I had my first India tantrum yesterday – a bit of sleep deprivation, a stomach upset, not enough “me time”, crappy hotel towels and hard beds and too much time on the road all added up to my inability to deal with the mystery that is the Indian postal service.
This is the process I went through to send a parcel to Australia from India:
1. Find a tailor to stitch up the parcel.
2. Get pissed off and ready to forget the whole damn thing because he was supposed to open at 8:30 and eventually turned up around 10 and I’m grumpy from being kept awake by the bloody noisy hotel guests who were running around, shouting and slamming doors all night, despite me asking them to keep the noise down TWICE (my first sleeping pill of the trip taken after that). It was nice to have a long chat with David whilst I was waiting though.
3. Negotiate with tailor to have parcel packed quickly because the post office closes at 12 on Saturday.
4. Agree on 1 hour even though it should take no more than 15 mins.
5. Tell Uttam (tour guide) who speaks to tailor and finds out that he meant 1pm, not 1 hour.
6. Start to panic because I’m sick of lugging around the extra 4 kgs and have no room in my backpack to buy more things. And the next post office opportunity won’t be til Amritsar or more likely Goa.
7. Realise there’s another tailor next door, take stuff to him and get it done in 15 mins. Breathe huge sigh of relief.
8. Realise I have to buy a texta to write address on the cloth parcel. Stationer next door to tailor, no problem.
9. Get auto rickshaw to post office.
10. Queue at post office with pushy Indians, then get told to go next door to the internet cafe to get the customs certificates. Start cursing again.
11. Guy at internet cafe knows what I need because I’m carrying a big box n my arms. 2 rupees for the certificates.
12. Back to post office, fill out certificates, queue up and refuse to budge from my place in line for pushy Indians.
13. My turn – question the guy as to why I need to put my passport number on the back of the parcel. Not very happy to do that. Uttam turns up, turns out it’s a security thing. Have no choice but to comply.
14. Hand over 1400Rs ($35) and my parcel is gone.
15. Pray that parcel arrives at Mum and Dad’s in about 3-4 weeks, with all contents intact.
16. High fives and hugs from the girls, who are sick of hearing me going on about it.
Still felt a little grumpy for the rest of the day. I’d kinda had enough of doing stuff with the group and needed some free time. However I went with them to the Dalai Lama’s house and temple, which was lovely. We were hoping to meet him, but he was apparently too busy. The girls went to get blessed by the guy who’s 2nd in charge after the Dalai Lama, but I decided I needed some time out at that point and watched a thunderstorm over the Himalayas instead 😀
Now it’s day 3 in Dharamsala and I’m feeling a lot more relaxed. Had a good night’s sleep, the stomach has settled, had a great brekky, a lovely Tibetan lunch and did lots of shopping with the girls. Retail therapy!
Time to head back into town to meet Uttam for dinner. We found a great place last night that served Thai, Indian, Mexican and Italian food as well as Indian. Nice laid back place, I had a lovely Pad Thai 🙂 We’re going back there tonight and maybe to a bar called “Xcite” afterwards lol. It looks like a real happenin’ joint!
Tomorrow morning we head to Dalhousie. We’re supposed to be going by local bus, but have opted to pay extra and go by car instead, as none of us like the sound of the bus!
Not sure where the next internet cafe will be – after Dalhousie we have 2 days of trekking, then the home stay. So I may not be back online til Amritsar. You never know though!