When I first moved here, you can imagine the processing power involved in deciphering numbers when they were spoken to me. Usually, these occurrences involved strangers wanting me to give them some amount of currency in exchange for goods or services. If something costs €27,35, I heard sebenundzwanzig fünfunddreizig (seven and twenty, five and thirty). First, I had to translate the words I was hearing, and then I had to push the numbers around in my head a bit. Either that, or just dump the entire contents of my wallet onto the counter and cry. Don’t be sad for me.
Nowadays, I’ve gotten the hang of the numbers game. But, that is not the point of this little anecdote. The point is, I’ve got dreiundzwanzig days left here in Munich. In preparation for my impending homecoming, I have been busying myself with collecting reasons to hate it here. If I collect enough solid evidence to prove that Munich is the worst place ever, it will only sweeten the pot that I call sweet home San Francisco. So here we go, dreiundzwanzig reasons that I hate Munich.
1. There is a little step outside my apartment building onto the sidewalk. Today, as I was leaving said apartment building, I lost my footing, and did a face plant off the steps onto the sidewalk, right in front of a group of moving men. I’m certain I was falling in slow motion, and they witnessed the whole thing, shouting, UUUUUHHHHHHHOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW. After my landing, I jumped up quickly, raised my hands in the air (picture a Mary Lou Retton dismount), and shouted “I’m OK, THANKS!” The moving men, I’m sure were laughing (you can read all about Schadenfreude in a previous post http://munchenmel.blogspot.com/2005/11/das-ist-nicht-lustig.html). I hate that step now, a lot.
2. Wurstsalat. It’s a salad made of meat. What the fuck?
3. Dog shit. Everywhere. Clean it up people, we do not need to fertilize the sidewalks. Seriously.
4. When you are sick, you have to speak to a pharmacist. There are no over-the-counter medicines. There are some things you just want to take care of yourself. I’m sure you understand.
5. Apparent shortage of applicator tampons. Sometimes OB is not “the way it should be.” I will spare you further commentary.
6. Pickles with sugar in them.
7. This week I went to the public baths three times. The weather has been really hot, and the swimming pools are great, except that two times out of three, I got slammed with balls (of the large rubber variety, of course). The first time it happened while I was in the pool, and today it happened while I was laying out on the lawn reading a book. After knocking the wind out of me and giving me a giant rubber ball welt, the “culprits” wave at me (without apologizing) as if to say “please throw that ball back to me so I can slam you again.” Shut up. I hate you people. Get your own ball.
OK, seven reasons are enough for now. If I come up with any more, I will let you know. Of course, there are many things that I will miss about this God forsaken place, but I will save that list for another time…. Except to say that one thing I will miss very much is the ability to travel relatively easily and inexpensively. Which of course is a swell lead-in for which to share a bit about my most recent trip.
Lisa and Frank just left a few days ago after their second visit since we have been living here. They started and ended their trip here in Munich, and for the chunk in between, they traveled down the Croatian coast. I met up with them for five days in Dubrovnik.
Most guidebooks like to repeat that George Bernard Shaw once said, "If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik." I don’t really know if it is heaven on Earth, because I imagine that heaven has a lot of stuff that you can’t get in Dubrovnik, but I will agree that it was pretty great. They also have a lot of cats there, which means it must be good.
About two minutes after Frank and Lisa arrived, they rushed me out to buy a snorkeling set, and we ventured out to the beach. The water was amazingly clear. I fell in love with snorkeling. I want to wear my snorkel everywhere now, like on the U-Bahn. I even love the word, “snorkel”. We snorkeled several times during our stay. Say that five times fast.
Another interesting excursion we took was to Mostar, Bosnia. The Mostar Bridge area of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Of course, the bridge was destroyed during the Bosnian War, but has since been repaired to its original splendor, as they say. One interesting thing about Mostar is that there is still a lot of war damage--pretty much everywhere you look--bombed out buildings and the like. They are working on it. I went in there like some kind of tardy war photographer (the war ended in 1994), with my trusty digital point-and-shoot. This made me realize two things, 1. I am so fortunate to be so ignorant about the realities of war, and 2. People are resilient.
I guess things here in Munich weren’t so bad after all.
Please proceed to the photo portion of this blog. Thanks for reading.
Dubrovnik has perfectly preserved city walls that fortify the old city. There is a path along the top of the walls, so you can walk them and look down into the old city. Here are a few photos from the walk. This first one shows all the red rooftops.
This was taken from one of the lookout towers on the wall.
A view to the fountain below.
Sunset as we were decending the wall back into the old city.
This was my first view of one beach, just a few minutes after arriving in town.
This cat liked to hang out on the terrace of the apartment we rented, so I named him Our Cat.
This is a Bosnian kitten. He lives under this car in Mostar.
A view of Mostar and the old bridge.
A derelict house in Mostar.