Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
On the Edge
The boss, the Empress and myself had a customer meeting near Innsbruck earlier this week. As the place was more than 20 kms outside and we were booked on 3 different return flights, it was decided that a rental car would be the more economical option than several taxis. As I was the last to fly back a day after the other two, the car was to be rented in my name. To be honest, the idea of driving with a new car in a town I'd never been to by car is somewhat out of my comfort zone, but the prospect of navigating in greater Innbsruck wasn't too scary, after all.
Well, although I had booked the smallest type car, we got upgraded to a huge SUV, a Mitsubishi Outlander 4WD. Still not scary as I had learnt to drive in my granddad's Mitsubishi Pajero, which was of a similar size. As we were approaching our destination, I noticed that the ABS kicked in really fiercly every time I braked in a roundabout. Odd. I should add that there was slush on the roads and it was snowing heavily.
When we arrived at the village where our client's HQs are, we were almost an hour early and decided to go grab a bite to eat. The boss spied a promising looking sign and said we follow it uphill. It was not a terribly steep or curving road, just your typical Austrian mountain road, the likes of which your typical Austrian has driven many times in order to get to a ski resort. The roads, however, were completely covered in snow and the snowplough had apparently not made its rounds recently. As we were getting higher and higher up the mountain and there was still no sign of a restaurant, I said I'd rather return and stopped at the roadside of one of the broader hairpin bends. The boss wanted to carry on and volunteered to drive. I agreed and we got out of the car, almost falling down on the extremely slippery ground. After we had swapped seats, he turned on the engine and...steered the car into snow because the tyres had no grip whatsoever. Said snow formed a natural barrier on the side of road, preventing the car from toppling over, James-Bond-movie-style. "Get. Out. Of. The. Car. Please." a white-lipped Boss instructed us. We were happy to oblige. Thankfully, the postman and a snowplough came up the road a minute or so later. Assessing our situation, they shook their heads and the snowplough driver towed us out with a hemp rope which promptly tore. Our car came to a standstill facing downhill. "Those are summer tyres!" the postman shouted upon which I called the car rental company to give them a piece of my mind and ask them how on earth we should get away from there without snow chains or a tow truck. Well, apparently they were not summer tyres after all, but highly unsuitable anyway for a car that massive.
The local guys strongly advised us not to attempt to drive downhill with those tyres. Nonetheless, the Boss wanted to chance it. We crawled at a 5 km/h pace, seat-bealts unfastened so we could jump out quickly should we need to. The right front and rear wheels were in the fresh snow at the side of the road for some desperately needed natural brake effect, the left ones on the slippery road. Thus we slowly slid downhill, the Boss's hand firmly on the handbrake. It was deadly silent in the car and while I felt the colour of my face draining, the Boss had developed a pretty convincing carribean "tan" by the time we had made it to the village, just in time for our meeting.
Yesterday, before returning to Innsbruck airport where I finally got rid of that monster car, I went into the village church to light 3 candles...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
As Graceful as an...Elephant
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Too Much of a Good Thing
This time, I must have OD-ed on the salt, though, dissolving a good handful of good (from the Himalayas, no less) cooking salt in boiling water. I only noticed when on Tuesday morning, my sweet breakfast tasted campari-bitter. I first thought the jam had gone mouldy or the bread roll had been stored next to something salty at the baker's. Then I nibbled some trail mix with chocolate and noticed the same phenomenon. Yikes.
Slightly worried, I picked my brain about possible causes, blaming the cold remedy I had taken on Monday night until it dawned on me yesterday that the strange after-taste was salty rather than bitter. I imagined my throat lined with salt crystals, stalactite cave style. I told myself that it might be a good thing in disguise - if sweets taste bad after you have ingested them you might go off them for a while. It's gradually wearing off today and I am after all rather relieved that chocolate doesn't taste like poison anymore.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Ain't No Hiding It
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Hot Dates and Colds
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Duck Tales. The Sequel
Yesterday, the missing bag arrived. Phew. That's certainly one way of keeping UPS in business.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
What a Vondaful Night
Monday, February 09, 2009
Saturday, February 07, 2009
The Alpine Equivalent of the Camel Trophy
There, I saw a sign in rather original English with German syntax at the toilet door:
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Staying Fit in Times of Financial Turmoil
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
It is possible that you will receive the Joy briefcase without the inner bag.
In this case, you may contact us again and we will be glad to send you the missing part.
Thank you for your kind interest.