Saturday, June 19, 2004

Zpit or Zwolle

Well, tonight marks four weeks with Grontmij. I guess I'm settling in. Yesterday we moved offices up to the first floor, and we did all the moving ourselves. It took a good few hours, into the evening (but we're credited the hours) and then, afterwards, the company got in a Chinese takeaway for all of us (about thirty) in the canteen. You don’t get treated like that anywhere else I’ve worked. Then Alfons, Shahram and I went to a Belgian pub for some liquid refreshment. Man, Belgian beer: it's, like, 9% - that's virtually wine in the UK. You don't notice, though, until you try to stand up - and that's the other thing, table service in pubs: wow!

How's this for a coincidence: a few months ago I was working in London with an Iranian designer, then I change jobs and now I'm working with another Iranian designer (Shahram) in Zwolle, Netherlands - I don't know what the odds are against that but I'd imagine they're pretty phenomenal.

They're putting me on a large job next week to re-draw the track layout into Amsterdam station for a new scheme we've won to increase the capacity through the tunnels - but, get this, they don't have Plan software or an equivalent, and they don't work to scale! Yet another disturbing aspect of a methodology which, surprisingly, provides a railway which works far better than ours in the UK.

Only one more week of living in the cell, then it's out of the hotel and into the three room house I'm renting in Kampen (ten minutes away on the train). And when I say three room, I mean it. It has a kitchen/bedroom downstairs, and upstairs is a bathroom and a lounge. That's it. I can't complain, though, because rented accommodation is like gold dust in this area, and I'm getting it for €450 a month, which is like 300 pounds sterling (no sign for that on this keyboard, I'm afraid).

Anyway, time to get out of here and back to my room. More news as it breaks.

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