Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Germany Bathroom Experience


At the airport in Germany I discovered a culture shock.  Those of you who know me, know that I experienced culture shock when I went from Southern California to a tiny little bush village in Alaska.  And now, having been out of So Cal for quite a few years now, I experience that same culture shock when I visit California.  Of all the culture shocks I've experienced, this one takes the cake!  Hands-down it is clearly the most hilarious, and it was a huge eye-opener for me.

I find the bathroom after searching for what seemed like 2 hours (but in reality was just a long 15 minutes because I had to pee that bad).  In case you are wondering, bathrooms are not clearly marked in Germany and they are shoved way in the back corners of buildings (particularly the airport).  In America we are used to tons of bathrooms with clearly marked signs that have handy arrows that point you in the proper direction.  Germany?  No such luck.  It's almost as if bathrooms were an afterthought, or are an inconvenience for architects.

So anyways, after my epic journey I finally locate the glorious facility.  I practically run in and immediately halt.  There's a man in the bathroom.  Gasp.  I know I don't know that much German, but I know enough to know without a shadow of a doubt that "Dame" is lady.  I do a double take and realize he's the janitor.  Odd, since there wasn't a closed or cleaning sign, or at least that cute little yellow fold up sign with the exclamation mark on it.  I quickly apologize to the man and scurry out back into the hallway.  (Why I apologized to a man in the ladies restroom is beyond me.  I guess I have excellent manners, compliments to my mother on that one).

I am outside the ladies room doing an exquisite version of the potty dance.  I'm sure I looked like a professional dancer.  A woman walks right past me into the ladies room.  I wait a few seconds for her to turn around and come back, like I did.  Only, she didn't.  And then I watched another one.  And another one.  Nobody came back out.  Were my eyes playing tricks on me?  Did I imagine the guy in there?  At this point I'm starting to think I've gone senile.  A woman approaches and sees me outside, so she asks me something in German that I clearly don't understand.  She sees the "uh-lady-I-have-no-freaking-clue-what-you-just-said-to-me" look on my face and repeats it in English.  Thank goodness.  She asked me if the bathroom was closed.  I said no, there's just a man in there.  "A man?"  She asks while looking at me like I have two heads.  "Yes, a man," I replied.  She just looked at me like I was insane and proceeded into the bathroom.

Finally, I gave up and went into the bathroom to see if I really was crazy.  Low and behold, the man-janitor is still in there.  He's whistling and cleaning his happy little heart out.  And now I'm stuck in a line to use the bathroom (which was empty moments ago).  These women didn't give a rat's behind that there was a man in the bathroom.  They did their business, washed their hands, and went about their day.

This would never happen in America.  There'd be some lawsuit that someone would file and then there'd be pain and suffering for having to urinate with a man present in the restroom and endless counseling sessions, etc.  But apparently in Germany, this is just daily life.  Crazy.  Seriously crazy.  For the first time in my entire life, I peed with a strange man standing a few feet away.  That's the strangest confession ever.  A bathroom confession.  And you are the first to hear about it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Germany: Everyday Life


McCafe's in McDonalds are no joke.  They are legit coffee shops with real espresso (in glass cups) and pastries!

Most delicious sandwich EVER.

This is a SCHOOL BUS.  Crazy, right?!

Glorious Kaiser rolls with mustard and weiners. 

They even have graffiti in Germany!

The graffiti is like a form of art!

Jager, anyone?

Mr. Proper!!!  LOVE it

An amazing meal!!

A milk

Christmas is a really, really big deal in Germany.

My favorite place....ever.  BEST Kaiser Rolls on the planet.

It's so cheap...and then I realized it's not an import in Germany ;)

Craftiest name for a beer ever.

Ok, don't freak out.  I'm posting this to show you how you flush a toilet in Germany.  See that white rectangle on the wall?  It's not for seat covers.  You push that big huge button to flush the toilet.  I know, creeped me out too.  

Look at these breakfast options.  America, we are behind the times.  We need what Germany is having.  Pronto.

THE cutest Bahnhof (trainstation) for kids!

The aforementioned real espresso in a real glass.