Through Austria

P1040677
A barrage of borders where ahead as we crossed from Switzerland to Austria to Liechtenstein, (so that’s where it is) into Germany and back to Austria then onto Slovakia. Our next destination was to be Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia on the weekend.

You must pay was back in our minds as all of these countries required a road tax to be purchased. Davor was getting quite a collection of little tax stickers on the windscreen with micro chips imbedded in them.

The autobahn system in Germany is famous as a road system with no speed limits. This was true last time I was here but they have now capped it at 130 km as they had some monster carnage accidents. Although there was now a limit it seemed that few paid any attention to it. We were belting along at a far rate and some cars went past us like we were standing still. Where the system falls down is one car doing 150 km or more and someone pulls out of the slow lane. Brakes are leapt on and the possibility of a horror smash is obvious.

Mette had found a small hotel in the hills of Austria and this was where we were headed. Our GPS really lost the plot this time as it made no sense what so ever. Mette re programmed the destination and again and again it gave insane directions. I noticed from the back that the SD card with the mapping data had ejected itself so once that was plugged in we were on our way.

Family hotels are nice and its in one of these where we ended up.

The results of the US election are rolling in and its Barak Obama that has won. He is the first black president and maybe the first for awhile with a good brain. Time will tell on that one. That doesn’t help the financial situation of the world though. In many ways he has been handed a poisoned challis as he inherits the monumental mess left by the Bush regime. I doubt the Bush regime will be remembered in history by anything more than starting a bunch of stupid and illegal wars and screwing the worlds economy to bits. The Obama option must be the best nationally but what amazes me is the US love of candidates that are so unworldly. George W Bush didn’t have a passport and was a very ignorant man. Sarah Palin was just quoted in the press as asking, “Is Africa a country?” That would be really dumb in any comedy skit but as a serious question from a woman who may have received the worlds second most powerful job, the prospect of such ignorance is terrifying. I can just see her in control of a nuclear strike! “Albania, Afghanistan, Austria, Australia? Oh my, which will it be? Best get them all as they do all start with A.”

The financial crisis was still taking hold of the world as we entered round two of our financial crisis. We were fast running out of money again. In fact, we had run out of money just after then last lot was paid in as we paid our bills and went back on funny money credit. The funny money had filled the credit cards again and we were again faced with the prospect of grinding to a rapid halt. I spoke to Thomas in Geneva and the problem was across the board. Money to wage this fight was promised to the whole campaign by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry but as of now the latest round of funding wasn’t through. Everyone was working on a promise of the cheques in the mail. That’s fine if you are hanging at home but our road overheads were fast turning us into something immobile. No money, no hotel, no fuel, no food, no Ban Bus. We had already figured we would be dosing on floors now on and off but this latest crisis could shut us down yet again. The clock is ticking on our future again.

P1040702

We lived in false hope that Chris’s contact through Jeremy Clarkson to some auto suppliers might have paid off but the lines of communication stayed quiet. I imagine we succeeded in making it to the trash bin fairly quickly though.

Mette and me are feeling the financial pinch badly now. The credit cards are tipping the scale into bankruptcy and we see the end of the Ban Bus looming nearer due to the cash flow crisis. We are both feeling jaded as there is no reason why we should be bankrolling this project. The only reason we do is a deep commitment that we need to be 150% in the job we are doing and getting this treaty up and running. It is a finite game as the signing is now only 22 days away. The beginning of this trip in Serbia seems so far away now. Neither of us sleep well any more, maybe four hours then wake up thinking about the problems that shouldn’t exist. I am now getting thoroughly pissed off with the Norwegian Foreign Ministries slow financial system. What would happen if we had said no cash flow, no work. I am sure the Foreign Affairs Minister does not dump his personal credit on the counter to bank roll the Norwegian government.

I talked with Thomas last night and he is as frustrated as we are with the cash flow issue. He can’t pay the wages of his staff either. Just when the work really matters, the funds dry up. It’s amazing that we can work 20 hours a day on the Ban Bus and that’s fine but the stress created by this is what brings us down.

There have been a few bright spots though as our old friends Jody and Steve have kicked in some money as well as Norwegian Peoples Aid and Handicap International. Every bit helps as it all tips straight into the running costs. Norwegian Peoples Aid have even found some extra money to loan us till the cash flow problem is solved. One step at a time, limp on.

The night in Austria is good but still with some on the hour late night bells. What’s the issue in this part of the world and bells? I am itching to get on the road north and away from the bing bong world. We belt onto Bratislava and the manic traffic pressure that we have had till now seems to ease a bit. The drive into the city is actually easy and the hotel not hard to find. Our first action will be in the morning as we will park the Bus in a walking mall and press for petition signing and get information out. The press has also been invited.