Saturday, May 5, 2007

Munich, Day 2

My first real day in Germany.

A beergarden near my house has free wifi, and so at 9AM, I am setup across the street, catching up on my overflowing inbox....

A rather cute, and multiplly face and lip pierced mail-woman passed by on her modified mail-carrying bike. Things are certainly different here.

No smiles, anywhere. I try, over and over, but my smiles to random people are met with blank looks.

Later, a trip to the town registration center, upstairs, to the foreigner registration office. They have very strange rules here. A machine gives out pieces of paper with numbers, yet select members of the populace do not seem to need such a number. Old people and women with little kids seem to be able to bypass the queue. I suppose its fair enough, apart from the fact that the place is teeming with old people.

Eventually, with my registration papers done, I head into the town center to try and find a bank account.

5 different banks, one after another, all reject me. The fact that I am staying for three months is a problem. Likewise, the fact that I have never earned money in germany is also an issue. I suppose this is what its like to be an immigrant in the US with no way to establish credit.

Eventually, I walk into a Deutche Bank. They have an in-house barista making free cappuccinos for waiting customers. A nice touch. I wait for 15 mins, and 3 coffees later, they tell me it shouldnt be a problem at all, and that as a student, they will waive all fees for me, as long as I am a student, or under 30. Germans pay monthly fees to bank, it seems.

They just need a proof of student status... which brings me to the subject of the ISIC card.

No one outside the US knows what an Indiana University ID card is. In countries where english is not read, it is practically useless. Even if they can read it, it will have been the first time that they have ever seen one. Instead, every museum, theatre, etc that gives out student discounts demands an ISIC card.

ISIC is a private org. that seems to have put themselves in the position of giving out student cards. They are not a governmentally backed group, nor do the cards carry any real weight. Therefore, I do not see why I should have to shell out $15 per year just so that I can get an ISIC card.

Which is why, last year, I picked up 5 blank fake ISIC cards on Bangkok´s Khao San Road. I turned one into a working ID a couple day before I came, hand-done with a felt tipped ink pen. It doesn´t look professional, but then, those sold by the ISIC people are often done in pen too.

Deutche Bank accepted my Bangkok ID card without any questions, and with that alone, agreed to waive all account fees for the next few years.

Yet another reason that most forms of ID checking are completely pointless.


Edmonston Alston said...

Thanks for the heads-up about your change of focus for now.I enjoy your slight paranoia blog very much.

My husband and I will be doing a genealogical trip to Europe in August, some of which involves travel in Germany,so I'll be reading your travelblog for tips.


Unknown said...

Hey Chris....enjoy Germany.
Let me know when you are coming to England - I think we have a whole bunch of things to talk about over a few beers...


Katherine Townsend said...

You... opened a bank account in Germany with a fake id?

Unknown said...

You're travel blog is somewhat lacking in substance...