After more than a week working in Wolfsburg and a wonderful weekend trip to Potsdam and Berlin, I am on the way back to Beijing. Germany is a place where life is easy. Things work efficiently, the environment is clean and people are friendly. For a moment I hesitated at that thought: Germans friendly? They did neither have this reputation nor I have them in my memories like that. But they are. Even in the North, where they are said to be "cold" and serious, I found them quite humorous. So either they have improved or I changed my benchmark. These days I am already happy, when people don't spit at me and fart strait into my face or shout into a mobile phone. But I take it with ease. Actually, I always take it with ease. That's because of my stoic personality, which is sometimes mistaken as inter-cultural tolerance.
The normal hassle on the transfer from Terminal A to Terminal B in Frankfurt was brightened up by a Lufthansa ground staff whom I asked whether there is a post office box on the way?
"Give it to me", she replied.
I gave her some postcards and she said: "I will post them tonight on the way home".
She seemed happy that someone is still writing postcards and then blushed a bit and said: "I promise, I won't read them"
How sweet. I guess, in other places they would not get to the mailbox but be strait away posted on Weibo (the Chinese alternative to Facebook - actually it is not a real alternative, because Facebook is blocked in China). I passed by long corridors of "Beauty Free Shops" (my not really funny but true alliteration of Duty Free Shops) and finally made it to my terminal. There is nothing more triste than these large airports. It feels like downtown Hong Kong: mall, toilet, food, mall, toilet, food, mall toilet, food etc. All branded, sterilized and standardized.
The advantage of a Business Class flight is more legroom. And the Air China planes are specially nice. The seat nearly unfolds into a bed. But the disadvantage is to be surrounded by a certain kind of business people, which are not just dead boring but also actively expose that by starting a conversation. With the reform of the German education system and dropping it to down to international standard many German managers now also have serious intellectual shortcomings. It is really hard to have an interesting conversation with them. The other dominant group in the cabin are Chinese new rich who are watching cartoons, chewing on their nuts with open mouth and smiling through rotten teeth like the dogs they are. I am not looking forward to see (and hear) them having dinner!
I will have a busy second half of the week in Beijing and then teach a course in the Tongji-Mannheim University EMBA Programme. It was nice to see my colleagues in Wolfsburg, some of them again, some the first time. It was not enough time to see them all, and I missed out on a few old friends also. I am sorry. I will come again.