Updates and corrections. (sorry for smaller font; still on mobile device … it’s hard enough with umlauts and ess-tset).
1. Thank you Regina. Turns out most major stores are closed all over Europe on Sundays; it’s not just a Catholic thing. Some groceries are open for a few hours, and you can always get a coffee, a beer or a Donner somewhere.
2. Fans, they have issues with fans. It’s cold and rainy today, so I used a fitness center. No fans. And no water either. I guess they just expect to be uncomfortable and constipated. How people can live without fans AND without air conditioning will forever be beyond the understanding of most Americans.
3. Met a cool 77-year old from small town of Ringgau, just on west side of former east-west Germany border. He’s eight years past a stroke, and looking very fit — although his right leg is a bit withered. Stroke was behind left eye, which he’s lost the use of. Still, he plays golf, and every day he works out and walks two miles. He knows virtually no English, so FINALLY my knowledge of this most difficult language paid off a little bit (more on this below). A very friendly fellow.
4. The common generic greeting here in Austria is not “Morgen” (short for good morning), or “Guten Tag”. It is “Gruß Gott”, a sort of shorted form of May God Bless you.
This IS a Catholic-thing, and I read that if you speak it to a northern German (likely a Protestant) then you’ll get a semi-sarcastic reply of something like “yes, maybe the next time I see him.”
5. Body art. It’s everywhere just as in the US and Canada. People must be ashamed of their bodies or feel some sort of perverse peer-pressure to take their perfectly beautiful faces and bodies and put hunks of metal through them. And tattoos too. I haven’t learned the German for “tattoo” yet, but it looks like it’s just tattoo. I have learned that “tramp stamps” are commonlly referred to as “ass antlers”, but probably only by those who are not in the body-art community.
6. Turns out that I’m wrong, again: Norbert Hoffer has sworn off leaving the EU, but he had entertained the idea earlier — he is an EU skeptic. However, his left/green oppostition has stuck that label on him and his party, so Austrians are stuck with the word Öxit.
7. Now I share with you a wonderful essay on the German language by Mark Twain. Even our good German friend Regina has shared it with me on at least two occassions. Enjoy.
Joe Girard (c) 2016