• Random ramblings

    by  • 15 February, 2003 • General, Weird • 0 Comments

    How the heating seriously hampered my climb on the social ladder, the curtains offended my deep sense of symmetry, jobs are weak and the drachme is strong, although VAT is on and off, automated responses aren’t and the Greek government is. Let’s see, what happened this week? In random order, since there is no timeline of importance between them, here are the highlights.

    • The heating was finally fixed. Before it happened, I got a serious cold, such that I had to forgo the dinner with the local Rotary members. Maybe they’ll give me another chance later.
    • I bought curtains on the local market (everybody said I should go to the local market, because it was so cheap). I then had to find a seamstres to have them made to size and put this ribbon thingy on them, where you can put these plastic thingies in, that you can attach to this rail, so they’re not just lying on the ground. You can see that I’m a real expert on curtains now. Anyway, the job was done in usual Greek fashion, a little bit unprecise, so that at one end the bottom will flow nicely 2 centimeters above the floor, and then at regular intervals will drag over the floor, to end exactly 2 centimeters above the floor again at the other end. That’s okay, in the ribben there a 3 levels where you can attach these plastic hooky thingies, so if I move everything up, nobody will notice anything.
    • I got 2 job interviews this week. One was for the position of a jeep safari guide, where your bones are rattled all day in the lead jeep, while you try to hammer some disciplines in the seriously-hung-over youngsters that drive the remaining 9 jeeps behind you, AND while trying to be friendly and hospitable. The people who wanted to hire me were very warm and friendly though. Maybe I’ll do it, just for one season. The good side is that you get to see the region a bit. The other was for a job as the local IT “guru” in a big travel company, where they offered a salary that no self-respecting Dutch guy would come out of his bed for. Somehow I have strong doubts that they find any self-respecting Greek who is prepared to do that either. Ah, well, you can’t win if you don’t try.
    • Speaking of money, most people still think and count very much in drachmes here, 13 months and a half after the euro was introduced. Even in some shops I visited, prices are in drachmes only. Not small grocery shops either, these can be big furniture shops, or even one electronics shop I went to. It’s equally not always clear whether prices include VAT or not. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. In one and the same shop I’ve seen goods with VAT included, and goods without VAT included. The explanation is always that the Greek government wants it that way…
    • After a two weeks search I found a replacement color cartridge for the Lexmark Z45 inkjet printer that I bought. I chose this model over all the others because it had “job finishing features”, according to the borchure, so that you could print double-sided and in booklet format. When I couldn’t find this feature I wrote an email to the Greek Lexmark representative. After one week I still had no answer. So I wrote to the US company. One week later still no answer. Yesterday I emailed the US company again, asking if they rather had me bring my case to the numerous internet sites. Four (4) hours later I got an “automated response”, hehe. When I wrote my email it was five o’clock in the morning in the States. At one minute past nine, US time — oh, coincidence — the “automated response” was launched… Anyway, with replacement cartridges that hard to find for this brand, and no “job finishing features” in sight, I might switch to another printer rather sooner than later.
    • Finally, I exercised my rights as a European citizen by formulating an official complaint (on the EU website) against the Greek goverment for not letting me have my car registered in Greece according to the EU regulations. That will scare them!

    Good night! Kali niechta!

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