After 3 days in Germany, I felt like a child again. NOT in a good way.
We had been shouted at by angry Germans so often.
Things that were pretty acceptable to us, were NOT ALLOWED in Germany.
Our group of 8 squeezed round a table for 4 in a busy restaurant. NOT ALLOWED!
We moved 2 tables together in another restaurant. NOT ALLOWED!
We wanted to celebrate someone’s birthday by opening a bottle of champagne at our hotel reception area. We asked if we could pay corkage. NOT ALLOWED!
I saw a tourist in a shop get shouted at too – he looked at the fridge magnets at the counter instead of the ones displayed on the wall.
“NOT ALLOWED”, the shop assistant shouted. “These are MINE.”
In another shop, I picked up a T-shirt off the pile instead of looking at the one on the wall. NOT ALLOWED!
We may annoyed a lot of people, but we still had loads of beer. Oops I mean fun! (It was the Oktoberfest, after all.)
Nonetheless, I wasn’t too sad to leave. I am not used to being shouted at like that. I am certainly not used to being treated like a naughty child.
We flew to Amsterdam! Well, anything and everything goes in Amsterdam. And no-one shouts (except the sad addicts)
It did feel like we had arrived at the other extreme.
Weed, drugs and sex available freely all over the place. Well not quite free, but freely available! It was quite an eye-opener.
My husband and I wandered into ‘The Other Side” coffee shop looking for breakfast one morning. It was empty but that didn’t put us off. We sat at a table next to the window and waited for someone to take our order.
Then we noticed a small sign next to each table: These tables are reserved for people buying weed from this establishment.
I thought it was a joke, but the joke was on me.
When three young girls walked in, asking for cappuccino, the man behind the counter asked for their ID’s! This seemed quite peculiar.
Looking more closely (and realizing there was no food anywhere ), getting something ‘breakfasty’ to eat here obviously wasn’t going to happen. So we ducked.
We found a friendly coffee shop on a busy street and enjoyed crispy croissants and coffee. No ID required!
So we had fun in Amsterdam too. We didn’t annoy anyone either. But after visiting “The Other Side” I did check out each place carefully before I entered.
As I headed home, I reflected on the two extremes. I couldn’t remember being shouted at by anyone back home nor have I inadvertently wandered into a coffee shop selling only weed.
At O.R. Tambo passport control a large lady with a wide smile welcomed us home. My heart smiled too. I love coming home.
There is comfort between the extremes. Here in SA we do not get shouted at in restaurants and shops. If I wanted to get weed, drugs and illicit sex I could probably find it, but it’s not in my face every day.
Each country has a shadow side, and we certainly have ours, but this is the place I know and love.
Going to the other extreme may be invigorating and exciting, but coming home is always better.
So by all means, go to the other extreme – and then enjoy coming back…“It is only through extremes that men can arrive at the middle path of wisdom and virtue.” Wilhelm von Humboldt
For tips on Mastering Your Life, a free assessment questionnaire, tips for stress management, ideas for building your relationships and much more…. join our community below:
Email Marketing You Can Trust