Monday, August 04, 2008

Why you would hate living in Europe

It is almost 1 year in Brussels for me. Coming to Europe is always a dream sequence for people all over the world, and especially in India. Indians always flocked in Switzerland to spend their holidays (and to spend their black money!), but since Kajol ran into SRK in the backdrop of swiss alps, grassland, and Swiss cows, things have taken off!
Now, situation changes a lot when you look at Indians living actually in Europe (I exclude UK from Europe, its not Europe, its a colony of the US across the Atlantic). From my experience here, living in Europe can be a real pain at times. Please note that I have just shifted my house and really frustrated, so all my views have extreme negative connotations (but close to reality).

So, why can you hate living in Europe:
  1. All shops remain closed on Sundays. Markets close down at 7 during weekdays and at 5 on Saturday. You even can't get bread on Sunday. This is European definition of customer focus! Mindset of a shopkeeper is "You came here because you want something, not because I want to sell something."
  2. All restaurants close down at 9 30-1000.
  3. You need to take appointment from everybody, from government officers to a cleaner (!). Appointment from a cleaning company- can you imagine that! First an "inspector" comes to visit your house and he gives you a quotation. I got a quotation of 350 Euros, bloody hell! Then he sends over 2 persons after 2 weeks. All services are damn expensive!
  4. Landlords rule here. You shell out a huge sum to leave the apartment. So-called expert charges you for everything from a small scratch on floor to cleaning of the apartment. You may end up paying 3 months of rent while leaving the apartment.
  5. You receive all your bills in french/dutch, you ignore and 6 months after, they send you a bill in English with a penalty 3 times the amount on bill.
  6. All government processes are extremely slow and bureaucratic. I got my commune card after 2 months of repeated visits.
  7. Don't be lured by the EU passport, tax rates can kill you. It can be up to 70%, all for your social security when you get you will have to live your whole life in Europe as you would have nothing to save!
  8. You will get nasty looks if you ask for ketch up for pizza. The heavenly cuisine prepared by the Godly chef should not be disturbed at any cost.
Some added by Kunal:
  1. It takes 1.5 Euros a minute to call India. Almost equal to the amount you would pay when you bring your Indian cell phone to Europe on international roaming. Even the local calls and roaming within Europe are max expensive.
  2. Appointment for a plumber takes 3 months. So if your flush stops working, well... Good luck!
  3. Normal shops close at 7:30 and night shops close at midnight. Aren't they supposed to be "night shops"?
More to follow I am sure as I have more time to go in Europe....


Karthik said...

I just read the inventory report of the house I vacated and was in for a rude shock, just like you! :)

Pramod said...

That was informative :).

Anonymous said...

1. not true, stayed in germany, italy.....they open half day on or two of them
2. granted, most of em
3. been a victim , true
4. i changed three apartment, just paid 40-50 euros for cleaning service......that is all i could do....may be you were more innovative with creating chaos :P
5. :)
6. it took me 1 yr, they kept issuing temporary cards every 3 months
7. in some of the countries.....not all
8. :) the idiots! awesome pizzas and they dont have ketchups :( most of the times

9. telephone cards cost about 7-8 cents a minute, a service called jajah even less.
10. yeah, shops closing down too early is a nuisance

overall point, still very beautiful.....compared to US or India

pango said...

1. Those shops must have been run by South Asians. In brussels also, we have a pakistani market open 24*7 hours.
4. We found an innovative way too..cleaned it ourselves!!
7. I don't know of any, all the main ones at least. May be I am lacking information here

It's beautiful for sure, well roses come with thorns always, that too expensive thorns.

jaz said...

thats awesome man...atleast something has kept u busy!!!!andd in the man time u will get to know how to repair ur flush as well ...
jst kiddin....if thats the case wid what happens not enticing for d future MBA grads to look after for!!!!

gr8 goin hope to see some more of ur stuff in ur future blogs!!!!

AP said...

One can't expect every place to be home (referring to India) :) And I guess good things in life are costly, at least most of the time.

Anonymous said...

why would you live in a country you hate so much? Maybe coming back to India would be a better idea for your well being... just saying. If you go the foreign land and expect things to be as at home.. well.. they won't.