Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Monday, June 12, 2006

double entry visas

This morning I had another beautiful moment with my fruit man. I run up to him to buy a dragon fruit for breakfast, and I am, per usual, a total wreck. I have three bags bulging with crap--workout clothes--work I took home, etc. and I am fumbling around looking for the change I know I have, but can't find. So he takes it upon himself to reorganize me. He gets out a huge plastic bag and takes my bags off my arm and puts them all in one big bag and says "there, that'll be more comfortable." I was like, "I'm sorry, I'm really all over the place this morning." And he said "it's the rain." And it wasn't even raining. I love this man. This is a man who has totally endeared himself to me simply through his joviality and kindness. By endeared I mean, "wow, I might consider marrying fruit man." It's not everyone who will actually help a walking storm such as myself rather than getting annoyed that I don't have myself pulled together. Luckily, fruit man is already married so i don't have to truly struggle with marrying a man I can't communicate with who sometimes sports long fingernails and probably prays to false gods.

The other day I went with Naomi and Beth and Beth's friend Summer to Danshui. We fleshed out three things that Taiwanese people do really well: Beverages, stationery, and hospitality. Clearly, Fruit Man is a prime example of the latter. Beverages are another true gem of this country. If you need evidence of Taiwanese creativity just stop by any tea stand and peruse the hundreds of combinations available for 60 cents. Indeed, this is the country that pioneered the drinking of tapioca balls in tea...which then led to dozens of other drink additions: jellies, gummies, pudding, wheat, barley, green beans, aloe, etc. So bizarre, and yet so delicious.

Our determination of three things that Taiwan does truly well reminded me of that part in Snow Crash where Stephenson informs us (I'm going to summarize via Thomas Friedman) that in the near future when globalization has completely flattened and equalled the global playing field, there are only 4 things America truly does better than anyone else: music, movies, software(?), and high-speed pizza delivery. Hysterical. I don't know of any other writer who could keep me entertained by creating a world in which high-speed pizza delivery is a matter of life and death.

I'm in the midst of editing a 26 page academic paper on politics and oil pricing in China. It's written by a man who announces in his first paragraph that his research is totally original and has "never been done before!". Thank you, captain amazing. This is a person who uses the word "redress" freely, but can't use "the" for his life. Sweet ESL.

So yesterday the Russians struck again. I was charged 6 times more than the advertised price for same-day visa service. And because the other russians before him had passive aggressively dragged their feet on getting our plans finalized, I had no recourse but to suck it up and pay it. Happily, he changed my visa to double entry and extended the dates illegally. Seriously people, is corruption genetic in Russians? I'm pretty sure he just assesed the cost of a steak dinner and a carton of Marlboros and decided that would be my fee for the day. He let me pay at the window in the office, and the couple behind me also paid right there, but then he made these exchange students behind us leave the office and walk a few blocks to some "bank" that takes care of the majority of their financial transactions. He almost made me go there, too, but then he was like "you have money, you pay here, is more convenient for you." I was like "fantastic, he's stealing it" and then when he gave me a single entry visa that only allowed me to stay in russia for a week, i was like "uh, i have to fly back to russia from ukraine...will I be able to get back in the country?" and he says "you stay in airport, if so you no need double entry" and i said okaaay and then he said "Moscow has 4 international airports..are you sure you stay in same airport?" and i was like "i have no more money, so I have to take a chance" and he says "oh, for you, i give you double entry visa, right now for free." hell yeah, you better give it to me "for free" you putin-loving bastard, your country is single-handedly making me declare chapter 11. yes, it is all a bureaucratic ruse, i would say it's thinly veiled, but actually, it's pretty much unveiled. they bitterly despise everyone, want to spread their bitterness like a plague, and obey no law but their own whim. Russians. GRRRR! I used to think rebellion was so cool. And now, having been subjected to the Russians, I love laws. Give me laws! Lawyers, legislators, God bless you all. God bless places where the price that is printed is the price you charge or you can be sued.

So, I keep hearing that Cars is an awesome movie. Can't wait to see it! Also want to see X-Men 3, but am super pissed that Brett Ratner directed it. That man is a lesion on the ass of humanity. I can't help but wonder at how he has tinged this production.


Blogger Amy said...

Awww, I love fruit man!! :)
Sorry about the mess with the Russians. :( You are a brave woman.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Charity said...

Yeah, Snow Crash! I also want a car that "starts like a bad day and stops on a peseta."

Fruit man sounds awesome! A perfect antidote for Russian insanity. I think Russia will be fun once we get there. If nothing else, we can bond over our tribulations.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Julie Hartle said...

indeed, charushka, that is what the vodka is for! to women!!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Try dealing with Hungarian train conductors- I got bumped to first class because I slipped him 20 Euro!

1:39 AM  

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