A Conversation for Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany


Post 1

From Distant Shores

I vaguely remember being introduced to Düsseldorf's very special morgen liquor, Killepitsch. Slightly reminiscent of old fashioned English cough mixture with oomph !

It certainly soothes the stomach and refreshes the appetite but it makes the legs go wobbly.

Only sold in the Altstadt I believe.


Post 2

Global Village Idiot

Well remembered, DS!

I should indeed have included Killepitsch, which (for the sake of the others) is a deep red, sweet drink a little like port, and you're right about the cough mixture! It certainly warms you on a cold winter's night, and we used to buy it by the glass from a little window in a shop across the road from Zum Uerige.

Thanks for the reminder!


Post 3

From Distant Shores

My pleasure Global

You have an extremely impressive encyclopedic knowledge of Düsseldorf, which can only come from having lived there for some time or incredibly thorough research.

I have been fortunate to visit to Düsseldorf three times buy in total can't have spent 72 hours there. I was introduced to Killepitsch on my one and only trip to the Altstadt. A kind German of colleague of mine later brought over a bottle to England for me. Fond memories.

It's such a shame that many local products are either bring 'globalised' and ending up a pale immitation of their originals, (cheddar cheese being the best example that springs to mind), or simply disappearing. I hope that Killepitsch survives.


Post 4

Global Village Idiot

For my sins, I lived in Dusseldorf for 5 months and worked there for almost 4 years (the rest of the time I was living in Venlo, about which I wrote my first ever approved entry). I didn't really get to be part of the social scene, but as typical ex-pats we went to pubs and ate out a lot. A rare day out with local colleagues was to see the Rhein Fire american football team get beaten by the Frankfurt Galaxy (local rivals in the world league). I wish I'd learnt more German and got more into the town, but once I moved it was a 45-minute drive home, so anything late became even later, dfrinking became impossible, and I stopped bothering.

I agree that global brands are a nuisance - the shopping streets have Gap and Body Shop, Woolworths and Macdonalds just like everyone else - but something like the Christmas Market or Killepitsch really serves to reinforce a local identity. Long may they continue!


Post 5

From Distant Shores


Your sins can't have been that great, I can think of many worse places to work than Düsseldorf. I presume that you are now back Britain and looking forward to the new cricket season. (I enjoyed following the Laws of Cricket conversation).

On a rare trip to New York, I was taken to a baseball game (New York Metros v either Philadelpia or Pittsburgh) by two English friends. It was a beautiful sunny day. Beer and hot dog sellers came to your seat. It was a good game, New York lost 9-1. I haven't been to another baseball game since but I hold fond memories of the day and am now happy to watch baseball on TV when I'm in the US. Sounds simmilar to your experience with the Rhein Fire.


Post 6

Global Village Idiot


I'm not in Britain, but in Ireland these days - in some ways almost as good, in some ways better - which means my cricket-watching will probably be restricted to television coverage. One of my biggest regrets on moving to Germany was leaving a job where I would occasionally get corporate hospitality tickets to matches at Hampshire, our local county side. Free cricket with free food and beer - what more could you ask?

I too have been to one baseball game live - the Boston Red Sox won at Fenway, I forget now who they beat - but my most memorable experience was a TV-related one. I found myself stateside during the Bay series of '89, and I remember tuning in to what should have been the game and seeing instead a re-run of Roseanne, coverage having been interrupted by the small matter of an earthquake!

Back to the cricket, I don't know if anyone has discussed the recent revelations about match-fixing involving South Africa: I'll have to go and see if a discussion is raging!


Post 7

From Distant Shores


Did you manage to find the raging discussion on match fixing. I find the silence on the matter deafening, especially after all the initial humdrum. Lords seem to have banged the shutters tight. I wonder if they've threatened to bar all the journalists if they continue to speculate.

The silence leads me to believe that maybe the English team isn't so clean after all.

On the other hand, the lack of rumours and further in-depth analysis of match fixing has left a few column inches for your, (Hampshire's) new overseas professional to fill with his forthright opinions.

I have been trying to solve the puzzle of your occupation and employer since your last message. I am assuming that you worked for the same company in Hampshire, Düsseldorf and Ireland as I don't think that the common market is yet at the stage that you've actually change jobs and countries simultaneously.

I believe that you are working for a multinational company probably of American domicile in the electronics, petro-chemical or financial services industries. Companies that spring to mind are IBM, Delphi, HP and Xerox. Outsiders include Exxon, Amex and unamed insurance companies.

I may take a look as your home page for further clues.


Post 8

Global Village Idiot

Hi Distant,

I'm afraid your basic assumptions aren't valid smiley - winkeye

I worked for an American bank in England (and for a few months in the States), who weren't based in Hampshire but were only a couple of miles from a county ground where Hampshire played at home. Where were we? (2 points)

For a bonus 100 points, why do I hate Norman Lamont so much?

I changed countries in order to change jobs, working for a German bank in Dusseldorf but not living in Germany. Where was my home then? (1 point)

Now I'm in Ireland and the nearest thing I have to an employer is a high-tech internet startup who don't pay me, and for whom I can do as much or as little as I like, whenever I like. Who are they? (1 point).

I like to think of myself as a pioneer of the modern career path - global, flexible and independent.

As for the England team, I'll never believe they're cleaner than anyone else, I'm afraid (though Chris Lewis is perhaps a rather flaky person on whose evidence to start convicting people). I lost all faith in the ability of the TCCB/ECB to police the game after the Atherton "dirt in pocket" affair. It's a business. Admitting wrongdoing would be bad for business.

All this match-fixing proves is that anyone foolish enough to bet on a cricket match is quite likely to be wasting their money (unless they can guess which way it's been fixed), and that a lot of people going to one-day matches are also wasting their time. It's just a shame that people like myself who enjoy the sport for its own sake rather than for the gambling lose any sense of trust, which upsets me.


Post 9

From Distant Shores

Greetings Global

Some of the questions in the quiz were straight forward especially as I had a good look around h2g2 and your web site before answering. The others are giving me a headache.

Before I answer I thought that I'd better let you know that you have a few impostors out there claiming to be GVI. Most of them seem like your every day nutter on the bus. However, one was a music site, www.globalvillageidiiot.net, which is worth a look if you're interested in "roots" music.

You used to work for Chase in Bournemouth.

There are three possible reasons that you so intensely dislike Badger Lamont.

1. You were taught Enlgish by a deranged lunatic who made you all recite Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice or whatever the book was with the character with the Mallen streak in his hair. You developed an ingrained hatred of anyone with the badger look.

2. Your local wine store (off-licence) stopped taking credit cards after Badger Lamont was found out running huge bills at his local.

3. Your lost your (or your employer's) shirt to Georgie Soros when Badger bodged the economy and we got kicked out of the ERM.

I'll think I'll go for three - the economy botching.

You lived in Venlo, Holland - the posh place near Venray isn't it ?

Which high-tech internet startup. A tricky one this. If it really is a high-tech, your location won't help because you can work anywhere at all. No clue there.

The start-up doesn't pay you because either somebody else does or you own some or all of the start-up or your trading.

At the moment I'd better pass on this one.

I used to have a global, flexible career - I worked in England, Europe, America, Indonesia and Malaysia - I was expected to be flexible.

Now I an independent, have more flexibility and am global in the sense that I am working for customers in both Canada and Malaysia.

Must rush now eventhough I'd like to say a few words about cricket.



Post 10

Global Village Idiot

Excellent research, FDS smiley - smiley

The Lamont one is actually a cricket anecdote (of course). My job at Chase used to involve a fair bit of support work for the FX trading desk. They had had a good year, and decided to give we systems bods a bit of a 'thank you' for all the work we'd done for them.

The suggestion was that there would be a cricket match between systems and FX trading, and since the FX boys were paying, they hired Dean Park - Hampshire's second-string county ground, which was in Bournemouth - for the match. I was in the side to play for systems, and as a village cricketer rapidly approaching thirty, this was obviously the last chance I would ever get to play at remotely so prestigious a venue.

Well, the Monday before the match things started getting very heated - lots of selling of the pound, massive trading volumes, managers asking questions like "could the system cope with twice as many deals a day?". Two days later we hit "Black Wednesday", the pound dropped out of the ERM and we did that double volume, and some more, where the only "Buy" customer for the pound seemed to be the Bank of England. I worked a treble shift, coming in at 9am one day and babysitting the system through the night, eventually leaving at 9am the next day. Slept through Thursday. Arrived Friday to be told that all the FX traders were as exhausted as us by the week's activity, so the match was off - wouldn't we all like some champagne instead?

A couple of weeks later the cricket season ended, Hampshire decided Dean Park was financially unviable and sold it off for a housing estate, and I never got to play my dream match. So thanks, Norman, for having your financial crisis at the most inopportune moment.

I don't know if Venlo's particularly posh, in fact I used to quite like Venray - it had the best Albert Heijn in Limburg smiley - smiley.

As for the internet start-up - well, it's a bit more than a startup now, I suppose. They don't pay me because I do it for pure fun - no-one else pays me because I don't have a real job at the moment; nor do I have any skills which are readily saleable from the middle of the Irish countryside.

I like the sound of Indonesia and Malaysia - the closest I ever got was a three-day stopover in Singapore on the way back from Oz. We developed systems for Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong but I never got any trips out of it.

Thanks, as a certain android once said, for taking an interest smiley - winkeye


Post 11

From Distant Shores


So, I wasn't far off on the Badger front, but missed your trick, H2G2 question by a mile. I can imagine your frustration every time that you think about what could have been. I love cricket, particulary the three and five day game, but am blessed with the cricketing equivalent of two left feet when it comes to playing.

I'll give you a couple of examples. When I first started work, we had an annual six over, six a side competition. I bowled two successful dot balls, both surprised the batsman as they sailed past him at shoulder height. Not many bowlers have the foresight to bowl beamers to keep the runs down ! I suprised myself even more with the third ball, somehow I bowled a googly that pitched just outside off-stump and slipped nicely between bat and pad, clearing middle stump by two or three inches. Unfortunately, the remaining balls of the over were distinctly in reach of the bat and suitably dispatched far and wide.

The next year, I was clean bowled first ball by one which bounced twice before hitting the middle stump. (I don't know whether this qualifies me for the primary club or not. Are you a fully paid-up member ?).

I've never been to either Venray or Venlo but I knew people who worked in Venray and somebody who lived in Venlo (can't remember who though).

In some ways, I too don't have a real job, well I like to think of it that way. As I mentioned, at the moment I've got two customers who are keeping me very busy. But I don't know how long it can last. I find it hard to believe that someone who writes as well as you feels that you have few saleable skills from the middle of the Irish countryside. Technical writing springs immediately to mind, especially as so many computer and printer manuals seem to be printed in Ireland. The pay could be lousy though. Actually, I'm sure there's hundreds of things you could do.

I have a somewhat different view on work to many people. Most people think of work and job interchangeably, especially those who have only worked for other people. I think work is anything that you do that you wouldn't call a leisure activity eg the washing up. Of course, to quote Bart Kosko, "we don't live in a black and white world" so things are to some degree work and to some degree leisure. (For more of my senseless rantings try, Working Week on Ask H2G2).

I have to admit not being to well read (or perhaps more correctly not listened well) for the last twenty five years. I simply didn't have the time and energy when I usually got home between 7 and 8 at night. My knowledge of HHGG is mainly second hand !

Malaysia is actually my second home, (well currently my first home), as my wife is Malaysian. Both Malaysia and Indonesia still retain many elements of their eastern charm although both are heavily inlfuenced by the West in many ways. I find that the more traditional aspects of Malaysia peaceful and far less stressful than the modern side.

Better get back to work now.


From Distant Shores

Key: Complain about this post