Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Hippopotamus with the jackhammer

There was an election yesterday and it looks like the far right has gained a significant number of votes. I am not sure if this means that they are in power but will keep you informed. This may not mean torchlight parades in the Prater but could mean that Auslanders like me will be deported for infringements such as riding down a one way street the wrong way. We perpetrated this illegality yesterday and other cyclists shouted ‘Einbahn’ at us so we hurriedly changed streets.

We cycled to Wein and Co to buy some Austrian wine and there threw ourselves on the mercy of the English speaking person – who knew something of Australian wine – and he explained to us the intricacies of the various types of Austrian whites. He then relieved us of €349 and sent us on our way and promised to deliver the wine on Monday. I am not sure if this is Monday my time or Monday Austrian time.

Cate trails behind when we are cycling so I have to keep stopping to see where she is. We were nearly home when I did this and she cannoned into the back of me (she was closer than I thought) and then we both crashed into a heap on the grassy verge – inches from the tram track. We conducted a short training session on brake levers and carried on. Cate had apparently though that bikes were like roller blades and that you had to coast to a stop or collide with something.

This followed her effort earlier in the day when we on our way to SCS and she failed to observe the redness of the traffic lights at a major intersection. The flat spots on the tires make a funny noise on the A2 – as do no doubt the drivers who survived Cate’s attempt to cut them in half with a very large and very blunt instrument.

The only really scary ride I have had so far is last week on a very wet night when Christine and Cate went to a musical event in the city. John had the brilliant idea that we should take them and then pick them up. There is a cyclist in Vienna who has his bike advertised as €1 ONO and may never leave the house again. I do not expect that John will ever again get into a car that I am driving (indeed – I am reluctant).

We went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum with Melissa and Henri to look at Egyptian stuff – my main interest and that of Melissa is in Katzenmumies – of which there is only one – but a very fine specimen indeed. We did however see a fine representation of a Hippopotamus using a jackhammer – this apparently is how the Egyptians built the pyramids and explains why Hippopotami drown anyone who comes near them.

We are members of this museum so go there most weeks to look at the cherubs and are really keen to have closer look at the Brueghels. We never spend more than an hour there otherwise Cate has to drag my lifeless corpse to the first aid station and use the paddles.

Melissa and Henri went to Simmering to see the cemetery which contains many famous dead people. Melissa has an interest only in long dead people but they were hard to find without a map.

We have tried to get her interested in recently dead people but she shows not a flicker of interest. She does has a service on her mobile phone that lets her know when anyone of interest dies – many of these are French so she has to ask Henri who they are in if they are really famous and worthy of her attention.

We set a new world record at Interio yesterday and gave Cate’s new Visa card a good thrashing. We have now purchased almost all of the furniture we need and are hopeful that some of it will arrive before we leave Wien.

The girls are no longer in residence and the apartment appears to be empty. I think they may have been from Eastern Europe and were deported for putting coloured glass into a recycling bin for white glass.

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