with every single one stating where abouts the owner within resides. So say the man manning the wheel lives in life in Munich; his number plate will start will the letter M. Likewise with one reigning from Berlin – theirs will begin with a B. Smaller cities and towns get the double and triple letter going, with Ostallgau stating an OAL and Starnberg declaring an STA.
Up until a year ago if you relocated your locality from one city to another you would have to go to the place distributing car licences and registrations and all that, and inform them of your move. There, you would have to hand in your former plates and would be presented with a new set with your new place of habitation listed at the forefront. Now however, this has changed that you just need to go into the facility and notify them of your change of abiding being altered and you can keep your initial plates.
It makes for great jolly scott fun on the autobahn, roads or simply when walking down a street to be able to pinpoint where a car’s possessor comes from (provided they haven’t moved to Munich in the last 365 days, of course). (Wait; 366. 2016 twas a leap year, my friend).
- The German Linguistic Brolly
When at school and under the tuition of one Mrs Crosswell in a bid to learn her mother argot of German (I’m afraid my proficiencies in the lingua franca extend no further than hello (“hallo”), good morning (“guten morgen”), goodbye (“auf wiedershehen”), please (“bitte”), thank you (“danke schoen”), and pencil sharpener (“pecil spitzer”)), I was under the impression that there was one all-encompassing lingo that was used by all of Germany as a whole – mate, not the case. Rather, what with Germany alone home to a good 80 million people as well as the language being the patois of a number of other countries (think Austria, Luxembourg, parts of Switzerland and Belgium), there are more than 200 different dialects that all come under the German umbrella.
Thus, different regions all have their own twist and take on the tongue, with phrases, aphorisms and apothegms patently coming from different places. Case in point, the southern German expression that is often well, expressed, to say hello; “Grugott”, which actually translates as “greeting God”. Mel said that if saluted in such a saying, you know the person extending the addressing hails from the south.
Further still, people from different regions have very different accents, which you can most definitely pick up upon if you listen closely to a Berlinean and a Municher (not actually terms, my own takes I must profess) having a wing wag (ditto).
- Doggone It
I was rather flabbergasted to be aboard the bus and witness a lad clamber up with his German Pinscher in tow. The two sat down upon a seat and the bus busted on its journey, no one but I batting an eyelid at all.
I turned to Mel to ask about the unusual activity and she explained that – provided the pooch behaves politely – canines are allowed on public transport and even in restaurants (not just outside, but actually in them). Imagine! Dogs given the go to frequent car compartments and cafes! (Though now I think about it, I was so in marvel I didn’t ask if hound passengers are required to click on and off).
- Entitlement to Titles
Germany differs from New Zealand in the way that on meeting someone, you are not instantly on a first name basis (or in Aus’ case, nicknamed with an “o” attached to your terming). Rather, the honorific – that being Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss (though nowadays “miss” has been dropped on the more often occasion for just the “Ms” option) and the surname are used until relations have developed enough to just pull the “Jessica”.
It took me a few days of thinking that “Frau” was an extremely common Deutsch name for females, when I realised (upon recalling I called old Cross Crossman “Frau”), that it actually is the main female title term. So at the local Aldi (supermarket conglomerate chain), not all of the checkout operators actually carried the same Christian appellation – it was just that their badges boasted out with a “Ms”. And surprisingly (well to me, anyway), this was also the case with the younger staff also, with girls no older than their late teens also being tagged as a “Frau”.
- Oh Point Phonological Employment
I love love love hearing people with English as their second language speak, and hearing their more utilised phrases and when they get it slightly not wrong, but different. Mel is my favourite, with some of her locutions spoken bringing back such memories of her exclaiming them out back in NZ. Among my favourite are, “What the crap is that”, “What the hell is that” and (the actually quite common – I came across it a lot in Holland) “It’s not very funny”, that being used in a number of contexts that ae often nothing to do with hilarity. (Annelies would often state it upon a sad situation, such as a person being unwell – “No, it’s not funny”).
And I had to smile in completely charmed-ment upon Joachim looking down to see both his shoes untied and singing out, “Oh! Both my shoes are open!”.
Like I said, not necessarily wrongly using the language and words in any regard, just in a unique utilisation that totally enchants.
- Alternative Adieu
Another language surprise: often, the Italian “ciao” is employed in farewelling a friend, which on first encounter took me aback. It seems my proud parting of “Auf Wiedersehen” is somewhat more formal, thus the locals turn to a more casual counterpart.
- Native Narration
Watching TV in Holland saw (literally) many shows imported from America especially, with some from the UK. Each was screened with Dutch subtitles as way of the people being able to understand what was going on. However, in Germany, the majority of the programmes are done over in the German language with voice overs well, over top of the actual original characters. It was in the Joachim and Mel’s local on the first night that this was discussed, with their friend Timo explaining how with Germany being so massive, the expense of it all is not so much, while in places such as the Netherlands and Norway the smaller populations and thus less money for such matters, it is cheaper to subtitle.
- Terrific Termings
German words just look and sound so damn fabulous. It doesn’t even matter what they mea – although this often just makes them manifold more magnificent. Like, take into consideration “handschuh”, which translates as “hand shoes” for the terming of gloves. Extraordinary, no? And “brustwarzen” for nipples, meaning “breast warts”. “Drachenfutter” is the present a wrongdoing husband buys for his wife, “gluhbirne” is a lightbulb and “zahnfleisch” is used to refer to gums. Better yet, the words get so long as terms are joined together to make one; a pram is a “kinderwagen”, as a cart for a child, and “rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften” is when insurance companies provide legal protection. Mate, it’s absolutely my kind of idiosyncratic patter.
- Loo and Behold
The surveying shelf of the expelling stool (one of my most witty word plays). You see (well, you will if you actually use them), the typical German toilet has a little ledge for “laying and displaying”, so upon doing your business your waste is plopped out (apologies, I couldn’t think of any other way to phrase it) (actually that’s a lie; I just liked the way it sounded) on a mantelpiece for examination. So you can sit and scan, scrutinise and stare at your excrement for as long as you like, it being sucked under and away only when you flush.
Why so? Well, it is truly for the pooper to examine their scatological material for any abnormalities, a wise and healthy practice that is the best defence against intestinal diseases. Also – an added plus – the botty doesn’t get splashed upon a large offload, apparently.
- Apprises up for Grabs
As with England, newspaper stands are all over the show given the sheets of current events away for free. I really like this idea; it means the general public are more likely to be on the uptake of affairs and what not, as on passing by to catch the train or bus the option is open to grab a daily and have a gander.
- Getting Trolly-ed
During my stay Mel and I went to a fair few supermarkets (one of my favourite things to do in different countries is to ramble about the rows and take in all the different products and what not) and at each, a trolley was only able to be taken upon popping a coin in a slot to release it from its chained up lock.
This struck me as rather odd; I mean, I could understand the fee in some regards as a means to perhaps maintain the carts and such lark, but it seemed quite the determent for shoppers to do a big grocery grab in one go. I mean, having to part with extra money, even a euro, would surely send some in the way of only getting provisions that would it in the free basket?
I was contemplating the fact that if I ever owned a store my carts to cavort would always be free as I placed our finished-with trolley back in its tie-up, when suddenly the coin I had inserted 20 minutes early hurtled out of the slot and careered into my eyeball. When my bamboozlement disapparated (and my sight returned) I realised that the coin charge wasn’t a fee but actually more of a down payment that was refunded upon the trolley’s return.
- Pick of the Bunch
Often seen around Munich (and apparently other parts of the country also) are large yellow and red signs declaring “Blumen”, that being flowers. The billboards are above paddock-like parks, where little gardens have been planted and an honesty box sort-of system is in place; that being, you are able to bust on in and pick your blossoms, placing the correct charge in a wooden chest presenting the price of each. I thought it such a cute and sweetly quaint idea of older times (not that I ever lived in the 70s or such, but I feel I would have bloomed if I had).
- Hindered Help-Yourself
You know how chemists and some stores such as The Body Shop and Lush have testers to try? Well I am quite the one for launching in and lathering myself with gusto. And I have never had an issue with it; staff have always, and I mean always, been happy to assist me as I make over myself with moisturiser and spritz myself with spray (though I must admit, at times in duty free I do pretend I am a potential purchaser). But in Germany, the two times I went in for some eye serum (and I was actually wanting to buy some for once as well) my sampling of the stuff was met with narrowed eyes, a sharp stalk over and a hissy, “What do you want?”. Rather ruffled, I openly wiped the lotion (strawberry sorbet scented, it was really quite delicious) upon my big bags and replied, “To try your TESTERS”, and stalked out myself.
(Berating myself later because that stuff was brilliant).
- Deutsch the Done Dialogue
I was quite surprised (again; I know, it seems quite the commonality, does it not?) to find that English being spoken was far more common in Dutchland than it is in Deutschland. Maybe it was just the matter of the people I came across in each place, but I found the Nederlandic people were far more likely to know enough to have a conversation in English, while in Germany there was many a time I came across people that spoke none. For some reason I had I had in my head that Germanic persons would be abler in English; though when you really consider it, why would they? What with many a more people speaking dialects of the same, it would get you a lot further than those only speaking Dutch and some such.
(The ability of almost all to speak at least a little of at least one other lingo has me once again feeling insanely lacking. I think it is incredible the ability of some of these speakers and am determined to get on the same stage and converse in other countries’ conversations).
- On Board (Floor, that is)
Random one at number 15 that could be completely wrong, but in my experience – that being no more than four German abodes – carpet is not at all common inside Deutsch homes. Rather, wooden floors and linos seems to be the go.
- The Barmaids doing a Nelly
Something that I saw on the often was the typical barmaid made up in the traditional German dress, being the lederhose. But what gave me a good giggle that I came across a good four or five that had decided against the footwear of the times of their attire, instead wearing Nike Air Force 1’s. Honestly, it was hilarious to see them strut out with these clompy, all white, (or all black as the pic above – didn’t manage to capture any blanders) ticked kicks upon their feet. I always felt like saying, “You Can Do It” and seeing if any of them go my drift.
- Plane-ly what all Airports Need – A Watch Podium
And last but not least, seeing as it was the last thing I took note of before flying out, a thing that should be staple at every aviation location: a big viewing hill to watch planes land and take off. I mean, for someone like me who is in her element in observing aeroplanes maybe more so, but the idea of it is so on point and pleasant I think all other airports need to wing it, take flight and land some of their own.
So not only is it now time to bid bye bye to Germany, but it is also time to exit out on Europe. Just under three months gallivanting about its grounds has gone oh so fast, yet it feels like a million yonkeys ago that I adventured away from Auckland.
But it is not quite home time just yet; the week ahead has a week in United Arab Emirates on the books, which I am mightily looking forward to. Aside from the pumped-ness to see my Uncle Adrian, the idea of being in a city with aspects of India in it has me reaching for my “Bali” pants.
To the Emirates! (Plane and place).