Monday, July 28, 2008

Apartments in Deutsch

The next few posts will be sans photo because the pics from Germany and Dublin are still in the camera with the Brit in England.

Our trip to Germany was for apartment hunting. As part of the Brit’s relocation package we had a person accompany us to view apartments she had found. On a completely unrelated side note – her relationship is just as odd as ours. She’s Brazilian and lives in Germany, her husband is Dutch and lives in Belgium. All except one of the apartments we visited were a definite no.

The first apartment used to be a hotel and was cheaply remodeled. It was also on a main road and we could hear the road noise with the windows closed (the Brit is VERY sensitive to road noise). Apartment two was so disgusting I was tempted to leave as soon as we walked through the door. It was on the top floor and had a slanting roof/walls, which is a problem due to the Brit’s height. But the ceiling was not the main problem. The current tenant (who appeared to be high on something) lived in the apartment with a couple of large dogs and, since there was a climbing/scratching post, I’m guessing at least one cat. The apartment smelled like he’d lived in it with the animals for decades and hadn’t bothered to clean or open the windows since moving in. I have never been in an apartment that smelled so nauseating.

The third apartment looked amazing in the photos. It was on the lower level of a two story house. The ad didn’t show photos of the kitchen, or bathroom, which set off alarm bells in our heads, but we visited anyway. It turns out the snazzy new glass part shown in the photos had been added to the much older house. The apartment was previously used as an office with the bedroom serving as a recording studio. The landlord didn’t even bother to remove the bright blue carpeting or padding on the walls. The kitchen consisted of two plaques/eyes and a mini-fridge. I’m sure that bathroom is older than I am and the entire apartment smelled damp and moldy.

This brings us to the last apartment. The Brit had some reservations about the small kitchen and road noise, but it was the only decent apartment we visited. After viewing the apartment, our guide informed us that the landlord lived in another part of Germany and didn’t want to rent the apartment to someone he didn’t know so if were interested in the apartment we’d have to meet the landlord’s brother. We thought this was odd but agreed since we didn’t have any other apartment prospects and drove to meet the brother in a cafĂ© in another town.

The journey was supposed to take 45 minutes. It took us more than an hour due to some odd TomTom directions. The meeting was going well, but the brother suddenly asked me who I was going to vote for. I glanced at the Brit and thought “Uh oh, you might lose the apartment because your left wing girlfriend can’t figure out a quick and diplomatic way to avoid answering this question.” When I responded that I was going to vote for Obama, the brother seemed pleased then began a small tirade against the current administration. He said we seemed like nice people and didn’t have any issues with us, but we did get the impression that his brother would prefer a tenant who could agree to a longer lease term.

One of our relocation contacts was supposed to call us the next morning to see how things went with the brother – she didn’t. Later she said that she had received some bad personal news and wasn’t able to call us, but didn’t clarify what the bad news was. Mid-last week she told us that there were two other potential tenants and the landlord would make a decision by the end of the week. We heard today that he selected someone else, so the Brit has to start his apartment search from scratch next week. I thought apartment hunting in Paris was a pain until this fiasco.

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