Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Loose Ends

There have been some threads of information that haven't been properly tied up.

The making of the dog-bone pillow... well, that was a bit disastrous. The tailor seemed very confident in his ability to make the unusual shape. I left him the old pillow casing as a model. I had the pieces all cut out and explained which parts should be stitched together and which parts should be left open so the pillow could be stuffed. He had the molded pillow stuffing to see the 3-D shape of the pillow. Feeling that I had overexplained things, he told me, "You know, I'm not stupid."

When I went back an hour later to pick up Mr. Clever's work, I did not recognize what he handed to me. Three panels of fabric had been sewed together, flat. The resulting shape was too small for the molded pillow stuffing so he shredded the stuffing and shoved it in so tightly that the seams stretched to the ripping point. He couldn't understand why I was unhappy. A fellow tailor, who didn't speak English but understood the basic problem, stepped in and tried to explain the fundamental tailoring flaws. We ripped out the stitching and he started over, ignoring the curves in the pattern among other things.

No good. I made him rip out the stitches again. Tempers became short. He was sloppy. I tried to hijack the sewing machine. Both the tailors thought it was hilarious that I couldn't work the old fashioned foot-peddled machine. "You only know how to use an electric sewing machine, haha!" Defeated, I gave him back his sewing machine. Mr. Clever did the bare minimum, and I said I'd finish putting it together by hand. He told me to get out. The end.

Returning to Delhi, the hotel staff gave the low-down on my nemesis. They refer to her as "the crazy lady." The hotel has a policy of letting people stay only 15 days, although the manager can give an extension. The crazy lady did not receive an extension. It might be because, among other things, she spent most of her fifteen days chasing one of the male staff members, begging him marry her. La Senora Loca, que se vaya bien...

Thanks to the funny looking dog-bone pillow, sleeping in the Frankfurt airport was relatively comfortable. There was lots of time to explore Terminals 1 and 2. Riding the monorail between the two is a good time killer. Spending so much time there, it was possible to uncover some interesting things. Like, why, in an airport that does not have televisions to distract waiting passengers, nor a place for watching regular films, why is there a porno screening room in Terminal 1? And in Terminal 2, what are parents doing while their kids play in the plastic ball pit next to McDonald's? There was an explosion of balls. Some balls traveled all the way down to another story of the building and came to rest near the car rental booths. More than a few airport employees lost a little dignity, burrowing under tables and behind planters, trying to reclaim wayward balls.

At 6am I finally found some Kinder Surprises. Most of them were disguised as big Easter basket treats. That why they had been so hard to find. I bought one normal sized surprise and inside was a knight on a horse with a Medieval tent. One more like that and it would be possible to have a jousting match.

Zurich's airport was very very efficient. Officially in transit and not in Switzerland, it turned out that the only way to mail the original broken camera to the service center in Australia was to go through immigration and customs and go into Switzerland proper. The immigration official, as a matter of routine, asked where I was going. Most people probably say a city's name or something like that. My answer was, "to the post office." He didn't even blink. Coming back through passport control was just as simple. I love Switzerland.

On the Swiss Air flight to Istanbul, I had my eyes closed most of the way. Not exactly sleeping, but close enough. Duing the part of the trip where free Swiss chocolate is handed out, I missed out. The male flight attendant whizzed down the aisle handing out chocolates. I opened my eyes when I heard all the people around me opening their chocolate wrappers. Too late for chocolate! The man sitting one seat over hadn't saved me one. I couldn't help thinking (sexist or not) that a woman flight attendant would have checked to see if a resting person wanted chocolate. And a female seatmate would have saved a chocolate for a fellow passenger. Women understand what chocolate means to other women. The men on the plane seemed clueless, not to mention that they scarfed their Swiss chocolates like beernuts. The horror.

Now I'm in snowy Istanbul. Despite the snow, it's much warmer than in Germany. Here people can only see their breath when exhaling through the mouth. In Frankfurt, everyone looked like firebreath─▒ng dragons on the tarmac, vapor streaming from their noses with every breath.

Bought a half kilo of cheese today in the spice bazaar after eluding countless Turkish men who want to stop lone females. Either they are all extremely well-dressed roaming carpet salesmen or Istanbul is the world capital of gigalos. The hostel owners, both men, have warned me to stay away from the "bad men" who hover around the tourist quarter. According to Ali, "You give them your hand and they take your arm!" No worries. I'm not talking to any of them. One Rico Suave with dagger-shaped sideburns followed me halfway through the grand bazaar. To my disappearing, Spanish-speaking back, he announced, "You are so RUDE, you know that?" Igualmente, cabron. Igualmente. "I'll see you again on your way out, you know." Thanks for the tip. I took the back way out.

Just like anywhere, the real people, the people who are not out to take advantage of others, are kind and helpful. All the men in the many cheese shops were so friendly and informative. One man kept patting me on the back, sorry that he didn't have a fresh, spreadable cheese.

The sunset call to prayer... Oops, been rambling too long. Time to find the way home before it gets too dark! Hosca kalin. (Stay happy.)


Blogger shokufeh said...

Oh, we just missed each other by a few days in the Zurich airport. I was there for several hours on the 11th. Or was it the 12th? Regardless, a few days too late.

March 14, 2005 1:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer P. said...

Next time... and ─▒'ll treat you to a Kinder Surprise.

March 21, 2005 8:13 AM  

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