We went to the ice skating rink last Friday and had lots of fun. There was quite of bit of blood on the ice at one point (someone obviously had a major spill), and I couldn’t help thinking how hard-core Germans are..
Okay, okay, I am just making fun. Actually I am only beginning to discover all the little quirks and idiosyncracies of the German culture. For example, one can almost feel the hairs on their necks stiffen if you cross the street on a red light, no matter how small the road. On the other hand, if you just walk down the street a few feet, away from the light, everyone crosses as if it were their personal right.
And then there is this recycling issue. Many people (including one of my flatmates) are very conscientious about putting the right kinds of plastic in the yellow sack, paper in the box, glass bottles in one bag, and plastic bottles in another. On the other hand, after all that effort of properly filling the yellow bag has been made, they are promptly dumped outside on the sidewalks (along with all other sorts of debris: toilet bowls, old shelves, couches, etc) and left to pile in yellow heaps for weeks on end. We are lucky to have a recycling center close by. However, we can only bring the glass bottles and paper recycling: plastic bottles must be brought back to the store from which you bought it in the first place. This is usually my preferred method as a student, because you can also receive your ‘pfand’ (recycling fee for the bottle at the point of sale), which can range anywhere from 0.20E to 1E (really, it was 1E at Oktoberfest!). The interesting thing is that you can only bring plastic bottles back to stores which actually sell that particular drink.. which effectively discourages the less intrepid from proper recycling habits. After all, who wants to traipse across town with a plastic sack full of bottles for a lousy 0.45E, as I did this morning?