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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wine with Dinner

The Merlot here is wonderful. This is your warning that I am again drunk.

At 8pm one of the churches here rings their bells for maybe a full minute. On Sunday morning at (maybe?) 9am or so (I forget...) one church started ringing, then about 10 seconds later a second church bell joined in. They both rang together for awhile, then the first one stopped, letting the second one finish alone for the 10 seconds they were off. I grew up in a small town that had a church, the one I attended, that rang it's bells to chime the time. I also worked at Indiana University, and the belltower there rang the quarter, half, and the time on the hour. It is funny that I realize while here how much I have missed hearing church bells.

Another way I know I am in Germany, or at least not at home in Tennessee: I went on Sunday to the open air museum as I mentioned. Before paying to go in, there was a building that had food signs outside. I wanted a cup of coffee, so I went inside. As usual I said I didn't speak German, and the woman understood basic English. My coffee came in a china cup with saucer. There was no place to sit down inside, so I said I'd sit outside on the bench. Not sure what the true protocol was, but I think I was not where I was supposed to be, maybe the employee break area? Anyway, she was polite about selling me the cup of coffee. Here, buying a cup of coffee is just that, once cup of coffee and no refills. And almost always in a china cup with saucer. So, while sitting outside in the sun on a Sunday morning drinking my cup of coffee, two men ride up on bicycles. One was at least my age, and in the US would have driven up in his newish SUV from the way he was dressed. But here he rode up on a modest bicycle and talked to the others on the benches as he parked his bike (in German, so I couldn't follow the conversation). Also there was an obviously spoiled small dog who wandered in and out of the door of the place selling food. One of the guys who rode up walked out with a very large bottle of beer. At a museum. On a Sunday morning. While in the museum, at one of the demonstrations of some kind of steam something or other (don't speak German or read it so have no idea what the demonstration was about) I noticed that the person giving the talk had his own large bottle of beer sitting near by.

My biggest frustration here continues to be my inability to read. It was especially frustrating at the museum. The English language guidebook I bought was out of date, and the buildings had apparently been renumbered so that most of it didn't go with where I thought I was at the time.

So far the German people have been very patient, tolerant, helpful and friendly. Usually someone around speaks English to some degree. My needs are simple, usually beginning and ending with 'Koffee?'

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