Month: December 2009

The Joys of Being a Foreigner – Paying Online

This is really nothing new, as it has bothered me for a couple of years now, but since I’ve ended up doing a series of Being a Foreigner posts, I can just as well toss in this grievance too. I have a Vodafone number on […]

The Joys of Being a Foreigner – Cittadinanza Digitale

The Cittadinanza Digitale – digital citizenship – is a very laudable project of the City of Venice with the scope of bringing fast wireless internet to all citizens for free. As far as I have understood, the project started when the city got the chance […]

The Joys of Being a Foreigner – Opening a Bank Account

When I decided to stay here in Venice for good, one of the first things to do is to open a bank account. You can only have your money lying around in envelopes for about so long 🙂

I went to one of the local banks, the Banco San Marco, and they were very nice and helpful. First thing to do was to go to the Agenzie delle Entrate, the Italian internal revenue agency, go get a codice fiscale.

The Agenzie delle Entrate has an office in the centre of Venice, in the Campo Sant’Angelo just behind the church of Santo Stefano. The visit was a very positive experiece. They look me up on the computer, found the codice fiscale I had been issued over ten years ago in Rome, changed the address and gave me an official looking document with stamps and signatures to prove my right to the codice.

With the document in hand I returned to the bank, and they made me a bank account. Not a normal account, because I’m still not a legal resident here in Venice, so I got a “foreign” account in Euros. I had to sign a gazillion places, there’s not plastic card associated, not possibility of using the ATMs, everything has to be done at the counter for a fee, but at least I had a place to keep my money and to transfer new funds from Denmark.

Now that I have an apartment and need to pay my rent, I went there to transfer the money. All pleased to see me, they proclaimed that they had had another client like me, and that they could now convert my account into a “normal” Italian account, after which I could do the money transfer myself.

They set to work converting the account, but it took more than five minutes, ten minutes, another person was called over to resolve something, twentyfive minutes, brows were furrowed, forty minutes, support tickets made and answered, followed by some more brow excercises. After about an hour it was declared that my account couldn’t be converted because they were unable to move my country of residence from Denmark to Italy. To make me a “normal” Italian account they would have to close my account, estinguish me totally from all their systems, reregister me as a client and make a new account for the “new” client. All this would take several days, and it would have to wait until my rent was paid from the old “foreign” account.

They were supposed to call me this week so I could sign in another gazillion places for the new “normal” account, but haven’t done so, so I’ll have to go there Monday to get it in place before I leave for Denmark for the holidays.

In the mean time, since I’m supposed to use the web bank in the future and not harass them at the counter, I had a look at their web site. It wasn’t very informative:

Banco San Marco - no Italian no English

Each and every page just displayed the text “Sorry. This content avaible only Italian” (sic).

I tried to tweak the language settings of my browser and entire system, but to no avail. No matter what page I asked for, I would get the same stupid message in broken English.

The only page that did work, or seemed to work, was the “Contact us” page, so I sent them a slightly annoyed message – in correct Italian – stating that as a client of the bank I expected to be able to use the web site, in Italian if necessary. I assume the web site does exist in Italian as they claim, but I have no way of knowing 🙂

I still haven’t heard anything from them yet regarding the web site, or maybe the contact form didn’t really work after all, and I probably never will hear from them. I will take my computer with me to the bank on Monday to show them.

The Joys of Being a Foreigner – Telecom Italia and Alice

Living in another country always causes problems of one kind or the other. Both public administration and private companies are geared towards the citizens, not foreigners, and justly so. Yet at times you run into problems so stupid its hard not to get a bit […]

Lessico Veneto – Malamocco

I recently found some scanned books from Venice of times past. One of them is a kind of historical encyclopedia from the mid 19th century, and I must say it has its little oddities 🙂 The entry for Malamocco – a small hamlet on the […]

Skim Kayaks suspends production

Skim Distance on a cloudy dayI’ve just received a message, in Swedish, from Skim Kayaks stating that they’re suspending production and sales because they’re having problems making ends meet  economically.

Its sad because the boats are fantastic. I have paddled a Skim Distance around Sardinia, and will take it around Sicily in March, and I have recently bought a Skim Dex for use as a guide kayak in Venice, where its combination of speed, agility and stability makes it the perfect boat for paddling in Venice.

Here’s the message in my unauthorised  translation from Swedish:

We take a break

We started Skim Kayaks in 2002 with the ambition of building and selling sea kayaks which we found missing on the market. And which we believe other paddlers found missing too. The goal was produce boats locally and as environmentally friends as possible, boats with characteristics and details meant to make it more fun and safer to paddle in all sorts of weather, all year. Boats that we ourselves as paddles felt we could grow in.

Seven years and many Skim Kayaks later we feel happy, and a little proud, that we have reached our goal. The only goal we haven’t reached is the economic. It is hard making a living making kayaks in the way we wanted. We have therefore decided to take a break and think hard about what we can do to build the boats we want to build. In a way that doesn’t conflict with what we think is important.

From now on it will not be possible to order a Skim Kayak. While we ponder what to do with the boats we have, we will continue to sell kayak accessories that we use ourselves and that we think is good. You will find that on kayaksaker.se. See you there.

Great paddling!

Göran Pehrson och Anders Nyström

and here’s the original Swedish text:

Vi tar en paus

Vi startade Skim Kayaks 2002 med ambitionen att bygga och sälja havskajaker som vi saknade på marknaden. Och som vi trodde att några andra paddlare också saknade. Målet var att på ett så miljömässigt sätt som möjligt närproducera båtar som hade egenskaper och detaljer som skulle göra det roligare och säkrare att paddla i alla slags vatten, året om. Båtar som vi själva som paddlare kände att vi kunde utvecklas i.

Sju år och många Skimkajaker senare känner vi oss glada, och lite stolta, över att vi nått det mål vi en gång satt upp. Det enda som inte riktigt nått ända fram är det ekonomiska. Det är svårt att leva på att bygga kajaker på det sätt vi tänkte oss. Vi har därför bestämt oss för att ta en paus och fundera noga på hur vi ska göra för att kunna bygga de båtar vi vill bygga. På ett sätt som inte tummar på det som vi tycker är viktigt.

Från och med nu kommer det därför inte gå att beställa en Skimkajak. Men medan vi funderar över hur vi ska göra med de båtar vi har och de båtar vi vill ta fram, kommer vi fortsätta att erbjuda kajaktillbehör som vi själva använder och tycker är bra. Dom hittar du som vanligt på kajaksaker.se. Vi ses där!

Skön paddling!

Göran Pehrson och Anders Nyström

Vi tar en paus

Vi startade Skim Kayaks 2002 med ambitionen att bygga och sälja havskajaker som vi saknade på marknaden. Och som vi trodde att några andra paddlare också saknade. Målet var att på ett så miljömässigt sätt som möjligt närproducera båtar som hade egenskaper och detaljer som skulle göra det roligare och säkrare att paddla i alla slags vatten, året om. Båtar som vi själva som paddlare kände att vi kunde utvecklas i.

Sju år och många Skimkajaker senare känner vi oss glada, och lite stolta, över att vi nått det mål vi en gång satt upp. Det enda som inte riktigt nått ända fram är det ekonomiska. Det är svårt att leva på att bygga kajaker på det sätt vi tänkte oss. Vi har därför bestämt oss för att ta en paus och fundera noga på hur vi ska göra för att kunna bygga de båtar vi vill bygga. På ett sätt som inte tummar på det som vi tycker är viktigt.

Från och med nu kommer det därför inte gå att beställa en Skimkajak. Men medan vi funderar över hur vi ska göra med de båtar vi har och de båtar vi vill ta fram, kommer vi fortsätta att erbjuda kajaktillbehör som vi själva använder och tycker är bra. Dom hittar du som vanligt på kajaksaker.se. Vi ses där!

Skön paddling!

Göran Pehrson och Anders Nyström