Bloody Red Tape

April 29, 2008 by jodevivre

Before I start this entry, I just want to say thanks to everyone for the comments and emails on my A?a??A?MysteriesA?a??A? post. Who knew so many of my friends would be so knowledgeable about toilets? I donA?a??a??t know what that says about youA?a??A? or meA?a??A?but I find it amusing nonetheless. Okay, on with the postA?a??A?

If there is one sure-fire thing IA?a??a??m going to gain from this Sri Lanka experience, it is patience. Unfortunately, IA?a??a??m not sure that patience was one of the big things that I was in need of before I came. Sure, I have no patience for idiots but, really, should anyone? Anyway, over the past 24 hours, I have encountered so many stumbling blocks and got myself tangled in so much red tape that I could probably fashion a sturdy noose out of it and hang myself. But I wonA?a??a??tA?a??A? patience, you see.

You may recall (did I tell you?) that after two weeks, I finally got a phone at home. IA?a??a??ve been waiting for said phone because it is the gateway to getting internet at home. Except apparently I donA?a??a??t have the right kind of phone. Mine is wireless and, according to the very unhelpful Sri Lanka Telecom representatives, I need a A?a??A?wire phone.A?a??A? So I logically asked them for a wire phone. But I canA?a??a??t do that because my landlordA?a??a??s name is on the account so he has to do the asking. The man is 100 years old and has a bum knee. Going to get my first phone was ordeal enough for him. Given that I made significant imaginary life changes the last time I tried to talk to him about the phone, IA?a??a??m really not looking forward to our next stressful conversation. I may end up pregnant.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Customs is still holding my package hostage. I have to write three letters requesting its release, go into town tomorrow during work hours to get a temporary VAT number and I probably have to drop a bag full of unmarked 1000 rupee bills in a garbage receptacle of their choosing before I get my bloody hairdryer. My computer, which our IT guy formatted for me to access wi-fi at the office now no longer able to access wi-fi anywhere else on the planet and I canA?a??a??t get the microphone in my headset or my webcam to work for more than one minute (just long enough to tease me that itA?a??a??s CAPABLE of working but chooses, infuriatingly, not to).

You just gotta laugh at it all. Oh woe is me A?a??a?? the challenges of my privileged life.

So I forgot to mention in my last entry something that made me laugh over the weekend. The fancy cafe the American girls and I went to is having a special food event. Apparently this is Hot Dog Week. Now this is a place that sells crepes and gourmet sandwiches and baked goods to die for but the big full-colour banner out front is trumpeting the awesome culinary masterpiece that is street meat. Yes, hot dogs with all sorts of different toppings (bun included!) are available, but only from April 25 to May 3. Get yours now.

Actually, I would totally welcome one of Oscar MayerA?a??a??s finest at lunchtime. During the day, there is absolutely no variety in what you can order from a Sri Lankan restaurant and, unfortunately, there are no fast food chains near my work. So every restaurant offers vegetable, chicken or fish curry. Or vegetable, chicken or fish buns. Now there are some very tasty dishes that IA?a??a??ve had since I arrived in Sri Lanka, but I canA?a??a??t find them anywhere during the day. But one evening as I was coming home after dark, I noticed that the street totally comes alive at dusk. From about 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. all of these food stalls emerge at the side of the road selling a variety of tasty things that are nowhere to be found during the day. They are like the vampires of food, except I am the one who wants to do the biting. The problem though is my office closes an hour before the vamps come out. And if I go home and then back to buy from these stalls, I have to take the food home again. That means I will need to go into my kitchen A?a??a?? after dark A?a??a?? to throw out the remnants. Oh dear. Oh, alright, ALRIGHT!! Maybe IA?a??a??ll break the no-kitchen-after-dark rule, but youA?a??a??re going to hear about it when I discover the rat party that goes on in there at night.

One of the things that I still havenA?a??a??t gotten used to is that in general, IA?a??a??m a total freak show here. It is partly amusing but most of the time itA?a??a??s just frustrating. EVERYONE looks at me. And most of these looks are not in a good way. They are prolonged stares that we would never give another human being out of politeness in Canada. IA?a??a??m talking discovering a new species stares. Stop walking kind of stares. Point and tug at your momA?a??a??s skirt stares. Actually turn around while youA?a??a??re driving a vehicle that could easily kill people kind of stares. Putting my shoulders under cover hasnA?a??a??t helped. And then Sunday morning, in search of breakfast food, I decided to go for a run. A very, very, VERY short run to the grocery store and back. And the running just made the staring worse. No one runs here. I knew this when I donned my sneakers, but sometimes you just gotta say A?a??A?screw itA?a??A? and embrace the freak in you.

Sunday was also BarbaraA?a??a??s birthday (one of the American girls), so that night, we went back to the fancy house where I had attended my first Sri Lankan birthday party to attend BarbaraA?a??a??s. It was a low-key affair with conversation, drinks, food and some easy listening radio (every English station in Sri Lanka seems to be easy listening). There was some yummy fresh guacamole. Guacamole! I hadnA?a??a??t even thought of that! All the ingredients are available at the local markets and itA?a??a??s healthy! This is another great reason to get to know people A?a??a?? to get meal ideas for when I start to eat again. J Tenormin nombre generico

I should also say an apology to Jesse. Turns out a Sri Lankan dog that was exported to England was infected with Rabies and has subsequently killed three Brits. All jokes about his neighbourA?a??a??s attack dog are retracted.

How much does olanzapine cost Phone Curiosities

Two more things A?a??a?? these fit in with nothing but they are things IA?a??a??ve observed and want to share. IA?a??a??ve noticed that both the Brits and the Sri Lankans have a habit, when rhyming off phone numbers or any number sequence, of saying A?a??A?doubleA?a??A? or A?a??A?tripleA?a??A?. When the first unhelpful telephone customer service rep referred me to the second one today, she said A?a??A?dial 2 triple five triple five.A?a??A? And it took me a couple of seconds to realize what she was saying. This wasnA?a??a??t the first time this has happened and the Americans stumble on it too. You wouldnA?a??a??t think that it is that confusing but it really is. A?a??A?The number is 0 triple 7 double 2 -1 – double 8 – 9A?a??A?. Uh, wha-?

Also, at both VSO and at Sewalanka (so I presume this is a pretty common office thing) staff canA?a??a??t make or receive phone calls directly. If I want to call out, I have to call the receptionist and tell her the number I want to call. She then hangs up, calls the person and then calls me back and connects us. To me, itA?a??a??s a highly inefficient system but I presume there is some logic to it. When I find out, IA?a??a??ll let you know.


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