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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Germany... soon! [Aug. 12th, 2004|11:31 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick

Leaving for Germany tomorrow.

The past few days have been a frantic rush to get a bunch of things wrapped up. I think it all went pretty well. I'm not so scared to leave now. I trust the LJ crew will keep things under control and grow all the wiser from all the extra responsibilities.

I'll try and "blog" my trip. We'll see how unlazy I am. I'll post photos when I get back.

Anyway, the plan so far:

Friday, 4:20pm: depart Portland, Lufthansa, non-stop to Frankfurt. But we have to get to the airport really early because both Bush and Kerry plan to disrupt traffic tomorrow in Portland.

Saturday, 11:20am: land in Frankfurt (~11 hour direct flight).

11:30am: pick up rental car. It's supposed to be a "BMW 3-series, 'or similar'". I'm not sure what "or similar" means. The email confirmation said only "4 DOOR AUTOMATIC", so maybe that's what a BMW boils down to.

Then, depending on fatigue, walk around Frankfurt and crash there the first night, or (if we actually slept on the plane) drive to Cologne and visit Elfy.

More later....

[User Picture]From: calliste
2004-08-12 11:42 pm (UTC)
Have a safe flight and have fun in Frankfurt/Cologne respectively! Also, if you happen to pay attention, would you care to pay attention for me with which color of lights the Frankfurt television tower is illuminated? The last time I looked, it was either a bright pink or purple (can't remember 'cause I saw two tv towers that night), so now I'm wondering whether they're changing the colors every now and then. But anyway! I'm not going to be very mad if you forget to do this though. Wait. I will be.

Remember to read a bit about German traffic rules and stuff! =)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-08-12 11:56 pm (UTC)
Remember to read a bit about German traffic rules and stuff! =)

Uh, I wasn't concerned at all until you said that.

How different can it be? :-/

Now I'm paranoid and need to Google.
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[User Picture]From: calliste
2004-08-13 12:10 am (UTC)
It's not very different, I don't think. There is a difference on Autobahns - supposed to be at least - apart from the fact that you, in theory, can drive Really Fast (if you're not stuck in traffic jams or they're reconstructing the Autobahn or there is some really slow person in front of you who refuses to drive on the right lane), you should always drive on the right lane unless you want to pass another car, then you can pass on the left lane. Right-lane passing is illegal (keep that in mind on the Autobahn).

I can ask Germans from my LJ to explain the traffic rules! I'm sure some of them will be able to offer good advice. German car drivers can behave a bit relentless at times, I have noticed.

Oh, and then, the person coming from the right on an intersection has the right of way if there are no traffic signs. If you are on a Hauptstraße (yellow square sign with white rim), you have the right of way, if you are on a Nebenstraße (red triangle standing on its corner), you have to give the right of way to everybody else.

You are not supposed to turn right at a red light. I noticed you can do that in the US, or at least, we did it when we were there. Sometimes, especially in East Germany, there is a green arrow next to the traffic light pointing to the right which means that you are allowed to turn right even if the traffic light is red (provided you watch the traffic).

I can't think of more at the moment. But I think those are the main differences.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-08-13 12:12 am (UTC)
I've read all that so far except not being able to take a right on red. Thanks-- that's useful to know. I would've done it out of habit.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-08-13 12:13 am (UTC)
Whoa, and:

Penalities for drunk driving now start with a blood alcohol limit as low as 0.03 [emp. mine]. With the high alcohol content of German social beverages, it doesn't take long to hit the limit. And, if you have an accident, the courts may determine whether alcohol was a factor even if your blood alcohol content is below the limit. The best advice is: If you drink AT ALL, don't drive!

For realz.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-08-13 12:10 am (UTC)
Damn, I think I'm glad you said that. I'm reading this:


There's some crazy stuff going on:
* Although the speed limit cancellation sign End 60 km/h speed limit will only show the last posted speed limit, it actually cancels all previous posted limits and indicates a return to the default speed limit for the road you are on. Example: You're traveling down a rural road at the default speed limit of 100 km/h when you come to a 80 km/h speed limit sign. So you slow down to 80. A kilometer later, you come to a 60 km/h speed limit sign, so you slow down to 60. After a while, you pass a End 60 km/h speed limit sign. What speed do you return to? The answer is the default speed limit of 100 km/h. The End 60 km/h speed limit sign cancels all previous posted speed limits, not just the 60 km/h limit.
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[User Picture]From: ydna
2004-08-13 02:50 am (UTC)
That is so messed up.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2004-08-13 06:42 am (UTC)

Well, it'd be even more messed up if you had to maintain a stack of previous speeds in your head while driving so that you can pop them off every time you see a cancellation.

In the UK, it seems to be the case that rather than cancelling speeds they just tell you what you're allowed to do now, even if it's the default. In the example given, I guess the cancellation sign here would say “60” (mph), the default — I think — for a major road. There is a sign which means something like “do the default” but I've never seen it apart from on some obscure little country road between some farms where doing the default would actually have been pretty silly anyway.

Of course, I don't drive so I might have got this majorly wrong. It doesn't really matter since Brad's not going to the UK anyway… ;)

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From: spikeb
2004-08-13 08:25 am (UTC)
Here in Australia we do the same thing, just have a speed sign telling you fast you can go from here on, sometimes there is a sign above the new speed limit sign that says "end school zone" or similar. The sign that says just do the default (used to be the sign for no limit at all) is a black circle with a diagonal black line through it, but its very rare to see it around these days.
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[User Picture]From: ekips
2004-08-13 08:55 am (UTC)
We've got those in Oregon, too -- I've driven on more than a couple 55 mph highways where you're slowed down to 45, and then 35, and then after a while there will be a "END 35 MPH ZONE" sign signalling a return to the default 55.
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[User Picture]From: whitaker
2004-08-13 09:47 am (UTC)
To my understanding, that's how it works in the US. Although it's uncommon to find a sequence of 55->45->35->[end 35]->[implicit 55]. :-/
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[User Picture]From: mucho_suerte
2004-08-13 01:41 am (UTC)
Beamers aren't exactly pimpmobiles there - after all, this is a country where cabbies typically drive Mercs. Have a good trip..
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-08-13 09:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, which is why I wanted one... just something normal.

But I found out that because I'm not 25, I have to get a crap car instead, so I most certainly am going to a crap Ford Focus.
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[User Picture]From: lisa
2004-08-13 11:16 am (UTC)
aw... baby :-D
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[User Picture]From: girl_on_a_stick
2004-08-13 08:38 am (UTC)
Hey, I flew that exact Lufthansa direct flight last summer on my way to Austria/Prague. So nice to have direct flight! Lufthansa's food is pretty decent, too.
Enjoy your trip.
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[User Picture]From: nolegs
2004-08-13 11:31 am (UTC)
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