Friday, September 30, 2005

Swanning Around In SolarCity



Solar City is a strange place - it's a new self-contained "mini-town" being built on the outskirts of Linz. All the buildings look futuristic, and it's partly powered by solar energy. Nearby is a lake, where I took lots of photos. Other photos are from Linz centre. Enjoy...






(Apologies for terrible pun)

Old Men and Siemens

A lot's been happening so this post is a bit of a medley...

I think this is the best picture I've ever taken. I laughed for 20 minutes when I took it

During a random wonder around Linz, I took these pics. It's a very beautiful city, but it's very quiet apart from Friday and Saturday.

The Danube

I like walking over the main bridge. It's really busy, but I find it peaceful looking out along the river with "Takk..." playing. Although you can never be sure when you don't understand a word of Icelandic, in my mind Sigur Rós are associated with the conflicting emotions of uncertainty and joy at the discovery of a new place.

The Bridge

The business trip to Erlangen (in Bavaria) this week was great - I ate at least four times my own weight in hotel breakfast food alone, not to mention the paid-for lunches and dinners... I could get used to getting paid to travel and do very little work! The town of Erlangen was strange - Siemens is the main employer there and every other building was branded with the Siemens logo. All the handdryers in the toilets were Siemens. Everyone had Siemens phones. I was surprised when I found out that the coffee mugs weren't made by Siemens...

Erlangen - Germany's "Siemensstadt" (Siemens Town)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Phrasebook Musings

On my way back from a business trip to Germany today (info and pics later!) I thought I'd read through my phrasebook to look for some of the words I'd heard during the conference. My attention was immediately grabbed by the "Romanzen" (romance) section. Sub-headings included; "asking someone out", "pick-up lines", and "getting closer". Here are some of my favourites from the "getting closer" section...

  • Ich will dich. - I want you.
  • Zieh das aus! - Take this off!
  • Bitte hör auf! - Please stop!
  • Sachte! - Easy tiger!
  • Das war seltsam. - That was weird.
and best of all...

  • Oh ja! - Oh yeah!
When would you ever need a phrasebook to tell you that? "Oh ja?? What does that mean? Hold that position, I just need to look it up in the phrasebook..." Bit of a passion killer, non?

Another one of my favourites was;

  • Willst du mich heiraten? - Will you marry me?
This discovery made me re-assess my top three essential German holiday phrases. It now reads;
  1. Two lagers please.
  2. Where is the hotel?
  3. Will you marry me?
Three very important phrases I'm sure you'll agree. (if you're in a German speaking country for long enough to meet a girl and want to marry her, you'll bloody well already know how to ask her. Such a waste of phrasebook space - in my opinion they should have left that out and expanded the "getting closer" section).

...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Flea Market Bargains

Had a wicked day today - went to a flohmarkt this morning at 6 with some friends from halls, and bought...
  1. A kettle - 90 cents
  2. A chopping board - 10 cents
  3. A toaster - €2
  4. A frying pan - €5
  5. A grater - 10 cents
  6. A pot - €2
  7. 8 plates and 1 mug - €2
Almost a whole kitchen for €12, less than £10! Bargains to be had everywhere - there was an old gramophone player I wanted to buy, but I had no way of getting it home! Damn. Was also tempted to buy a bike for €20 but realised that soon it will snow and I won't be able to ride it. Humph. Was really good fun haggling with the local merchants and successful too! ... Later... had my first proper meal in halls since I moved in last week, thanks to the new pots & pans. I haven't even been able to make toast until today! Shocking.

I didn't realise how important cooking was to my sanity. I can't wait to cook Mario and Katharina a meal after all they've done for me.

...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Billy Whizz

Crikey it's been a busy few days. I started work on Monday, the people are really nice but they don't have much work for me at the moment, so I spend a lot of time reading company literature and surfing the net. VA Tech have just been taken over by Siemens so everyone is very busy. I'm picking up a bit of German small talk. I've got a business trip to Germany next week to train some Americans, because the takeover means that everyone has to be briefed about the operations of the other company.

Anecdote 1

The canteen at work is pretty excellent, although today I had the worst meal of my life. What I thought was pork sausage, cabbage and potatoes, turned out to be the most horrendous combination of food ever conceived by a human being. The "pork sausage" turned out to be "Blotwürst", which is a sausage made with pig blood. Mmmm. The "cabbage" turned out to be Sauerkraut; celebrated in Austria, but tastes like pickled bile. Least painfully, the potatoes were like sautéed broccoli. And I thought I could eat most food - I was wrong. NEVER EVER try these foods.

Anecdote 2

I went to the office in halls today to pick up my ID card. When I got there, I said "Guten Morgen". The receptionist replied "Morgen". Then I told her, "Ich musste mein ID Karte bitte". She turned around and said "Morgen". Nothing else, just "Morgen". So I said "Guten Morgen", again. She looked puzzled. So did I. I look at her quizically and repeated "Mein Karte?", and she said "Morgen" again! This went on for what seemed like several hours before another receptionist entered the room, and said, "Tomorrow. Morgen means tomorrow." What kind of language uses the same word for "morning" and "tomorrow"?! It's perverse I say! Apparently you can't even say "Ich bin heisse" without it meaning "I am horny". Cripes. What have I let myself in for?



...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

New Address!

Here's my new address!

Jon De Keyser,
Room 140,
Internationales Studentenzentrum Julius Raab,
Julius Raab Strasse 10,
A -4040 Linz,
Austria.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wilkommen auf Oesterreich

Cripes! Somehow I've managed to get free internet in my room! So Austria blog post nummer eins is underway sooner than expected. Flew over on RyanAir - surprisingly good for a budget airline! Comfy seats, smooth flight, hot stewardesses...

I touched down in Linz to be greeted by the local AIESEC community, including a guy called Mario who I've been in touch with over the last few months. They even had a card with my name on it! Wish I'd taken a picture! I've just spent the evening at an Italian restaurant with them (Mario, his girlfriend, and another AIESECer from Romania called Cora), and I'm now about to dig into my "welcome pack", which includes Austrian sausage and a weird cereal called "Peanut Flakes". My room, by the way, is excellent. I'm basically living in student halls, so I'm not quite sure how I've got a place here since I'm not a student anymore... I'm definitely not complaining!

Arrival!

I have arrived in Linz! I'll post some pics when I get my own internet connection (I'm in the AIESEC office at the moment)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Lunacy

Partying



(Unfortunately, these are the only pics that I could salvage from the party album of blurry wine glasses and smudged faces that weren't explicit, obscene or rubbish)

Well it's been a crazy, busy couple of weeks! It all started when I had the genius idea of starting a new job, moving to Austria and having a party all in the space of 9 days.

Thank you to all of you who came on Saturday night, and I apologise for being a bit stressed and far too drunk. I really appreciated you all coming, even in Sloth's case... To those who couldn't make it, we all missed you very much.

Tuesday was my actual birthday. I'd like to thank the following for all the stuff I received;

Mum & Dad, Tom, My Girl, Jay, Chris, Rich, Nick, G, D, Sloth, Steve, Joly
. Hopefully I haven't forgotten anyone. Some of my favourite things;
  1. A new camera
  2. A webcam
  3. A hip flask
  4. Takk...
  5. A poker chip set
  6. Much Alcohol
  7. A book on Molvania
  8. A Newcastle shirt
  9. The best cookbook in the world
Merci beaucoup!

Eating

Went out for a meal with the family and Kat in the evening to the Blue Strawberry. Droooool... is all I can say! It was amazing - great food and we had fun reminiscing, joking, winding each other up, and getting excited about our travels. Here's a pic of Kat and I in the restaurant that I really like, damn we're a hot couple! :p


It was a really nice evening, but sort of sad too because it's the last time we'll all be together like that for a while. I'm going to miss them so much.

Leaving

My flight is at 13.30pm tomorrrow. I'll try and post again before I go.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dancing With Katrina

Check out this blog. I'm in awe of some of the photography and reporting of this guy. Incredible. Click the link.