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River Cruisers: How Are Things Where YOU Are?


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All together now: Alaaf! or Helau! Depending on where you live, or different exclamations. Overall laughter, merriment, "soldiers" in the streets, kissing strangers, fools running around, drinking, falling over, streamers in the pubs, music, mayors "attacked" in town halls ...

 

Before you think I have gone mad, let me assure you that I am merely presenting the 11 November scenario that befalls parts of Germany on this day year in year out. The first day of the Carnival season this year is a different one, though. People are told to not celebrate and urged to stay at home. Police are on alert to enforce the rules if necessary. But only outside of the home, there is no policing private space. And we are not supposed to spy on our neighbours either... If everyone is sensible it should not feel necessary in my opinion. Hope everyone is. As a year without Carnival is a no-can-do for the real "Karnevalisten", celebrations are online where possible. Here is an article: https://www.thelocal.de/20201111/police-step-up-patrols-as-germanys-carnival-season-starts-online

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Things are not going as well as we would like, here in Germany that is. Overall compared to most places in Europe we are not doing too badly, Austria for example is much worse now. Finland on the other hand is doing okay. There are big differences still between individual districts in Germany, so while my area and much of Rhineland-Palatinate is middle range in the incidence rate, Berlin for example is a bad place to be (and I really have to restrain myself from calling the Prussians over there anything worse, not because of the figures but the Berlin mindset). @AnhaltER1960 's district in the East of Germany is doing much better.

 

Statistics say around 80 percent of Christmas markets have now been cancelled in Germany. Personally I have had good news this week as I have actually been assigned a new duty in connection with a tourism instead-of-Christmas-market project (sorry, no details, I prefer not to give that away) where additional personnel is needed for organisational reasons. Which means weekend work is back for me resulting in more money on the pay check.

 

My somewhat unassuming state capital Mainz is big in business and one company in particular has made international news: BioNTech. Ring a bell? They collaborated with Pfizer on the vaccine. Not only is Mainz the seat of this institute but is also home to Schott, one of the big specialists in the glass-making industry. Schott in Mainz produces the half-finished special tube glass for the vials for the Coronavirus vaccine (it is completed in another plant of the same company). Here is a business article: https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-vaccine-vial-coronavirus-germany/a-54975715

 

It is a dangerous world out there, look after yourselves.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
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You may have heard this: Germany has extended the lockdown light till 20th December. Rules for mixing with other households have become tighter. After that we have been promised a Christmas amnesty where things will be eased - if all goes well. We now have more than 1 million cases officially.

 

Personally, I am alright but the mental strain is increasing. A couple of days ago a BBC reporter stood in Kent reporting about the locals being unhappy about their tier3 restrictions. I sat in front of the telly crying about not seeing the Christmas lights in Canterbury, etc. We have Christmas lights here, but it is just not Kent.

 

Germany has lit up for the festive season and you may find the occasional glühwein stand here and there. We might even have a small market in a side street somewhere. Here is a gallery of festive lights, but be warned, the last photo of Nuremberg square without its market is a small shock. Hard to take for many a German soul: https://m.dw.com/en/christmas-shine-despite-the-coronavirus-germanys-cities-are-festively-lit/g-55748935

 

I will leave it at that, light the first candle on my Advent wreath tomorrow, share recipes at our water cooler on this board and hope for better times to come.

 

notamermaid

 

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5 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Those pictures are hard to take for an American that has been to 5 of those markets when they were decked out! It is not bad in NH like other parts of the country but with Thanksgiving travel it is going to get worse! Everyone stay healthy!!!

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One of our neighbours has actually put up some lights, they’ve covered a tree and the front of their house. Okay it’s early but this is a household who have never ever decorated before. Will it start a fashion?  
We have a tier system a bit of a pain to understand at first but eventually it is vaguely understandable. We’re tier 2 so are our daughters who live some distance from us hopefully we’ve sorted meeting up just after Christmas 🎄 if things stay as they are. 
 

Keep well all and dream of cruising.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Germany will go into lockdown from Wednesday. That is what we had been prepared for by our authorities for days and now it is official. I am telling you, that bat in China has got a lot to answer for...

 

Now I will be busy with last minute Christmas shopping on the 14th of December. Just one more day at work as well, unless my boss has plans for me.

 

Also trying not to shop "am Amazonas" as we say in German, local businesses need my support. Saw this lovely scarf in a clothes shop yesterday...

 

One good piece of news. Talked to a lady today who normally works in the events sector, decided to run her own business when her employer could not keep her. She now runs a small take-away with standing tables (currently not available) and it is going well. You have to be creative to keep yourself fed and in good spirits.

 

Right, I am off, need to adjust the timer on my Christmas lights, etc., etc.

 

Dangerous world, long winter, get Vitamin D (not giving medical advice here) and enjoy the sunshine. Stay safe.

 

notamermaid

 

Edited by notamermaid
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1 hour ago, notamermaid said:

Germany will go into lockdown from Wednesday. That is what we had been prepared for by our authorities for days and now it is official. I am telling you, that bat in China has got a lot to answer for...

 

Now I will be busy with last minute Christmas shopping on the 14th of December. Just one more day at work as well, unless my boss has plans for me.

 

Also trying not to shop "am Amazonas" as we say in German, local businesses need my support. Saw this lovely scarf in a clothes shop yesterday...

 

One good piece of news. Talked to a lady today who normally works in the events sector, decided to run her own business when her employer could not keep her. She now runs a small take-away with standing tables (currently not available) and it is going well. You have to be creative to keep yourself fed and in good spirits.

 

Right, I am off, need to adjust the timer on my Christmas lights, etc., etc.

 

Dangerous world, long winter, get Vitamin D (not giving medical advice here) and enjoy the sunshine. Stay safe.

 

notamermaid

 

I am so sorry to hear of the added lockdown.  Things are not much better here in Texas.  Numbers keep going up, not many Hospital ICU beds available, however still allow 50% indoor dining.  We stay home and wait for vaccine and better days.  Frohe Weinachten

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There is talk in the press that my state, Massachusetts, may go back into lockdown after New Years.  Truth be told, we should be in lockdown now, but with the Christmas season upon us, there is an expectation that few will comply.  New Years may be too little too late.

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Notamermaid, I am so sorry to hear that you are back in lockdown, I can still remember how awful it was.

 

We are so far still quite lucky now in Victoria, apart from wearing masks in shops and so on, things are almost normal.

 

However, we have resumed allowing returning Australians to come back to Melbourne and after just one week, we have seven cases again, after seven weeks of none.  So far, they are all locked in quarantine, but we are all terrified that just like last time, a quarantine worker will contract covid and take it home to his or her family, or to strangers in restaurants, bars and shops.  Fingers crossed this doesn't happen.

 

Best of luck to you all.

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Parts of Ontario are in lockdown...  We are about 30 km due east of Toronto, and currently are considered in the "red" zone (masks, controlled numbers in shops & restaurants, limitations in public gatherings) - but Toronto proper - and areas north and east - are in "grey zone" - which is lockdown.  Only stores considered "essential" are allowed to be open for in-person shopping. Restaurants open for Take-Out only.  Only 5 people total allowed to gather indoors.  This really will effect Christmas, as you can imagine...

 

On a positive note, the first vaccinations were given in Canada today!

 

Fran

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fran, I hear things are getting bad down your way.  We are still in 'Yellow", which is just a touch better than the "Orange" that Ottawa is in.  We are closely watching the area next to us, as they are looking at going into red.  Hopefully once the care givers and first responders get their vaccines, and then the seniors, we can all get back to somewhat normal.

 

I see The Netherlands are going into lockdown.  Glad that we were able to Zoom a family Sinterklaas get together before, as our cousins can no longer have their kids home. 

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The personal - and obviously anecdotal - news we have received from Germany is horrifying.  To all our posters in Germany (and everywhere else for that matter) - please take care!

 

My sister just received a text from her 'foreign exchange daughter,' Melissa  (who lived with her in 2005/6) describing the situation near Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate as taking a definite turn for the worse in general and in her family specifically. 

 

A 16 year old second cousin is suspected of infecting his entire family:  his 67 year old grandmother (who is Melissa's aunt) is hospitalized on a ventilator, his mother (mid-40s) is at home having trouble breathing 'and afraid to go to sleep,' his father is showing mild symptoms; and his grandfather - currently undergoing cancer treatment - is the only one 'healthy' in a family that now has no caregivers for him.  The family is trying to get the grandfather into short term care but having been exposed to Covid that is a seemingly impossible task.   

 

 

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@capriccio that is horrible. Our numbers are rising so fast, the government had to react quickly. The situation you describe is a scenario that I fear. It is not about me, but my close family. If it hits me I just "know" someone else will get it and may leave at-risk people to have to look after me. Elderly relatives dropping the food off on my doormat is not a nice thing. And the hotel I had considered for potential quarantine has decided to close over Christmas. Our elderly are entitled to FFP2 masks for free from this week. Just pick your contingent up at the pharmacy. It is based on trust. In the new year, the health insurances will send a letter to all those entitled so they can pick up another contingent for a small sum of money.

 

Meanwhile a colleague of mine is still seriously ill in hospital with a different medical condition. How terrible to miss Christmas at home and have to deal with all the restrictions and precautions for visiting patients.

 

Life is not great for me, but it is so much worse for many.

 

notamermaid

 

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We have not experienced snow since we moved to Florida in January 2013.  We always return to Virginia for 5 months each year but as soon as I need to wear a jacket (usually the end of September) we return to our condo on the beach near Fort Lauderdale.  This year, due to covid and associated family responsibilities plus the 1 1/2 years of condo building restoration finishing (finally!) next week, we are still in Virginia.  These are the views from our house at the end of November and this morning after receiving 7+ inches of snow yesterday:

 

image.png.645fe7c0e5bdae7edfd4cdc35d8d8e86.png

 

image.thumb.jpeg.582525cc0d2737e1bc772e34db7f6d35.jpeg

 

After Christmas we are heading back to Florida but for now we're enjoying (especially since we finished shoveling the walk and driveway) the winter wonderland.

 

Wish all of you happy holidays and sending a fervent hope for a healthy new year to all!

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8 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

Pretty view! Snow is lovely if you can sit home and enjoy it.

 

20201217_065545.thumb.jpg.510818e2acd8fb11cb9d7e24aef76150.jpg

 

We drove 7 miles to work this morning. It took 1h40! It was a madhouse on the roads.

Hi JP, you be safe!!!!!!!! (And Chris of course!)

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4 hours ago, jpalbny said:

Pretty view! Snow is lovely if you can sit home and enjoy it.

 

20201217_065545.thumb.jpg.510818e2acd8fb11cb9d7e24aef76150.jpg

 

We drove 7 miles to work this morning. It took 1h40! It was a madhouse on the roads.

Aren't you glad you don't live in Binghamton?  Very pretty with the colours.

 

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3 minutes ago, Daisi said:

Aren't you glad you don't live in Binghamton?  Very pretty with the colours.

 

 

I grew up 30 minutes north of there, so YES! Moving 2h east to Albany makes a huge difference in the snowfall. As an epilogue to this morning's disastrous commute, the ride home was a breeze. The only bad part was that the last 5 miles was behind a Mercedes SUV who either didn't have snow tires, or didn't realize that Mercedes cars were engineered to go faster than 20 miles per hour on mostly bare roads.

 

My poor Audi was whimpering to go faster the whole way! Still, it only took about 20 minutes to get home which is not much longer than usual. So I'll take it. We had just enough daylight to shovel a path in the front walk, but it's no wider than a shovel's width. Guess I'll do the rest tomorrow.

 

The color in the picture is from my grow lights in the sunroom, just off to the left side of that picture. We have five citrus trees and one avocado tree wintering there. In the summer they go outside with lots of daylight. In the winter they stay indoors with a grow-light 14 hours per day. They survive but they get unhappy and end up dropping a lot of their leaves.

 

There is nothing tastier than a G&T with a freshly-picked Meyer Lemon, by the way. I may just have one after dinner! But first I have to hit the treadmill. Shoveling the walk didn't get me enough steps, so time to get a move on before we cook dinner.

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This is my car learning how to surf.  Ended out having to pull it out with the tractor.  I made it part way up the lane, but my husband just managed to get off the road. I had a 10 minute commute then, took almost an hour to get home, and I drive country roads.  Everyone was driving down the middle, so it was fun when you occasionally met on coming traffic!

IMG_2273.JPG

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2 hours ago, jpalbny said:

There is nothing tastier than a G&T with a freshly-picked Meyer Lemon, by the way. I may just have one after dinner! But first I have to hit the treadmill. Shoveling the walk didn't get me enough steps, so time to get a move on before we cook dinner.

You're the doctor, but shouldn't shoveling count for at least 2x steps given the whole-body workout you're getting?

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44 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

You're the doctor, but shouldn't shoveling count for at least 2x steps given the whole-body workout you're getting?

 

My phone app that counts steps hasn't figured that one out yet. And I thought it was smart...

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40 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

 

My phone app that counts steps hasn't figured that one out yet. And I thought it was smart...

 

Never underestimate the stupidity of Artificial Intelligence...

 

[Which, BTW, is why my Cardiologist pooh poohs my GP's iPad App that says I need to take a statin.  Even the GP admitted that once he puts in my age, no matter what other parameters it will say you should be on a statin.  I suspect the App is funded by the statin makers...]

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"Ze Germans are coming - close the country down!"

 

Or so they say was the reaction of the Netherlands when Germany announced its lockdown. Netherlands followed suit and they had been a little afraid of Germans rushing across the border to shop. Haha, quite right, we would have! Now Belgium, Luxembourg and France are in our focus. On Wednesday a dear gentleman told me of his plans to go to Luxembourg for Christmas shopping today. News report that Luxembourg is being inundated with Germans wanting to get their hair cut. Apparently, the phones are constantly ringing at the hairdresser's in Wasserbillig (the first place over the Moselle from Germany). Crazy world...

 

I will now be off work for at least three weeks, working in tourism I am very much dispensable for the system at the moment. I have calculated that the nature of my work contract means I have now lost about 15 percent of my income over 2019. That is very bearable. Others are not that fortunate.

 

All in all, people are more at ease about this second lockdown, i.e. we have been there before and worked out the logistics. Click and collect at shops is allowed, so even more are now available over the phone or online.

 

The EU has rescheduled the meeting for full approval of the vaccine and it is now before Christmas (the UK has got an emergency approval). Would be a nice Christmas present for millions of people if the authorities announced the approval on the 24th. Vaccination centres in Germany are set up and ready to go. A very dear lady told me with a smile the other day that she will be among the first set of people to get the vaccine. Still, that could nevertheless take a week or two...

 

This is a lockdown report from Berlin: https://m.dw.com/en/life-goes-on-berlin-enters-covid-lockdown/a-55963318

 

Now I am off to the shops nearby - not Luxembourg.

 

Stay safe.

 

notamermaid

 

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