Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I do not understand SCS

Bicycle - Copenhagen

After flurry of activity a few months ago the air conditioning system gradually died. This was a slow and painful process as one after another the units stopped squeezing out tepid air until only one was left.

It was sort of like watching a family member die a slow and painful death – rasping on its bed of pain. It gave us everything it had and gasped and wheezed and groaned for a few weeks.

We helped it along by turning it off at night – mainly because it made so much noise we could not sleep with it on – and one morning I turned the ‘on’ switch and – nothing. It had ceased to be – it was no more. There it lay – still and lifeless.

We held a small ceremony, sang ‘Guide me oh thou great redeemer’ and drank a toast to our faithful friend.

So we thought we could tough it out as it was – after all – Spring. But it turned cold again – and snowed - and we shivered in the apartment. The cats basked together on the heated bathroom floors but there was no room for us there.

So Rozalin saddled up again and contacted the building people. Today Mr. Air Con man arrived at 7:30 and spent the entire day with his cobber disassembling and reassembling all the air conditioners.

He found many problems (he does every time) including that the filters had not been cleaned for eons. He is a very cheerful man and does not seem to mind how many times he delves into the innards of these pieces of machinery. His English is better than my German - but not much – so we have some animated conversations.

The word I use most to Mr. Air Con man is ‘Kaput’.

It is now very hot in the apartment – just in time for the warmer weather which is due to start tomorrow. He confidently expects that he will not see us again until next year. This is of course the triumph of hope over experience and I reckon we will see him again in Summer – if not next week.

What we will find is that the cooling no longer works. This may surprise him – but it will not surprise us.

In my time here I have never mastered the art of navigation at Shopping City Sud – indeed I have never even been able to get to most of the hundreds of shops that I just know are there. I have tried on a couple of occasions to find specific stores but always end up being spat back out onto the A2 heading either towards Italy or Wien. I can see the shops and I can drive towards them - but I have never found how to get in.

I really do try to avoid SCS because it is a truly diabolical place - but sometimes I can’t avoid it.

Like today when I had to go to replace a rubbish bin which met with an unfortunate accident. I had to go to SCS because that is where IKEA is and I wanted their rubbish bins – so that I could match the survivors of the recent Ceramic Cat Catastrophe (CCC).

This started when Sissi knocked over the very large Ceramic Cat which we had bought in Hungary near Lake Balaton. Sometimes Sissi has to knock things over three or four rimes before she breaks them but on this occasion the CC’s tail broke off first time.

On Tuesday I decided to glue the CC’s tail back on. This venture was not successful (the tail was much too heavy and I lost interest in the certain knowledge that Sissi would demolish it again) and culminated after a period of immense frustration in my throwing the CC into the rubbish bin – from some distance.

At this stage my hands (and indeed most of everything else) was covered with glue so the CC stuck partially to my hand at the end of the throwing action and the trajectory was not the one which would take the CC neatly into the bin.

Indeed it was a trajectory which ensured that the CC – which was quite large and heavy – landed on the side of the plastic bin and smashed it to pieces. The CC also let itself go and covered the kitchen in bits of ceramic stuff.

So – anyway – my exits from SCS always follow the same pattern. I leave either Interio, Saturn or IKEA (they are all together in the only group of shops I can find) and head towards the exit which says ‘A2 Wien’.

This sends me on a gigantic circle which takes me past IKEA again – but on a different road. I then go in another gigantic circle – followed by a loop – and then drive past IKEA yet again on another road – and going the other way.

I have tried every possible combination and have ended up in some strange places – including a loading dock and a hotel car park – but have never found an easier way to get out. Perhaps there isn’t one.

This is on my long list of ‘Things I don’t understand about Vienna’.


  1. Call roads lead to IKEA, and only to IKEA! (Interio is only there to fool you into thinking otherwise!)

    I went to Geneva's IKEA last Thursday, which of course is not in Switzerland, but in France, Lyon to be precise (there's another one, in Grenoble, but who needs more mountains after crossing the Alps? Ask Hannibal). The only way I managed to peruse the stores of the shopping center nearby was by Google Earth. The second attempt, after a night in Lyon with dinner at Brasserie Georges, did not go better either. Infact, on my way back I passed another shopping center with - I swear! - no access road!

    Somewhere out there are folks with a neat little gadget that guides them into the heart of shopping malls in Europe. I am not one of them. All I can think of is taking Austrian Airlines to Dulles, Virginia and head from there to Woodbridge. At least there the entrance of the shopping center and IKEA is through the same gate!

  2. "Call roads" - oh well, I meant to write "All roads" - *sigh* - must be post-traumatic shopping center stress syndrome!

  3. Phillip... IKEA North is very easy to get to from your flat... :-) We are finding ourselfs missing some things about Vienna, we will return to enjoy those things we miss..
    Good luck with the heat and or cooling..

  4. I've never warmed to SCS, despite knowing a number of people who rave about it, but then again I find most shopping a meaningless & soul-sapping activity. My attitude towards household shopping is strictly utilitarian, which is why I spent a lot of time in IKEA when I moved here, because at least it has pretty much everything you need under one roof. But I'm happy it's been a long time since I've needed to return there.