Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thursday 4 September

A big day today - Erika took us to the Magistratsabteilung so that we could get our residency cards. These are apparently very important and you must produce passports and original birth certificates and marriage certificates to get one. You also have to provide a Meldezettel which shows where you are living - and is signed by your landlord. We also had to obtain police clearances from Australia showing that we are not practicing criminals. These don't mean much as most NSW politicians would be able to get one.

When I went to the mobile phone shop to get a wireless network USB they farted in the general direction of my residency card and asked for (you guessed it) passport and Meldezettel. As I did not have them with me I had to take out a casual contract at an extraordinary price - but have started to realise that most things are extraordinary prices here.

Proudly clutching our residency cards we then to see Regine at Bank Austria who gave us our Bankomat cards and credit cards. Our limits are such that we couldn't fill a shopping trolley at Billa - but we have to start somewhere.

The next fun part of the day for me was picking up the rental car from Ducky Pharma - where it was parked in the staff garage. I met Christina who took me down to the garage and showed me this enormous Tiger Tank left over from WWII. I was admiring this and wondering why they kept it in the garage and why there was no rust after more than 60 years - when she handed me the keys and wished me good luck.

Closer inspection revealed it to be a Volvo Mother Ship. Closer inspection still revealed it to be a manual. Not wishing to appear to be a complete baby in front of Christina I boldly took the keys and leaped into the drivers seat. Discovering that there was no steering wheel I decided to move to the other side at which point Christina waved goodbye and disappeared back into the building.

I tried to find how to start the mother ship for a good ten minutes before I gave up and had to go and find Christina. To my credit - there is no key and a complicated set of codes and buttons fires up the boilers.

I crept out of the building in first gear and turned on Tom Tom the GPS system. Oh Dear - it has Australian maps in it - now I remember - David borrowed it just before we left Australia and I forgot to insert the Western Europe chip. Whoops - I didn't bring a map of Vienna with me today (because I have Tom Tom)

I am not sure how I got home but I had to have a lie down when I got there.

The ship has been christened the 'Queen Mary' and sailing schedules are available at Lloyd's of London. Travellers are advised to take Travacalm at least 30 minutes before boarding.

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