Tuesday, June 12

Weekend in Hamburg Part 2

The main thing about Hamburg is that it has by far the most number of bridges in Germany, totalling to 2300 which is more than Amsterdam (1200) and Venice(400) (source from Wikipedia). This is actually one of the first things I learned from my german classes back in 2002 where I could only say Danke (thank you) and Mein Name ist (my name is) in german. So learning about Hamburg and its bridges really stucked into my mind especially when I really didn't undertand much what the book (no english translation at all!!) said except the numbers and seeing the picture of those bridges. So here's a collage to pay tribute to that ( Sorry but I have no intention of taking pictures of the 2300 bridges ).
The buildings in Hamburg are also much different from the other towns I've seen in this coutry, much of Hamburg's buildings are massive brick buildings which were built (and some rebuilt after being damaged from WWII) some time ago to avoid great damages from fire (brick was probably also cheap and practical to use but most buildings were warehouses and being a port that could mean millions of wasted goods turned to ashes). I really like the city and could almost imagine myself living there than in Berlin ( which is also a big city and a federal state on its own). The V. however is not much of a Hamburg fan, he lived there for almost 4 months a few years back but he just couldn't like the city and its people. Well I didn't meet any locals except the waiters and waitresses and they were all super nice to me except for one which was really overwhelmed because of my blunt answer. In Germany, it is customary that waiters/waitresses asks you right before paying, cleaning the table if your meal is Ok and if it tasted good. On the other hand it is also customary that you say, oh yes, the food was good/tastes wonderful/ super good.
I hate this sytem but I just can't beat it. Here's a proof of that.
V: Can we get our bill please?
Waiter: Yes, coming right up (at the same time clearing the table).
Toni: (anticipating that special moment and thinking to herself, should I or should I not)
Waiter: (looking mighty proud of his clearing the table skills - now comes the most awaited question ) ..And, did you like the taste of your food?? (grinning and expecting a super yes, wonderful answer!!!)
Toni: (me thinking is he blind can he not see that i didn't touch my meat) Well only the potato because the schnitzel (breaded pork chop) didn't taste good at all, really bland compared to the mouth watering description on the menu .
Waiter: (looking confused, puzzled, overhelmed,scratching his head) Oh, I'm sorry (he's really not sorry but rather amazed because of what I told him)
V and Toni: (now waiting what will happen, this is almost like watching a movie and waiting for the climax)
Waiter: (comes with the bill, no look of sorry at all) That would be €28.20
It is customary in Germany that when a waiter/waitress gives you the amount of the bill, you are to give your money and tell him/her the amount you want to round it off and give it as a tip like in this case you would give him a €50 bill and tell him 31 .. or you give him 30 and just say thank you and the rest would be his tip. No leaving of coins/bills behind or giving a 10%- 15% tip like in some countries. Germans are direct so they tell exactly what you get and waiters are not underpaid like in some countries so giving generous tips are not expected from customers either(which is probablywhy he was not so sorry at all).
Waiter (getting the money and putting it slowly in his pouch and waiting patiently for V's rounding off calculation)
V: (irritated because of this trick) Don't expect any tip from me after doing nothing with what we told you about that food.
Waiter: AH, eh (scratches his head and hurriedly left)
The end. Moral of the story .. I can't just beat this system!!!
You might think why didn't I tell him in the first place right after I've gotten my food that I didn't like the taste of the food?? I tell you - that I can't do, because I've done that before and what I got was a salt shaker from the cook. So what the heck. Another instance , I could have gotten a free coffee if I have ordered dessert but heck if I didn't like the food, why should I waste money on cake and get coffee free for the damages done to me by a terrible dish.
So sorry about this entry, I thought I would write more about Hamburg but I guess this is it for now. I have to go to bed because I am feeling a bit sick, maybe because of that bad schnitzel marinated in special sauce, bathed in special grains and herbs which in toni's real world actually tasted like old cardboard paper.


eyna said...

ate! alam mo ba i've been dying to do just that?!? kasi masyadong scripted lagi...pay, waiter asks about the food, you say oh yes it was awesome, then they will say good, then pay pay. eh may times naman talaga na lasang basang papel ung pagkain and im wondering what will they do and say if you told them no the food is terrible hahahaha. salute to you and kuya vlado. idol talaga namin kayo ;)

maiylah said...

go, girl!!!
am not so sure if i could have done what you both did ... :)
hope you're feeling much better now.

Ahoy! said...

hi! I think it's perfectly okay to tell if you're not satisfied with the dish, since they live on that stuff. Maybe you should have said it earlier, so that they could replace your food instead of just saying sorry?

BTW did you learn German at Goethe Institut Manila or there at Germany? I was at Goethe some time ago, and my sister too, I wonder if we could have bumped into each other? :-)

Toni said...

thanks everyone for dropping by :)

eyna - you should try it, you never know what surprises are in store for you :) beat my salt shaker from the cook experience

maiylah - thanks, i do feel ok now. nope i'm not from bohol rather from baguio :)

joy - yes, i also thought about giving them the food back but vlado said that's the normal taste - there really is nothing wrong, not bad meat just poor taste :( the last time i did the waiter came back with a salt shaker from the cook, he said salt is just what i needed :( for that bland taste.
nope i wasn't at Goethe back home.hey so you speak german too? I did all my german here in Germany, did you use that textbook with the bridges of Hamburg there too :) lol -

Ahoy! said...

We used Themen Neu 1,2, and half of Themen Neu 3. I stopped German for some time after that, but when I came back they changed the text book so I don't actually remember the bridges story, sorry!

I did get to use my German in Germany though, when I landed in Frankfurt airport. Somebody asked me for a lighter. That was so textbook-like though, it was one of the scenarios for Themen 1! Haha! So I answered as the book said ("Leider nicht!"). But nowadays I have no practice = wasted money on German lessons which I forgot. And since now I'm learning Swedish, I get the two languages all mixed up, boo hoo hoo!