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07/01/2011

How to make my life more interesting…

In June I went in Jaipur and slept in the Best Western. I discovered the most incredible pillows…

And if there are expenses that I don’t mind there are these ones, expenses linked to my bed. I loooooooooooooove sleeping, and well if possible.

I discovered, O miracle, that these pillows could be purchased on line!! Obviously not in India. Transport cost from the United States (more than half of the cost of the pillows)?? That won’t stop me…

 

I thus placed my order on May 3. Searching on line, I found out that you can follow the USPS parcels here: http://ipsweb.ptcmysore.gov.in/ipswebtracking/  

According to the site, my parcel arrived on May 11 in Delhi (not badly huh, 8 days). On May 25, it arrived in Mumbai, more exactly at the customs.

And on June 2nd, bam, the killer message: “Retention reason: High-been worth goods - Official Customs declaration required.” Bouhhhhhhh!!! I want my pillows!!!!!!!!

 

I won’t give-up so easily; I put our admin on it. She gives a few calls, makes me sign a bunch of papers…

After that, I go on leave and two weeks later, I return to the office. What awaits me?? Nothing!! I reactivate the admin then decide to call myself. I thus call the Mumbai Foreign Post Office. Wow, the chick speaks English!! She tells me that my parcel is indeed stuck with the customs and she gives me the phone number. I call. Wow the guy speaks English!! He asks me for the details of my parcel and asks me to call again. 10 calls later, I get to talk to his colleague and this is the end of my luck… Firstly she doesn’t speak English and she somehow makes me understand that they have no entry for my parcel. Ah. The story of the snake biting its tail…

 

I end up asking assistance from my assistant who finds 5 different numbers, each one telling her to talk to someone else, until it is 5:00 PM and everything closes. There I start becoming a pain. I want my pillows.

 

And there we are. A gloomy Monsoon morning. A guy arrives in the office with a large parcel!! And an invoice (bah yes custom fees (25% of the price, transport included, they have no shame). 50 days, not so bad huh??

Morality of the story: good things come to those who wait. I wonder now why I did not simply wait…

06/29/2011

My Hindi teacher, part 3 and last…

 

(cf http://www.indiansamourai.com/archive/2011/06/01/apprendre-hindi-debattre-de-la-jungle.html )

 

The “true story” of my Prof: “A boss takes along his secretary to the jeweller on a Friday evening and buys her a jewel. He pays by cheque. On Monday, the jeweller calls him to tell him that he will not send the jewel because the cheque has bounced. The boss replies that he is aware of it.” And there my teacher looks at me expectantly, like “did you get it??”. Bah yes, the boss manoeuvred to sleep with the secretary… My teacher finds it too incredible!! And he ends the story with a “of course this did not happen in India”. Of course.

 

One day he asks me: “do you drink??”. I know very well what he meant, as in whether I am OK with alcohol. I  act like an idiot who does not understand. Then next question: “Are you an alcoholic??” Euh… Maybe not. it worries me that you are an English teacher and that for you there is no such thing as an occasional drinker!! And two weeks later I get a lesson on Cathway Pacific, a super company which serves you as much alcohol as you want. So maybe you are an alcoholic no??

 

At the time of our penultimate lesson, my teacher tells me: “so what would be my gift?? For teaching you??” Huh?? I had planned to give him something, because I imagine well that little of what I pay goes to him and he is old and sick. But asking?? Pfff…

06/27/2011

Travelling with an Indian, part 2…

(cf http://www.indiandacoit.com/archive/2011/06/03/travelling-with-an-indian-is-a-great-experience.html )

 

The day before departure, whereas the trip program is well tied up – and he was in copy of all the emails related to the organization – I get a call of him saying: “we should go there, and there, and there. Check it out!” I keep my cool, we will do things my way anyway!

 

Funnier: outside the airport. Me: I immediately take out the book guide and start going through (making sure that I will speak with nobody, I do not know people there!)… He: he starts speaking to everyone who comes in his way: the security guy, the taxi guy, the trolley guy. He asks them questions, they have no answer, they invent one, we keep running around…

 

And a small debate following a comment of the book guide: “since electricity has come in Batad, the backpackers (the real ones) find that the place has lost most of its charm”. Me: “yeah, Westerners are looking for the “authentic” stuff, getting back to the roots (where there was no electricity)”. He: “What bullshit! When it’s hot, you should have AC, or at least a fan”.

I think India will not have a Survivor programme so soon ;)