Red light green light

21 07 2011

Germans are pretty serious about red lights.  Okay, when you’re driving – that makes sense.  But pedestrians also adhere to this rule.

I’m sure that when I was a kid, I always had to wait with my mother until the light turned green before crossing the street.  But now, having worked in DC and lived in Paris – two big cities – I got into the habit of crossing when it was safe, regardless of the light.  I’m not sure what the actual rules are on that in DC, but in Paris, there are definitely no rules, or at least nobody follows them.  Seriously.  I remember hearing a German lady call out behind me in Paris last year, “Hey, the light is RED!” as I crossed the street with a crowd of other people.  There were no cars coming at the time, and I laughed at her comment, thinking to myself, “How typically German.”

So, I must admit I got used to that, crossing the street whenever I personally deem safe.  It makes no sense to me to stand there and wait when there are no cars and I could cross safely.  If a police officer sees you do this in Germany, however, they can and will give you a ticket.  So far I’ve been lucky.

This is the button you have to press (by resting your hand on it – pretty cool, actually) to signal to the signal that you’re there and want to cross.

But the kids!

I was in one neighborhood once where I saw a sign underneath the pedestrian traffic light that said, “Nur bei grün – den Kindern ein Vorbild.”  (Only cross on green!  Set a good example for children.)  Something similar to this sign, found on another blog whose author, Wolfram Heinrich Aldersbach (what a name!), points out that the grammar of the sign is actually not quite right.  As he says, it implies that you should only set an example for kids when the light is green.  So, implicitly, not when it’s red.

(Picture from his blog.)

Because of this mentality, I am actually more likely to stand there and wait for the green light when there are children present.  But I stand there cursing this written (and unwritten) rule, and imagining myself back in Paris, fighting through the insane mass of cars, bicycles and pedestrians, moving every which way and almost running you over multiple times a day…

On second thought, maybe it’s not so bad in Germany!



20 07 2011

I accidentally figured out that my cell phone camera is capable of taking panoramic shots.  This is the result of that happy accident!

I prefer it in the original horizontal version, but had to flip it in order for the whole thing to be visible on my site.  Funny picture though.  You can see right up my nose!  Hah!

Chalk it up to graffiti

21 06 2011

I have something exciting to share about the new addition to our apartment décor, but until I get some good pictures, here’s a hint (from this awesome chalk graffiti I saw)…


It’s people, people!

7 04 2011

I saw this sign the other day when I was exploring a dock and some ships down in the Speicherstadt.  Somehow I arrived too early to class, and since it no longer feels like winter, I’m a lot more likely to wander around outside.  I read about the history of some old boats and came across this awful little phrase:  37 persons.

At the risk of sounding a little snooty, this “people” versus “persons” thing is starting to wear on me, as it’s one of the things I have to correct people on every day.  The thing is, persons isn’t incorrect, technically speaking.  But ask a native English speaker  what the plural of “person” is, and they’ll say “people, (duh!).”

The only place that word appears nowadays is in legal documents or often in extremely formal documents.  If you say persons, you’ll sound strange to 98% of the population.  And then this sign, neither a legal document nor something formal, says persons.  No wonder it’s such a confusion.

Less about grammar, more about boats!

Here is the boat the sign talked about.  These are all cell phone pictures, but I must say I’m rather impressed with the quality my tiny little Sony Ericsson camera phone can produce.  It’s really good at capturing the right light.

This particular morning was very windy, as you can see by the rainbow kite on this next boat!

These docks also had a drawbridge, which had really interesting-looking cables.  Even though they are made out of metal, they almost look like regular rope because of the weaved look.  Gorgeous!  I snapped a few photos of these fascinating structures.

In the background in the next picture, you can see the Elbphilharmonie (the new philharmonic) that’s still currently under construction.

Mornings in the Speicherstadt are simply the best.


Wish list!

28 03 2011

Even though it’s still relatively cold here in Hamburg, I am already totally excited about spring.  The sun has been out a lot more and has started a habit of shining directly in our eyes in the morning, waking us up.  We haven’t found curtains or shades we like, so we don’t have any in our apartment, but I’m thinking it’s time to find something soon, or else we’ll have to start wearing sunscreen to bed!

I don’t know about you, but I always feel like getting new pretty things in the springtime.  Bright things, cheerful things.  Like fresh flowers or a new set of bedsheets.

So here is my current spring wishlist:

(Click image for photo source)

Daffodils for our balcony and a cute planter to go next to our long box planter.  Maybe something like these metal pails, but one that can hang on the railing of the balcony.


I’m totally lusting after this “The End” bookend.  (Found via Making it Lovely, whose posts always inspire me!)

And a chameleon.  Because they’re freaking awesome!  But not really, because I don’t think I could handle feeding them live crickets.  Thanks, but no thanks.  But seriously, watch this video, sent to me by my bro.

(If you’re using a blog reader, you may have to click on the actual post to see the video.  I don’t get why it works that way…)

They’re pretty impressive creatures.  There are a bunch of reptile tanks on display in Mercado, the shopping mall near our apartment, and a chameleon was there, along with several other reptiles including this HUGE iguana:

And a few other links to share…

This isn’t really a wish, because we already have it.  But I just want to show it off.  🙂  Tobi’s brother and sister-in-law gave us this as a present.  It’s an ice cube tray to make ice that looks like icicles!  How cool!  (Pun intended!)  Can’t wait to try it out.

It’s made by a company called Invotis Orange, which has a lot of other interesting products, too.

They don’t have graham crackers here, so s’mores are pretty much not an option.  But then I saw this s’more cookie recipe on Oh Joy! and even though s’mores are more of a summer thing than a spring thing, I’m definitely going to have to try that asap.  Yum.

In case you didn’t see these 50 photos of basset hounds running, do it now, here.  I laughed myself silly at these pictures!  How funny!

Happy Monday!


Nothing new this Monday

28 02 2011

This weekend was pretty eventful.  Went on a little adventure, saw a musical and went to a friend’s going away party.  I’d share more, but I had better go satisfy this ice cream craving before I have to go back to work.  I’ll share more about the weekend’s events later this week.

So for now I’ll leave you with this colorful picture of an orchid I saw in the flower shop a few days before Valentine’s Day.  What an interesting pattern!

Oh, and before I go, here are a few links to some recipes I found today and am now just dying to try.  Yum.

Kiwi Caipirinha from Evil Chef Mom.

Ricotta & Pesto Stuffed Shells from Emma of From Scratch.

Chocolate covered orange peels from Eat Live Run.


A little bit of sunshine

22 02 2011

One thing I love about Hamburg is that it has really cool architecture.  It’s a mix of Altbau (very old!) buildings and 60s- and 70s-style mod design.  But the best part is that there are so many colorful buildings.

This one here is nearby TK Maxx in Eppendorf.  Yes, I went there – twice, actually.  I had to check it out!  The first time, I saw a snowboarding jacket I liked, but of course I didn’t buy it.  (I wasn’t kidding about being indecisive.)  But I went back a second time and bought it, after all.

But anyway, back to the house — this house, with its red brick façade and yellow accents, really makes it stand out.  Especially on a cloudy day…which is pretty often here in Hamburg.  So little pops of color make things feel much more cheerful.  That’s another reason why I prefer Hamburg to Paris.  Paris is beautiful and great and all that too (I mean, it does have the Eiffel Tower!), but it’s so gray there.

See what I mean?  Gray.

Isn’t it funny that here I am saying I prefer color to gray, but I’m sitting here wearing a gray sweater and am thinking of painting my living room gray too?  Hmm.  Maybe it’s to balance out all the colorful houses here.  Who knows?


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