Monday, 27 February 2012

Short Note on My Absence

This is the time, once again, where I would love to post more frequently, because a lot of interesting and exciting things happen, but I am running out of time!

The reason is my second job, the one at the radio station. It consumes all my free and spare time. This month I have been meeting the community of Philippinas in Vienna. I will portray their lifes in Vienna. Well, as good as you can portray lifes within in 10-12 minutes time. Those women are almost invisible in our daily lives, when they come and clean our offices early in the morning or late at night, while all the employees are at home.
I wanted to get to know them better, to understand how they came here and how they feel in our culture.
Picture taken during a women's fellowship-meeting at one of the women's home.
After sharing, praying, singing and eating it was playtime.

I have been listening to hours of interviews. Above all is their wish to find and have a job, work is what they search for when they leave home. This sounds so different from what many Austrians think about foreigners – that all they want is to come here so they can exploit our system of social welfare.

Their openness and hospitality during those last weeks was so different from the way I approach foreigners. I truly enjoyed this project. I love to meet new worlds, particularly those happening behind next door. This is the reason why I do this 2nd job that does not pay well at all!

So much for the update!

Thinking about my motiviation for this project - the wish to get to know those women better - it seems as if I've succeeded. "Hey, hello Paula!" "Tschüühüss Paula!!" Those who had no idea of the other's existance before became acquainted.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Funny Argument on Hair-Issues

Hello Debbi and Rosemary, thank you for following!

te hehehe. You all should have seen me earlier this afternoon - when I went to a hair-salon to buy a bottle of shampoo (Shu Uemura), for my sister's birthday. I asked for a certain product and the women/stylist in the salon asked if I the bottle is for me. I said no, it's for my sisiter. Why you ask?
She said that my hair is too thin and the shampoo would not work for my hair.
That's when I frowned my eyebrows. Thin hair? Excuse me? Thin?
Having just asked my hairstylist (at another hair-salon) to cut me a Cameron Diaz-short-bob, having listened to my hairstylist who told me that he can not cut the Cameron-bob with my hair, because Cameron's Hair is thin and fine and mine is strong and thick and that Cameron would love to have hair like I have. My hair, thin? Excuse ME? May we have a word ...

I started explaing the woman that I am not naturally blonde, even though my hair colour looks natural –  I am a brunette! And you know what? Brunettes don't have thin hair. You really think, this is thin hair? And I started to go through my hair with my fingers.

The woman was Persian. She said "You have European thin hair".
Oh yes, then she told me how to use a conditioner properly. She could not know that I am the Queen of correct usage of any product and that no conditioner ever touches my scalp but only the lenghts.

It's during moment's like this, where I like to have Larry David on my mind - when I start defending my hair towards a women I have never seen before who is supposed to sell me something. No doubt, the other person IS usually doing the right thing in the situation, only Larry/me is too convinced of his/my belief, one ends up arguing. Mostly on luxury problems.

When I left the salon (with a bottle of shampoo which she recommended, not without thanking her for her advice), I reflected upon Shu Uemura's products, how Japanese and Chinese women have thick hair, Persian women probably, too. In the eyes of a Persian women, my hair might, just might seem a bit thin. It's a global market. I had compared my hair to other Caucasian hair, not realising that thick might be thick in terms of Chinese and Persian hair.

Have a nice weekend and in case you experience any Larry David Moments, try to find the fun in them. Makes life easier and more fun!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Strandbad Gänsehäufel and Alte Donau Off-Season


I am not overexaggerating when I tell you looking at these photos I just uploaded almost brings tears to my eyes. The beauty of the frozen Alte Donau (that's where I use to go for an after-work swim during the summer months) and the magical atmosphere of the largest public bathing beach in Vienna during its hibernation touch me. May those photos move you, too. (You know who you are!)

But first things first! Last Saturday I had an appointment across the Danube River. The beauty of snow and ice fascinated me.
I know these waters very well from the summer months.

The very next day, Sunday, it did not take much to convince Mr Paula for a trip on the ice. He went for the onion-style (4-5 fleece sweaters and jackets), whereas I went for the fir tree-style, that never lets me down.
We planned a one-way trip, starting at the U6 Alte Donau and ending at U1 UNO City, heading south.
We took the subway (not very underground as you can see) Here the train arrives at the station Josefstädter Straße)

The weather had changed over night, blue sky accompanying the white snow perfectly.
I can only tell the best things about ice covered with snow: you don't slip and you easily can push aside all those worrying thoughts about cracking ice - because it is out of sight.
Who knew Vienna is a city for kite-surfing?
First we could not get close enough to the kites but as soon as we were surrounded by kite-surfers we hurried to get away from them. Too many strings attached!
ccchhhhhhhhhth. ccccchhhhhhhhhhhth. (I heard one in my back while I was taking this photo)
The wind had blown the snow away and around, we kept on looking out for the perfect trail.
You find a lot of cracks and there were the cracks happen, you can see how thick the ice is.
Mr Paula's shoe left gives you a clue how thick the ice was.
LinkLoyal readers might know this place from here, back then.
Cornices we usually get to see above 1500m
Humble, but nevertheless beautiful cornices
We walked down south and reached the Lower Old Danube after one hour. The man who walks his dog tried to convince his wife that the ice was safe. He had not convinced her by the time we left this spot but he took it easy.

The Old Danube is not to be confused with the Danube stream. The Old Danube is a groundwater lake, which known for perfect rowing conditions during the warmer months since there are close to no waves during the early morning hours.
A Rowing Club-House
Another Rowing Club-House

Sports in front of the Rowing Club-House. Can you see all the thermoses to the left? We did not leave the house without a proper thermos in the backbag.
Urban development close to the Old Danube, reminds me of a comic strip, somehow unreal. Unfortunately it is real ...
Bildunterschrift hinzufügen
Not far from this spot is the Strandbad Gänsehäufel.
Walking towards the lido. just like Jesus is one of the funniest things I can imagine. You approach the lido you know by heart from swimming there by walking there instead of swimming. Things like that make my day!
The Strandbad provides hundreds of cabins and lockers. The cabins in the towers are quite exclusive.

The Strandbad dates back over 100 years. The architecture you see was built after the damages that the bombardements during the last weeks of the 2nd World War had caused. The old architecture had been completely destroyed. The modern architecture from 1950 still looks so fresh. Of course after a complete renovation a few years ago it better looks fresh!
The cabanas are the de-luxe-cabins. People stay there during the day and seldom visit the beach with their beach chairs. They leave for a swim and come back after the swim. Over the years (regular customers own their cabanas over decades) people form a neighbourhood in their little community. De-luxe for the lower middle class and working class.
You need to picutre me, hopping around like a happy rabbit, drunken from all the beautiful details and sights and the scenery.
We climbed one of the cabin-towers to enjoy the view ...
It seems a bird had enjoyed the view, too.

From above the cabanas resemble a military camp!
Down there you don't realize how dense it is
my footprint
The watch-tower is the iconic building of the Gänsehäufel.
My and my parent's childhood memories date back to this wave pool. All the screaming during the short minutes where the waves were rolling through the pool and the unbelievable boo-ing and hissing when the pool attendant ended the waves. During those minutes, everyone turned into a child again. You could see people my age and above having fun just like the kids, moving up and down in the waves in the pool.
We used to rent a cabin in one of these blocks for many years.
An almost Japonesque patio with buoys waiting for the ice to melt.
A few showers that have not yet been replaced by modern stainless stell showers.
Recycling-bins (blue=metal, yellow=plastic, red=paper, brown=organic) during hibernation.
By the sheer number of bins you get the picture how large this public beach is.
This has been Mr Paula's first visit to the Gänsehäufel ever. He might have gotten a wrong impression what this place is like ;-)

This afternoon ended around 10pm, with Mr Paula and me returning from my parent's home where we enjoyed coffee and dinner. We are good in spontaneous self-inviting. Politics were not on the agenda, but Aveda shampoo and home improvement projects such as the new broom closet which is in the works. Nice!

Who would have thought that it is possible to tan during the winter months? I obviously tanned a little. And not doubt, these 2,5 hours we spent on the ice were a great anti-depressive-therapy, with all the bright light.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Visible Monday: My Russian Boots

(A silly, frozen smile – due to a not-relaxed-at-all-posture in front of the webcam, waiting for it to "click")


and again it's time for another Visible Monday. In case you want to play, too, click here and visit the Visible Monday gallery:

Only 1 item of my wardrobe is visible today, the rest is urban-camouflage in marine-blue and navy. I call these boots my Russian Boots, because of the bling-bling. And they have embroderies. And the lining is red and white with flowers. The crystals are by Swarovski Crystallized and the boots are HÖGL (a smallish Austrian Company).
The upper part of the boots is made out of anthracite-grey loden, the lower part is black leather.

The only reason, why I did choose these boots today was that my comfy brown suede boots with silent rubber soles needed to go to the shoe-doctor, the zip broke.

Not only are my black Russian Boots sparkling, no, they also make quite an appearance, they are loud! The heels make "clong clog clong clog" all the way down the corridor at the office. Plus, they add 2 extra inches to my 5'10''. I would say they absolutely qualify for a visible monday!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Alpine Destinations: Graubünden, Swiss


Hello Deb! I am happy to know you as a new follower!Link
Europa is one of the top destinations for U.S.-Bloggers. Last year, Une femme visited Italy and France, we literally woke up with her and enjoyed the views from her room. Later the same year, Catherine from Aesthetic Alterations spent a whole season, the Christmas season in Paris and invited us to the Louvre.

And Adrienne from Sonoma, CA will visit Switzerland and Italy. I can tell you I am already looking forward to seeing those photos she brings home from her trip together with her husband, and her great smile.

I don't know Switzerland all too well and my viewpoint is a rather narrow one: I went there to do research on bridges. But since bridges are usually there to bridge some gaps, in this case not rivers or streams but valleys, those regions might be of interest.

What I know for sure, Switzerland is the land of trains. Up and down they go, around the mountains and through the mountains. Passing glaciers and lovely residential schools, far from the next town. I thought I post some eyecandy for Adrienne right away.

Here are some photos of my short stay in Graubünden, not far from Zurich (about 1 hour per train). I stayed there 3 days.
Heading towards Chur on the train, on the shore of the Zurichsee

In this province you find St Moritz, Davos and some of the most exciting railway tracks in Europe. The Swiss love to go on vacation in Graubünden.

Graubünden is famous for its hiking tracks:
I stayed in Chur, it is a good town as a base, you can visit St Moritz and other places from there. And you find B&Bs at reasonable prices.
Sunset in Chur
View from the B&B in the morning
Oh so Swiss houses!
My research lead me to the Viamala, this was end of May, rainy weather. It could have been hot, but it wasn't. :-)
Ancients paintings on rocks
Old and new bridges
Cool bridges!

Coming up next: a trainride through eternal ice
Trains designed by Pininfarina
Linktchoo tchoo tchoo
The ice of the glaciers irs really blue! It is different from any ice I have seen before.