Friday, March 12, 2010

The Driving License.

You knew I was going to get back to this,  right?

I may have mentioned a couple things on the program up to this point.  Since I don't remember.  (it's that CRS affliction)  I'll just bring you up to speed on the proceedings.
First of all,  my travelling companion had decided when we were living in the land of windmills and wooden shoes,  (no wooden head jokes at the moment,  sorry)  that she would trade in her driver's license for a Dutch version.
Fairly simple procedure,  involving the filling out of a form,  handing over her license and some money,  at which time the clerk photocopies the one being given up, stamps it to be a true copy (in case of meeting up with the constabulary)  and tells us they'll send a letter letting us know when the Dutch version is in.
I should also mention that the Dutch really love  to send letters.  They send you a letter to let you know to expect a letter....

Anyway,  this all happens at the Gemeentehuis.   OK,  sorry about that,  it's the regional office building for the township,  or something like that.   Go to the link,  see if you can figure it out.   Sorry it's in Dutch,  *snort*

Not quite the same here in Wienerland.

I already regaled you with the saga of going for my "Führerscheinuntersuchung",  and now I go to bed each night with the reassuring knowledge that when called upon,  I can in fact touch my nose with the index finger of each hand with my eyes closed.


I just now think I've figured something out!!
While it is illegal in many jurisdictions to talk on a cell phone while driving,  you'll only so much as get a wink and a nod from the constabulary here if they see you "touching your nose".

 Here's the problem.

  The natural progression from the touching of the nose to picking it, is all too easily accomplished!!!
This might explain the considerable amount of nose picking at the wheel that I've seen.  It all goes back to that bloody exam!

I think we need to alert the authorities!

Somehow, I don't think it would help.

Meanwhile,  I received a note from Relocation Lady at some point letting me know which documents to photocopy,  and I had all of these items ready by Monday night.
Tuesday was a no-go for her,  so we arranged to do the deed on the Wednesday morning.
First thing on the list,  was to go to the ÖAMTC to get a translation of my license.
What,  you say?  A translation?
Don't get me started.
The Dutch certainly didn't need a translation.  I mean,  take out your license if you have one.   Give it a look,  does it look that complicated?  C'mon!

I wasn't doing the public transit thing,  since it was morning and I can only do about four subway stops,  since if I travel any longer than that,  I'll most likely hurl.
Doing the deed by car wasn't a big deal,  and considerably faster anyway. 
Turns out,  that was a good thing,  since they added a slight wrinkle to the whole procedure by now requiring a copy of my "Meldezettel".
This came as a bit of a surprise to Relocation Lady,  who takes pride in being up on all these bureaucratic wrinkles.

This is the piece of paper you get after having registered with the authorities.  I couldn't find any links in English except this one...
They didn't need anything else that I had brought along,  just that one document.   See why public transit would suck?
Back we went.   Took me no more than two minutes to find it,  since luckily our filing thingy isn't all that big.  I say "luckily",  since somebody filed it under "leases".


Ironically,  I had thought about this document,  but Relocation Lady hadn't put it on the list.  What do I know?

No biggie, the clerk had my translation ready when we returned.   Paid my money,  and off we went.

Oh,  for those of you who couldn't quite figure out from the link what the ÖAMTC is, it's simply the Austrian version of the CAA or AAA.

Similar crap,  different colour scheme.

Of course,  the clerk thought she'd do a little membership plug,  since I'd get a "discount" if I joined.   Didn't happen.
The company that cannot be named will happily pay for whatever it takes for me to become a full fledged legal resident,  but they won't spring for any memberships.
(I somehow think that limitation also extends to Lederhosen)

The next stop on the quest was the Verkehrsamt

This is the central office for all things to do with traffic...

Man it's getting hard to explain this stuff!!

I've only ever had a driver's license in the province of Ontario,  so I can't speak about other jurisdictions,  but we're used to small,  although sometimes crowded License Bureaus.   The Ministry of Transport issues the license,  but they're really not part of the whole process for the average knob like me.

Not so here in Wienerland.

First of all,  I would have been hard pressed to find the place,  even though I had spotted it on the map,  and if I had been so lucky,  the building itself is a huge array of hallways and offices.   Remember that term "rabbit warren?"

The actual "doing" was something I could have probably done on my own.  I understood 99% of what was going on,  but I was sure glad she came along,  since I would have never made it to the wicket in the first place.

So fine, we get up to the window,   only to discover that we never did have a copy of the flippin' "Meldezettel".  They need one.

Quest number three.  Gotta find a photocopier.

There's a photocopy room in that building somewhere.  I wouldn't be able to find it again. Relocation Lady has done this gig a few times it seems.

Now I have to say,  in spite of my normally 100% befuddlement when it comes to all things bureaucratic,  there are fleeting moments of clarity.  Emphasis on "fleeting".
As we were filling out my form and sorting out all the copies of documents we had,  Relocation Lady suddenly looked at me all "deer in the headlights"  and realised she had forgotten to tell me to bring a photo.

That would have been a bit of a hitch.

  Knowing that picture ID is "de rigueur"  in all parts of Europe, the thought had crept into my pea brain that I just might need a photo..

"No problem",  says I,  and I flipped out a couple passport photos onto the counter like a pair of poker chips.

Le *sigh*

(I really wanted to say,  "there was much dancing and laughter",  but that didn't happen.)

So now we wait.

They don't do the same drill as the Dutch either.  They don't need to take your license there and then (never understood that part anyway) but will call when the new one is in,  and back we go.
Note that I said "call".  They don't send a letter.

Should be a couple weeks.

That's actually not that bad.

Then we do the switcheroo. 

Once again....

Stay tuned.

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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.