Thursday, November 11, 2004

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Staying at Learn and Stay Hostel on Kairsetstrasse, right next to the main train station. There are only two hostels in Frankfurt and this one is the only one in the centre. Little did I know that Kaiserstrasse is the red-light district that can be rivalled only by Amsterdam itself. There are no prosties on the street or anything, but there are sex shops bigger than The Warehouse. Three floors of dirty shopping, every second door along the street. Really something.

The room is quite nice and big, although instead of a double bed, we got two single ones. Everything in the room squeaks - the beds, the floor, the doors. Quite amusing really. The shower is really nice and I am happy with that. Although, for the last two mornings some neighbouring flats must have insisted on extra showering and we ended up with cold water.

I am not planning to do any sight seeing until we've settled in and I have become a real Hausfrau. Every single night we go looking at flats. Some really nice ones, but we want to make sure we get something close to a U-Bahn, S-Bahn or whatever station.

Today I signed up for a german course at Inlingua, yet another international language school. The New Zealand branch is in Tauranga. It's not cheap, €490 a month, but it's full time and would give me something to do during the day. It goes from 9.10 to 13.25, Monday to Friday. Had my first class today, was quite impressed. It's not too easy which is always a good thing, I like a challenge. In the class, there are 9 women (no men for some reason). One from Poland, one from Russia, two from Turkey, a couple of asians and some other ones I didn't find out.

There is a walking tour leaving here at 3pm, so might go do that today. Tomorrow, I was thinking of maybe checking out the University and whatnot.

Yesterday, I went to a doctor. Needed to get my Depo Provera injection and was quite scared how it would go in Germany. But they much obliged, and it was quite painless. They said that in Germany, women must get pap smear twice a year. And I thought NZ was bad! I really like how doctors are set up here - like a small hospital - cubicles, nurses, own lab, everyone is wearing white, the doctor looked like a ship captain :)

I have also discovered the shopping area. Three buildings with 10 floors of shopping each. No kidding. I've bought a cellphone, and a different luggage bag because the one I brought from New Zealand isn't very manouverable.

If anyone wants to txt me, my phone is 0163-3558612. This is in Germany, so I think you'd have to add +49 and drop the leading zero.

I've tried Gluehwein which turns out to be just really warm red wine they sell on the street. No idea what made me think it'd be like eggnog or hot chocolate. The wine is really strong and I got pissed from one cup. When you try to sip it as it's hot, you inhale the fumes and cough.. Yeah amusing.

What else has happened in Frankfurt? Not much. Very many turkish/arabish/whatever people here. The men of that sort are very strange and come on really strong even when saying hello. They all stare at me and say odd things. Maybe there are no women in their countries?

Food here is delicious. All meals in restaurants are large and filling. Coffee is amazing. I don't know if it's because of the coffee itself or the milk they use, but I haven't had a bad coffee experience since San Francisco airport. All those people that warned me against the lack of lattes can remove their feet from their mouths now because they make the most amazing lattes here, they just call them Latte Macchiato.

Nothing is cheap. Everything costs exactly the same but in Euro, so double NZ dollars!

All ATMs accept our Eftpos cards. I can get euros out with my ASB Card as well as my ASB Visa. Unfortunately, I get charged $5 for every withdrawal.

They're not big on Visa here, in fact, it's not accepted anywhere. Either cash or EC card which I think is their equivalent of Eftpos. So it's been cash for me.

There is some deal here with their post office. Some dude said they've been closing down most post offices as they're no longer needed. So I haven't found anywhere to send post cards from. Big sorry.

TV here is quite amusing. Apparently it costs 28 euro a month to have TV. Much like the broadcasting fee we used to pay in NZ a few years ago I imagine.
I am a big fan of their KinderKanal - KiKa. Watch sesame street daily and various other shows. The best way to learn the language I reckon. In fact, that's how I originally practiced English way back when.

Also, there is this crazy evening program where people ring up to win money. A guy sits on the screen and waits for people to call up. A question is displayed on the screen and it's usually something complicated yet stupidly simple. Often, it's one of those logic puzzles, etc. So if someone rings up and gets it right, they win money. If not, the guy sits and waits and waits and waits. Fun to watch. I tried ringing but the lines are always engaged - they service germany, austria and switzerland. Last month this channel paid out just over 800 thousand euro.

I think I've just about caught up with the getting here, and will be able to describe daily adventures from now on.

Bis zum Nächsten Mal,
Alles Gute,
Auf Wiedersehen.

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