Monday, September 19, 2016

Day 3: Someone please tell me how to cure my jet-lag...

Hi all! I've now been in Vienna for over two full days and have settled into the lovely little apartment I'm sharing with two fellow Fulbrighters! We're living in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, also known as District 15. It's located pretty close to the center of the city, but also has lots of public transit and isn't too expensive or fancy--perfect for students! There's plenty of restaurants and supermarkets as well, and the buildings are all old and lovely. This excellent-looking list of things to do in 15 has me really looking forward to spending time here in "Vienna's most exciting, dirty little secret"!

The districts are organized in a kind of circular rotational way.

So far we've been getting our bearings and settling in--we got SIM cards for our phones, did grocery shopping, and walked around quite a bit. On Saturday Vienna was bustling, especially on the Mariahilferstraße, which is just a few blocks away and is one of the largest shopping blocks in the city. It's kind of like the Santa Monica promenade in that you can't drive on the street there--in German, it's called a "Fußgängerzone" (pronounced foos-gayng-er-tzohn-uh). We found a flea market (because I seem to always find flea markets wherever I go) and we walked through it, stopping to look at knickknacks and tchotchkes along the way. Then we dropped into the Kunsthalle Wien, a small contemporary art space with a great show called "Beggars and iPhones" by an artist named Andrea Büttner. It didn't address the topic of the necessity of possessing technology, including for the homeless, in the manner I would have expected, but instead connected "beggars" and "iPhones" in a more gestural way, linking the body language of begging with the swiping motions performed on a touchscreen.

The Kunsthalle Wien is such a cool contemporary space... I'd love to curate a show in this room one day!

On Sunday pretty much everything is closed, except for the public parks and museums, but we're waiting to get our student ID cards before we do a lot of the tourist and arts attractions because it saves quite a bit of cash. There is an incredible number of museums in Vienna--not just art, but also plenty of historical and cultural museums as well, and I can't wait to visit them all.

Some of the things that are different from home that are standing out in my mind include the following:
  • the apparent nonexistence of skim/nonfat milk in grocery stores (so I'm switching to 0.5 percent)
  • paying to use a public bathroom (which is how they are kept so clean, I guess)
  • having to stand on the right side of the escalator so that people on the left can move along (which I need to remember to do)
  • the ubiquitousness of Muesli (German granola, basically)
  • having to dial the plus sign to call someone on the phone (and the dial tone here, which sounds disconcertingly like the "call dropped" noise from the United States)
  • the difficulty of finding iced tea not from a bottle (I miss you, Peet's and Coffee Bean!)
Standing outside the Vienna Secession building. Just realized that the angle I'm shot at is similar to a famous Vienna Secession work by Gustav Klimt:

Tomorrow I have the first day of the first of two orientations: the Vienna orientation! (The other one, located in the nearby town of St. Pölten, is the teaching assistant orientation, which has me both nervous and excited!)

As always, if you want to express your love for me with material goods, my Amazon wishlist is here, and if you want to see many, many photographs of me and of Vienna, my Instagram is here.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you changed your costume before you posed for Klimt. Keep having fun.