Thursday, December 27, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Now there's a well dug in our basement floor. And the handy guy tells us that our sewage pipe is old and cracked. Okay fine, so another $2200 split 4 ways to put a liner inside that.
Now he has just informed us that there is a sinkhole underneath the tree in front of our building. And basically, our sewage has been draining into an underground cavern for god knows how long. Which would explain why our basement smells like shit every time it rains.
So, we wait to hear what the city will pay for. Living in the most corrupt city on the eastern seaboard is perhaps going to cause us some grief in the very near future.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
We cannot walk out with a box ready to be shipped unless we get a form from our receptionist that basically says it's okay to walk out with a box. The receptionist does not need to know what's in our boxes, nor does he look at the contents.
The rules are more stringent after 6pm.
We can walk out with bags and suitcases, but no boxes. We can put boxes into bags and that will probably be okay. If it's a Macy's bag, they won't bat an eye.
I swear to god, this is what I was told.
So, basically, if I wanted to steal my computer, I need to do it in the middle of the day and put it into a duffel bag. Or, put it in a box and have the handy-dandy form.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Went back up and came down again after fruitlessly trying to find a security person to issue a pass (of course no one was there at 6:30). This time security wasn't looking and I made it out.
"This is your company's rule!" the guard yelled back at me when I had expressed shock. Oh yeah? Well my company should issue a fucking memo about that because that is ridiculous, changing the rules like that and not alerting anyone. I am steaming mad and I am most definitely going to complain.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I know I keep saying this over and over, but nothing really does prepare you for India. Even reading all about Jen's experience here this fall did not convince me just how much of a trial it is to be here.
Partly, I know that we should have spent less time in Mumbai, but because of the dates of the conference, we could not go anywhere very far or for very long. Staying mainly in Mumbai meant that we did not see a whole lot of beauty. We saw a lot of interesting things, but I would not describe them as beautiful. I realized that I need to experience a little more beauty on my vacations.
I would also prefer to be in a place where we can stroll around and find places to eat. It is infuriating to rely on a guidebook to tell us where any restaurants are and then for none of the cab drivers to understand where we were asking them to go. I'd say we had about 50/50 luck with cabbies not shaking their heads and saying no, they would not take us. Even the cool cab drivers did not know where most things in the book are located. And they would get exasperated at me for insisting on trying to find those places instead of just taking me to a rug store.
We do not regret coming to India at all, but we are so ready to go home.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The interesting areas are the ones where we are unwilling to eat or drink or sit or pee or anything, really. The more sterile areas are crawling with tourists and those are the areas that are over-fun with street urchins trying to sell us their dirty drums or men trying to sell us gigantic balloons. I can only handle either area for so long.
India tests how much we are willing to rough it. Are we okay with the non-air-conditioned taxis with the dirty, dirty seats and the drivers who don't speak a word of English? Or would we prefer air-con luxury? Of course we would prefer the latter, but no a/c is okay for short distances.
We are now staying for our last 2 nights at a budget hotel near the Victoria terminus. The cool cabs do not line up outside waiting for the doorman to wave one over. We had it way too easy at the Grand Hyatt. It's not like we ever stay in places like that (except when Jeff's sent somewhere for work). But I have to admit that we got quite comfortable there. Although we really could have been in any country in the world.
The title of this post is from a news item from a month ago about a guy who I believe killed himself publicly and said this right before doing so. Jeff found this very funny and has been saying it over and over, especially these past few days. You have to know Jeff to understand why he finds it funny and why he says it ad nauseum.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I hired a driver for the whole afternoon. I would say it's nice being driven around instead of being frantic and lost, but everywhere we go requires him to ask at least 6 people where it is. These are the major sites listed in my guidebook. Maybe he doesn't recognize their names in English.
He asks me to go over the list with him every 15 mins or so. Each site is next to a bullet and below that is its address, just in case he needed it. He points to the address and asks what it is over and over and over. Maybe he doesn't know the word address.
And then there are the constant suggestions that he take me to an Indian mall to look at rugs. I say no and he says, "but this is India, madam! You must buy rugs!" NO I say. "Okay thank you madam... Just look at rugs maybe..."
I fully expected to spend much of the day in the car. And really it's not so bad because I see a lot from the car and it's not quite as hot in the cool cab as it is outside. Somehow my driver has managed to find the places on my list, including one of the places I had on the list as a lunch option. It was recommended in Lonely Planet and it's part of a hotel, I think, so I feel safe trying Indian again.
I invited my driver to dine with me, but he stayed outside to watch the car. Good karma in asking, though, I think.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
As we drove up to the beach I had a suspicion that there was nothing really there. The driver paused a moment after I got out and then he left me.
Some kids surrounded me as I tried to stroll on the beach and although I have handled this okay in the past I absolutely could not deal today. One brushed my arm and I jerked away. They laughed at me. They giggled more when I spun around and sped back toward the road.
I was stuck.
I had no choice but to take a non-air-conditioned cab. This may seem like no big deal until you've sat in traffic with the honking, oh my god the honking. I asked the driver to take me to a museum. A half hour later I asked how much farther. He said about an hour. Oh no, I said. Grand Hyatt Mumbai, please.
I came back to the room, hot and sweaty, and it was being cleaned. I hit my head on a shelf and burst into tears when I got into the elevator. I think I may have failed Mumbai 101.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We were tempted to buy a fresh fish to have cooked at a local restaurant, but we suspected that might be dangerous to our health. I'm sick of drinking luke warm drinks with no ice and having to be a snob about the bottled water. Even my Indian coworker had said to only drink the Aquafina. Certainly not the McWilliams with the shrink wrapped seal around the cap and the water filled right to the brim. "You forgot your water!" the waiter called after me. "That's okay, I don't want it" I had to say. What a prissy American.
It is a seaside town, though, and we began to feel some guilt for not having any fish. At dinnertime, back at our hotel, we asked the concierge where he would recommend we eat. "Have you tried our restaurant?" he asked. Yes, we had. We did not add that it was our most disappointing meal yet. The food in the Mumbai domestic airline terminal was better. He offered to get us a taxi to a different hotel. "Where would YOU eat?" I asked. He hesitated. He did not want us to blame him if we didn't like it. "It may not be up to your standards..." he warned. Pah, we said, we were sure it would be fine. See? We are not snooty tourists. We eat where the locals eat.
We shared a veg biryani and a fish curry for all of about $2. At 3am Jeff began the dry heaves. Nearly 24 hours have gone by and he still feels like utter crap. At least we didn't drink the questionable water!
As the sun was coming up and neither of us was able to sleep, we admitted that we were playing chicken. If one of us had said the word, the other would have immediately agreed to leave. We assured ourselves that we are not bad travelers for eating in hotels when there is no middle ground.
Now we're back in Mumbai at a fancy pants hotel. We arrived at 10 pm, and since Jeff was not hungry, I ordered room service. No $2 meals here. My chicken sandwich cost $14.
I need to figure out what I'm doing in Mumbai the rest of the week, especially while Jeff is working.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today we're going to take a ferry to another island to see an old fort. I admit we didn't do much research (okay, none) about this area, so we are kind of winging it. There is also apparently a bird sanctuary, which we will try to do tomorrow.
So far, there has been toilet paper in all the bathrooms I've gone in. The domestic terminal in Mumbai had a bunch of stalls with Turkish toilets and two in the back with western toilets. The locals were all using the squat ones. I can't imagine preferring those. I also can't imagine preferring to hose off instead of using TP, but all the stalls had a hose as well. Or maybe they do both. I didn't notice if the Turkish toilet stalls had both.
I have yet to try a real Indian mango lassi. But I did have a pomegranate milk shake at breakfast today. It was really just room-temperature pink milk, but I loved the idea of it. It drives me nuts not being able to use ice.
I bought an Indian outfit, but I don't know what it's called. It's not a sari. It's this one where there is a long shirt with slits on the sides and then baggy pants and a scarf. I really only wanted the shirt. Jeff suggested saving the clown pants to wear as maternity pants. I don't know if even then I'd be able to bring myself to wear them. The outfit cost less than $20. I would probably use the scarf, too. It's light blue and brown, one of my favorite color combos.
Although I had cell reception in Mumbai, I don't have it here. Jeff does, though, and he's also on AT&T. I paid $24 to have unlimited texting and internet access, so it better work when we get back to Mumbai tomorrow night. I was even able to text with Jen (who is in Hong Kong), which I wasn't able to do when I was at home. It makes no sense to me why it would work here but not from home.
ps -- Kerala is pronounced CARE uh luh.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Our room is by no means luxury,but there is TP. The shower is a faucet next to the toilet. We had a hotel room like that in Brussels, but much bigger.
The cars and the geese honk incessantly.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
ticket collector: This one lady said to me, 'No way am I showing you my ID!' I said, 'Lady, this is the rule now.' But she wouldn't do it. So I told her I was calling the police. When security arrived they said to drop it. What's the point of having the rule then?
black female passenger: Was she white?
ticket collector: Of course. And I was the big, mean black dude. What you gonna do?
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
son: How many people are in the world? Mom says a million something. I think it's a hundred million.
Dad: I don't think it's quite that many.... Want to find out?
son: Sure! How?
Dad (getting out his phone): Google!
Son: Who's Google?
Dad: Google knows all the stuff that mom and I don't know.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
2. I'm being taken on a secret field trip at lunch. At first I thought it would be something girlie like getting nails done but then I found out it is with 2 men as well as my female friend who invited me.
The fact that this space is not my "official" online journal makes it much easier to write.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I worked until 10 on something that I didn't do correctly the first time and probably have to re-do again tomorrow. It's that mind-reading thing. I still don't have it down yet. Would make my job so much easier if I did, though.
I had 6 edamame flavored shumai for dinner and now I'm onto my cheese course. There may be a chips course after this one. I'm also drinking a River Horse Belgian Freeze. I really like this beer. Thankfully there is a 6-pack of it in my fridge, so I can drink it all week.
My dad's dad died today. He was 97 and he had had several strokes, so it was only a matter of time. When my mom called I didn't even get choked up, not like when she called me over the summer to tell me that Grandma didn't want us to visit her after all because she wasn't feeling up to it. I don't know why I took it so well.
There are so many stories I could tell about him, I wouldn't know where to begin. He was the last of the great story-tellers. I could never do his stories justice anyway. But remembering him telling stories the way he used to is what I will focus on, not the frail old man barking orders and forgetting who we were.
I cried a little when I got home, but I'm not sure if I was crying for me or for him or just out of exhaustion.
I think I need a second beer.
Monday, November 12, 2007
We made some headway on the apartment this weekend. I emptied 2 boxes of books because we realized that not finishing unpacking before the holidays due to some theoretical plans to paint was unreasonble. But there are still a good many more books. And that was after listing a bunch of them on Bookmooch and putting a good many into bags for Goodwill also.
It is so outrageous at this point that we aren't completely unpacked. It's embarressing, actually. But we have reached a point where there are no more obvious places for things to go. In the old place, my desk was in the middle room and next to it was a table, so piled on the table was all the extra stuff that didn't fit in my desk. Not the ideal situation, for sure, but with no table next to my desk, where does all that stuff now go?? And no, getting rid of it is not an option. And putting it downstairs in storage is pointless. Why store desk supplies in the basement? That stuff needs to be accessable. I think I do need to be more ruthless about what can be stored downstairs, however.
My old bedside table is next to my desk and it is still filled with the same junk that is has been filled with since I got it in 1999. It's the general repository for small things. But it has three drawers and perhaps some of that stuff can be consolidated and some desk stuff can go in it. I must be ruthless!
On Saturday we went to New Hope, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, for an early anniversary trip. They are both cute little towns, separated only by the Delaware River. We parked on the Lambertville side, walked around there for a little while, and then walked across the bridge to New Hope, walked around there a little while and then ate dinner. A coworker had said that Lambertville is better, but I didn't believe him. I had to eat crow this morning and admit that he was right. New Hope is mostly kitschy shops, while Lambertville is still an artsy town. Short trips like that are great because they are so inexpensive and there is very little travel time involved and certainly no cancelled flights. And we can bring liquids back with us! I decree that there will be more local trips in the future.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The other day I got an email from their 3rd party biller telling me that billing for my site hosting had been terminated. I called the 3rd party and they said they didn't know why this was. So, I attempted to contact Cyberpixels. Haha. They really don't want to talk to anyone.
It was 4:30 pm on Friday. I call their hotline and get what sounded like an actual answering machine that lead me through a series of prompts that ended in a voice saying, "Thank you for calling!" and then I was disconected. I called again and got a voice mail box. The message said, "I am away for the weekend." And then there was a beep and then another message that said the mailbox was full. Nice.
I then tried accessing the online help. Their skimpy billing "knowledgebase" as they call it has 3 links. These link to videos, the site says. But who knows what they are because the links don't work. So, I wrote an email to a billing email, once I finally found it. No word yet. Typically, I have found, Cyberpixels tends to write back, if they do at all, about a week later, no matter the severity of the problem.
So, I am taking my business elsewhere. They could at least have someone in India on call all the time to field calls and emails. Even an auto-response would be something to grasp at.
The kicker is that the host that my friend Kevin suggested I switch to, AN Hosting, is a dollar per month cheaper.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
You are the hot wife of a formerly dorky high school friend. You didn't seem the typical stay-at-home mom, with your plunging neckline and sandals that lace up the calf.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Two women waiting in line for a taxi together --
Girl wearing blanket costume with most of her breasts showing: Ugh!
Other girl: Was that Jose on the phone?
Blanket: It's Julio!! Geez!
Other girl: Sorry! I'm not doing it on purpose!
Blanket: I know, but it hurts my feelings.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Our moms met in the hospital when we were born. That might have been all we had in common. You came to my college a year after me and you hated it.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
*Comic slash fantasy slash sci-fi slash horror
Note: We haven't even been inside the festival yet. These are just observations of the general vicinity.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Is he still friends with her? Why wouldn't he be? I'm probably the only one to have cut her off. I can hardly even remember why now, but I think I remember her cutting me off, too. Plus, I have my pride.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Granted, she was choosing from the complimentary tea and coffee bar. Their decaf selections were only choco-mint and fruity, so there is another potential complaint.
I happen to be going through an Earl Grey phase, so I'm perfectly happy.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
It may not be Cheap Ass, but something akin to that. Lucky Lab does half price Mondays AND Tuesdays, by the way.
-there are Aveda products in the bathroom
-there are 2 animal print robes in the closet
-free wine tasting every day between 5 and 6
-under $200 a night
Also, I have fresh blueberries, but they're not from the hotel. We got them from a roadside stand near Hood River along with huckleberry milkshakes.
Many of the bars here offer small glasses of beer for around $2, which is excellent for those who are trying to visit 4 bars in one afternoon and try as many different beers as possible.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Women in Portland fairly ubiquitously wear comfy shoes (that's a point in my book). And then they wear nice shirts out at night...with jeans. I could get behind that style.
We showed up at 9:15 and were told no one was upstairs and that people usually just trickle in and they are probably going to stop doing it soon.
This not only makes me sad, but also makes me feel old because 15 years ago there would have been a line around the block to get in. And most people have moved on in their musical tastes, but Jeff and I will always have a space in our hearts reserved for new wave.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
We struck up a conversation with a guy who had moved from NYC last year. He came to Portland on vacation and never went back. I can see how that would happen.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
I really like the Amber and the Brewmaster Reserve.
Friday, August 3, 2007
We lunched at Jake's, which, okay, yes, is a chain. But it wasn't always a chain. And it was damn good. I think we may have oysters for an app with every meal here.
Now we're in Hood River for my cousin's wedding.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
"I busted the washing machine. Can you come help me fix it?" I said.
He was lying on the futon mattress, which is on the floor of what will someday be our living room, once it's no longer a warehouse. He came home from a business trip feeling like utter crap.
I had sort of hoped he would just say okay and not ask how. But no such luck.
"Dunno. It just, um, broke." Yeah, right.
So, I had to admit that since the stupid washer takes 7 quarters and I had only taken down 6, I had the bright idea to stick this round disk sitting there in the 7th slot. In my idiot brain, that disk was a special disk that was for using in the laundry machine. I know! I really did graduate from college!
I'm only admitting this here because hardly anyone reads this.
Also, Jeff did manage to rattle the machine hard enough to get it unjammed. So, he is officially my hero. (Not that he wasn't before.)
Just to be on the safe side, Jeff threw the disk behind the machine.