Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

Still tired

Today was the second day of school, and I’m still fighting the jetlag, it seems. Not that I usually get that phenomenon because I stay up later and sleep longer during the holidays… I didn’t even have time for a nap yesterday because I had to prepare for my lessons today, but I took one today. I’m still tired though, so I will go to bed early tonight.

We need a holiday like Thanksgiving

During lunch today, I read a few chapters in Bill Bryson‘s book I’m a Stranger Here Myself in which he writes about his experience of returning to his home country, the USA, after spending 20 years in Great Britain. One of the chapters was on Thanksgiving and why he thought it was the best holiday of them all:

“Thanksgiving is wonderful and for all kinds of reasons. To begin with, it has the commendable effect of staving off Crhistmas. Whereas in Britain the Christmas shopping season seems nowadays to kick off around about the August bank holiday, Christmas mania doesn’t traditionally begin in America until the last weekend in November.” (see page 144)

I was mildly amused by reading this, but it really hit home when I went shopping afterwards and discovered the first Lebkuchen at the supermarket. It’s September the 6th, the weather is sunny and could almost be called hot for Germany (temperatures in the high 20s Centigrade or high seventies/low eighties Fahrenheit) at this time of year, and you want me to buy Christmas candy? I’m going to check if any of the political parties promise to introduce Thanksgiving in Germany. I’d so vote for a party like that in the upcoming elections on September 18th.

Tankstelle

One of the real shocks of coming back to Germany after spending four weeks in the US – besides the fact that Germans drive like crazy on the Autobahn and don’t bother to say “Excuse me” when they get in your way in a shop, for example – was the price info at the first gas station we passed. For a moment I believed that I was still in the US and the price was in Dollars per gallon, but the numbers didn’t seem quite right. The price for one liter of regular gasoline was EUR 1,41 – that converts to about US$ 6,66 per gallon! Now I know that about 70% of what you pay for gas are taxes, but still. The strange thing is, it doesn’t seem to bother people all that much, because you still see crazy Mercedes drivers doing 180 km/h (112 miles per hour) if they can. Right now I’m really happy that I drive a small car that doesn’t need much gas, even if I’m not the fastest on the road.

(This entry includes conversions by metric-conversions.org and the Universal Currency Converter, both very useful tools.)

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