Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vienna Boys Choir

Cate has the same concept of time as Stephen Hawking. It has no beginning, no end and is infinitely expandable. I calculated that to get to the church to see the Vienna Boys Choir with a casual stroll and degree of relaxation and comfort we should allow 45 minutes.

As usual we left late and with less than half an hour to spare because Cate had to match her socks with her earrings and we then had to go like the clappers to get there in time. Cate took a short cut which added a kilometre to the journey. I arrived panting and sweating and spent most of the time wondering whether I should vomit on my shoes or on the crowd below (I decided on the shoes but managed to hang on).

The mass was better than expected although the accommodation was somewhat cramped. I now know where Qantas got the inspiration for their economy class seats. We were in an alcove on the first level and by hanging over this and peering up could see the tops of the heads of some very small boys in the choir. Some of them are indeed very small and I hope their mothers were not too far away.

The people in the three rows behind us could see nothing except our heads and the people in the alcove on the opposite side of the church – but there was CCTV so that they could watch the mass and the choir. They do warn you that you cannot see the choir but I am sure the people behind us were underwhelmed by the experience.

At the end of the mass the choir came down to the front and gave us a chorus of Pinball Wizard (or it may have been something religious) before vanishing. When we came out of the alcove Casino Wien had set up gaming tables so that those who did not think they had paid enough for their seats could make a more serious donation.
We do what we always do when we have a spare half hour and ate cake and drank coffee in a cafe - this time it was Gerstner in Kartnerstrasse. The cakes were lovely but the coffee was awful and they apparently use mouse droppings like the cafe with wireless internet.

We also went to one of the traditional Viennese coffee houses where everyone is smoking at least one cigarette and every now and then a piece of the nicotine coated ceiling drops like a stone into the strudel. ‘Zee strudel iss ferry crunchy today Helga!’ There an ancient waitress shouted at us before hurling two coffees onto the table and stomping off to hack somebody to death which her false teeth.

The girls are back in town – or at least their light is on. So either they are home or the skinner has returned to turn them into Wiener Schnitzel. However, there was no paper today – nor did I get my International Herald Tribune to which I have attempted to subscribe. I am still reading the shopping brochures and now know the words for ‘special’ and ‘sale’.

I have been to Merkur at the Millennium Centre on my own and it was a harrowing experience. I am not sure for which Millennium the car park was built but it sure doesn’t like cars the size of the Queen Mary. When I tried to get out the ticket machine at the exit gate told me (in German and then in English) that I was in the wrong car park. I don’t know what this means – by definition I was in the car park I entered – and was now trying to leave. Does it think I beamed myself in from another car park? I pressed the button and spoke to the man who had trouble with my accent so I starting singing a Wiggles song and he let me out immediately.

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