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SUNDAY IN GERMANY: SOME NEWS FROM GERMANY

Submitted by Ken Yeager (ACS)

Ken YeagerAhoy Saigon Kids™ (then, grandparents now), Oh how times flies.

Report from Germany – Actually not a lot to report except that Germany now again after six months has a functioning government. I know that many of you don’t pay attention or care what too much what happens in Germany but after the last election, the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Socialist Union (the latter is a Bavarian party that work with the CDU) lost some percentages and had to form a coalition with another or other parties which was a problem since the next to strongest parties were the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the AfD (Alternative for Deutschland, unfortunately a very right-wing party). But after much tooing and froing, the SPD joined the CDU/CSU and formed a government. The hang-up was that originally the SPD refused to join a coalition but after lots of talk, relented and signed on. Frau Doctor Merkel is still the Chancelor(in) and the former mayor of Hamburg is now the Finance Minister. He will be missed in Hamburg.

We have had a damn cold winter and some accompanying snow this year. Snow machine got a couple of days workout but I enjoy playing with the thing and it makes coming inside to a warm house that much more pleasurable.

Big stink to date in Germany beside the no-government is the Diesel rebellion. Big push by some to ban diesel vehicles in cities which of course ain’t gonna happen when one thinks about all of the big trucks, vans and SUVs as well as sedans that run diesel which is less expensive in Germany than gasoline. Fortunately, we own a 2016 VW Tiguan which has the AdBlu technology and will probably be exempted from any ban should one be formally put in place Germany-wide. But this situation will continue for the foreseeable future. Something will be done but I have no idea what.

The Yeager’s are both doing well. Christmas and New Years Eve passed nicely and quietly except for the 3 hours immediately after midnight on the 31st of December when Germans blow up about $104,000,000 (according to BBC) of fireworks, the only time of the year they are permitted. Interesting note, firework displays ejected 4,000 tons of particulates into the atmosphere which is equivalent to 15% of the yearly vehicle particulate emissions in the country, according to THE LOCAL.DE. Sort of hinders the idea of a diesel ban in my opinion. Motorcycle season begins on April 1st but that is Easter Sunday and Monday is also a holiday so for me it starts on the 3rd assuming the weather is somewhat warmer than it is as I write this (35.6F). Strangely enough we had about two solid weeks of sunshine earlier this month and the end of February which sort of scares us as that might be all of the sunshine we will get this year. No question in our minds, the weather is totally screwed up despite what some politicians preach.

Obviously Gisela and I are not terribly pleased with the way the Department of State (my former employer) is being destroyed by the present U.S. Government, if one can call it a government. It hasn’t harmed us at all but we still have friends in the Foreign Service and one never knows what will happen to them unless some adults are put in charge and soon. One thing that has affected us in the last 12 months is seeing a drop of about 18% in our pension which is paid in dollars but has to be converted to Euros for us to live in Germany. We are still better off than about four years ago when a Euro cost about $1.50 but we feel it nonetheless.

Well, that about sums things up from this side of the Atlantic. Might be state-side bound later this year if my #1 son gets married this year which is supposedly in the plans but nothing firm as to a date. I do have to admit I would dread FLYING back to the US as I really hate flying anymore. It is such a hassle. We are planning a short trip to Berlin in May and will be going over by train … now that is a comfortable way to travel. The Germany Bahn may have its problems but it is a great way to get around in Germany if one wants to avoid driving.

Regards to all.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Ciao – Ken

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