Back in Portland, when you ride the MAX light rail, the ticket checkers are very obvious---usually wearing bright orange vests and looking like cops. If you happen to not have a ticket (sometimes you dont have time to get a ticket, or you have to run for the train, or the machine is broke) and you see these guys, no big deal. Step off at th enext stop, by a ticket and get on the next train. In Germany, these dudes are undercover. You will have no clue that they are checking tickets, until they are right on you, asking to see it. Regular clothes, regular looking people, only a fanny pack on, to take your details and your money. I havent been caught yet, but there are a few times when I did not have a ticket. It is amazing to see the ticket guy walk through the whole train and not bust one person. Everyone buys tickets, all on the honor system, imagine that. The fines are 40euros in Stuttgart and I think they are 60euros in Hamburg for not having a ticket, so I guess that is scary enough. I bet 20% of the MAX riders dont have tickets.
I love to J-walk as much as the next guy. I don't like having to stop when I am on my way somewhere in any city, and if there are no cars around, I will walk right through the red hand. It feels like its the only law I break, so I do it with pride. In London it was easy, in Portland, it was easy, and in Asia, nobody cares anyway. Not here though. Even after 7 months, I still have not figured out how the crossing signals work, they are seriously complicated. Sometimes there are 2 sets of signals, with a rest area in between the 2 lanes. One will turn green, and the other will stay red, so you must stop in the middle. Why are they not both green? Sometimes, all sides of the intersection will have a green man at the same time! That is crazy. Every intersection is different. I have waited at a corner with a group of people, no cars around. I was so tempted to cross, to DEFY THE LAW, but I also felt the German Pressure (the GP), and have no doubt I would have been scolded if I crossed. Like I have said before, inside every German is a Policeman. I think Mayzie is turning more German than us, because if the signal turns red while we are crossing, all hell breaks loose--''Nick, it was red!! Why did you do that? It was Red!!!!'' ''Yes, Mayzie, I know''. Geezus! But, I digress. So, if you are in Germany, go ahead, try to cross through the red man, you will probobly end up scolded (maybe by Mayzie while you are baby sitting!) or worse yet, dead.