blogland, meet alex... alex, meet blogland.

Hello Blogland, this is my friend Alex from Germany. Some of you faithful followers that have been reading from the very beginning might remember my second post, "adventures in traveling." I had just returned from a business trip in Germany and wanted to document some of the differences that I noticed between Germans and Americans... A little compare and contrast, if you will.

Well, my fellow German co-workers read that blog post and all found it quite amusing to see my thoughts on their culture and lifestyle. Then my friend Alex later emailed me and told me she noticed several differences when she last visited Atlanta. I told her I thought it would be funny if she wrote a little post of her own describing her traveling experience from a German-perspective. This is what Alex wrote... (enjoy)
I travelled two times to the US – twice for business trips and both to Duluth/Atlanta (so maybe my observations are influenced by the lifestyle of Georgia?) Don´t know?

Americans drive very huge cars. Automatic ones. There is always a speed limit on the highways. The interstates are really large (Interstate 85 has 7 tracks in every direction – 14 in total –that's crazy!) They are allowed to overtake the cars on the right and on the left side! Every exit on the Interstate has an exit number. Their drivers license has an expiration date. The gas for the cars is very cheap. They have a big choice of fast food restaurants. They have free refill of soft drinks and water. In nearly every restaurant you have to wait on the entrance until the waiter will allocate you to a free table. In the US you have always to give a lot of tip (in restaurants, hotel, taxi). In restaurants at least 15 percent! In supermarkets they have huge packages for food (2 liter packages for milk, juice and so on). They often have nice offers in the supermarkets: take 2 piece pay 1. The staff in the supermarkets pack the shopping goods for the customers and bring them to their cars. The Americans don't do any waste separation. They have an air conditioner in almost every flat, house or building. The Americans do make huge and brilliant fireworks especially on their Independence day. Americans are really patriotic and proud of their country – they have national flags in the garden or on the cars. Americans are outspoken and very enthusiastic. Their lifestyle seems to be more easygoing.

We Germans have smaller cars… we drive mostly cars with stick shifting. We can drive as fast as we like on our highways – there are only a few parts with speed limits. Our Interstates don't have that much tracks in each direction. We are only allowed to overtake only on the left side. The exits on the Interstates don't have numbers… they are generally called “Ausfahrt.” Our drivers licenses don't have an expiration date! The gas for the cars is very expensive here! We only have McDonalds, Burger King and in some big cities KFC – no Wendys! We have to pay for refills – (only McDonalds offers free refills – but this started recently in 2006). In Germany you can choose your table in restaurants by yourself – only in very classy restaurants will they serve you a table. In Germany the waiter and waitresses are always paid by the restaurant owner – so they have always a based salary. We tip not much and only when we want to give them an extra because of the good service. We do not tip in hotels and only a small amount to taxi drivers. We don't have that huge packages for food. Milk and juices in 1 liter bottles or smaller. We have to pack our shopping goods by oneself and no one from the staff will take it for us to the car. We have to separate our waste. We have laws for that. We have to separate paper, glasses, plastics and so on. We have 3 different cans for that. In private flats and houses we hardly ever have an air conditioner. In some offices we have one. On special occasions we have fireworks but not that brilliant ones. Germans are not that patriotic (maybe because of our history). We don't have our national flags on our cars or in our gardens (only when our soccer national team plays in world-championships). Germans are more reserved. Our work and lifestyle seems to be more strict.

These are my observations . In my view, life in the US is a lot different to life in Germany.

Thanks Alex for sharing your thoughts with all of blogland.