Back on-line and back in the East

Trip Start Mar 18, 2012
Trip End Apr 25, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Saxony,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hello again fellow travellers!  We have internet again and are still enjoying our stay here in Germany.  We are back in the former East Germany in the town of Meissen in Saxony.  We stayed here because it is close to Dresden where we return our rental car Saturday morning.  Meissen is famous for its porcelain; although I must admit neither Jerry nor I are very interested in that Baroque style of porcelain that is so well sought out by visitors here.

Again, we have a very cool apartment that we got through the tourist bureau in town.  On a side street and is part of a Gasthof, or combination of restaurant/inn.  I am still amazed that we can get a large place for less than the Motel 6 off the freeway in Lancaster.  Also what strikes me must be some cultural difference that I do not understand.  At every apartment we have stayed at, when we arrive I offer to pay but the proprietor always says something like " pay later when you leave or find me later and then pay".  No, we don't want to track you down, especially when we don't have a cell phone to contact you, so we always have had to sort of insist on paying at arrival.  Weird, huh?  No credit  cards, just cash in hand.  Even at dinner, we were looking at some of the books the restaurant that our apartment is attached to; the proprietress told us just to take them back to our room to read and bring them back whenever we were done.

I like the eastern part of Germany.  Today we wandered about the town.  We stopped in a church and the woman there spent a lot of time telling us (in German) all about the church, its history (dates back to before the Reformation) and about the special porcelain bells that ring on the quarter hour as well as play longer chorales several times a day.  Sometimes the people want to tell us so much information and it can be hard to understand all of it.  But I find it sweet and this woman insisted we take some of the illustrated pamphlets for free even though the signs clearly said they cost a few coins (she even found some in English for Jerry).

Our trip is drawing to a close; in a week we will be sitting in out little aluminium tube back to America.  I will say I think that Southern Californiais a very special place to live and that there are not many places like that I would chose outside SoCal to live, but I would like to try living here despite the wintery climate.  There are some striking differences from the states.  A lot to think about.  Maybe freedom means feeling safe walking around a fair size city at 10 pm and riding public transport with no thought to being shot.  Watching the news and having it be a big story that someone in Berlin or another major city was attacked; when such incidents would not even make the local news in the states.  Even something simple like a guy being able to discreetly take a leak in a wooded area behind the bushes without worrying about being arrested and having to be a registered sex offender the rest of his life becaue he relieved himself when there was no toilet available.  Walking around and not seeing trash everywhere (although there are certainly some vacant lots that accumualte trash here and there but they are by far the exception). By and large, everything is well kept and groomed, even the freeways

News media is also different than the States; I have not heard any updates on what Britney Spears or Paris Hilton is up to. We have had various television services, fron all German language TV in some places to very international services. In Prague they had so many channels to chose from including English language news services through CNN international, BBC World, Russia Today, CCTV from China and Al Jezzera (all in English). They even had Spanish language TV from Cuba. What struck me was how focused all these channels were on what I would consider real (or consiquential) news. Not celebrity light. Even the German language news programmes. Several German states are in the midst of elections for their state legislatures; the news programmes focused on issues and what each party stood for. Not who didn't wear a flag on their lapel that day or some other made-up issue to get people inflammed.  I dread returning to the states and watching news about really stoopid made up issues that stops people from really thinking about the issues and how they are really affected by them. I don't expect much elose from the corporate-controlled media, but it literally sickens me to see soo many people fall for the popanganda hook-line and sinker.

There is a bit of Neo-Nazism here in Germany; also called populism in other countries.  The Neo-Nazi party (NPD) is very controversial here.  In the German states where there are elections occuring this month, we have seen many political placards on the streets for all the various parties (there are quite a number of them here).  Very few NPD posters, in fact in only one state (in the Saarland near France) did we see NPD placards and many wore torn in half/defaced or whitewashed over.  What is creepy is that if you read the NPD party's website, they are basically what would be called the Tea Party in the US.  When a large segment of the US population endorses a poplist programme that wold bee seen as neo-nazism in Germany, well, that gives me pause about how I view my fuure as a resident of the USA.  As for me, I will wear my Pirate Party button I got when we visited their booth last weekend in Erfurt and hope someday the US will have a Pirate Party too (not as stupid as it sounds, google it, it's a growing movement in Europe and hopefully in the Americas soon too). The Social Democrat Party booth also gave us a bag full of pens, paper pads, candy and other assorted trinkets. They would be more equivilent of the US democratic paty as seen through the eyes of the Republicans. US Republicans are probably close to a major party in Germany called the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union In Bavaria).  It gets comfusing...Parliamentary coalitions leads to strange bedfellows.  Off my soap box again and back to some travel photos.  Tomorrow we visit a huge fortress near the Czech border and then back to Bavaria/Bayern..

Thanks for visiting!
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