Thursday 3 Sept
Today I again got up fairly groggily and late, my stomach regretting the couple of beers from the night before. Nevertheless I got out and ran the better part of half an hour with not too much problem.
I headed into work this time deciding to walk, its either a 15 minute walk or a 15 minute tram ride so I went with the former. Work was fine, I just kept working on the funding application, I half worked half chatted on facebook, but I found that even though I was spending 10% of my time on fbook it was enough to keep me sane rather then just starting at a computer screen, thus increasing my productivity.
For lunch I went to the canteen with my boss. Today's menu was some dirty sausage thing and fries, there goes this mornings run down the drain. The afternoon finished with no quams, quite uneventful. Except for the tremmors, theres some construction work going on not far from our building and every now and then it would feel just like one of the micro tremmors like what I felt in the solomons, but sometimes it would be really cyclic, this morning it was making me feel kinda sick.
Again as it was sunny I walked home, tonight should be good the IAESTE crew (the organisation that organised my traineeship, and lack off accommodation) are having what they call the regular table, they just meet at a pub, have a few drinks and some food, yet apparently sometimes it goes quite late. But it'll be good to meet every one and if there as worldly as the few I met last night it'll be good to get some contacts overseas.
Tonight there's also a stammtisch on. Its some german word for an informal meeting/gathering. Its run by a group called AAC – students club. The Austrian Anglo circle, students club, its pretty much just a bunch of britt and yankee expats and people who speak english so i'm going to try and make an appearance at that as well, but I dunno, the two events kinda clash, i'll see how I go.
Last night was great. I got to the regular table at 8, no one was there yet except for Johannes, at least the guy running the show was there I guess. People started showing up slowly and eventually I was eating pizza with an indonesian (gotta be careful of him), a ukranian, a couple of Macedonians (holy s*** they are gorgeous), a heap of Austrians and a scottish bloke.
I think the Ukranian, Natalia; who's also gorgeous, is in some way or another in charge of something as she turned up with a shopping bag full of stuff for me. There was a heap of info on Graz a couple of pens, one of those baloon stress ball things we made as kids; “for when you are worried surfing of the couches!!” as she said, and a couple of t-shirts. An IAESTE Austria T and an IAESTE graz T. fantastic another 2 clean t-shirts.
The scottish bloke was a laugh, he seemed pretty happy to be able to speak to someone who understood (most) of what he had to say as he said it had been a while since he'd spoken propper english to someone, I chatted to him most the night, he's a crack up really arrogant and it was kinda funny talking about girls as we did with so many girls all around us, he assured me they weren't quick enough to pick up on what we were saying. I do wish I had a kilt though.
We left at about 1030 and went to a concert in the park. The concert was weird, it was cliché brunswick, we even got told to be quiet a few times by people who were trying to listen to this rock band with no vocals who sounded like a cross between led zeplin, oasis, coldplay and muse. They were ok but every song sounded the same.
I had some interesting conversations with the girls and a venezualan on the way to get food. The Venezualan absolutely hates Hugo Chavez, I thought they all loved him, he was pretty passionate about him rigging the referendum 2 years ago and I accidently got him quite fired up.
I ended up leaving at about 3 and started my walk home. It was pouring, so I stuck my shirts (I was wearing 3) in my back pockets to keep them dry and I set off in my shoes and pants with my ipod in. It was great, walking home in a foreign country in the pouring rain.
Almost 40 minutes later I was getting well fed up with walking and I found a bike that was un locked so I took that, as thats the done thing around here. The ride home was hard though, the bike was so old and crappy, the gears kept jumping and it probably would have been quicker to walk, although the bike was pretty fun.
I got home a bit after 4 and got my head down, I had to be up in 4 hours for work!!
Friday 4 Sept
I am on struggle street. Last nights partying has left me feeling less then marathonable. Thats a good word: marathonable, I might use it more often. My body is hating me, lucky my boss, whose actually more of a supervisor, he's too relaxed to be a boss, is in a telephone conference.
This ride to work was interesting. The bike I got is crap, I might just leave it where I parked it his morning. The gear shifters are stuffed and the only way to change gears is to move the chain by hand, except it kept on jumping between the differenct gears. I have no idea how I managed to ride it last night.
Today at work went well considering. I wrote in my diary and finished off proof reading the funding application. I spent the rest of the morning and a little after lunch browsing the internet and trying to learn some German.
Last night one of the funniest lost in translations happened to me. We were at the concert and a girl was standing beside me, I asked “hows your night been” which was dumb, i've gotta stop it no one understands hows your day been, peter thought I said “hows your diving.” But anyway after I explained what I was trying to say, I think I ended up saying, has your night been going well. But her reply with a casual smile was “it has been good, up until now”. Up until now- haha, had I received that reply back in Australia I would of straight away that I was being shrugged off, but this not the case this particular time.
Now i'm just sitting at home, struggling to stay awake. Max made some coffee and we're siiting in his room with peter and a girl called Mirium, she's studying law and earns a living as a singer, the 3 of them are all part of a band that plays at weddings, usually two per weekend. I'm waiting for my next host to pick me up, she's swinging by after work, this couch surfing gig is awesome!!
1730 came last night and bang on the dot Christine called to say she was waiting outside. I said bye to the boys and went out to meet her. Tobi helped me with my bags and we walked out side. When we got to Christines car I introduced myself and Tobi and the two of them went into a set of exchanges in Germon. Turns out both of them recognise each other although they aren't sure where from.
We took off and it was raining, Christine had a little old toyota and the windows started to fog up pretty quickly. As a result we almost hit someone, we were travelling at about 60 and a pedestrian that we hadn't seen, decided to step out in front of us just because it was a pedestrian crossing. Christie broke and swerved mildly and the pedestrian shouted abuse. Christine rather sheepishly insisted she'd never had an accident and hoped that I still felt safe, I got over it pretty quickly as I felt as safe as I do with any female driver.
Christine studies Languages at uni and is doing a PHD in it, I dont know how you do a PHD in languages but she is. She speaks 5 languages, Deutsch, English, Spanish, Italian, French and she's just started portuguese. It's incredible.
We got to there appartment building and stepped inside the lobby. It stank! Smelt like a really strong disinfectant. Later on when we came down in a lift, we met on of the neighbours in the lobby, she asked if the lift made us feel sick? Turns out that the cleaners had spilt something that day and they'd told everyone not to use the lift we'de already used twice.
The appartment is pretty cool, and again I have my own room with a TV, a VCR, haha, and a really cool fish tank at the end of my bed, I cant say things look too flash for the fish though, a lot of them seem to be swimming upside down.
We went shopping and I grabbed some steak, I hadn't had a decent piece of meat in ages and it was fantastic. I ate that and then we sat down to watch the news. Christine's Boyfriend, Martin, had been helping out his cousin that day who's a TV reporter for Graz. The cousin isn't much of a sports buff and whenever he has to report something of sport he calls Martin to help. So we watched the interview on TV that they'de conducted of the Austrian Soccer team. Who I might add are an absolute joke at the moment. Last night they played a team called the Fedora Islands, an island with more sheep then inhabitants, much like australia. And they lost.
Martin soon returned home and we sat around for the rest of the night talking having a few beers. It was really fun, the two of them are a crack up. When ever Austrians Laugh they really laugh and their whole face gets into it. And they laugh at everything. Or maybe they just laugh at what I do.
One of the funnier topics of conversations was snake bites, when I asked what they'de do if they were bitten by a snake they both replied with, try to suck out the poison and then put a tornaquet above the bite, a practice of which hasn't been practiced since the sun was invented.
I'm surprised I kept my eyes open but we stayed up until 11 just chatting. I then hit the sack hard and slept like a log.
Saturday 5 Sept
I slept so well last night, I only just got up. I was hoping to wake at about 7 so that I could go for a run but, evidently, that wasn't happening.
Soon after my run, I went down to the shopping centre to buy some ingrediants to try and make some ANZAC biscuits. Evidently I should have tried translating the necessary items first. I managed to find Zucker (sugar) and Kokos flakes (coconut flakes) and flour, although I wasn't sure if it was self raising or not. But finding Bi-carb soda and golden syryp was impossible. So I put the rest of the groceries back and headed back to the appartment.
Christine and Martin were up by the time I got home and soon after we went for a drive into town, Graz isn't huge so we just went to the centre of town and parked near the castle. Right in the centre of Graz is a massive mountain in the centre of a flat valley. I wanted to take the stairs up but Christine was pretty intent on taking the cable car up. I soon found out why, the climb to the top took somewhere between 20 minutes and half an hour. But the view was second to none. Up the top, where there actually isn't a castle anymore, is still a massive area, much like a fort, and we walked around there for probably 30 minutes looking at all the old buildings, cannons and pictures.
Inside the mountain, in medieval times, was a big dungeon structure, this was welled out during world war 2 and was able to hold 50,000 people, now it is mostly unreachable, except for a night club which occupies a fair chunk of it. I cant wait to check that place out.
We then went to a nearby Austrian restaurant. Over here they're big on set menu's and they're really cheap, for 11 Eu (20Aud) I got a 3 course meal. It started with a pumpkin soup (apparently there's a lot of pumkins around here.) followed by a stuffed veal thing with vegies, and finished with a sweet pumpkin cake, it was fantastic. At the end we payed, Christine and Martin's half was about 23EU he gave her 30EU and said 25, she gave him 5 EU back. That's how they do the tips around here. The other day I had a coffee, it was 2Eu something, I wasn't sure how much it was so I just said “3 Euros?” I guess now I know why I got back a smile and big danke shin and no change.
After that we went to city park. There's two places here called City park, one is the park in the centre of town and the other is the mall they decided to give the same name, just to avoid confusion. We went to the latter as I'd been missing my decent headphones from home and wanted to grab a pair. So much happier now. I also wanted to grab a skipping rope, to mixup with the running a bit. I went into a large sports store and found a worker. I asked if they had skipping ropes, he just looked at me funny so I started skipping with a pretend skipping rope, he just looked at me like I was a tosser, said no and walked away, leaving me bouncing around in the middle of the store. After about 10 minutes of looking round I finally found a skipping rope and went back to show the arrogant p****what I was trying to get at.
I'm am absolutedly stuffed now, spent all day today climbing a 2200m summit, from an 800m start!! but thats for todays entry not yesterdays.
Yesterday arvo we came back to the appartment straight from the citypark. I was stuffed, which I shouldn't have been after 9 hours sleep the night befor, but I even fell asleep in the car on the way home.
Back here I spent almost 3 hours on my computer, writing my diary, updating my blog and sending out couch surfing requests. After that we went into town there was a soccer game on, and we thought we'de watch it from a pub.
We parked intown and went to a pub one of martins friends had recommended called the office pub, it was empty so we didn't even bother. We walked around to the main area of town where most the bars are. We went to an Irish pub, again called molly malone's, found a seat near the bar and ordered some beer. Here they dont specify which beer they want. They just ask for “beer” and are usually satisfied. One of Martin's friends, stefano came soon after and we got a beer last night from the very Western region of Austria, the night before they were telling us that this region is a bit of a joke, kinda like SA or Tassie, and that the only people who come out of there are blond barbies that usually ask all the dumb questions at uni, then drop out and then marry doctors, this point was backed up by the beer coaster for this beer; a tall blond woman sitting, drinking beer, with the dumbest expression on her face I'd ever seen.
Austrian soccer is crap, well thats what all the Austrians tell me so I guess they'de know. I wouldn't have a clue, it all seems the same to me. The game was Austria vrs the Ferro Islands, a tiny bunch of islands inbetween brittian and iceland where most of the players are only semi-professional, the game I thought was ok, 3-1 Austria won. The only problem was that I was dead tired. It was killing me. I sat there pretty much holding my eyelids open for much of the second half.
After the game we payed the bill and walked around the corner to a metal bar. This place was a crack up, it was full of people with an IQ less then the number of piercings they had, and bikers. The music was kinda cool but none of us were really keen to hang around so we moved on. We walked up the hill to where max and I had had coffee a few nights befor, as there were 2 decent bars.
We checked them both out quickly, both were fairly full yet the first one had less intense music yet the second seemed more classy, the second was actually just the indoor area from where max and I had the coffees. We settled on the first bar and went in and found some seats at the bar. The music had changed abit too, I was pretty happy, it was all old school hip-hop and rap. Martin didn't seem too impressed though, he hates the stuff. The coolest thing about this bar however was the screen, behind the bar was a big screen that they had the simpsons movie projected onto. The only thing was, however, that the screen had water running down it, and totally messed with the picture making pretty alternate.
We only had one beer at this place, no one else was keen for a big one, and I had to get up at 6. We went home, I attempted to pack for the next day and hit the sack.