Published: May 25th 2012May 25th 2012
Tink, Tink, Tink! That's my traveller's alarm clock. Becuase I left my iPhone in the car at the airport. Damnit. Oh well, at least it won't get lost or damaged while I'm here. 6:30 a.m. Shower, shave, dress, brush teeth. The train leaves at 8:30, one rail stop away. That leaves plenty of time for...free breakfast. Hell yes. Cereal, fruit, rolls, eggs, cheese, ham. Mmmm, breakfast sandwiches.
Sated, I return to my room, grab my stuff, haul it back downstairs, hand in my key and step outside. The ground is dry, no clouds in the sky. Short jaunt to the station, validate my ticket from yesterday (the machine doesn't know the difference) and I'm off to the main train station. I fork out 50 euro to the unhappy clerk, grab my ticket and hit the platform. Sit. Wait. Impatient. 45 minutes.
Aboard the train, I stow my stuff. Crazy German lady tells me I can't sit there. Reserved. For a party of 12. Stand back up. Watch train fill. Crazy German lady says I can have the open seat next to one of her friends. It's the window seat. I'll take it. Through the sound of music I hear
muffled laughter and conversation. Champagne opened. Some party. Wonder what it's for? 2 hours later they depart. Almost everyone departs. Not me. I'm going to Villach.
The trip to Villach was rather uneventful compared to yesterday's travels. I stared out the window and watched the countryside roll by as my iPod sang to me. Beautiful place. Lot's of mountains. Lot's of valleys. Lots of farms and homesteads and little towns in the valleys. Pretty remote at some points. Probably a long drive into town to shop for groceries. Logistical inconvenience. Probably wouldn't live there. A little over 4 hours from departing Wien, I disembark in Villach. Have to take the bus to my "Dormitory." At least the bus station is right out front. So I hop over and wait. Public transportation in Villach is terrible I was later told. Well, terrible by European standards. Still amazing by American. It was a 30 minute wait.
And in those 30 minutes, I discovered something very predictable. High school kids are the exact same, everywhere. The social dynamics don't change. The girls giggle, the boys show off and drool. The loner's listen to metal and wear black. The "strong" tease the
"weak." Everbody sneaks glances at the guy with the all the luggage. The only difference is the hair. Austrian's seem to love dying and styling their hair outrageously. Must be a cultural thing.
There, that's my building. Must be my stop. I drag everything off the bus. Wander inside. The landlord speaks very broken English. But at least he knew I was coming. Weekly rent, 80 Euro. He takes 160. Don't have to pay him again until the 11th. Let's hope my money clears by then, because I've got about 7 Euro left. Haul my stuff upstairs. Room 307.
Reality Check: Austrian's count floors differently. The 1st floor is never the ground floor. It's the floor above the ground floor. I don't know what they call the ground floor. So technically, I'm on the 4th floor, by American standards.
It's a small room. Small bed, small desk, small closet. Not worth 80 a week. But the people who sign leases only pay 60. Slightly more reasonable. They also pay a 500 euro deposit which I didn't have. They also probably don't get much of it back, since I've since been told the landlord is a pain in the ass. Oh well. Maybe I'll find something better. There's 12 rooms per floor, divided into 4 blocks. Each block as a bathroom with 2 sinks and a shower. The toilet is in a small room beside the bathroom. More like a closet. No windows. Dim light. Takes forever to turn on. Irritating. 1 kitchen. It has a table, a stovetop, 6 little fridges, no oven, and serves as a kind of common room where my flatmates gather and socialize. They all speak varying degrees of English (fortunately) since that's the only common language between them. Let's see if I can remember them all.
Boris (I think that's his name): Croatian. Studying Biology of some sort. Might be medically oriented. The party organizer. Nice guy. Has a car. Gave me a couple beers. He's moving out in a short while. I get his room.
Marcello: Brazilian. Working in Villach. Did his Master's here I think. Nice guy. Just bought a car.
Emmanuel: Italian. Working on his Master's I think. Also a nice guy. Don't know much about him.
Gin (hard G, not like the alcohol): Indonesian. Nice guy. Weak english. Haven't seen him much. Says he plays basketball. Needs a follow up.
Vinnie: The poisoner. Not sure where he's from. Quiet. Mixes cocktails. Has homemade liquor. Fridge mostly comrpised of aclohol, little food. Should make the party tonight interesting.
Stephen: German. Met him for 2 minutes. Said little. Unsocial, according to everyone else. I believe it.
Eva: Lithuanian. Finishing her Master's in GIS. Was busy writing her thesis the other night. Joined us for a glass of wine.
Brazilian Girl: Wish I could remember her name. The hardest part of all these people are the names. I understand their English fine, but they pronounce names funny in English. Hard to decipher. Fun girl. Social, smiles, gets along with everyone.
Russian Girl: Can't remember her name either. Likely due to not being able to understand it when introduced. Similar to Brazilian.
It seems I can't remember them all. That's only 9 and there should be 2 more. I suppose I shall provide their introductions at a later time. All in all, a fun group. The party they're throwing tonight should be enlightening.
Word of the Blog: Kopieren.
It means Copy. The verb.