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Good intentions waylaid by a Stau…

We have nice weather today, and several fests are going on. I was thinking I might like to go to one in a town near us, since I knew there would be wine, food, and live music. But just after we got on A 66, we hit a Stau… that is, a traffic jam. We must have gotten to it pretty soon after a wreck, as a couple of ambulances passed us while we sat behind an endless processional of cars.

It was just after one o’clock when we hit the Stau, and about 1:45pm when we were finally moving again. We were both so irritated and hangry that we decided to just go to AAFES on post and pick up a few necessary items. I hadn’t been to the PX in many months… it’s probably been over a year. I needed to get some new makeup, because the stuff I’ve been using is probably from the pre-pandemic days. Bill also wanted to get shit bags for the dogs, and an Internet extender for the house.

By the time we were done shopping, we had spent well over $200, mostly on my cosmetics, because I don’t use cheap stuff. I usually buy Lancome, but there wasn’t any way to tell which shades things were, so I switched to Estee Lauder. Then we went to the Pizza Hut Express and got a pizza, which was pretty crappy. Pizza Hut used to be pretty good, back when you could go there and sit in the restaurant for dinner. Now, it’s kind of yucky. But it was handy to get it, since it was after 2pm, and we were both grouchy.

When we got home, the dogs were ecstatic. Noyzi goosed us both in the ass. Then I noticed a funny Carolyn Hax column in the Washington Post, about a woman who was pregnant and having to deal with her mother-in-law treating her like her grandchild’s vessel. For example, they’d go out for Thai food, and Grandma would say, “If that’s what Baby wants…”

My response was, “I’d tell her Baby would rather have a double gin martini.” For some reason, people thought that was a really funny quip. In honor of it, Bill made us gin martinis. See the featured photo for that. 😉

Below are a few photos from the highly annoying Stau. We were used to those in Stuttgart. They aren’t so common up here in Wiesbaden. Good thing we didn’t have our hearts set on doing anything special or having lunch anywhere good.

And no, I did not commit Beleidigung today, although the impulse was there. The martini was made from gin we bought from Vom Fass in Wels, Austria. We finally finished the bottle.

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2022 Sekt Fest on the Rhein in Eltville!

We had absolutely gorgeous weather yesterday, so Bill and I decided to take a short trip to Eltville, a charming town on the Rhein River. We decided to go there because there’s a “Sekt Fest” going on all weekend. We love Sekt, which is Germany’s version of “fizz”, and Eltville is an absolutely charming hamlet.

Yesterday’s visit was only our second time in Eltville. The first one occurred in the blissful days of June 2019, before COVID-19 shut down the world. Eltville is a SUPER cute town, and we only live twelve miles from there, but there’s another issue that kept us away from there, besides COVID-19. There was a bridge that runs through A66 (Autobahn) that, in 2021, was declared unsafe. The bridge was closed and demolished last fall, which means that going to certain towns on the Rhein requires taking detours. The bridge is now being rebuilt, and will hopefully reopen in 2023.

Because my Mini Cooper convertible is 13 years old and has less than 39,000 miles on it, we decided to drive it yesterday. We also took a short detour through the lovely, but congested, town of Biebrich, where some guy tried to parallel park in a street parking spot while we were in heavy traffic. He was trying to back up, but we weren’t able to move for him, because there were people behind us… and naturally, they all started honking. Before I knew it, I was yelling at the guy, and actually called him a dickhead! Technically, that would be “Beleidigung”, which is a personal insult and is illegal in Germany. But at least I didn’t flip him the bird, which is also illegal.

Soon enough, we had forgotten about the dickhead who almost caused a collision. Bill was parking at the local Rewe, which is also the site of a large “Parkhaus”. We walked into the old town, stopping for lunch at a place called the Eltviller RosenstĂŒbchen. We decided to eat there, because they were offering continuous service, with no “pause” after 2pm. In retrospect, we could have just gone to the Sekt Fest and gotten food there, but we didn’t know how big the festival was going to be.

I’m glad we stopped at the Eltviller RosenstĂŒbchen for lunch. The restaurant has kind of a cozy, old fashioned look to it. Service is very friendly; prices are reasonable; and we had a delicious lunch of smoked trout that probably came from the Rhein. I shared a laugh with one of the chefs, who was drinking a draft beer as he made lunch! I could see him from my high pub bench, which offered a view into the kitchen.

After lunch, we went down to the riverfront, where the fest was going on. Some people were selling their creations in booths, while there were also plenty of food vendors and wine stands. We stopped at a couple of wine stands and enjoy some Sekt while we watched ships pass. At one point, we even saw a Viking river cruise ship pass, although I didn’t get a chance to see which one it was. I’ve never sailed with Viking, but I’ve heard good things about their cruises. It’s interesting to live near a place where luxury cruise ships pass on a daily basis. I would probably never want to take a Rhein River cruise, since I can drive to most of the places where they stop! Maybe I would take one years from now, for old time’s sake… but then again, I probably wouldn’t. There are other places I want to see more.

At another point during our visit, we saw a couple on the river. It looked like they were just married, and we did see a fancy old car at the church that had flowers on the hood. That’s usually a dead giveaway that someone got married. But then my German friend shared a link about Eltville’s Sekt festival, and I’m wondering if maybe the couple wasn’t part of the fest. They waved at the crowd as they passed, and there was another canoe full of photographers. So were they a newly married couple, or were they part of the act? I don’t know… but I did get some interesting photos. The weather was just awesome. Wish more days were this gorgeous.

Bill got nervous about the dogs, so we headed back to Breckenheim. I wish we could have stayed longer. They were setting up for live music as we were leaving. We will definitely have to spend more time in Eltville. It really is a lovely town. And who doesn’t love drinking wine on the Rhein? Okay… maybe teetotalers wouldn’t. But we all know I’m not one of those. 😉

Weeee! We need to drive the Mini more often!

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laws

Word of advice… don’t call a German cop a “fascist”…

It’s another cold, grey, drizzly weekend in Germany. Christmas will arrive next weekend. I suppose I should be more into the spirit of celebrating the season, but I just can’t seem to find my mojo. I don’t really like going out in yucky weather even when there isn’t a pandemic. The spiking COVID numbers aren’t inspiring me to get out there and mingle with the masses.

But not everyone feels the way I do. My German friend, Susanne, shared with me some news out of Reutlingen. It seems there was a riot/protest there last night, consisting of Nazi sympathizers and COVID deniers, most of whom weren’t masked and ignored the rules against congregating. Things got pretty out of hand in some places, so the Stuttgart police showed up to maintain order.

Germans are usually pretty tolerant of peaceful protests and strikes. They’re usually scheduled ahead of time and announced, so people can choose not to be involved… or, if they’re into it, they can participate or observe. I believe one has to get a permit to protest legally. I have no idea if this group followed the rules. The protests I’ve seen are usually pretty chill… afterwards, everybody breaks up and has a beer or something. But every once in awhile, people do get their hackles up. Such was the case last night.

This video was shared on Facebook by Matthias Kipfer in the public group, 99,99 % (Filder) vs. R.E.S.T.. I’m not sure where this particular incident involving the man screaming about fascists took place. It might not have happened in Reutlingen, although I can see by the photos and videos in the group, there was plenty of action there last night. I see the guy screaming about fascists was originally posted on Twitter by Stadtrand Aktion. As you can see, the cops weren’t amused. This guy was promptly arrested. I suspect he will get a nice big fine, as outlined in the trusty 2022 Bussgeldkatalog. Edited to add: Susanne thinks the fascist cop incident might have happened in Berlin, since the cop has a B on his uniform.

More than once, I have written about how insulting people is illegal in Germany. It’s especially true that insulting the cops is a big no no. All I can think is that this guy took complete leave of his senses, forgot to whom he was speaking, and lost total control of himself. I know how that feels. It happened to me a time or two when I was a teenager. This fellow looks to be well beyond the teen years.

I think it’s funny that there’s a catalog of fines people can consult to find out about laws and fines. I especially get a kick out of the section on the fines for insulting people in traffic. When they are translated into English, they are both hilarious and nonsensical. Below is the list of fines as of 2022.

Some of these insults seem to have lost a little in their translations.

In all seriousness, these protests were pretty bad. Apparently, some people were using children as human shields against the water cannons cops tried to use to disperse the agitated crowds. I was impressed by how the cops managed to keep their cool. German police officers don’t seem to be as violent as American police officers often are. But then, they probably pay better and offer more training.

My German still sucks, but I do find myself picking up words and understanding more, especially when my friend shares interesting German articles with me that include juicy tidbits about current events. If I have gained anything from the past seven years, besides a massive beer gut, it’s a rudimentary understanding of basic German. My Armenian is still better, though. That isn’t saying much.

The above photo basically translates to “People who think vaccinations change their DNA should consider it an opportunity.” Who says Germans aren’t sharp witted? Not I!

In other news… I hope the new blog design is welcomed by the few regular readers who have been keeping up with me during these COVID times. I decided to play around with it a few days ago, and when I went to change it back to the theme I was using, I discovered that the “wandering” theme was retired. So now I have a new but similar theme, and a new color scheme. I think it’s easier to read.

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German culture, German products

Buying German food products for the “yuks”…

That’s right. “Yuks”. As in, laughing your ass off. I think we could all could use some more “yuks”, right?

Yesterday, while I was binge watching murder porn on Snapped, Bill came into our bedroom with a shelf stable container of oat milk. He likes to use animal free products sometimes because he’s a healthier person than I am on many levels. He said he bought the oat milk because of the label. Behold…

Bill and I have both noticed that while Germany has rules against “Beleidigung, that is, insulting people (especially people in authority like cops and politicians), they have no compunction about using English swear words in everyday language. For instance, one can be listening to an American pop song on the radio and if there are f bombs in it, you will hear them in all of their profane glory. Same thing with announcers on the radio, who regularly refer to “shitstorms”.

Personally, I’m alright with the profanity. I’m not a big believer in “bad words”, anyway. I really don’t think there is such a thing. Every word, in my opinion, is neutral. It’s the intent behind them that makes saying them good or bad. For instance, as a former English major at Longwood University, I took courses in African-American literature and Women’s literature. Both courses included slave narratives in which a certain taboo racist epithet was used repeatedly.

Was I offended? No, not really. That word was part of the lexicon at the time and the books would have lost their power without them. I was offended by the brutality of the way slaves were treated in those stories and the fact that their true stories are a shameful part of history. But the use of the n-word in those books is necessary. Same as it’s necessary in certain musical pieces, like Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City”, and even in certain 70s and 80s era sitcoms, in which racism was a topic that was tackled. The word is used to convey the extent of the contempt and racism of those times. Taking it out would lessen the impact of the pieces.

Because of that– and because I love language and all its quirks– I don’t believe in “bad words”. I don’t think they should be used as weapons. I think people should be judicious in how they use their language. But I’m not a fan of “banning” any specific words… and, as we can see from the above label, even “bad” words can mean different things to different people. I know many Americans who would blush seven shades of red at simply reading that label. They sure as hell wouldn’t have bought the product! But my husband bought it because of the words “fucking” and “bullshit”. He knew that I would get a big kick out of them.

The words “fucking” and “bullshit” don’t have the same impact in Germany as they do in America, just like the words “cunt” and “fag” don’t mean the same to Brits as they do to us Yanks. Hell, until very recently, there was an old village in Austria called Fucking. I should know, because Bill and I visited. We also visited Fuckersberg, Austria, because we’re nerds like that. Fucking recently changed its name after hundreds of years of being known as “Fucking”. Why? Because Americans kept stealing their road signs and doing things like having sex under the the signs. What a shame. Typical Americans ruining things for everybody.

Sigh… I really miss traveling. I look forward to the day when I can write a post on my travel blog that is actually about travel. But, for now, I will continue to get a big kick out of “fucking good Oatmilk” that makes “sexy Milchkaffee”. Except I don’t think I could bring myself to try oat milk… so maybe not. Bill is calling me to breakfast, so off I pop. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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