Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Germany is on the Honor System

One week in Germany. Still homeless. On the plus side, I have an office. I share it with a PhD student here, but it's rather nice and large with lots of shelves. And here's a picture of the view out the window.

This is the view through the window (actually from where I sit there's a lot more dirt on the window).

The "city" is small and cute. People here, however, have a distorted sense of scale. I'm constantly being told that some destinations are very far, and I'd better take the bus there. Those destinations are at most 1.5 miles away. Here's a picture of me in front of a pear tree. I'm very tired.

When you get on the bus, you can pay the busdriver. You can also buy a ticket in advance and validate it on the bus, inserting into a box at the back of the bus for a timestamp. You can also have a pass and do nothing when you get on the bus (no showing or waving around of your bus pass). I've been told that occaisonally someone will come by to check that you have a valid ticket/pass and if you do not it's a 40 euro fine. I have never witnessed this. So as far as I can tell, it's basically the honor system. My sister is fairly convinced that no one actually pays and we're busily paying the stupid tax. I asked one of the students here, "why do people pay if there's no need to prove you paid?" From the look on her face, I'm pretty sure that she could see horns growing from my forehead as I asked the question.


Tim said...

They have that same ticket validation system on the buses in Budapest and when I was there a few years ago I got nailed for not validating mine. It was after midnight and I didn't have any Hungarian bills small enough to go into the ticket machines, but the inspector didn't really care about my excuse (or speak English). I think he could tell I was a tourist and made a beeline for me once he got on the bus. It was kinda funny.

Anyway, yay blog. Hope you're having a good time in Germany.

Takemi said...

My sister was shocked by the same thing when she was in Germany a few months ago (to watch the World Cup, no less -- lucky).

So can I start a bet on how long you can keep the blog up? :)

Jackie said...


'yay blog' is an awesome blog title. Too bad google suggests that it's already been used.


You're welcome to place bets on the blog lifespan. Personally, I think it'll make through my time in Germany, but I wouldn't say if it'll make it past that.

Anonymous said...

hey jackie. When did you start wearing glasses??

eugene said...

alright anonymous is me.

Jackie said...

Eugene -

I've always had glasses, but I don't usually wear them. I had just gotten up from a nap and was about 2 hours away from falling asleep again when the picture was taken, so glasses seemed easier than contacts.