Archive for July, 2007

Will Martin ever learn?

July 24, 2007

A week ago we received the phone bill for June. No problem. Today we received a phone bill for one week in May. On checking, we found that the original May bill was for only two weeks of May, not the full month. ‘Oh well, the missing week will sort itself out later, we haven’t the energy to try to sort it out with them. It’ll take a couple of weeks of solid effort’ Martin thought. As the bank has not yet managed to organise setting us up with on line payment, standing order or direct debit, it’s a case of pay by cash at the telephone offices. So Martin set out and arrived two minutes after the counter had shut at 12.30. They re-open at 2.15 -4.00pm. He returned at 3.45. However Martin had forgotten that they only take cheques between these hours and of course…no cheque book. The clerk, who had observed his first fruitless visit took pity and invited Martin to return between 9 and 11 on Saturday and to please come straight to the head of the undoubted queue. Martin gets really annoyed by the Indian habit of queue jumping so he’ll not take advantage.

Won’t bore you with Martin’s three attempts at paying the first electricity bill for the new apartment suffice it to say that they bill two months in arrears and give two months to pay and the opening hours are as confusing as the telephone people and the parcels office at the Post Office (hours 8-11 and 2.45-4.00).

We have a new noticeboard in our flat. We were wondering what to put on it. Opening hours and payment instructions might be a good start!

When is a one-way street not a one-way street?

July 17, 2007

We’ve recently discovered that our typical route home takes us along a one-way street – the wrong way, of course. We found out because one day the police were stopping all the scooter riders and making them walk the one-way section. That was when we spotted the no entry sign, strategically placed to be almost invisible among the advertising hordings, parked vehicles and general detritus of Margao town centre.

Yesterday, the police were at it again. However Martin noticed they were only stopping the scooters, not the cars. So he asked why. The answer – because the no entry sign isn’t a ‘government-approved sign’. Only in India, as they say.

Boring Monsoon

July 12, 2007

How is your UK monsoon? To date, it’s a bit of a disappointment in Goa, no rip-roaring storms to get excited about. The rain comes in short bursts, sometimes very heavy, cloud cover most of the time, 28C, but the humidity is high. In general we are coping as well the locals. But it has enforced lifestyle changes, particularly dealing with damp and smelly materials and trying to get rid of mould/mildew on the new treatment room walls. Rats, ants and mosquitoes have been a minor distraction; no, doubt their habits change with the seasons. We are finding ways to keep them at bay, using common sense really. We’re not using AC and rarely use the bedroom fan at night so we are quite comfortable. We are blessed with the roof terrace arrangement, which allows us to sit outside in our ‘garden’ when it rains and enjoy the breeze and fresh air.
Most of the long-stay Europeans have fled to their homelands to escape the season (Monsoon means season), so whenever we go out and about our white skins attract more attention than usual. One of the advantages is that it is now .easier to locate top quality ‘local’ restaurants, pubs and hang-outs. They are quite inspiring after the usual ‘tourist’ places.