Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Emigrant's Dilemma, Chapter 5: Stepping Into Thin Air

Dang, I should have updated that last post way earlier. Here's how things stand now.

The money I was expecting came, of course, that Friday, so naturally I missed Morocco -- and also a couple of meals. But it did come, and that's good, because the one thing I can't change is my hotel reservation in Montpellier: I was lucky to be able to get it, this being the beginning of high season, and as it is, I have to change from one of the cheap rooms to one of the expensive ones half-way through.

Once the dough was in hand, I headed down to Kopfbahnhof, Berlin's only travel agency specializing in rail travel, and booked a Berlin-Montpellier ticket. I already had the Montpellier-Berlin ticket from my previous itinerary. They're such hotshots that they discovered it was cheaper to do the Paris-Montpellier link first class on the TGV, so that'll be nice.

I've spent the rest of the week dealing with a sudden influx of work (sure, it always happens when you just barely have time to do it, right?) and scanning dozens of real estate agency websites. I'm still hoping to get a place directly through a landlord, thereby cutting off a month's rent worth of agency fee, but with only four days, effectively -- Tuesday thru Friday -- to nail down a place, I'm taking any offers I get.

One interesting observation from the real-estate ads is the notation "cuisine équipée," which means "equipped kitchen." If this notation doesn't exist, you have to assume you'll be getting your own appliances. I already have a great refrigerator and an almost-new washing machine, but the most expensive part of this is the stove, and I may have to buy a stove and have it installed, an expense I hadn't reckoned with. On the other hand, there's this work that's suddenly appeared, so unless the moving van turns out to be vastly more expensive than I'd reckoned, I can likely handle it.

I did have one guy come through to give me a moving estimate. I'd been warned he was eccentric -- he's British, and specializes in hauling stuff back and forth from Berlin to the U.K. -- and he certainly delivered. He cast a casual eye over things, commented that books are heavy and a lot of my stuff was trash (that's right; butter up the customer!) and basically gave off a vibe of not wanting to do it. He told me he'd moved some people with less stuff than I have to Avignon recently, and said he'd come up with an estimate. A few days later, he did: €3800. Something tells me I could beat that; I know people who've moved everything they had back to the U.S. for less.

So Monday I'm off. I've got enough to score a place, pay for the hotel, and eat. I'm back very late Saturday night, with, I hope, a lease in my hands. If anyone in Montpellier is reading this, I hope to be at the Bar Vert Anglais Monday night about 10:30 to meet up with a couple of people, so drop by and say hi -- and tell me if you know of any places for rent! Here's what I'm looking for: Ecusson, T2 or T3, 50-60m2, €500-600. The students are clearing out, I can move in between the 1st and 15th of July (or later if need be), and I'm a wonderful tenant because I'm looking to rent 12 months at a time. All of that and two euros gets me a ride on the tram, I know, but it's now or never.

Oh, and let me know if you have a deal on a gas stove. I might need one fast.

1 comment:

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

he's British, and specializes in hauling stuff back and forth from Berlin to the U.K

...and has advertised in the Zitty every fortnight for the last decade, no?

Hope the move goes well, and that Montpellier is altogether more pleasant for you than Berlin has been in recent years...