A bunch of random bits in this update (after a few other words). Work has been extremely busy, but for the family we had a more chill time this past weekend. Farmer's Market (haven't missed one yet :), Computer Game Museum, and a trip to the Ku'Damm (Kurfürstendamm) area for the Apple Store and some other shopping.
At the Farmer's Market, the woman who often helps us at our favorite veggie booth was really getting into teaching us the German words for things, and/or figuring out what we were trying to get (e.g. cilantro = Koriander). We're getting relatively comfortable, but probably some of the meat counters are still the most perplexing. Eggs are easy now that I know I simply ask for small or large and how many, although coming up with exact change without them writing down the price can still be tough.
The Computer Game Museum was fun. Old stuff back to things even before first pong. Some playable stuff, and interesting info and videos on the history. Also, they had the PainStation. Basically a video game that combines inflicting pain on you as you play, to see if you'll give up due to that before game play ends. Kids had a great time, especially since we're reading Ready Player One right now, and they had Zork, which we'd just read about in the book. Venice came home and played it on the web, as she really loved it.
And now the random bits...
Random bit #1: no AC
So, now that the weather has turned, it's no biggy, but there is very little air conditioning here. This is normal, and was essentially expected, but maybe more exaggerated than I thought. I had always heard that European pro cyclists never ran the AC in hotel rooms as they thought it made you sick. But dang, we could have used some AC at times. Even the HT office doesn't have it (we're essentially in a suite in an apartment building type of thing, so not overly surprising - I'm sure the very large company offices have it).
Random bit #2: you don't just get keys made
As it turns out, in Germany, you can't just take your house key down to the local hardware store or locksmith and have them make you a duplicate. No, you probably need a letter with permission unless you own the building, and, then you need the "code" for the key so that they can look it up and make the copy (they don't make a copy of your physical key). Oh, and did I mention, it can take weeks to get it (it took my co-worker 5 weeks to get a copy)!
Random bit #3: Door knobs don't turn
Ok, well, most don't. When you enter a lockable door from the outside, you put the key in, unlock, and then just use the door knob to push the door open - it doesn't turn. There are door handles that turn, and from the inside the door handle will open the door, but I've yet to see an exterior door knob that turns.
Random bit #4: Toilet Paper is not as plush.
Random bit #5: Bourbon is hard to find/buy. Beer is cheap.
I haven't found a liquor store that has more than 2 kinds yet. I know they're around... er, someone tell me where they are? In the mean time, I have been sampling many different beers. Note, most beers are a full pint bottle, and seemingly quite cheap - roughly 1.25€/beer. Compare this to most bomber bottles in the use at $4-7 (or more). That's about $0.10/ounce for the German brews, vs. $0.23/ounce in the US. Also, no open container laws here - you see people walking down the street drinking from beer bottles all the time.
Random bit #6: People eat out a lot...
...or so it seems. I asked co-workers and they said it was because food was cheap here. This is generally true. Combine this with...
Random bit #7: they (co-workers only?) rarely order a drink with lunch
I don't mean an alcoholic drink, but just anything to drink, water, Coke, lemonade, whatever. I've been having a lot of lunches with my co-workers, and the bulk of the time it seems say 80% don't get anything to drink with their food. Can't figure out if this is due to free drinks at the office, or helping with the "food is cheap" bit, or they truly just don't need fluids. I do see other folks in restaurants having something, so it seems an edge case, but still something I've noticed.
Random bit #8: DHL is part of Deutsch Post
Silly American here just thought they were another courier service (I knew it was German at least). Trivia bonus bit: Deutsch Post is the largest logistics company in the world. I had a translation challenge sending something DHL express to the US the other day (as they spoke no English at the Deutsch Post office I went to).
Random bit #9: Sliders
Taught my co-workers the word "slider" (i.e. mini burger).
Random bit #10: Lederhosen for Oktoberfest!
Yes, I bought some (haven't arrived yet). Will wear them for real when we go to Oktoberfest in a couple weeks, and then also next week at an Oktoberfest thing the HT team is doing. Oh, and yes, they're leather, and no, you don't wash them. Now to see if Diana gets a Dirndl.