Monday, December 05, 2005

First Impressions ...

I should like to thank the Hapimag Hotel over the road who have an open wifi network. I am connected. In these 'InterWeb' days, if you’re used to having round-the-clock access, when it’s gone you get the feeling the world is turning without you.

As a news-junkie, then it's even worse as I can only take the BBC World Service for so long. It's a good station but it has it's limits and I'm not all that fussed about listening to programmes about water-treatment plants in Africa - as important and necessary as they are. The radio is in the kitchen and the reception isn't exactly FM quality. It’s more like a tinny voice trying to punch through the sound of someone screwing up a crisp bag.

My interweb provider should be round tomorrow morning to plug me into the mains once again. I've been in this new apartment for a little over 4 days and the weekend was the first time I could actually get down to sorting out the mass of boxes, boxes and yet more bloody boxes. In 48 hours I had it licked - building bookshelves, unpacking books, office stuff, clothes (oh my, do I really need all these?) and other personal items. It was like one of those kid's handheld games, like the small plastic slot thing where you have to move the squares around to make a picture.

By Sunday afternoon I had the boxes either unpacked or redistributed, the sofa in place, the television where it should be, lights plugged up and working and the bed positioned. I now have the problem of rubbish - a mountain of flattened cardboard now growing in the kitchen.

Being in a new place means that I have to get used to new views out of the windows, a new environment packed with noises and sensations. In my old apartment, I could make my way throughout, in the dark. In the new place, I am constantly bumping into things and stubbing my toes on walls, furniture and bloody boxes.

I have four windows on the second floor; two on one street, two on another. My bedroom and part of the living room overlook a two restaurants, a café (complete with online bookies), a small water fountain and a collection of other apartments. The other part of the living room and kitchen overlook a picture framing shop and my friends at the Hapimag Hotel (it's fascinating what goes on behind those windows).

For years now, I haven't had to deal with street lights so I've thrown up some heavy curtains to block the nocturnal light pollution. The dustbins are emptied at 07h00 and the chaps who 'do' are not exactly subtle. They get a kick from a bin full of glass. The daily trade at the bookies lets rip with some audible support their gee-gees get close to the line. Behind the 'head' wall in the bedroom, is a restaurant extractor or something. Its low hum goes off for 10 minutes every hour (must have a word with the people next door), other than the upstairs neighbour (I need to introduce myself) tapping his foot to some truly awful French music, all is well, chez moi.

Now, what's going to be the first thing to piss me off? Bets are now being taken …



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