Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lying Around and Lies

I am enjoying a day inside. Tonight I'm taking Aya out to dinner to say goodbye. I will be in Indonesia when she actually departs, so this is my last chance to say goodbye. Now that the cleaning lady is coming regularly, Aya has become a good roommate. I'm sorry I wasn't able to break her incredibly wasteful habits, but hopefully she thinks a bit more when she throws something away.

I had to go to the office this morning. Although the U.N. is paying for the majority of my trip to Indonesia, there are a couple of things for which Sewalanka needs to pay. For instance, my visa, since I didn't have time to get a free business visa through the U.N. They also have to pay for one night at the hotel. This is a good example of the lack of logic at the U.N. The workshop I'm going to starts on Monday at 5 p.m. The flight from Sri Lanka arrives at 6:30 p.m. So I'd be late to that first session, unless I arrive the day before. So the U.N. expects me to pay for that extra night. Frankly, I'm not willing to use one-forth a month's salary, but luckily Sewalanka agreed to pay.

I went to accounts yesterday and asked if they could give me the money in dollars. This makes a lot of sense to me -- I'm traveling to Indonesia where they accept dollars, but not Sri Lankan rupees. I am unable to change money here, or at least I've never had any success and I've seen dollars in the office, so they must be able to get them. Accounts said no problem and they said they'd call when they had the cash.

Since my meeting in Colombo ran long yesterday, I figured I'd just go today and pick up the money. When I showed up the same guy who said "no problem" yesterday acted like the conversation we had never actually happened! This happens all the time here. Instead of just admitting you forgot, you act like you had no idea you were supposed to do something. I really, really hate this. I hate that it is acceptable to blame someone else for your ineptitude. Seriously, I'll have way more respect for you if you admit you forgot and fix it, then saying I never actually stood in front of you the day before and asked if it was possible to get the money in dollars. And then to go on about how it is Saturday and thus, more difficult to get the money. I only asked if it was possible yesterday -- I never insisted it be in dollars. But then you aren't allowed to say you won't do something and only a foreigner would actually come back and expect something that you promised with a head bobble.

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