Monday, June 25, 2007

It has been raining for days and days and look like continuing to rain for days and I am sick of it. Isn't it supposed to be summer?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

On Saturdays I like to sleep in late, often until midday. But then I have to get up and got organised, because the shops here are not open on Sundays, and I quite often have to go to three or four shops. One stop shopping at huge supermarkets is not a part of life here.

Today I went to the discount Aldi-type shop, just to get milk. No matter how crowded this shop is they never have more than two tills open. They set a fast pace though. The checkout women (they are not teenagers earning extra spending money) sit while they work, and they don't pack your purchases in bags for you. Bags have to be paid for, and then you have be a fast packer, because they just pile everything up on a tiny shelf at the end of the checkout, and if you haven't finished packing when they start putting the next person through, well, they just let it all pile up.

Most people just frantically pile their stuff back into their trolleys and then withdraw to a corner and pack in peace. These women are tough. They invariably pretend not to understand me when I ask for 50 cent pieces in my change (I need it for the washing machine) and they couldn't give a toss about what people think. Last week there was a mini riot when one announced she was going on a break, despite fact there were twenty people in her line, who were all off-handedly told to join the other queue, which already had twenty people in it.

Then I had to go to the Drogerie, which is not a Pharmacy. Drugs come from the Apotheke. The Apotheke is staffed by serious medical looking staff wearing white coats who give you a complimentary packet of tissues or lemsip with your panadol. Unlike Australian pharmacies, they are not massive shops selling toiletries and cosmetics as well, which is where the Drogerie comes in. They sell everything you normally see at a chemist, except drugs. I have to go their for toothpaste, and shampoo, and washing powder, because they don't sell that stuff at the supermarket. This week I was seduced by packaging, and bought Persil man.

See? One arm is a handle, the other the spout and the head is the measuring cup.

Then I had to go to the stupid Sparkasse Bank where I never should have openned an account, because it is so inconvenient. This visit was fairly unremarkable, apart from the woman at the service desk being dressed in a full, traditional dirndl, for no reason that I can see. All the other staff were wearing normal clothes.