After the first week grant frenzy I had some time to check out the city. I am in temporary housing in Hastedt, or old city. My apartment is next to Dart Palast, an entity that would never flourish in the States. There are many places that feature darts and beer, some vaguely palatial, but none that actually put this in their names. Some of these Germans are fantastic dartmeisters. It is very fortunate that invading German armies of yesteryear were armed only with such petty implements as clubs, axes, muskets, chlorine gas, and panzers, for a squad of dart infantry would have overrun other galaxies by now. Now, it could be argued that the people who hang out in Dart Palast are better dartchuckers than your average German. But consider this: perhaps the best dartmen have already been identified and are secretly honing their darttrooper skills before charging through the Ardennes. Yeah. Think about it.
At least 50% of all caps worn are NY Yankees caps. Their wearers rarely know anything about the Yankees. Even on Werder Bremen days, people are more likely to have Yankees caps. Caps from any other sports team are very rare. Jaywalking is far less common here than elsewhere. I violate this all the time, and used to do so unintentionally. Bicycles are very common here, and not just for poor people including kids. Old men in suits ride bikes. Whenever I was wandering about, they would ring their bicycle bells and sometimes say something to me as they passed. Aw, how cute, I thought, they like ringing their bells. Guten Tag, I would yell after them. Then I worked out that the red part of the sidewalk is a bike lane. Oops. Now they are far less musical.
'They're a very musical people, aren't they?' -- Randolph Duke, Trading Places
Public drinking, and public intoxication, are much more common here than in the US. I think this extends over much of Europe, but will find out with time. Of course, the 16-21 crowd drinks more than in the US, but I don't know where except on streetcars. Teenagers love getting drunk on streetcars and singing as loudly as possible. Older people drink on streetcars but mostly keep to themselves.
Streetcars also allow dogs, regardless of their owners' visual eptitude. I learned this when I was trying to get past someone with a dog, and patted her on the shoulder even though she was looking right at me. Last week I saw the second biggest reason why dogs are not allowed on streetcars: they fight. Two dogs went at it while their owners effetely lectured them. After the fight, the owners continued explaining, in a regular voice and without any physical threat, that fighting is bad. Who is the alpha male in that situation? Why wouldn't either dog fight again?