My European (mis)Adventures

One Flash Light, A Passport, and Two Credit Cards, How much trouble can I get into?

A rally of the worst kind May 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Josh Green @ 6:09 pm

I experienced my first Neo Nazi rally a few days ago. I didn’t specifically search it out, I more like stumbled up on it by accident. Actually it was really hard to miss it. I was on my way to a bar to see a friend of mine’s band play, as I walked out of the subway at MarienPlatz , the city center, there it was. There were about 12 people surrounded by police with banners and shouting hate messages in German. I couldn’t really tell if there were a lot of supporters in the crowd or not, but I did see a large Jewish crowed waving banners with the Star of David and numerous other people shouting obscenities (in German) back at them. I had wondered what the occasion was and then I remembered it was May 8th, Victory in Europe Day. Incidentally, the French have this day off as a national holiday and it is no big surprise that the Germans don’t celebrate it. Nazism is something that I do not associate with Munich even though it is considered the birth place of the movement. The first thing that I thought of when I surveyed the scene was that these people are bunch of retards. The second thought I had was of how young they were. If I had to put it at an estimate I would say they were in their 20’s. I could almost understand some senile old bastard who was drinking buddies with Adolf still thinking this way……… Almost.

To think about this objectively, there is no conceivable reason as to why their cause should make a comeback or even how they think that it could. I mean it is not 1936 with unemployment and inflation at an all time high. The German economy grew by 2.2 % last year and it is projected to grow at about the same rate for the next 5 years. Southern Germany, Bavaria particularly has one of the lowest unemployment rates and coupled with Baden Wurttemberg their exports count for almost half of all exports for the country. Germany is also one of the leading exporters in the EU. So what is the deal? There is a prevailing thought that with the influx of foreigners they are losing their Germanness. Honestly I don’t even know if this is a word but there is no other way to describe it. I can sort of see it from their perspective because every country in Europe is trying to hold on to its national identity and there has always been strong feelings of nationalism in Europe. Case in point, Great Britain, holding out of the EU because they are fearful of losing control over their affairs. Fair play my friend, fair play.

The immigration issues here run parallel to those of the United States and Mexico but as far as I know, San Diego has never been referred to the 3rd largest city in Mexico where as Berlin is referred to as the 3rd largest city in Turkey behind Istanbul and Ankara. Maybe it seems that these numbers are so large because we are dealing with a total population of about 80 million and not 230 million. However, news reports and articles written about the influx of younger criminals from the east and from foreign lands does not really do anything to curb these sentiments. Another reality is that you have two types of immigrants, the ones that come and learn the language and try to integrate into German society and those who come and don’t make an effort. Again you can see the symmetry with that of the U.S. immigration problem. It is hard to help solve the problem when both sides do not seem to want to compromise. Maybe this problem will all be solved when Turkey is finally admitted into the EU but that is still awhile away if not never going to happen because I feel like they (the Turkish government) do not have any interest in the EU besides the economic advantages.

About a month ago the train drivers called for a strike because they thought their current contracts were not good enough for them. Their over all complaint was that the economy is doing so well that they wanted their piece of it. Holy Crap! Are you serious, last time I checked Germany resembled a capitalist country and was not into wealth distribution for the masses. Keep pushing for that and the government is going to keep it all, sort of sounds like 1939 right? But I have to give it to the Germans, when they strike they warn you about it, have a half day warning strike, negotiate a deal, and then strike for just one day. German Efficiency, gotta love it. I know this is sort of a round about way from where I first started but I am coming to the end. So what is the solution for Germany and the rest of Europe that are wrestling with these very problems. The way I see it, they can abolish the EU and go back to the way it used to be looking out for their best interests politically and socially, maybe just keep the Euro because it makes sense for them economically right now. At the moment I sort of hate the Euro so maybe they should just get rid of it. The second option is to quit your snivel’n, look in the mirror, find some intestinal fortitude, make some compromises, man up and go get yours. But then again what do I know? In most of these Euros eyes I am related to G.W.

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The Feds hate me….. May 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Josh Green @ 10:48 am

There is a running joke amoung my friends at the office that every time they say that they have discovered a new place to go and get things I always end up saying “ hey, that’s right down the street from my house” and they all make fun of me but its true it always seems to be right down the street from my house. The weather here has finally been good and by good I mean like San Diego good, 23 degrees (Celsius) sunny and not a cloud in the sky. Last weekend since most of my friends were out of town, I decided to take a walk about around the city of Munich, I had to go down to the Hauptbahnhof to get my monthly subway card so I decided to walk it. Keep in mind I don’t have a map of the city so I figured that I would just follow what I thought was the line of the Subway and use the stops as my guide. Fantastic idea or so I thought. About 20 minutes into my walk, I cant find the next subway stop to use as a marker, I don’t even know which way I am going or if I am going in the right direction. But then it dawns on me that I can stop at a bus stop and look at the maps posted and be on my way. No problem right, except that when I finally find a bus stop map, I discover that I am going the wrong way. I finally get on the right track and wouldn’t you know it, its not as difficult as I thought it would be. It sort of funny because Munich is such a large city it seems like everything is o far away but the reality is that I was able to walk to the places I wanted to go in about 45 minutes all a while seeing new and interesting shops but knowing in the back of my mind that I’ll never be able to find these stores again. I found the used English language book store, which is just down the street of my house so I stopped in and got a few books to read, the only problem I have is that I read both of those books in 4 days and now I have nothing to do and I cant really go and get any more books because I am trying to save my money for the last few trips while I am here. While I am in the store I notice that there is a bagel place across the street from it. I haven’t been able to get a decent bagel in this country the whole time I have been here and my first thought is “of course you can’t stupid because there are no Jews in Germany” probably not the best thought to have if you know what I mean. So I ask the guy at the book store about the bagel shop across the street and he says to me “ Well I am a bagel snob” I couldn’t even concentrate on the rest of what he was saying because I the first thing that popped into my mind was the Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode only it came out “No bagel for you!!” So I got some for breakfast and realized that if you put enough “Philadelphia” on it, it tastes just fine. So the next day I pack my backpack with water and a book and take a ride down to the Zoo, I decide that the Zoo is too expensive right now so I start hoofing it down the bank of the Isar river and I have a blow out. Well actually my sandal had a blow out and I cant exactly replace them here because that would cost like 50 euros and honestly I would not pay the equivalent of 70 dollars for a new pair, so I guess I am out of luck. So as I am cruising down the Isar there are people grilling, sunbathing naked down by the river. Sweet naked chics down by the river. NO! naked fat old men, needless to say I am thoroughly disappointed and find a spot on the river with no naked fat hair men in my view and read for a few hours. It was glorious.

With the realization that money is tight, partly because my internship does not pay that much and partly because my house is right around the corner from everything I decide to fill out my Federal Aid forms so I will have money waiting for me when I get home. Well let me tell you, the U.S government doesn’t value education. How can I say that? Well I made less than 3000 dollars last year and they have the gaul to tell me that I don’t qualify for Federal Aid. I have to rely on a Pell Grant and Aid from my University. This really torques me off because here in Europe they pay a stipend for their students to study abroad. My old roommate, gets 5000 Pounds Sterling to study abroad and he gets another 5k during his internship. All my friends that go to North Eastern get a stipend which makes up the difference from what they make to 1000 euro, so most of them are getting like an extra 400 euro a month. You might be saying that they pay 40,000 a year to go there and that’s where the money is coming from. I say if its required for me to have an internship to graduate, I should be getting the same deal from my University. But I am not bitter at all, seriously, I’m not. I’m just torqued that I can’t get money from FASA, I’m a safer investment than the stock market right now. WTF?? In two weeks I am going to France and I hope to god that we all make it back in one piece, why wouldn’t we you might be asking yourself? I don’t know, four Americans in an Audi A4 rent a car on the Autobahn and 2 days in Canes, its bound to get out of control. I was also invited in June to go white water rafting with some of the French girls from work in Austria, and you know it, I am going to go for sure. The last part of my 100 days here is going to involve a trip back to Sweden for a week to visit a friend of mine, and to quote Good Will Hunting “ It’s about a girl” sort of odd for me right? How often can you say that you are going to Sweden because “Its about a girl” but more about that later. I gotta go prepare for the Ultimate Frisbee in the Englisher Garten don’t want to pull a hammy but then again its all good because I’m pretty sure an authentic Swedish Massage is in the works, and  by authentic I mean  a hot Swedish  Broad….