I had my first day at work today. I went to the Public Health department’s STD screening clinic. First of all, I did not know that prostitution is legal here in Austria. Second of all, they screen their sex workers a lot more than Singapore does. For one thing, the sex workers are given a ‘green card’ that has to be stamped every 7 days when they come in for a quick STD screening that involves Hep B, Chalmydia, gonorrhea, trich, syphillis (but no herpes!) and HIV every 6 weeks. Second of all, I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen male sex workers willingly entering a clinic for a check up. Third, apparently syphillis, gonorrhea and chalmydia are reportable diseases so if you have it but didn’t follow up with the clinic, the polize will come and pick you up! Yet, such is not the case with HIV which makes it all very puzzling. But the clinic is set up very efficiently. They basically go into a door, change out of their clothes, come through another door into the room where the exam is done (no gyn, just STD screening, no pregnancy test either), and then off they go. Apparently they are so short staffed, this is the way it has to be. Efficient. I have to admit, I was a little bored since there was very little I could do. *shrug* Won’t complain too much about that. I still wish I spoke more German beyond the hi, goodbye, etc.
Then I went to get myself registered. Apparently anyone who stays in Vienna for more than 3 days has to be registered. I wonder if the regular tourist knows this. Anyway, the magistrat office is near the famed Stephansdom in Stephansplatz. Once that was done, it was off to being a tourist! Btw, food there is rather expensive. I found this little cafe where the only thing I could afford was some tiramisu. The waiter must have found my order offensive because he made me wait for 45 mins before I was finally served my food! Anyway, after the hunger part was taken care of, I decided to play tourist. So I went to where all the tourists were congregated (like duh!) I swear, everytime I go to a cathedral, I think they are all designed to convert non-believers like me. For one thing, the entire building is made of limestone, which means that some part of the catheral is always under maintainance services. I also do not know much of the history of the Stephansdom except that its really really old (in fact the oldest church in Vienna and has undergone numerous wars). I suggest if you want more accurate information on this gorgeous cathedral, look up wikipedia. This might rank among my top 3 favorite cathedrals (notre dame in paris, the National Cathedral in DC being the other two…). I didn’t go see the catacombs or even climb up the towers. D and E are coming to visit in a couple of days and I wasn’t sure if we were going to go together. I figure I still have time. And I still have to get gifts later on (aka chocolate…found some really cute chocolate stores while wandering around the area aimlessly…let’s hope I manage to find them at the end of this trip!)
The organ is always awe-inspiring, and the art work leaves one breathless. The Stephansdom was a little unique in that the outside was just as impressive and depicted the bible on the inside AND the outside. I was duly impressed. Apparently, symphonies of Mozart and Hayden are regularly played here as well.
And then there’s always the usual school groups and the performance artists who show up.