Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A mailbox surprise.



First of all,  why is it that we go “ga-ga” over sunsets?   What is it about the human condition that has us stand there like a bunch of Neanderthals and go, “Whoa,  that’s beautiful”.   You can add your own inflection.

Of course,  my guess is that real Neanderthals would only have been able to grunt,  but I find spelling those kinds of things to be a bit of a challenge.

I’ll readily admit that I’m a sucker for sunsets,  and when Travelling Companion called last night as she was “getting out of jail”,  she mentioned the “Red sky at night”  quip,  and I looked outside and realised I was missing a good one.   They’re a little more drawn out here than in the sub tropics,  and we rarely get that “Looking through Rose coloured glasses”  effect that we used to see in Puerto Rico.  If you’ve never experienced a sunset in the sub tropics,  there are a few moments during the event when it seems as if everything around you is being seen through a reddish filter.  It’s not quite the same as when you’re “blacking out” or anything,  but it can be a little hard to believe your eyes.  And then it goes away.


So what about the mailbox?  

Well,  most days I shove my hand in there and come up with nothing.  Maybe a couple flyers,  or an Amex bill.   But today there was a bit of a lump for my hand to bump into.   Nothing scary or anything mind you,  and since the box is fairly well sealed from the outside,  it’s never occurred to me (well,  up until now) that there might be any kind of a critter in there.  I’ll try not to think about that the next time.  I don’t need to be getting creeped out every time I put my hand in there.   Kind of spoils the fun.

She here’s what we got!



Oh goodie!

My guess is that,  in a conversation with one of her sisters,  T.C. must have mentioned that she was running out of this particular type of cream,  so this sister took it upon herself to send off a tin.   What a sweetheart!



*Hm,  note to MY sister.  A little surprise in the mail would be just awesome!*


Far be it from me to speculate as to whether or not this particular salve is available here in the “Body Shop” out on Mariahilferstraße,  but my guess is that T.C. has done the necessary leg work when it comes to this issue,  and would no doubt have picked some up if it were available.  That’s all I know.  Further research is beyond the scope of my meagre abilities.


So we were going to take a brief look at this Viennese thing called a “Schanigarten”,  weren’t we?  You thought I’d forget,  didn’t you?

It’s a funny thing,  and is perhaps indicative of the ego-centric nature of a city like Vienna, but this is a term that originated here,  and is now being used throughout the rest of Austria.   There are other words that are typical Viennese,  but we won’t digress too much.   Makes it tough for a foreigner though,  since a person thinks they are learning German in school and university,  when in actual fact what they need to also study is “Viennese”.   Known as “Wienerisch”  in German…or well,  Austrian?  

Had a similar experience in Puerto Rico where I thought it would suffice to learn Spanish.  Nope. Turns out that didn’t quite suffice,  since the Puerto Ricans also use some words left over from the now extinct indigents whom the Spaniards enslaved and subsequently wiped out. 


The Wikipedia article I referred to above is rather poor I find.  There was an explanation a couple weeks ago in the local paper,  which basically gave the origins of the concept of the Schanigarten.     It would seem that,  back in 1750 (six years before Mozart was born for those with score cards)  somebody presumably with the name “Gianni”  either an owner or a waiter at a cafe in the First District,  though it might be a neat idea to set up a few tables and chairs outside the establishment for the enjoyment of the patrons.   The idea caught on.  Could be total nonsense.  Who knows?   But it’s possible to go from “Gianni”  to “Schani”,  right?  

Needless to say,  they are now everywhere.  

Whether it’s a cafe,  restaurant,  a bar or even a butcher shop or a bakery,  if there’s a place outside for tables, benches,  chairs, or whatever,  it’ll be out there.   Down in front of our building,  the owners take up three or four parking spaces and set up skids on which they put out tables with umbrellas.   Of course,  the city collects a fee for this,  but it’s worth while for the establishments,  otherwise they wouldn’t do it.  

I’ve been collecting examples:


This was back at the beginning of March.  This is going to be an outside area for a bakery.  Even though this street is restricted to traffic,  they put up a partition between the customers and any vehicles that might go by.



I’ve been watching the following one take shape over the last few weeks:




Of course,  I missed getting a picture of it,  but in addition to the overhead canopy arrangement,  the owners of this one have even installed lighting.   You’ll have to take my word for it.


Here it was on Saturday,  open for business:


This was yesterday morning:



So the thing is,  it’s all about  “street exposure”,  since people are too lazy to wander off the beaten path any more than a few paces. 

If you’ll notice on the photo above,  this “Schanigarten” belongs to the “Levante”  cafe.

So where the heck is the “Levante”?   Well,  it’s way in the back there, in a little alleyway,  40 metres away from Mariahilferstraße.    That will never do.


Here’s a slightly better view.


If you go back to the first photo that was taken from across the street, you’ll see there’s a bit of an alcove there?

Only “regulars”  are going to go back there.  Not the tourists.  So,  presumably that’s a good thing for the regulars,  since they don’t have to be concerned with the tourists,  but the regulars are only going to spend so much,  after all.   Those extra tourist Euros can make all the difference.


Of course,  here’s the rub.   You can’t go fifty feet without having to dodge somebody’s outdoor cafe.  All part of the “charm”  I suppose,   but sometimes I just want to get where I’m going?   On the narrower streets it can be down right annoying but again,  part of the charm.


Not exactly PhD material here,  but if your attention span is anything like mine,  this will do.   I may throw in the odd photo as the summer wears on.   We’ll see.


Thanks for taking a gander.




  1. Sunsets to me show another beautiful side of God. Your photo is awesome.
    Do you have construction rules/laws over there? Can anyone just put up whatever they want whenever they want to? How about writing about that sometime. If you already did and I missed it, would you send me the link please. I like that little bakery set up. Enjoy your day. ~wheresweaver

  2. Lovely sunset shot!! Who indeed knows why we go gagga over these types of shots, suffice to say it is good for the soul.....as opposed to stressing out dodging outdoor shops!!

  3. nice for TC to get a little 'prezzy' in the mail!..I am sure it cost more to mail than the cost of the cream!..love the body shop stuff!!..but I guess it's a girl thing!

  4. Re. the sunsets I recall that many ancient tribes have worshipped the sun. The God RA - the sun, the swastika etc. etc. I am an ancient one too. I love the sun and the rise and the setting of it.


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.