Friday, May 14, 2010

The (In)efficiency of Germans

Anyone who holds the typical belief that Germans are an efficient group of folks will be in for a surprise if they ever spend a significant amount of time in Berlin. In fact, in my experience Germans (or at least Berliners...) tend to make most things waayy more complicated and convoluted than they actually should be. Case in point: My attempt to buy a year's membership card today at Berlin Zoological Garten.

I recently found out that the yearly membership only costs 55 Euros and, since I like zoos and will have both the babies on my hands in August when their pre-school is closed, spending a lot of time there will be the perfect solution.

No playground mommy-dom boredom. No look-outs for kamikaze bicyclists. And all an easy twenty minute bus ride away. Anyway, when I got to the zoo I told the woman at the ticket stand that I wanted to buy the membership. "Oh no. You don't buy that from me," she said then went into this complicated spiel about how I had to go to such and such a Platz where the Info Center was. I managed to grumble a somewhat polite "Huh?" and finally she told me to just pay the 12 Euro entrance fee and walk to the left. Once I got to the Info Center they would credit this amount to my membership. I walked...and walked...and walked. No Info Center. Finally I was at the entrance at the other side of the zoo. "Oh yeah, the Info Center," the woman who I asked said. "It's back that way (the way I had just come). The entrance is really hard to find, but it's there." Toll....(great...) I did eventually get there and, after showing my I.D. (very official membership application. Indeed, I thought they might even ask for a blood sample...) I got my own bonafide Zoo Card complete with picture. Then we started finally having fun.

We watched this somewhat haggard looking elephant take the most awe-inspiring pee I've ever seen in my life (not that I've watched a lot of pee action, but still. It was very impressive...)

And I took lots of pictures, much to the apparent amusement of the Dutch tourists standing behind us.

When the babie
s are at Kita (pre-school) I'll probably still go to zoo sometimes on my own. It's only a half hour ride through lovely Tiergarten and the great beer garden Schleusenkrug is really close where they also have great (and cheap) grilled food. The zoo would also be a cool place to write and, of course, take photographs of animals that are actually alive. See you at the zoo, my friends! Bis bald. ;)

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