Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I've been struck, in the last couple of days, by 3 interesting (I think they are interesting) differences between Germany and the US.

1. Cheese balls
In the States I am addicted to Planter's Cheese Balls. They are salty, full of fat and turn your fingers orange...what is there not to love!? I normally only eat them on vacation in Northern Michigan, so they had been placed on my list of things I would be missing this summer. Imagine then my surprise when I found German cheese balls at the grocery store yesterday! What I find so funny though, is that the packaging makes them look like a delicacy. We are led to believe that people eat cheese balls at cocktail parties with wine and grapes. The cheese looks to be a fine Bergkäse or Swiss. This is definitely a different marketing strategy than in the States!

(p.s. Dan decided that my soccer man's name should be Günter... Günter Pot Head! Günter will be returning to the States with me where I plan to plant grass in his head so I can give him a buzz cut.)

2. Bears

Since Easter, a bear has been roaming around Bavaria. To an American, this is "so what" news. Bears live in the mountains, Germany has mountains, so it makes sense Germany has bears. Not so! The last bear reported in Germany was is 1835. Unfortunately, people were tired of Bruno "wrecking havoc" in Bavaria so they killed him yesterday. Here's how the Washington Post described it:

"The last straw for officials came over the weekend. On Saturday, the bear stood up on his hind legs and snarled at three overly curious hikers who saw him in the woods and tried to follow him, but got too close. Later that day, officials gave the go-ahead to a team of hunters.

Although Bruno didn't hurt any people, he was accused of eating sheep and plundering beekeepers' hives. He also gave people a fright in the village of Kochel am See recently when he ambled around a cafe, sat on the stoop of the police station and snacked on a little girl's pet guinea pig.

Bruno, who was 2 years old and weighed an estimated 220 pounds, was born in northern Italy into a family that was resettled there as part of a wildlife restoration program. Italy and Austria have encouraged the growth of their small bear populations and have programs to compensate farmers and others for bear-related losses.

German officials said they weren't opposed to bears in principle, only misbehaving ones. "If a normal bear finds its way into Bavaria, it is cordially welcome," Bernhard said."

First of all, Germans, this reporter is clearly making fun of you. Second of all, are you kidding me? I would be mad too if 3 German hikers started following me in the woods-- especially those Nordic Walkers, they creep me out! And Bruno ate a little girl's guinea pig...don't leave guinea pigs outside and bears won't eat them! Germany is the country with no death penalty where most jail sentances are no more than 15 years because, so the thinking goes, people can change and then deserve to go on living their lives. And yet poor Bruno had to die? Something is rotten in the state of Bavaria!

3. Underwear

I was somewhat surprised the first time I went into a German department store and saw men in the lingere department helping their girlfriends and wives pick out underwear. For some reason I have been surprised by this time and time again this year, most recently yesterday. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it is just so different from the States where you might occassionally see a man sheepishly standing around waiting for his wife or girlfriend, but certainly not making suggestions on what she should purchase.

Deep thoughts for the day:-)


At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why they couldn't shoot the bear with a tranquilizing dart or something and then capture him and put him in a zoo or a wildlife sanctuary. Even if there weren't openings in a German zoo, I am sure there are zoos all over the world that would have been happy to host this bear. Shame on the Germans!


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Okay in the spirit of full disclosure, apparently they did try tranquilizer darts and even flew no-kill bear traps in from the US. It's not like the Germans are trigger happy. But I still contend that the bear should have been allowed to stay. What I object to was that him scarring a few hikers and killing a guinea pig were the things that put the authorities over the edge and made them authorize the hunt. The bear only got mad when provoked by the stupid hikers who were dumb enough to follow him through the woods. Supposedly there are wild boar in Berlin (no joke!) But you don't see me seeking them out... HELLO!

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Erica said...

Oh my goodness, poor Bruno!

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Lexy said...

On the topic of bra-shopping-helpers: I once saw a meek old man stooped and pawing through a bra rack. My first thought was "Ew, I hope he doesn't have a camera." But then I saw the gentleman stand up and say something like "Hedwig, it is 95 D, ja? You want the beige color, ja?"
I think Hedwig is pretty lucky, ja?

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I am very glad to hear that I am not the only person (American) who was slightly startled by the boys in the traditonal female domain. Ja, you are right, Hedwig is a lucky woman:-)

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Erin,
I saw your Mom in Genuardi's and she told me to read all about it when I asked how you are. Looks like you are having a wonderful year. I am enjoying your blog - what a wonderful time you are having.
Mary D. (Contreras)

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Erin said...

HI MRS DONALDSON!!! Thanks for stopping by:-)


Post a Comment

<< Home