Friday, October 10, 2008

Internet… Finally!!

So I’ve been totally out of touch since Friday or Saturday. L Sorry about that. We haven’t had access to the internet! Prean & I were so spoilt in Chicago with the free wireless courtesy of Spencer-Pub that now we are totally getting withdrawal symptoms! We are currently working on a demo project (for Audi) at the Siemens office. And Siemens (as I already know) is pretty strict with their network rules. We have to make a special application which allows non Siemens employees access to the internet and email. Anyway that will take some time, so we’re going to the Hyla-Soft office after work to check email and post prewritten blogs!
Anyway, we arrived in Italy on Sunday night at about 7pm (and we left Chicago at 12pm on Saturday). Our new boss fetched us at the airport and took us to our new home for the next 6 weeks. It’s basically a studio apartment and it’s quite nice.

We’re pretty happy with it. The only major thing that it’s missing is an iron! We’ve been wearing things that don’t need ironing up to today but I think we really need to go buy an iron tomorrow.
Our first night in Genoa was ok, we were really hungry and the easiest thing to eat was Macdonalds. You just have to say BigMac and Menu instead of Meal.
Our boss, Ettore Soldi, is quite nice, he met us at the bus station on Monday morning and made sure we got on the right bus to get us to work. It’s about a 10 minute bus ride and the bus arrives every 10 minutes in peak hours. We found out on Monday that the training is actually on the job training – which means that we’re both working on a project for the six weeks that we’re here. It’s actually a lot better because we’re going to learn a lot more this way. It took a while to get things going but at last today (Wednesday) we have a better idea of what’s going on. The working hours are different from SA, generally people get to the office at around 9 or 9.30 and work till 6, 6.30, sometimes 7 or 8 – it’s not unusual. We find that strange. We decided to work from 9 till 6, but people do look at us strangely when we leave at 6 – like its sooo early to be leaving. The other strange thing about Genoa is that everything closes early in the evenings. So by 8 the streets are quiet and dead. We needed to buy some groceries on Monday evening after leaving the office at 6.30 – by the time we were done everything was quiet and no shops were open. The restaurants open from about 8 or 9 in the evening though. So generally I think Italians start their days later and end later too.
Everything here is a challenge, last night we decided to make sure we find a bigger supermarket, so we walked around and looked and looked and eventually in the middle of a major shopping (clothes and shoes) street we found a little alley that lead to a kind of secret fresh produce market! It was sort of like in Harry Potter, when they walk into that magical street that’s in between everything else. Anyway – everything there looked great, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat from butchers and even cheese! The dilemma of course was how to buy any of it. We don’t speak Italian and they don’t speak English. We both feel like we’d just be frustrating the owners by trying to buy something. As Prean said – the market is higher grade stuff. We need to start a little lower – like at a supermarket, where no one’s rushing you to decide. Luckily we found a supermarket – we were so relieved! The food’s very different – everything revolves around pasta and hams and cheese. We managed to find something like the Knorr pasta and sauce that you get in SA but its risotto – was not bad actually. Anyway – we decided to try out the higher grade stuff this weekend. We were thinking of making curry – but there is definitely no masala here…
The other things is that we’re watching a lot of MTV – it’s the only English channel here- and sometimes MTV goes Italian too… quite boring in evenings – wish we had our hard drive of stuff to watch!
What else? There is a huge boat show in Genoa this week – apparently one of the biggest in the world. I think we’re going to check that out this weekend and also take a walk around Genoa’s old city. We also found out that the train station is quite close to our apartment and there are trains leaving everyday from here to Milan, Florence and Rome but Rome’s about 5 or more hours. So we’re thinking we can take a train to Florence one weekend – we’ll see.
Anyway, not sure how often we’re going to come to the Hyla Soft office, so the blogs may be few and far between during our stay in Genoa but I will try.
We’re missing you all so much, Viro – where’s your blog?? We need to know what’s happening over there…