Thursday, March 26, 2009
This picture is of the Berlin crosswalk guy "Ampleman". All over Germany this is a recognizable figure and very popular souvenir, even here in Bremen. One observation my family and I have made while living here is people really observe the crosswalk guy. We don't have a car, so we walk to our bus/tram and bike, so to say we are a crosswalks quite a bit everyday. We find it humorous that people will stand there waiting and waiting, and there is no cars in site or it's late at night and there are no cars in site. We always just go, and the looks we get you would think we just murdered their mother. Maybe it is the American in us and we are in a hurry. After missing my fair share of buses and trams, if it's clear you will be looking at my rear!
(now that's a bumper sticker! heehee) My impression of people here is that there are rules and you must follow them, but until I get a ticket or flatten by a car. I'll be damn if I'm waiting on the corner and watching my bus/tram drive away because the little guy is red!
Our crosswalk guy does not look like this friendly little guy, but still different than in the states. Here is a snippet of the "Ampleman" history.
He looks a little different than your standard crosswalk guy. The reason? The east German government wanted to come up with a more cuddly and friendly symbol to teach young children how to cross the street.When the wall fell and reunification began, the western government went about wiping out all signs of the east German communist government; streets were renamed, statues torn down, etc. When the time came to change the street lights, citizens of the former DDR protested. Literally went in the street and held demonstrations, the thrust of their argument being You´re changing all we've been used to for the past 41 years. At least let us keep crosswalk guy....please?The west German government abdicated, and now the image of crosswalk guy is one of the most profitable souvenir images in the city.