Friday, March 29, 2013

People who are not Justin Bieber

Don't get excited.

This dude is not Justin Bieber.

This dude is not Justin Bieber.

This dude is not Justin Bieber.

This fur coat donning lady is not Justin Bieber.

This dude is also not Justin Bieber.

I am certainly not Justin Bieber.

But I couldn't help myself and after stumbling across a mob of 12-ish year-old girls today, I joined in trying to catch a glimpse of Justin Bieber. These little chickies meant business. They were Bieber or bust. They were so jacked up that every time someone came out of the hotel, which was frequently, they went bizerk (screaming and crying) thinking that it might be Justin Bieber, who is apparently staying at the Hotel Sacher. It was quite funny to watch all these old dudes have hoards of young girls screaming at them.

But I got tired of the screaming 12-ish year-olds and the dudes who were not Justin Bieber. So I went in for some cake.

Mmm. Sacher torte.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm stalking a small dog, and other news

As you may well know, critters are an important part of my life. Now that I am in Austria, I am feeling rather animal deprived. No dolphins to watch. No hummingbirds to feed. No Kitty LaFleur to pack around.

So, ages ago when I saw a sweet little doggie waiting in a storefront near my new apartment, I stopped for a wee visit and snapped a couple pics. Then I started looking for the little dog in the store window whenever I walked past. Which led to walking past the store window, so I could look for the small doggie. Recently, I've been going at least twice a day to take a peak: on my way to and from work, and/or when I'm generally out and about.

Awe. Hunde Kitty.

Then today something weird happened.

I was walking back to my apartment and saw "Hunde Kitty" (which I've taken to calling this dog in my head) in the dog park across from my apartment.

That wasn't the weird part, because Hundie's (yes, I also have an imaginary nickname for someone else's dog) store is like two blocks away, so its not that surprising that I saw her elsewhere.

Look how cute- she's on duty!

What was weird, was my reaction to this sighting, as is detailed in the following:

1. I stopped dead in my tracks and exclaimed "OH!" when I figured out who it was. Then I made very awkward eye contact with Hundie's owner*. And then I made a squeak. And then I put my big head down and remembered to start walking again.

2. Naturally, when I got back to my apartment, opened the window and started trying to get some pics of Hundie.

3. But then I got worried that Hundie's mom would see me taking pictures of them, and think I was some sort of psycho.

Can you see her little jacket??

4. And then I got marginally more worried that I am deranged.

5. Last, I decided to tell the world about it.

So that was pretty much my day. Oh and I picked up my official Austrian resident's permit, which was ready and waiting today, at the second** nuttiest government office I've ever been in.

M 35. Totally makes sense. 100%.

Oh, and I saw this sign, which means...?

*Recall that I have been walking past the shop where this woman works at least twice a day for like a month, wherein I generally squat down to chat with her dog through glass.

**Number one, is of course, the Mery.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Things that are weird

Today I went shopping for intricately hand-painted eggs, which I intend to hang on branches of pussy willows. Because that is what one does in Vienna, at Spring/Easter time.

Pussy willow destine painted eggs.

This got me thinking about other things that are "weird." And yes, I know that the traditions of another place are not actually weird. I am the weird one here, with my weirdo accent and perpetual deer-in-the-headlights look (because I understand virtually nothing of what anyone is saying). Regardless, to me, the following idiosyncrasies are weird.

1. Grocery store checkouts. These are the epitome of efficiency, which means some super speedy German speaking lady (I have yet to encounter a male cashier), flings your items across the till into the ridiculously small area at the end of the till. You do your own bagging, but you aren't meant to do it here or now. As the lady chucks your groceries across, and you need to replace them into the cart with equal speed. And you must simultaneously get your money ready in order to pay WITHOUT DELAY. Thinking of digging out correct change because you have a MILLION dollars in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins? Forget it. Said cashier is likely already tapping her nails and about to yell at you (in German, of course) about how idiotic you are and how you are wasting everyone's time. Ok, so you pay, get back a whole new mitt full of change and move to the small special counter where you can take your groceries out of your cart and place them in your bags. Exhale. Weird.

2. Personal Space in public places. There is none. Feel free to actively touch, bump, nudge, or shoulder check anyone. And don't apologize or acknowledge if you've done so. Because that would be weird. What are you, Canadian? I did keep thinking I was getting mugged (from people bumping into or otherwise touching me or my purse/coat), but this is just something one does. In fact, I've adapted quickly and today I caught myself bumping into and reaching right over someone, without even flinching. As one does.

3. The signage. Oh, the signage. What is the point of using symbols instead of words? I would think that symbols are universal, while languages may vary. So symbols make sense to everyone. Except me. In Austria. Check these out:

And what about this:

  Maybe they make sense to you, but to me these signs are weird. You can check out what they really mean, along with a bunch of other head-scratchers at

 Taking my weird self to my weird bed...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vienna is lovely. And I am miserable.

Vienna is a fantastic city! There is so much to do and nearly everything is drop-dead picturesque beautiful. The museums are out of control, cathedrals are bonkers, and the Viennese cafes are simply stupid, they are so good. And the pastries. I think they are laced with crack. Or unicorn dust. Or some other substance that makes them WAY more delicious than should be legal.

mmm... Best apple strudel I've had yet.

Despite all these adorning qualities, I am alone and can't seem to get past the feeling that my family and life are elsewhere. This isn't necessarily surprising, but given that I am busy when I am away, I usually adapt fairly quickly. Its not like this is my first rodeo, people. Distance would be my middle name, if it weren't already Mai. You'd think because I've spent so much time away before, I'd barely bat an eye. Nope. Sigh.

Keys to nothing.

Anyhow, I am trying to fill my time with things I enjoy, and Saturday morning at Naschmarkt is definitely high on the list.

Fresh stuff from the non-flea market end of Naschmarkt.

I especially love the flea market, which has everything you could ever imagine and way more. None of which anyone needs. Some of which is truly bizarre.

All of the junk you never wanted. And more.

Today, I bought two old World War 2 era letters, with the idea that it would be interesting to read and translate them. Sounds fun, right? Yeah, except I cannot read the hand writing, German or no German! You'd think I'd of noticed this from the addresses on the envelopes, which I find equally illegible.

There are a few flea market goods which I am drawn to, including well-loved stuffed animals and old signs. Last week I saw a very well-loved antique child's rocking toy and I was hoping to re-find it today. Alas, no such luck. I did find a wonderful elephant version, but dude wanted 200 Euro for it. Seriously, that is some "vasa" pricing.

Elephant "rocker." Adorable, right?

I am somewhat less fond of creepy dolls, which are abundant.

"Victor" the creepy part-headless, definitely pant-less sailor doll.
With a pack of cigarettes. 

Tomorrow I am going to see an Easter market, where apparently you buy decorated eggs and pussy willow branches to hang them on. When in Rome...