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Wiener Zeitung

 
 
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 03:14 am
Wiener Zeitung

I missed the bus no. 61 AGAIN. Kicking myself in the shin, berating myself for the incorrigible lateness-o-holism. Was it really that crucial to locate the mascara? I wait for good fifteen minutes. I resign to my fate and start looking around. It is the first time that I have the opportunity to evaluate the progress of my fellow countrypersons in a year. Got home just last Thursday, but other than my sister's brand new house, I didn't go anywhere. Men all seem to be ready to head for the mountains. They wear, invariably so, khaki shorts of obscure lengths with gigantic pockets and awkward shirts of all patterns and colors. Many are greasy and stink. Oh boy. I glance at the watch. 8:18. I won't make the 8:32 train from the main train station. Bus comes, I take it to the city, switch buses. I am now headed to the bus station. There is a bus to Vienna at 9am. I get there at 8:50. There still is a stand with lángos, fried dough with garlic, oil and salt, in front of it. Ever since I was a kid. I stand in line for a bus ticket. I have ten minutes. Good. The lady in front of me asks for 4 adult and 6 child tickets. Not good. Each of them takes an eternity to print. Then she proceeds to count luggage they will have. She describes every single piece of luggage in detail and haggles with the woman at the ticket counter whether she needs tickets for the luggage, too. Grrrrrrrr. Three minutes. My turn. I am told the bus is full, but of course. 2,700 nerve cells died for no reason. I head out again. This time to the Petržalka train station. Goal: train at 10:04am. I will never ever be late again, I swear! This is a new train station, quite nice, for Slovakia anyway. I proceed to the counter. It dawned on me that I have no Slovak money. Damn fool. There's an ATM. Nope, my card STILL doesn't work, even though I called and yelled at my bank on Friday. I ask if I can pay with a card. I can! Hmm, progress after all. I scuttle out of sight quickly, for I know as a fact, that this transaction is most likely not authorized by the Bank of America. The only other ordeal to deal with is the passport control. I left my only valid passport at the Indian Embassy, it will wait there for a week to be adorned with Indian visa. I did have another valid passport, but that I lost four days before flying home. Another fun story, but I digress. I have a passport that says it's valid until 2007, but it has been terminated. They only let me keep it because I have tourist visa to America in it. I put on my poker face. Do I have a poker face? Mr. B. says that's my usual look, so I try to look most casually. The Slovak officer glances at my passport with unfeigned boredom. The Austrian officer scrutinizes every page of it. He enters the numbers into the computer. Cold sweat appears on my temples. He stares into my passport for what seems like an eternity. He hands it back, I scuttle out of sight again, breaking my legs to get on the train, before his computer tells him I'm an illegitimate intruder. I'm in! I'm in! Lesson learnt: I will never ever be late again, and I will get organized. Apply for visa well in advance, have passports in order, and stop losing them.

People come on the train. The good looking people. People that work in Vienna (hey, that's me too, now!). Not the people from trams and buses who need an Army of Mercy equipped with portable showers and sensible clothing. I am, however, painfully reminded of one of the reasons why I left this country… PLASTIC BAGS! There is a model on a next seat, some professional working woman on another, business man, another two models (or they all at least look like models to me). Each has a few plastic bags. They must have a special lure to a common Slovak. They don't seem to be able to ignore them for five minutes. There is always something to be fetched from a plastic bag. All of the contents in a plastic bag are naturally stored in smaller plastic bags, so each befetched item produces endless rustling. A true hell for a sensory defensive (read neurotic) individual. It's an iPod time. It will be an iPod time very often in the next six months, I'm afraid. The fields between Vienna and Bratislava are filled with wind mills. What are the Cape Codians complaining about? They should come visit. Vienna on the horizon. Hmm. Mixed feelings. Well, Vienna, here I come, whether I like it or not!

~*~*~

It took Vienna less than 10 hours to win me over. I am a convert. I love Vienna. Not that it doesn't throw logs under a non-german speaking foreigner's feet (another of true slovakisms). I got off the train at Südbanhoff, looked around for information. None. Looked around for a map. Also none. I pulled out my little outdated map of Vienna, figured out where I am and where I need to go. OK, I'll get there. I have to. Located a tram stop. One of the trams goes to Wien Mitte. There's a subway there, that has to work. Now where does one buy tickets for these trams? Not at the tram stop, I can tell you that. I ask a pleasant looking man (a Wiener?), he speaks no English. I ask another young man, no English. Harrumph. Finally I see a row of machines, inside the train station, I go to explore. I'm in luck and purchase a day ticket. Hooray. I get to the Institute without major hassles, but tired and overwhelmed. Mrs. Maria is waiting for me already. The Institute with, to me, still unpronounceable name, is located on a branch of the Danube river in an old neighborhood smack in the center of Vienna. It is surrounded by trees and parks with benches.

http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0RQAmA3QTY4nhRhkXqZr0Jj!Vkh4kU45cWGNOfOhid*DOMO3pVPo6ivO6c6Qru5gyY8Z7FhIlR1i!tQZnhXlRNNjSPGLzYJVEpMfkZyAk7RQ/IMG_0451.JPG
View facing the Institute

Mrs. Maria proves to be a true Austrian quickly:" I have zese animls krowling in from ze outside. Zey bite me. Usually I kill zem quick, but some of zem still bite me." That may be a gross exaggeration, as her and everybody's English is perfect, but it made me smirk nonetheless. My office faces a courtyard, it's large with artsy light fixtures under the tall tall ceilings. Great place to work. After a few hours I drag myself to the Pension Gaber where I'm staying for two nights. Another charming, Prague-like neighborhood, but I am beyond exhausted. Need to rest. After an hour of just staring at the ceiling, unable to nap, I convince myself to go explore Vienna just a little. I'm glad I did. After five minutes of walking, I hear music. I come across the Rathaus. Everybody's there, the whole of Vienna. There is a large screen TV affixed on the Rathaus wall showing Beethoven's concert live. Rows of chairs of people watching. Just behind them is a huge area with food stands, beer, mixed drinks… some sort of a food festival. Absolutely wonderful. It reminds me of the Christmas open markets in Bratislava, except there's music and one doesn't have to shiver in a fur coat and keep oneself alive with rum and tea. I get a Kebab Kuhobi and a beer, watch people for a long time. Walking through the quiet streets back to the Pension, I feel utterly excited. Maybe it won't be such a drag after all, this whole fellowship business. If only I can trick someone into writing my thesis for me…
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 06:16 am
http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0RQAOA3YT24nhRhkXqZr0JtpAV824CAfNwnfI6UtTtPr50eAa7vPAcgtx!KTEFP4B5Asf2Dk9IY51ViZJreyWZBaI8SO6k1ckS*6a89a5Yjw/IMG_0453.JPG

Watching Beethoven's concert from the food festival under the Rathaus.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 07:40 am
Very nice report, dagamr, thanks a lot!!!

When we met cousin last year inside the Südbahnhof, we wondered where we would meet (no exact place was talked about). So I know this station quite well :wink:

(My cousin, btw, lives and teaches within (a short) walking distance to the station.)
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 07:57 am
I have to face Südbahnhof in an hour or so... grrrr. But progress is made! I ordered in German at a bakery today. I did use some hands and feet to communicate, but I also did utter some German. Very proud.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 08:24 am
Don't worry about not speaking German in Vienna. The Viennese don't speak German either.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 08:26 am
My cousin does .... sometimes!
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 08:58 am
Haven't I told you, that you will like Vienna?
It's a fascinating city with fascinating people, and yes
their language is even for us Germans hard to understand
(except Walter, he understands everybody Wink )
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 09:20 am
right. it doesn't sound very german to me, when i just overhear people on the street. mui confusing. or should i say, ummm sehr confusing... see? i'll get it, eventually.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 09:55 am
CalamityJane wrote:
yes
their language is even for us Germans hard to understand
(except Walter, he understands everybody Wink )


Now, please!

I can't understand

a) women

and

b) hardly understand anyone south of the Main river.


Laughing
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 10:42 am
Now don't start that again Walter Wink
<we should have formed our own state while King Ludwig was still alive>
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 10:50 am
<looking forward to the next installment of the Wiener Zeitung>
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 01:39 pm
longing for vienna ... it's been four years since our visit. may i have a "melange" , please ? hbg
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2005 02:45 pm
i have learnt that they have the concert under the Rathaus EVERY night! AND! and and and...they have open air cinemas in the summer - in parks around town. just stroll in, set up a picnic, watch a movie. That's a town to live in!
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 03:46 am
They have a Casino in each theatre in this town. A strange phenomemenon indeed. "Burgtheater...Im Kasino" Why is that? Trams run perfectly on time. That means that if your tram is getting ahead of itself a little, it will just sit at the stop until it's time to go. There are signs telling you how many minutes until the next tram comes. And come they do! Within seconds.
Not much else new, am trying to decorate my office, get some work done, catch a train back home every day. A two hour commute door to door, but that should soon be resolved. Am going to look at an apartment to rent today... Weee!
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 04:01 am
LOL, that was hilarious. Especially to a fellow late-o-holic like me. Hehhehheh.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 04:02 am
and where is your budapest thread, pray tell?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 04:28 am
What do I like most about Vienna? Two obvious things. The Schoenbrunn palace & the park around it. No way around it; its splendid. And the new-fangled MuseumsQuartier. Some striking buildings there, and the obvious place to be.

But there's two coffeehouses I really like; I try to visit either every time I pass through. They kind of represent Vienna to me. One is Westend, across from the Westbahnhof, an ultra-traditional, conservative place with waiters to take seriously. Once heard it used to be Hitler's favourite hang-out. The other is Cafe Prueckel, right across from the (itself very pretty and worthwhile) MAK museum of applied arts/contemporary arts. It has this cultural/intellectual vibe, yet its relaxed, in a classy way. Nice place to watch people.

I also have some nice memories of cavorting around the parks with a Portuguese, but thats a different story again...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 04:30 am
My Budapest thread? Yeah. Well, there's assorted, pleasant observations of daily life scattered through the WMYST thread ... ehm, and the Three Things about Nimh one will tell ya about (the lack of) my lovelife here ... <grins>

I was planning to do a thread on Budapest cafes & restaurants, thatd be fun. Just didnt get around to it yet.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 04:38 am
Cafe Westend, the artist's impression:

http://www.monika-lassak.de/images/Webbilder/Cafe%20Westendx.jpg

Cafe Prueckel, then and now:

http://www.oeaw.ac.at/ita/gif/b_prueckel.GIF

http://www.wien.info/images/cafe-prueckel_c001.jpg
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Aug, 2005 08:02 am
dagmaraka wrote:
They have a Casino in each theatre in this town. A strange phenomemenon indeed. "Burgtheater...Im Kasino"
´

Kasino is (origianally) the officer's/sergeant's mess, later - especially - the cafeteria/canteen in firms etc.

'Kasino' and 'Kantine' are synonyms in German, although 'Kasino' is more used in southern Germany/Austria.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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