Monday, January 16, 2006

Alles Klar

My German classes are going well. I seem to be learning a lot in a short amount of time. If any one is wondering which school is good in order to learn German, I will have to say the Sprachcaffee is great. Speaking of language, I have an observation about Germans: they always say, "Alles klar." That means literally everything is clear or everything is good. I dont't know why, but I hear it all the time in many situations. I will report more on this as I learn about it....As you probably learned in my previous posting, we went to Bonn last weekend and I have some more photos I want to post for your enjoyment. One last note: I seem to not be posting as often as I assumed I would prior to arriving here in Germany. I guess life takes over and your blog has to take a lower priority....

The above photo is obviously the birthplace of Beethoven.

The above street scene is what would typically find in Bonn. Note the beautiful architecture.

This is what Germans call a Smart Car. I think even Swatch, the watch maker, in cooperation with another company builds this car. I think it is too small. I call small cars like this in Europe a death trap. If a semi-truck hits you in this small car, you're dead. So they should rename this car: Death Trap.


Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Smart Cars have been around at least for 5 years now. I know here in Vancouver, as just being introduced over a year ago, they are sold only at Mercedes dealerships. And yes you are correct that in Europe it has something to do with Swatch.

I'd agree with people's thoughts on "what were they thinking" when they bought one... Safety obviously wasn't top on the list.

And it's good you are busy...

6:53 PM  
Blogger J said...

Alles Klar is also used to say 'Okay'.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Katja said...

I think it is great, that you enjoy learning German! Viel Spaß weiterhin.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alles klar means bascially "I understand"

7:41 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Hey James! Alles Klar? I too am enjoying learning German. It is very interesting to me. Thanks for your comment about the hominy. When we move to our own place we will invite you and matt over for some cheese encheladas, pozole and a few huge frozen margaritas with the salt around the edge of the glass. Mmmmm. I tried a drink here a few nights ago. It was called a "caprenia". Very good! lots of Ice! A little bit too sweet with the brown sugar on the bottom, but it sure is refreshing. Let me know if you have any "learn to speak german" material that you have finished with. I have a pretty good selection here. Maybe we could do dome sort of book and CD exchange thing with the other expats here. Danke und viel spaß. Bis Gleich

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

I rented a Smart Car because I think they are incredibly cute... and I got 60 mpg--so they are incredibly smart, compared to the typical American SUV.

For the Germans reading this, it was 3.95 liters per 100 kilometers.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

I believe you'll most often find Smarts being driven as city cars and therefore aren't going to be as often subjected to being squished like a bug by semis on the Autobahn.

Yeah, I think Alles klar is something you hear a lot but as with English speakers constantly saying "okay" it'll fade into the background and you won't notice it as often. I actually think bitte is a more all-purpose word.

Remember to use your German as much as you can. There's nothing like speaking it to make you learn it.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Prodigal Talks said...

I laughed at your death trap story. In Europe, by now you might have realized, inner city roads tend to be a lot narrower than those in North America. Swatched designed this car in order to provide fast and efficient means of transportation 8 years ago. It's easy to park and no one expects you to get on a highway or try off-roading. and guess what? it's environmentally conscious - as opposed to SUVs, trucks, and all other over-sized vehicles that are heavily utilized in the states.
Germany is a very environmentally progressive country and we should all try and adopt their mentality a bit!

11:44 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

LOL!!! The death trap! I said that too and my boyfriend spent 20 minutes trying to convince me that they had excellent safety ratings in his most serious German explaining voice. I think he failed to see that this thing is possibly the most utterly ridiculous vehicle an American can imagine and that calling it a death trap just makes it even more funny.

Glad your German classes are going well. I wish I was able to immerse myself. I haven't even found a class yet I've been so busy at work :( I am however learning more vocabulary but without classes I can't really make articulate sentences.

Glad you are well!

11:57 PM  
Blogger CocteauBoy said...

Jimmy, go check your Flickr page and add me as a friend/family, dammit.



9:12 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Nice pictures! I think those Smart cars are so cute, but yes, they can be dangerous, not that mine, a Fiat Twingo, is any better. It IS bigger than a bread box though.

"Alles klar" can mean any number of things, actually, depending on how and when you say it- "OK", "everything's fine!, "I understand", "oh, that explains everything" (meant sarcastically), "fine with me", "it's ready to go" etc. The possibilities are endless. If you want to impress your friends you can also say things like:

Alles Banane!
Alles Paletti!
Alles im Lot auf dem Boot
Alles im Butter auf dem Kutter

Just don't take it personally if they laugh. ;-)

10:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi! Enjoying the pics. Another 'mericun expat here. The Smart showed up in Germany right about the time I did and I remember thinking "what the?! I'm in Auto Hell!"

Yes, they're a space-saving. Yes, they're cute. Yes, they're economical, etc. My initial thought the first time I saw one, however, wasn't "Let's run right over to Toys-R-Us and pick one up!" It was more like "Lordy, I could push that over!"

I file this one under: What Were They Thinking?

p.s. The natives here in Aachen call them "elephant roller skates".
p.p.s. I've heard the convertible version comes with its own "Drive Around Town Barbie"!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Prairie Girl said...

With regard to Alles Klar and the fact that you hear it quite often. I hear "keine da" often (which means no one's there) and I always think people are speaking about Ca-na-da :-)

7:30 PM  
Anonymous megan said...

I would have loved a SMART in San Francisco, parking problems would have been nill.

I've seen three accidents in Munich involving SMART cars. Every time the other car was crunched and the SMART was usually on its side but otherwise untouched. The thing is a rolling cage and seems to be really safe, despite the petite appearance. Wear your seatbelt and enjoy parking everywhere.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Sparky said...

...oh, and the Smart is a joint venture of Swatch and Mercedes (DaimlerChrysler, more exactly). Since the company is in big trouble (stupid line extensions like the smart roadster and the forfour are breakgin its neck), it will probably be integrated into the corporate fold of DaimlerChrysler, 50% of people will be laid off and the whole company will produce only smart fortwos.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Smart Cars have re-enforced roll cages and are extremely well built. Their safety record is amazing - they are far from death traps. Maybe it is Americans who have completely the wrong attitude and information when it comes to most effective, efficient and safe cars? Many US cities do not have rapid transport systems or cycle infrastructure either - that is very wrong.

I liked you pictures of Bonn - I hope you take a bit of European thinking back to the US. I have tried and in NYC and SF they are definitely open to European ideas much more than the average strip-mall and freeway suburbs.

8:35 PM  

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