Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Frijoles! and Other Tidbits

* Thanks to Aunt Suzanne, who sent us Wholly Frijoles: The Whole Bean Cookbook in response to my complaints about the lack of refried and other canned beans in Germany :)
When the envelope arrived I noticed that it looked a little funny and I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized it was because it had no customs declaration on it! And, it got here faster than any previous mail from the US, in only 5 days. Hmm, could this be this a new trick to get mail to get here fast and actually make it to our door? Might be risky....

* Saturday night we were in Frankfurt. We were supposed to be meeting up with Nathan and Michelle, but after we got all the way there (at IC/ICE rates no less) they bailed. It wasn't a total loss because we got to hang out with a class friend of mine, Yesim, though she comes to Heidelberg every two weeks so I didn't really need to go up there to see her. Anyway, there was a huge festival going on and as the three of us were walking through, Yesim (who is Turkish) saw a guy completely covered in tattoos. She said to us, "Look at that guy's tattoos! He must be American." Hahah, I had no idea that full-body tattooing was seen as a particularly American thing. I don't know much about the history and fashion of tattooing, though.

* This article was in the news earlier this week: Cardboard Children Used to Slow Neighborhood Speeders. I thought it was interesting because just last weekend in Unterried (in the Bavarian Forest) we saw a big cardboard kid at the side of the road. It was a little smaller than life-sized and it was facing the road directly rather than facing incoming traffic, but at the time we couldn't guess what it might be other than a method to slow down traffic coming through the tiny little town. The drivers out there really didn't seem to slow down for anything so it made sense that they might be taking these sort of measures. So perhaps this guy in Florida isn't the first one to think of faking out drivers with fake kids playing by the road!

* Despite many attempts, we still haven't gotten the name in the elevator changed. No one will admit to it being their responsibility, or they avoid our attempted contact altogether. Next step: tape a piece of paper with our name on it over the previous tenant's name. This is sure to annoy the shit out of either the person responsible for changing it, or one of the other tenants, who might complain and get it fixed for good.


  1. We had to go through hell to get the name on the outdoor buzzer thing and mailbox changed when we moved in too. The owner made us pay some company 35 Euros to change it. (How in God's name could it cost 35 Euros?!) They never showed, then finally changed it to only my husband's name 4 months later, which resulted in Deutsche Post stopping delivery of mail addressed to me, since my name wasn't on it! We taped our names over the one they did. Someone tore them down. We taped them again. Then we realized that it was so freaking easy to do it ourselves (just press and slide the plastic covers) that we finally fixed it with our label maker. Two weeks later they decided to change the intercom system and did new labels. Again with only my hubby's name. Aghghgh! I sympathize.

  2. My sister has been living in her new apartment for over a year now and their doorbell label hasn't been changed either. In Austria you can easily change your mailbox label yourself, though.
    In eastern Austria they have very often cardboard policemen. It might help to slow down if you are new to the area, but not if you see the "guy" standing at the same spot every day on the way going to work:)

  3. Long Island drivers are probably so inconsiderate that cardboard children wouldn't help. They don't even pull over for sirens here.

  4. Hey now, that whole day was awful for us. Things were going wrong left and right- our travel situation SUCKED and then we find out that our hotel was not actually in Frankfurt, but rather in some tiny suburb almost an hour away. And it took an hour to get there on public transit from the airport--(yet the next day when we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport it only took 15 minutes-- how that works, I have no idea!) I was on the verge of tears from exhaustion and frustration at the crappiness that was that day. So we probably wouldn't have been good company anyway. And I was under the impression that you guys were planning on going to Frankfurt regardless of if we were going to meet you there or not...

  5. Debbie: They make it so complicated, eh? So far no one will admit responsibility to changing it...but we can't do it ourselves since we don't have whatever it is they use to get the perfect font, etc!

    Bek: I also was thinking the effect of the cardboard doodads might decrease once they became familiar! Still, I understand how desperate they must be to slow traffic was a little scary.

    Mary: Oh, just keep adding to my negative stereotypes of Long Island ;)

    Michelle: Wow, I didn't realize it was that bad - Damon just told me "travel problems" which just sounded like the standard for air travel, nothing special. Also I didn't know you guys didn't realize we came up there primarily to see you. I told Yesim we were going up to see you guys and she wanted to meet you, but you guys were the real put it another way, if we knew earlier you weren't coming we would have not gone to Frankfurt. In the end it was good that we did though, because we found out Rufus is playing there and got tickets!! Also we found some Indian spice we were looking for that we couldn't find in Heidelberg.
    And if it makes you feel any better, we're about even on the shitty travel in the end. Because of the delay in waiting to hear from you guys, we met Yesim an hour later than planned. So we didn't have very much time to hang out and we had to rush to catch one of the last trains back to Heidelberg. We paid an extra 10 EUR to get the faster one because we were so tired. Then it turned out our second train from Mannheim to Heidelberg, the very last one of the day, was completely cancelled. So, they were going to take us back by bus instead. We didn't get home until almost 2am and the bus driver was terrible (the best part was when he almost missed his turn and slammed on the brakes, we all thought we were going to die) so I almost threw up from motion sickness. Nothing like burping up tiny supper samples over and over and not knowing when the hell the bus will ever reach Heidelberg.... Since we got back so late our bus from the train station to home wasn't running anymore so we had to take one that only went as far as the Bismarckplatz and walk from there (though, with the motion problem, I was glad to be in the fresh air!). So, in the end, it sucked for everyone ;)

  6. Suzanne told me about that this weekend! She was like, I shoulda sent some beans too!

    In Seattle the cardboard children have signs about not ignoring homelessness.


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