I was fairly naive about Germany when I first arrived in January 1978. Things have changed a bit, and I offer my ten observations.
1. Older Germans back in 1978.....were agreeable to one or two "real" baths a week. This is no joke. A guy would wash himself off with a washcloth after work, dab some aftershave on as he headed off to work, and take his official bath on Saturday night. It wasn't the standard for most Germans, but I worked with a number of older guys who did it that way. Today....everyone bathes on a nightly/morning basis. Maybe that's a positive thing.
2. In 1978, there was just plain beer. There wasn't any diet beer or low-cal beer or cherry-flavored beer. Today, you can imagine any kind of beer, and it exists.
3. In 1978, there were telephone booths on every street corner. You had to carry change with you on a constant basis. Today, in a village of 2k residents? There might be one booth in the whole town.....maybe.
4. In 1978, you had to pay your phone bill down at the telephone office in every village. Today, you can have the money deducted from your bank account.
5. Every village in 1978, had a post office. Today.....there is a small stand at the local grocery....open for four hours and that might be the only local place to mail your packages or letters.
6. Women in 1978 Germany....on occasion....wore these stupid leopard-like tights, that made them all look trampy. A really trampy German gal would have a mink jacket with the leopard-like tights. Today, it's hard to find a trampy-dressed German gal.
7. There was teeny-rock for the 19-year old kids or younger......or Frank Sinatra-like music for the folks over forty. Super Tramp and disco were just about to arrive in 1978.
8. In 1978, it was practically impossible to find a store with AC in the Frankfurt area. Stores were shut down by 6PM, and Saturday openings for store consisted of four to five hours max. Today.....stores are open six days a week.
9. A big-scale vacation in 1978 for a German....consisted of driving the family car south across the border into Italy, or across France...to Spain. This was a big deal. Today? Folks fly to Thailand or Kenya.
10. A great evening meal consisted of a schnitzel, pommes frites, and a beer, in 1978. Today? It's still a schnitzel, pommes frites, and beer. The price may have gone up 200 percent, but you still can't beat the meal.