Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feeling Good

Oh yeah, another happy post.

Monday I completed the water paper that we have been working on for a while. This is the project that began with that fateful non-trip to Ampara (the day I got kicked out of the car). I thought about being petty when it came time to actually write the paper and say that Dr. Lionel could do it, but I like to pretend I'm more professional than that and wrote it myself. The problem is that JHU has cut me off! Yep, that's right, I've been using their on-line library even though I graduated two years ago. Apparently they have now figured that out. This makes doing research very difficult because a lot of scientific journals require payment to read them. The problem is you don't always know if a paper will be useful and frankly, $20 is too much to ask for a pdf. So I didn't pay for any journals, which means our literature review is not really complete. Oh well, I can't be too bothered. We also had very little time to write this paper, which means the community survey section isn't all that good. Frankly, since I don't get to go to Thailand and present our findings (for some odd reason, Ajith, who had absolutely nothing to do with the paper gets to do that--after I create the Powerpoint of course), I'm not going to worry too much. Ajith is happy with it, but I think that has more to do with getting to go to Thailand and not having to do any work for the trip.

So anyway, the real reason I'm happy is because I got a package full of licorice and coffee! It is pretty exciting (thanks Audrey!). I had to go to Colombo to collect the package, which ended up being quite the adventure. It is very sad when a process is more arduous here than in the former Soviet Union. So the package addressed to Boralesgamuwa was being held hostage in Pettah. Pettah is the north side of Colombo and Boralesgamuwa is south. So quite a drive up, but for some reason this counted as work and I was allowed to use a Sewalanka car. This was very fortuitous as I have been trying to get someone to take our recycling for quite a while and with a car in tow, decided to do it on the way to the post office.

Anyway, we get to the post office and I take my little book of paperwork up to the second floor. There a man at a desk in the middle of the room takes your papers and puts carbon paper in between each sheet and you are required to write the address to which the package was addressed and sign the forms (you have to personally sign each form of which there are four). You are given a number (I was No. 19) and told to wait in a chair. This is irritating because you can see your paperwork just sitting with this man and there at least ten (I'm not exaggerating) men behind the window doing nothing and you really just want your package. So I went up to the window and said, "Can you just give me my package?" Clearly, you need to ask, because this sent people into motion. My paperwork and then package were retrieved. The package is then taken to another window where they open it and inspect each item. Randomly they determine how much these things are worth and another man makes out a bill for your duty charge. Then the package and bill are taken to another window. For some reason the guy at this window wasn't happy with my paperwork and with no explanation provided, sent it off and I stood at the window for quite a while having no idea why I couldn't just leave. Anyway, eventually the paperwork returned, I paid 275 rupees and then my paperwork and package were taken to another man to stamp the paperwork and hand over the package. Whew.

Jodi was randomly at the post office too, she had just spent two hours sending a package out! I imagine that is a far more difficult process then retrieving.

Around noon I returned to the office. But now I have Red Vines and the recycling has been taken care of, so I'm happy. This is how life is when you live overseas, you are happy when you accomplish very little.

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