Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Boring Blog from Paris

Turns out that I know very few words in German and the ones I do know are not used by either Microsoft or HP in their German notebook PCs.

It was quite the most difficult thing I have done for some time and took a long, long time to do.
It was not helped by the fact that when I had do the initial setup – when faced with many German words and being required to pick an option – I chose at least one wrong one – and I am sure that more will emerge.

I set up the computer to use an English Keyboard – so that the letters that appear when you press keys bear no resemblance to the letter which is on the key itself.

It took me some time to work out what had happened – and in the meantime I really struggled. It took me 20 minutes to find the @ key - which is really important!

I also made some bad choices when I was asked questions – but now know that if you want to move forward do not click on ‘Abbrechen’.

On a happier note I now have a keyboard with an Umlaut and other weird things the Germans use. I just have to remember that when I want a Z I press Y – and if I want a @ I press 2. (Update – Melissa has fixed this for me).

I received a cheerful message from Austrian Airlines giving me my flight details, telling me what the weather was like in Paris, and inviting me to do a website check in. Sure I said – why not?

After a futile 20 minutes on the Internet – being told that my booking did not exist – I moved to Plan B.

When I telephoned I got a recorded message saying ‘Welcome to Austrian Airlines – your call will be answered IMMEDIATELY’.

WOW - I thought – that’s fantastic!

Unfortunately this was ‘immediately’ Austrian time so I had to listen to that same message a number of times – and large chunks of Strauss – while I waited. Why do they do this?

After much farnarkling the young lady told me that I could not check in because the flight was being provided by Air France. I refrained from asking ‘so why did you send me an email suggesting I check in on the web’ because I did not think it would elicit a useful response.

There were two people in the cafe at the airport wearing masks. But they took them off to drink their coffee. I think this is an unacceptable compromise. If you are going to wear a mask in Vienna airport I think you need to go without food and drink. I waved some of my special germs in their direction as I left.

Melissa met me at CDG and we took a train and a taxi to the hotel. It is not up to the usual high standard (for Cate) but beats the stuffing out of the Prima Lepic. It is cold and has been raining heavily so we mooched over the road to have an Omelette. Henri came along later and we discussed our plans for the next few days.

Cat photography day is Thursday and we are looking for a traditional Parisian Bistro for Saturday night. Last time we all did this we went to Bistro Allard which was just wonderful.
My language is a mĂ©lange of English, German and French – but I can still get by.


  1. Having spent the last 10 days trying to get and keep access to the internet I can appreciate the challenges you faced getting online. Dear Telstra, what can I say? Each tech support person spoke chinglish at 100 mph (much faster than 100 kph!) and was amazed when the online light continued to flash despite their best endeavours. Three service visits and an $80 new modem, I'm told that there's also a problem with the Glebe exchange! and that it should be fixed in the next 10-14 days, so please don't bother reporting another problem in the meantime...

    My biggest smile for the morning has been reading the comments on yesterday's blog. I hope your other readers and followers read them too.

    Enjoy Paris:)

  2. I'm still confused about the swine flu...people (Americans) have been saying things like "The swine flu is expected to hit our shores tomorrow @ 9amEST" (well i added the time part in)....but seriously, is it some pig shaped cloud moving in from Mexico?

  3. I am not sure the Austria Telekom is any better - we had enormous problems when we first arrived (see early Blogs) but have been lucky since then.

    Who says Pigs can't fly!