Sunday, September 21, 2008

The exploding shoes

Cate's shoes exploded and we left a trail of rubber and leather across Wien. I am not sure why they chose this moment to let go but they did so with a great degree of enthusiasm. She did attract some attention in Mariahilferstrasse flapping along with bits of rubber flying in all directions. She displayed a great deal of stoicism and when people looked at her feet she boldly looked at them with a 'they are supposed to be like this they are special Australian disintegrating shoes' look.

We collected our bikes from Star Bikes in Lasallestrasse. Naturally Hans Peter was not there so we had to start again with a nice young man who found our bikes and had them fitted with baskets. We bought very stylish helmets and not so stylish security chains. The baskets look silly but are essential as you can't cycle gripping a plastic bag full of groceries between your teeth.

There was a small problem when we came to pay in that they accept (like so many other stores) Bankomat card or cash. I have a small limit on my Bankomat card so had to use this and then go to the bank to get cash – on the same Bankomat card. Like many things – it is not supposed to make sense.

Of course it was raining by the time we set off home but off we went and had a jolly time. I only fell off once - when I got my front wheel caught in a gutter and landed on my back with arms and legs flailing - like a large turtle on its back. I am accustomed to moments of humiliation in Wien so it was no problem at all.

Cate says I need at least two and possibly three coats to prepare for the winter. The starting price for coats here seems to be about €1,000 which is a bit scary - (we did see a nice one in Ringstrassen Galerien for €9.000). I also need a hat and gloves. I have my eye on a brace of Alaskan Malamutes and a dog sled for when the cold weather really sets in.

We caught the tram to Mariahilferstrasse to do furniture shopping and our weekly shop at the Naschmarkt. This is a truly wonderful market where you get lots of lovely fresh food and veggies. The veggie stalls are apparently staffed by out of work parking police who are not happy in their work - but we can cope with this.

There is a wonderful store called Poehl where they have more different types of cold meat than I have ever seen before in the one shop. And there are real cheese shops - bliss!

The most urgent job was to find shampoo and conditioner for Cate. Her hair is both precious and unique and requires a specific type of shampoo and conditioner which is found almost nowhere in the known universe - so you can imagine the fun we had peering into every Friseur we could find. Cate eventually buckled under the pressure. With the thought in mind that she had no shampoo and could not leave the house again unless she washed her hair she had to buy some rubbish that only cost $60 per bottle.

It's tough living in hardship posts like Wien.

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