Posts Tagged ‘Vaduz’
Feeling a little better today; made it through work, although I did arrive rather late and leave slightly early. Discovered when I got home that Shennie Pie has also been sick, so maybe my mystery illness is nothing to do with bikram yoga, quitting smoking, dehydration, or my mind playing tricks on me.
Shouldn´t complain too much, I suppose, since I´ve been in Dubai for 10 weeks, and this is the first time I´ve been ill. In Vaduz I had a perpetual cold, it really was too dreadful… One of the many reasons why I´m enjoying this part of the world a lot more than my last overseas experience.
Also, there´s not a single bikram yoga studio in the whole of Liechtenstein. I reckon I´ll be well enough to go to yoga tomorrow, which I´m happy about: I don´t want to skip class for too long, because then it just becomes too easy never to return.
Food of the day: Magnum (ice cream) – you´re allowed to indulge when you´re sick!
Temptation of the day: EM inviting me to the Irish Village to celebrate St Paddy´s Day. But wasn´t that difficult to say no, considering I´m still not feeling great.
Encouragement of the day: My friend Susan telling me her list of symptoms when she stopped smoking. I reckon I´m having an easy time of it!
I remember when I was in Vaduz, and happy to find oranges from South Africa. In Dubai, however, South African produce is barely worth a mention. But, if you care, I have Ceres fruit juice in my fridge, Ouma rusks in my cupboard, and Aloe vera gel for my sunburn. Now, if only I had a Black Label, I´d be sorted!
Naturally, I was delighted to discover that there was a hairdressers, Salon Birgit, attached to the Hotel Schlössle, my accomodation in Vaduz. However, I was somewhat less delighted to discover it would cost CHF86 for a simple cut and dry. This was roughly the same amount I´d paid for all the stripping, dying, cutting, washing and drying I´d had done at H.A.N.D. And I even had a head massage thrown in.
I resolved to get my hair cut more cheaply when I was in London. Walking to the station in New Malden one fine afternoon, I happened to chance upon Judys Hair. There was a notice in the window saying ladies’ haircuts cost £24*, and I was in there like a flash.
The only problem was, the hairdresser was no Beauty. She didn´t know what I wanted; I didn´t know what I wanted; and the result was a presentable trim, but not what I would call a haircut. Granted, there was no longer the possibility of an unwanted mullet sprouting forth from my skull, but that was the best that could be said about it.
I continued the walk down to the station, the customary post-haircut spring in my step strangely absent. Out of the corner of my eye I spyed Sam´s Barbershop. I learned something that day. Never trust a hairdresser who can´t apostrophise. How can someone incapable of constructing a correct sentence, or in this case, phrase, be trusted with the inifinitely more finicky task of creating a proper hairstyle? I couldn´t help thinking I should´ve rather gone to Sam´s, and shaved my head again. If his grammar is anything to go by, at least he would´ve made a decent job of it.
* Trying to convert between francs, euro and pounds (and with those pesky rands demanding to be taken account of also) was, and still is, beyond my elementary mathematics. On that particular trip to England, I later found out that the CHF/£ exchange rate at the time was something like 2.3/1. I had been innocently working on a 2/1 ratio (don´t you just love whole numbers!), so didn´t save as much on the haircut as I originally supposed.
I managed to get barely an hour´s sleep, only to be woken by Kate´s panicked voice: “Trinks, you´ve pressed snooze twice already. Your bus leaves in half an hour. You need to get up!”
I staggered out of bed. I really needed a shower. I also needed to finish packing. Admittedly, I had half-packed the day before, which, at the time, I thought was a supremely cunning plan. Alas, it turned out to be only 50 per cent of a cunning plan.
I stumbled round the room, randomly chucking items in my suitcase. One of these items was my new laptop. Somehow it didn´t occur to me that a) there are computers in the UK, and b) their plugs are different. As well as the laptop and attendant paraphenalia, I blithely packed my camera charger, my phone charger, and my iPod charger. Overall, I must have lugged at least 5kg of incompatible technological equipment across the sea for no good reason.
And this was before I even began on the clothes. I was at a loss without Moral Squeeze to restrain me, and packing, as you may have guessed, has never been my forte.
“Should I take the long black dress or the little black dress?” I asked Kate indecisively. She patiently advised the latter, while I stumbled around some more. “Where is my eyeliner? I simply cannot go to London without my eyeliner,” I declared. (Nevermind the fact I rarely use eyeliner, since I am unable to apply it without looking like some kind of racoon, despite having previously worked at a fashion and beauty magazine).
“Trinks, I think you are still drunk. And in the throws of an extended Bridget Jones moment!” said Kate, barely surpressing her laughter. “I don´t want to be Bridget!” I wailed, conveniently forgetting that some years ago I had attended a fancy-dress party (theme: the fictional character you most resemble) as none other than Ms Jones. Call it part of my mispent youth.
Back to the dilemma of the moment. “I don´t want to be Bridget!” I wailed. “I am a strong independent women. Without issues. And with sexy underwear. Not at all like Bridget!” I sounded pathetic, and strangely unconvincing, even to myself. But, despite histrionics, we were in fact (almost) ready to hit the road. I grabbed a bottle of chardonnay and my Silk Cuts and we made a dash the bus stop.
My day didn´t get better. Without Kate around to jolly me out of my hangover, I was stuck in travelling hell. In brief, my itinerary looked like this:
1. Bus from Vaduz to Sargans
2. Train from Sargans to Basel
3. Bus from Basel to EuroAirport*
4. Flight from EuroAirport to London Luton**
5. Bus from Luton to Victoria***
6. Train from Victoria to New Malden
7. Walk from New Malden station to Elm Road
8. Collapse into bed****
* The EuroAirport is cool. One airport, three countries. Believe it, because it´s true! I also ate some very expensive food there, which made me feel slightly more human (although still primarily alien).
** Note to self, and other travellers. It is a much more pleasant experience getting felt up by svelte Swiss security staff than their British counterparts.
*** There is a reason that flights to Luton are cheap. Because it isn´t even in the middle of nowhere. It´s like, far out on the edge of nowhere, when “somewhere” is on the opposing edge.
**** That would have been nice. But I had plans for the evening. Plans that had been booked and prepaid on the Interweb.
Kate and I eventually made it back to Hotel Schlössle just before ten, and we still had to primp ourselves for the party. I had told everyone that we´d be in the common room from eightish, so we were very unfashionably late…
But everyone was happy to see us, and I enjoyed chilling with new friends, and making some even newer ones, while improving my pidgin English. Eszter gave me some bangles, and Kate gave me a good luck charm from Naples. My funniest present was from DJ Daxxter – a princess tiara.
It was DJ Daxxter´s birthday on 7 October (he shares it with thom e. yorke), so as the bells chimed midnight (and they really do in Vaduz), there was another surprise for both of us…
Charles and Lufa and the Mona Lisa had baked us two birthday cakes. But first we had to search the common room to find them, with Sebastian accompanying our hunt on guitar, while singing “hotter / colder”. Eventually we located two gorgeous cakes (one chocolate-orange, and one a fruit tart), balanced on the window ledge.
Everyone wrote birthday greetings in my notebook, in an international array of languages: Deutsch, Čeština, Magyar, Italiano, Vlaams, الْعَرَبيّة, and last, but not least, English. A suitably fabulous occasion, and I was very glad I´d decided to stay in Vaduz for my birthday and party with my cosmopolitan new friends. But the evening wasn´t over yet…
Kate and I spent our afternoon catching up on “Internet admin”. Then we headed down to Vaduz for some “party planning”, that is, we intended to grab a bite to eat, and buy copious amounts of beer for said party.
However, once we descended to the city centre, we found it magically transformed into a fully fledged fun fair. I hate to think how much it cost. But it was my birthday, and I didn´t want to sully my mind with hateful thoughts, so I didn´t think about it, and drank some beer instead.
Kate wanted to go on a ride. I am scared of rides. But, in case you forget, it was my birthday, which meant one of two things: either I oould stamp my foot and refuse, or I could embrace the new experience, in the guise of one who gains maturity with age. I chose the latter course of action, and finally realised why fairs are fun.
We went on some kind of higgledy-piggledy ride (I´m not an expert, so couldn´t give you its proper name, even if I cared). I managed to flash the whole of Vaduz, but I didn´t care about that either. There was a moment, when the ride paused for a couple of seconds, and we were looking up directly at das Schlöss, which was bathed in light (think Table Mountain), when I wouldn´t have been anywhere else in the world…
6 October 2007
Today was an exciting one for me. Not only was it my birthday, but my dear friend Kate was coming to visit. I had actually planned to be in London, but for once my indecisive nature and lack of forward planning had paid off! As it was, I rose early to meet Kate at the station in Feldkirch. It was marvellous to see someone from UCT days, and I literally ran into her arms.
After joyful greetings, it was time to go for coffee, and hear all about Kate´s experiences with yodelling Austrian boys the evening before. Naturally, an extended sex-and-the-mother-city chat was called for, as we had much gossip to exchange about mutual friends. “Are you sure the people at the next table can´t understand what we´re saying?” Kate asked nervously. I didn´t notice any widening eyes or blushing cheeks, so I assume we were safe.
Next we met up with Eszter and hit the shops. My first salary was burning a hole in my pocket, and it was time to do some serious spending! We made a pilgrimage to H&M where I splurged out on two “birthday” dresses, Kate bought a top and skirt, and Eszter bought some trousers. Whenever I go shopping in Feldkirch, I think of Kate.
Bear in mind, Kate was only my fourth visitor. Some way to go until I reach my 20th visitor, whom shall receive just recognition: a case of Liechtenstein´s finest brew!
But Kate´s visit wasn´t yet over. After a quick lunch, we headed back to Vaduz to do some party planning for the evening´s celebrations. To be continued…
Visitor count: Mim, Pim, Rude Larry, Kate (4)