Saturday, May 30, 2009
A Good Vacation
I had a really good day in London on Monday - I caught the train that leaves about 10:15am, it was on time and no stops until Lomdon. Funny, when I was going through the British passport control in Paris, the girl in the next queue was saying to the agent "I'm from New Zealand", so I looked across and said "me, too!" We had a nice chat before boarding, she was travelling around Europe and had just had a week in Paris seeing the sights. Goodness she must have saved hard for such a trip, I know what the exchange rate is with the NZD.

In London, I visited John Lewis, where I bought yarn and some underwear - including Spanx, very inelegant looking, but they are surprisingly comfortable and really smooth out any bulges. Then I walked down to Liberty and spent a while wandering around there, as usual I could have bought the entire store, but refrained. Then down to Piccadilly, where I visited Waterstones and Hatchards, and bought a large pile of books. In between, I went to Pret A Manger and Starbucks, since, as usual, it was boiling hot. London is so huge, you can only do a little bit of it in one day - I caught the 7pm train back and slumped exhausted into my seat.

Just a warning for anyone who is arriving at Gare du Nord and taking a taxi - the men who try to take your bags and put them in the taxi are NOT employed by the station to do this, they are beggars who have taken it upon themselves to do this. They actually do look a bit sinister, and they just come up to you and try to grab your bags. My taxi driver told me that nothing really bad has happened yet, but it is only a matter of time.... the taxi drivers have complained to the station management, who apparently have a plan in place for whatever could happen (stolen bag, assault etc), but for some reason can't prevent the guys from being at the taxi stands. It's quite different from the airport where the taxi queue managers are employed by the airport and wear uniforms.

Apart from that, the week has been fairly dull, a lot of tidying up and cleaning, and half a day at work yesterday, to finish my expenses claims, fill in a lot of papers for Estonian bureaucracy and scan my French resident's permit for the racist HR that we have. Honestly, they think of all sorts of things, I don't know why they don't like me, but they started on day 1, when they got my name wrong and told me it didn't matter, because it was a foreign name. Like yours, I said, like everyone's, but they didn't get this. These are the ones who told Suzette that they weren't going to accept any more foreign employees in France, because it was too much trouble for them!

The one bright spot of all this bureaucracy is that I am dealing with the same lawyer in the US who found the right person in Cyprus to get me the work permit there, so I am quite relaxed about the temporary residence permit for Estonia. And of course she has a lot of copies of my papers, so I don't need to send her much - it really makes a difference when people are organised like that.

I am flying tomorrow, but going back to work on Tuesday, as I need the day after flying, if at all possible. I've been very good and have not looked at work stuff at all during the week, only to see what has arrived in my inbox, and if there are hundreds of questions about anything, but it is not too alarming, only about three mails I have to answer, and no more than twenty questions, I think.
posted by Ally at 11:47 am ¤ Permalink ¤