25 June 2007

Earl's Court, Refugees and the Joys of Boredom

A lot of time has passed since I blogged last. I have a good excuse, at least for some time: I was busy with moving.

Imagine dragging a huge suitcase and a huge sports bag through an antiquated underground system with hardly any lifts (luckily, there is a brand new one at King's Cross) and then up three floors with no lift at all. Imagine doing that AT LEAST once daily, if not two or three times. Sounds like excercise to you? Definitely felt like it. People who witnessed me moving before will remember the eternity it takes me to pack up my stuff. Well... I didn't change.

For the last batch, I took a minicab service from King's Cross to Earl's Court which is pretty exactly 10 km and paid 25 £ which is much less than I expected! I would have paid 18 £ were it not for the luggage (in the UK it is forbidden to put luggage on a seat, therefore if the cab driver has to fold a seat, you will be charged extra). Last time (and first time) I took the cab was on boxing day and I paid 10 fucking £ for a distance that takes me 10 minutes to walk just because it was a holiday!

Anyway, after some initial difficulties to enjoy the new flat despite its sheer beauty, I have finally settled in quite well. I have enjoyed the undescribable feeling of touching a shiny and clean surface with my feet while at the same time getting re-adjusted to a detachable shower head. Finally, I can wash my hair properly (non-detachable shower heads are logically but frustratingly never built for people my height). My room is bigger than my Dinwiddy one and I have a lovely double-bed, too big for one person... I look out of the room and see the rustling leaves of a big tree in a private park (to which we unfortunately do not have the key). The only downturn is the sometimes unstable internet connection, that makes it difficult to find a good pastime activity, especially if you have already seen all interesting movies available at home on DVD and the video rental is 3,60 £ or so per disc per night (in Austria, you never pay more than 1,60 €)!!! Luckily, there are three internet cafes around the corner where you can use the Russian version of Skype and the grimy keyboard if you are really desperate. Once I have some money, I can hopefully invest in a good modem. *sigh* Until then, we have a special telephone rate from talktalk where it doesn't cost anything (apart from a monthly fee) to call for free to 36 countries worldwide, as long as it is a landline. Voipstunt or skyping is cheaper but then - the internet - is a dog, as we say in German (or a rub, as you say in English)!

The last week I have also tried to top my record for writing job applications. I got one call from a call centre in the City (they said they will put me in the database - so probably a no) and one e-mail from a lovely authentic/rustic restaurant that has four branches in London and that I stumbled upon while paying a visit to Queen's Park for the first time (it is an area as well as a park). They would be interested in a job interview but said they are looking to fill the position permanently. So that is a no, too. My mum suggested - what else - McDonald's *rolling eyes*. I won't comment on that anymore. There is a pub down the road that is looking for bar staff. Now, I am really not picky but I'd rather do something where I don't have to deal with drunken smart arses who harass me (I saw the ad on Saturday night, guess how inviting the clientele looked to me).

My plan for today is to call up all companies I applied to and try to find some more I can send my CV to. Also since I am getting the Hauskoller (into a paddy), I will walk around town and keep my eyes open for any more job ads.

By the way, I went to Piccadilly today after 15 minutes on a refugee festival in Brent Cross where Ken Livingtone was supposed to speak (I missed him, I came too late) and 75 minutes trying to get there only to realise it was a rather small festival where everyone knew everyone and where there was little entertainment apart from food and a police enforced soccer match. The festival is because, as you might know or not, this week was UNHCR's World Refugee Day and it took place in that area because Barnet has as I have read one of the highest refugee populations in London (btw, 30 000 people sought asylum in the UK in 2005, 5000 of which were granted asylum - source: Home Office). There is more I could write on this but right now I won't.

So, I went to Piccadilly and wondered, what now on a Sunday evening? Oxford Street was closed already and it was raining cats and dogs and I wasn't dressed for going out, so I decided, "OK, let's find the Wolseley". The Wolseley is a café that has presumably been inspired by a great Viennese café. Sounds interesting, huh? It is really fancy and there is a penguin guy with bowler hat who runs to hold his black and white striped umbrella over guests that arrive by cab. Hm. Maybe Viennese but definitely with a British touch. Sounds very inviting and a peep inside shows a fully set table, including white & red wine glass and at least two courses. But the flair seems to be nearly authentic. I would have liked to go in and try their Café Mozart for 6,25 £ or one of their sandwiches in the same price range but maybe another time, when my bank account can enjoy it, too. A real person to enjoy it with, would be the cherry on top. *sigh* So I decided to have some lovely high cocoa at some pâtisserie at the other end of Piccadilly at a more digestible price.

Sorry guys to bore you with these little stories but that really has been the peak of my week so far...

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