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Dienstag, Februar 26, 2008

Returned home from Return home

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Living in another country can turn things back home upside down in your point of view

After I returned from my vacation from Germany, which is my home country (I left it for Taiwan in 2004), I was a bit shaken. Prices were so high, not only compared to Taiwan, but also compared to former years in Germany. Chocolate stuff, which I bought mostly this time, was up almost 100%. Double prices really shocked me. It's the Chinese drinking all the milk for coffee latte, that's what the German candy industry is saying. Well, whatever.

Other prices made me dizzy as well, especially if I imagine them in our old currency, the Deutsche Mark (DM) and not in Euro. I mean, before the Euro, 100g chocolate (standard "Tafel" packing) was 1 DM for a good but not excellent medium brand. Or 0.95 DM in Sale.

I can still remember the price reluctantly went back to 0.49 Euro, which is about 1 DM, after it was initally higher, but this year (2008) the standard price was 0.79 Euro. Pheeeeeew! Even saw 0.89 Euro. Come on, make it 0.99 Euro and Germans can imagine, Euro is DM again. No wait, doesn't work. A 50 000 DM annual salary is now rather 25 000 Euro.

TV reported, waitresses and hair dresser ladies often earn 450 Euro a month or 650 or whatever. Imagine paying these prices with that salary. No, it's not only chocolate, a little soft sausage (Ruegenwalder, meant to be spread on bread, delicious!) was 1.98 Euro for 250g, that's almost 4 DM !!!! Horrible much! A french salamy of cheap shopping center brand was 1.98 as well for 250g. I am full already.

TV also reported, a lot of such shop keepers and the like would be betrayed by their companies and not get their paid vacation! Germany was always famous for it's long paid vacations. Almost everybody had 25 days per year and office workers 30. Is Germany still Germany?

Well, I guess globalizing economy makes not so rich people poorer and wealthy people more wealthy. If I would start as a computer scientist in Germany now, my salary could climb but quite a number. Salaries for needed people are climbing, while cheap wages get even smaller.

Still my country? Yeah, but seems a bit like trailer-park Minnesota to me (never been there, sure it has its moments as well).

Montag, Januar 14, 2008

EU hand luggage regulations (air travel)

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Well, I am going home soon on vacation, so I needed to check out this:

Regulations on hand luggage on airplanes in the EU:

It seems the EU regulation stipulates the following (I only found info about the emerging regulation as of Nov 2006, before it was passed):

Max. length: 56cm

Max. width: 25cm

Max. height: 45 cm

This is not much different than the regulation all major airlines were following in the past; some have had a rule of thump which went: the sum of the measures above must not exceed 115. The regulation above allows a larger sum.

Airlines usually change these measures somewhat, for instance China Airlines of Taiwan has:

Max. length: 56cm

Max. width: 23 cm (!)

Max. height: 36cm (!)

And (length + width + height) may not exceed 115 cm !

Max. weight is 7kg.

Valid for all classes, but Business is allowed to bring an additional clothing bag, First Class is allowed to bring two hand luggage.

With China Airlines and also other airlines, it is still possible to bring for free:

1 coat

1 Notebook or 1 duty free pack

1 hand bag or purse

A child clothes bag or whatever that was is allowed also, check with your airline.

LIQUIDS: One website stated this regulation would only be related for liquids and not for creams, but most websites agree it’s for everything, including gels, jellies and creams (also medicine!), so let’s assume that.

Liquids, gels, creams etc. must be packed in a transparent plastic bag (called Zipper) which is re-sealable. It may have a max. capacity of 1 liter. Each liquid or cream (or…) package must be properly closed and have a max. capacity of 100ml (best if stated on the package). Has to be shown at the security check separately.

MEDICINE: Medicine which is needed for the flight duration is excluded, but has to be shown separately to security check.

DUTY free bag: There is a lot of chaos about this regulation right now, basically it’s easy: When your airplane STARTS from a EU airport, no matter if overstop or originating there, liquids from the duty free shop (no matter if wine or beer or whatever) have to be in a sealed bag; it will be sealed by the duty free shop. Do not open it.

If you are coming from out of the EU and are landing in the EU, you can bring and old-style (open) duty free bag (they are still like this in most countries) INTO the EU. But if you transfer to another plane within the EU, you have to throw you alcohol away.

So buying duty free liquids in Dubai and bringing them on a direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany is allowed. Transfer in Germany to a plane to Berlin or Paris will require throwing the alcohol away!

I can not guarantee this of course, maybe tomorrow they will even stop people bringing an unsealed duty free-bag even into the EU. Better to make sure with your airline before you buy.