Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The German Army in France Again, A Cultural Funny

A couple weeks ago, as a part of an EU cooperation exercise or some such agreement, German troops were stationed in France with a French troop. It is the first time since—you know, 70ish years ago—that German troops have set up shop there. Interviews conducted on the radio to mark the occasion were rather humorous. French troops noticed a few odd things about the German troops:

They ate their lunch in 20 minutes flat and were back at work, as opposed to the 60-90 minute French ones.

German troops are not given a red wine dejeurner? Alcohol is forbidden during work hours?!?

The German troops start their day at 7:00 am instead of 8:30.

The funniest thing for an American observer of the whole event, is that we tend to think the Germans—as befitting most Europeans—are very laid-back people. Yes, they are efficient and industrious, but they know how to relax. They consider a 30 hour week very full, and like a glass of red wine at bedtime. If reports are accurate, their armed forces value beer as a very important military essential and their conditioning regime is far less strenuous than the American one. It just goes to show that everything is relative, especially where cultural standards are concerned.

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