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If you live abroad for some time then people are occasionally asking “Which language do you dream in?“. But that’s a secondary issue. They should ask “Which dance do your dream in?”.

For me the answer used to be “Salsa.”, but last night I had my first tango dream. I wonder when I’ll have my first multi-dansual dream.

That’s a German “proverb” [“Traue keiner Statistik, die du nicht selber gef├Ąlscht hast.”] attributed to Winston Churchill, though it is in fact Nazi propaganda trying to discredit the statesman, which also explains that there is not just one “normalized” English form of the original but about 100 different versions translated from German to English. Winston Churchill didn’t even say “Lies, damned lies and statistics“, which is also often attributed to him.

From now on, I will try not to trust a single “x said y” reference, if it does not give the concrete occasion.

Anyways, some interesting numbers concerning the crime rate in Germany during the last 20 years can be found here. Overall, there has been a (slight) increase in the last 20 years in the per 100,000 numbers for Germany, but a significant drop in violent crimes. Of course, one should also not forget that credit card crimes essentially didn’t exist (in Germany) 20 years ago.

When you look at the numbers also be aware that up to 1993 they are for West Germany only.

If you can read German, then also have a look at this Telepolis article. I like the observation that the drop in violent crimes could be due to the aging population. Just as the drop of the crime rate in the US is due to the legalization of abortions about 35 years ago.

… you’ll find the map of Europe (and especially of Germany) for the CNN weather forecast somewhat surprising. ­čÖé

[Follow the link above and you’ll see what I mean …]

ICELAND (and Norway)!

Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007

Personally, I’m (positively) surprised by countries such as Estonia or Slovakia. I guess I really have to update my views and prejudices for the 21st century. Also have a look at the country-by-country report (e.g., the one about Germany) if you’re interested.

I noticed a few more things which are quite different here in Lausanne.

First, Swiss frozen pizza only takes 5-7 minutes in the oven. This is great … if you know it. If not, bon app├ętit eating charcoal.

Second, it’s perfectly normal for cyclists in Switzerland to happily co-exist with cars on a 4-lane highway without any emergency lane. At first I thought I’d lost track of the cycle path somewhere, as I had the feeling I was on a ramp to an autobahn/highway (… and I was indeed). But no, sure enough, this was were I was supposed to go as a cyclist.

A young student, who just came to our appartment looking for a broom (which disappeared from their appartment), just addressed me with “vous”, the polite French form of “you” … normally only used by students when addressing people with a “considerable” age difference.


What’s next? Will somebody get up on the bus to offer me his/her seat? Will people offer to carry my shopping bags for me?

The pain. The horror. ­čśë

Shortly after joining the hospitality club (, I was proud of the fact that I had the most comments in Saarbr├╝cken. [For the novices: Theses comments are a bit like the ratings on ebay.] But then … someone moved to SB who, unfortunately, had been to a HC camp and had met dozens of people there, who then all wrote comments about him. [Including me, as he also stayed in at my place when he was looking for an appartment.] So I had to settle for second place. Damn!
But now … I’m in Lausanne ­čÖé

30 comments are easily enough to ensure my rank as a top dog here. Hooray! Life’s good again.

… but I really think that the (bottled) Coke in Switzerland contains more carbonated acid than in Germany. It just feels that I have to shake it more than usual to separate H2CO3 into H2O and Co2.

Oh my god! What has the Schengen treaty done to Switzerland?

I entered (through France) with a station wagon stuffed to the roof with stuff. I was really afraid that I’d have to unpack things, because it would have been close to impossible to put the puzzle back together. But I only had to pay CHF 40 for a vignette to use the swiss highways and I was asked, if I’d bought anything recently. I said no. They said have a nice day. That was it.

Oh, needless to say that you can pay virtually everywhere with Euros, but you get the change back in CHF.

Welcome to the EU, Switzerland!


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