1. Its just not lip service, people are really environmentally conscious. Trash needs to be separated out in glass, paper, plastic, biodegradable waste etc, you rarely see plastic use and throw cutlery and use of paper towels is almost non existent. Grocery stores do not give plastic carry bags - you have to pay extra to get them. And you even get cash back by returning bottles.
2. May be because this was East Germany before, but everything is utterly methodical. For example I was given this form, where it literally says, go and meet this Professor, say hi to him and get the form signed by him. But that also means...
3. Everything involves too much paperwork. And in a fixed progression - you cant cant get a mobile phone unless you have a bank account, which you cant get unless you registered your address with the authorities, which of course can not be done until you have your apartment lease contract in hand, and for that you need to find an apartment!
4. That brings me to the business of finding an apartments. Yes, there are plenty of them, and yes they are reasonably cheap. But one crucial problem - they generally do not come with anything. And by anything, I mean that. Nothing in the kitchen , just some water pipes and wires sticking out. One has to buy and install the "kitchen". meaning the burner, fridge and all that is needed. Most apartment buildings are tall, dull structures, with hundreds of units inside, another Esat German legacy. I was even shown a refurbished apartment complex built from an old army barrcak, with long corridors and depressing ambiance.
5. However, one good thing is public transit, specially coming from a place here it was very limited, to put it mildly. Buses run on time, in fact you can almost set your watches by them. They have dedicated lanes and turning signals.
6. The food is not so fantastic though. Its mostly some form of sausage or potato, or often both. Like a sausage immersed in a thick potato soup. Which is not so bad the first time, but gets boring after a while. But then again, so does Wendy's double cheeseburger!
7. This is a tremendously non-multicultural society unlike I was used to. People of color are rare to find, and people actually stare at you if you are brown (or black, I would assume), not always in a bad way, but still!
8. There is quite a number of Neo-Nazi sympathizers here. Or so I hear.
9. Dresden is apparently called the balcony of Europe. I'll soon find out why. It is also the sister city of Columbus, OH. I do not want to find more about it. *Sigh*
10. Its completely different to be a tourist in a place where virtually no one is expected to understand your language, and to actually live there. Just saying.
My first view of snowy Dresden from my 17th floor hostel room: