Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Howdy folks,

Happy May Day everyone! It has been an interesting week so far mainly because I started my job on Monday. Ich bin ein Lagerhelfer which is German for warehouse box boy. I am working at Decathlon in Schwetzingen which is a newly built warehouse which distributes sporting goods and apparel. The company is originally French so most of the management speak German as a second language, although they have had much more practice than I have! I have the glorious task of taking all the internet orders which have been sorted and then packing them into boxes. My new friends are a box cutter and a packing tape dispenser and all for low pay.

Minimum wage over here is 8.19€ per hour which is about half of that in Australia although still better than Greece (3.50€ and Romania 0.92€). It isn't hard to see why half the Germans over here want the Deutsch Mark back as they keep refering to it when comparing prices. Although I'm not sure things wouldn't cost the same respectively given inflation. It also isn't surprising why so many people from Eastern Europe are trying to get jobs in the West: its a tough market.

The Maimarkt is on at the moment and its the 400th anniversary. It is hard to imagine that a market has been going on for longer than European Settlement in Australia, but it's a old world over here. Maimarkt is sort of like the Royal Adelaide Show except for no fireworks, no rides, no showbags and lots of home improvements! It is more like an expo than a show as you can buy everything from books, kitchen equipment, furniture, clothing and innumerable home improvements to beer, food and even cars.

The whole thing is set out with about 50 odd exhibition tents and buildings which are split up into the various areas like travel, food, home wear and even model trains! Germans are big on their gardens here and there were no shortage of garden houses (many gardens aren't connected to the backyard, but on a separate tract of land). They even had sauna huts and grill huts where you sit like a Norwegian around an open grill with a chimney in the middle.

There was a small display of animals, but nothing like the various animal displays or wood chopping. They did get the cows, goats and horses out to stretch their legs on the parade ground even if some were a little stubborn. In the other corner was a display home village which has different open homes every few years, but for Maimarkt they had an African village set up in the middle where you could buy cocktails and trinkets.

I even found a few Australian things like an Opal Jeweller and Crocodile Bratwurst at the Australia Stand. If you didn't know better you would definitely think Fosters was Australian if you see all the gimmicky advertising! Steffie and I walked through the whole place over 8 hours and we were definitely tired. At the end we sampled one of the famous Maimarkt Bechers which came with strawberries and cream although it wasn't as good as the cream puff at the Wisconsin State Fair!

Thankfully Winfried came to pick us up although the other visitors weren't so lucky because the local public transit are striking. There were cars lining the streets for miles...
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