What is Gangnam Style

Before my husband left this morning, I was humming a bit of Gangnam Style to myself. “I refuse to watch this”, he retorted. Only after I explained that PSY’s piece of music is a mocking of the rampant consumerism taking place in Gangnam, the richest and most expensive suburb of Seoul, did he show some interest.

Yes, Gangnam never sleeps. The young and rich are out cruising the streets at night in designer suits and Armani glasses. As one Korean expat noted, “You see more German cars in Gangnam than on German roads”.

Gangnam’s boom took place in the late 1990s with real estate prices rising to an all-time high. Now add designer shops, chic restaurants, high-class hotels, reputable cram schools, and young people with money to this.

PSY himself was born into a rich Gangnam family and I find it interesting that he now would take a swipe at his own class of people.

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Bicycles on Trains and Buses around Frankfurt

Yesterday’s question from an expat was about taking bicycles on board of trains in buses in and around the Frankfurt area.

Here is a short explanation of what you can and cannot do.


RMV Fahrrad mitnehmen

* You can bring your bicycle free of charge on trains and buses of the RMV.

* There are no restrictions for bikes on the S-Bahn and regional trains.

* The following restrictions only apply to U-Bahn, trams and buses:

Bringing your bike onto the U-Bahn, tram, or bus is NOT allowed Monday – Friday between 6:00 – 8:30 and 16:00 – 18:30 (morning and evening rush hour)

All other times (except the listed rush hour times from Mon – Fri) and all other days (weekends and Hessian school breaks), you can bring your bike along.

* You can’t bring your bike onto a minibus.

* Please remember that wheel chairs and strollers/baby carriages always have priority.

The mention of the evening rush hour times prompted another topic – why Germans go to bed so early. There will be more about that in my next post.


Recycling of High School Graduation Gowns

Over the years, having worked for various charities in form of book and clothing drives, I have occasionally seen the Frankfurt International School (FIS) graduation cap and gown end up in expat families’ donations.

Some students might keep these items for sentimental reasons, others are willing to get rid off it with the next used clothing collection. Three times I had these items in one of our clothing drives and did not know what to do with them.

What a waste, I thought. Good material, only worn once, and the gown could definitely be washed or dry-cleaned and given to the next year’s student.

At that time, I sent an e-mail to school, sharing the idea of thinking green by reusing the gown and saving money as well. The caps are non-reusable as the inside’s sweatband does get dirty.

I did get a response, something of the matter “… we will look into it…” and then I completely forgot about it.

Until yesterday. When I found our son’s cap and gown stowed away, it was my turn to ask him whether he planned on keeping it (which means, going to the basement for storage) or we take it to the used clothing collection bin.

Then he informed me that FIS now takes the gowns back to be cleaned and distributed again. One also has the option of keeping it.

Caps and Gowns on High School Graduation Day

Wonderful, my idea got implemented. And we are taking his gown back to school, too.

Camp King and its Historic Buildings

Located the end of the slope, the Mountain Lodge overlooks former Camp King. Of all the remaining buildings since the departure of the U.S. Army, the lodge is the only one without a purpose.

All others are used either as residences or e.g., today’s Kinderhaus, which serves as a child-care center, also has a long history:

1922 Villa Haus am Wald (House on the edge of the woods), residence
1933 Sports facility for Frankfurt University
1938 (after renovation) conference center for the Gau settler school (Gau: close to the English term shire; The administrative use of the term stood for subdivision during the period of Nazi Germany in 1933–1945)
1939 Kommandant’s Office of the Auswertestelle West (Intelligence and Evaluation Center West)
1945 Conference room and work place for the Historical Division, Name: House Florida
1950 Used for conferences, meetings, community hall, among others. Name: House 997


Walking by there today, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I even saw a children’s party being set up in the garden behind.

This is in sharp contrast to the Mountain Lodge, which started out as an agricultural school (1939), then was later converted  to Officers’ Club (or Mountain Lodge) by the Americans.

The Mountain Lodge had been purchased by a private investor in June 2010 (you can read more about this on Officers’ Club at Camp King finds Investor), but there are no repairs to be seen. As a matter of fact, it looks worse every year.

The city has added a sign right next to the Mountain Lodge to remind pedestrians to pay attention:

Attention! No snow removal service, damaged paths, enter at your own risk


Another photo update below showing the current idle state. This is mostly due to its well-off German neighbors, who petition any kind of development, on behalf of their privacy.

Building permits were issued for housing in close proximity, for the sake of profit.

Mountain Lodge in Camp King July 2012

This report states renovation should be completed by 2013. Unfortunately, it looks as if it hasn’t even started yet.

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