Sunday, 16 September 2007

Arrived at last

Well I have been in Holland for the last 2 weeks now. Strange being in a place but without any set abode which to call home. Home at the moment is a Hotel, it is a magic hotel as when ever I have a shower and use the towels the hotel provides, they are magically cleaned the next day!!

It all sounds very exotic moving to a place and staying in a hotel for work, but the novelty soon wears a bit thing. You can't cook in a hotel, you are constantly eating out in restaurants or buying pre-cooked food in supermarkets. A real annoyance.

Taking about annoyances the Dutch estate agents are consummate professionals at being able to annoy newcomers, with their bizarre work practices. I will never criticise an English estate agent again. Strangely it isn't just the British that seem to be frustrated at the customs of Dutch estate agents, Romanians, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, South Africans and Bulgarians - probably in fact the whole of the European Union other than Holland think that Dutch Estate Agents suck.

They want money from you as soon as you walk through the front door and that is really only so they can talk to you or show you some properties. This is usually about 50 euros. Consider if you are desperate to find a property and you register at a few agents. You will have already thrown away 150 euros on piss all.

An interesting example illustrates the stupid situation in Holland were the estate agents really do squat on your behalf and in reality the landowner is king. I saw a nice apartment that I wished to move into and so wanting to show my commitment to moving into the property I signed the contract as soon as I saw the house. The contract is binding on my behalf, but not on the behalf of the owner. A few hours later I got a phone call saying that the owner had gone with the other prospective clients who signed a contract after me. It is clearly unfair and potentially discriminatory. If you are a Muslim, black or a Jew or even single, you are stuffed!

The Dutch seem to be make up for these negative aspects by being good in other departments. Their women for example are really tall and elegant looking. And frustratingly(embarrassingly so) very fashionable. I am woefully unfashionable at the moment, just marginally so in the UK but now it is shouting out....BUY NEW CLOTHES YOU TRAMP!!!!

Well have to get an apartment first and get paid as well, so it is still scruffy little Brit abroad still.

I have a thing or so to say about ex-pats but I will leave that to another time...