Thursday, January 28, 2010

A paradox?

The word paradox takes me back to lower sixth at school, or was it 5th form? Anyway, that was the year we performed 'Pirates of Penzance' with line

'A paradox, a paradox,
A most ingenious paradox'
however, I digress....

Germans are keen to appear healthy, they have a great health care system and embrace every sport going (and seem to make some up to my mind as there clearly aren't enough sports already in existence to satisfy every German - I would point you in the direction of voltigieren, just what is the point of gymnastics on horse back? Unless you want your child to run off and join the circus, that is. Or Rh├Ânrad, gymnastics within a rolling wheel - why?)

So Germans love their sport, summer months find every German worth his/her salt out on their bikes klingeling away to make sure you're not impeding their progress along the footpath, they drive me nuts, them and the other crazies who insist on taking walking poles with them on a walk and then just waving them about ineffectually.

And as I said, a great healthcare system, if you have had a serious operation you will often get sent to a recuperation centre for several weeks afterwards to help you to be rehabilitated.
There are 'wellness' (nice bit of Denglish there) hotels everywhere throughout Germany where people go to drink the waters, bathe in the waters, walk in the waters...get the picture? Like a spa, but less fun (it's bound to be less fun isn't it? It's German and therefore meant to be taken seriously)
The health system even gets you a yearly MOT and yet something doesn't quite fit.

- Maybe it's the number of Germans who smoke?
- The availability of cigarettes - they still have machines on street corners and next to the checkout above the sweets in the supermarkets
- The number of solariums around (Kettwig has 5 that I can think of without trying) and the number of permatanned women walking about.
- The sale of schnapps in petrol stations
- The quantity of ice-cream that is consumed throughout the whole year (come on, you're not going to tell me that that's low fat ice-cream you're opting for?)
- Every office desk seems to have a bowl of gummi bears
- Children are always handed small packets of sweets if they accompany you to the Apotheke (dispensing chemist- as opposed to a 'Boots' equivalent, of which there isn't) or the DIY shop, the pet food shop...
- Portion size 1, seriously, have you seen the size of a piece of cake you get here with your mid morning coffee? I'd order one with 2 forks but; 1. I'm usually alone & 2. if I'm not alone then I'm with Si, who would eat more than his fair share!
- Portion size 2, when Si is away with meetings they get a full breakfast, danish pastries all morning, 3 course lunch and then 3 course dinner

Like I said it's a paradox, they want to be healthy and they do all the sport and have all the gear but then they're sneaking around all sunkissed & scoffing pies....hmmm, doesn't quite sound as though they've got the message!

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