1) I noticed a weird tendency among a lot of Germans. They like to walk with hiking poles. Hiking poles are definitely useful while walking up steep hills for the extra support but it's funny seeing people walk in a flat town like Regensburg with hiking poles. Apparently, a hiking company once had too many extra skiing/hiking poles and started a campaign to promote healthy and safe walking (isn't walking safe anyway?) with poles. Somehow, the fad caught on and now it's very common to see people walking fast with these poles in each hand. It's called Nordic walking.
2) While taking a leak at a bar a few weeks ago, I noticed a funny thing in the urinal. There was a small plastic goal in the urinal. Not just mine, but in everyone of them. The idea is to get drunk football fans to aim and pee. I actually started laughing when I saw it and had to control myself surrounded by big Germans all around. Some of the other bars even have a goalkeeper whose body bobs back and forth if you aim at him. Definitely makes it fun to pee.
3) Beer is a big part of the life out here. The dorms have vending machines and it's very cheap. You can actually go to a supermarket and buy individual bottles of beer, though you have to put down a deposit. For some of the cheap ones, if you return three bottles you can get a free bottle of beer back. So it's pretty common to see a few bums walking around collecting beer. It's also legal to walk and drink with a bottle in your hand. A couple of days ago, I was eating pizza with a friend and we each bought a beer. We were running a bit late to meet some other people, so we just decided to walk out and drink beer along the way. I felt like a deranged alcoholic. Walking and drinking a beer is fine. Riding a bike without a light is not.
4) Regensburg is a very provincial university. In the US it was very common to meet someone who always remarked (upon hearing that one was from India), "Oh yeah, I know some Indians." Good for you! There's a billion of us, chances of you knowing a few aren't that low. But I heard a new one 2 days ago. When I told someone I'm from India, she thought for a bit, then said "Last year I went to France, and I saw a lot of Indians."
5) I started lecturing yesterday and found that the sliding blackboards are German sized. Pushing and pulling the boards was a task in itself, but Germans like to erase the boards, not with a duster, but as they would clean the windshield of a car. A wet mop kind of thing followed by the rubber dryer. Since I write a lot while lecturing I had to do this over and over again. It keeps the boards very clean, but it gave me a bit of a workout.
6) Since the semester started it's become pretty lively. The fall colours are in full bloom these days and my office has a nice view.