Yesterday was the “work outing” day at my job. Once a year, companies have to organize a one-day outing for the employees. It’s a chance to go do something together and I suppose is intended to enhance the feeling of working as a team. Or some crap like that. For this year’s work outing, I suggested that we go to Tropical Islands. I will tell you what Tropical Islands is in a second. But let me first tell you that we voted on all the ideas and the TI plan won in an runoff. Despite being the most popular idea, attendance was poor. Several people are on vacation because the next day (today) is a holiday, but several others chose to go to work instead of attending. I don’t get that. Possibly that had to do with the cost (it was about $50 for me for the day), but I emphasized the cost from the very beginning and people seemed OK with it. Anyway.
So, what is TI? In 2000, a company called CargoLifter built a huge (and I mean huge) hangar in northeast Germany to build zeppelin airships (BBC article on TI). The idea was to use them as a low-cost way to transport heavy things over large distances. They planned to use helium, by the way, instead of flammable hydrogen gas. But the idea never caught on, and this giant hangar, almost 650 feet tall and over 800,000 square feet of area, was just sitting there in the middle of some fields in the state of Brandenburg.
At the cost of over 90 million dollars, the hangar was transformed into a water park, with a beach, a lagoon, waterslides, a tropical village, a rainforest, and Jupiter knows what else that I didn’t even see. Long story short, I had a great time yesterday. I played on the waterslides for hours, swam in the South Sea, and floated around in the lagoon. We saw the midday live show while dining on schnitzel strips and french fries (fries — good, show — well, mixed). I was late getting back to Berlin for our German class but I only missed part of it. All in all, it was a really nice day off.
The Südsee, or South Sea, at Tropical Islands (very “Truman show,” no?)
And today is a day off, too! It’s the Tag der Deutschen Einheit, or day of German unity, celebrating the German reunification in 1990. S and I are celebrating this singular moment in Germany’s history by lazing around the house. We plan to head down to the Brandenburg gate for a free concert from Die Fantastischen Vier tonight, if the weather is OK. It was 76 degrees all day yesterday at Tropical Islands, but outside in the real world it’s more like the high 50s.
Tomorrow, it’s back to work. It is the Tag der Carolinaundkentuckyamerikanischenfussball, but that’s not a holiday here. Unfortunately.