CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Lies and disrespect ...

Excuse me while the smoke fumes from my ears, but I almost cannot believe the telephone conversation I had this afternoon. Was talking to Jack on Sunday, who said their passports only took days to arrive, so I decided to check with my bank to see if the amount had been charged to my card. It had, on the 18th.

That being 10 days yesterday, I planned to phone the British Consulate in Madrid to chase it up, except they beat me to it and phoned me yesterday, when I was told that, "We've been trying to deliver it, but you weren't in."

Did I detect an undertone of accusation, like I was causing a problem by being away from home? I'm certain, but I chose to grit my teeth and believe I'd imagined it. Anyway, they'd obviously tried to deliver the passport on Friday, while I was out (this, I do believe was essential), catching 4 busses to buy a regulator. (Which, by the way, I was promised by the town hall that they would be fitting today too, but they didn't turn up either, but I digress ...)

Probably, if you don't actually tell people when you're coming, likely as not people won't be in. People who go out to work certainly won't be at home, will they? The consulate then said that the courier couldn't find me and they wanted "the rest of" the address. There isn't any more.

No, it doesn't have a number.

This is no surprise: nobody can find me, because I'm way out in the sticks, just past the end of the world and make a right (seriously, well almost.)

The only way anyone can find me and I've gone through this ritual with every delivery or workman, etc., for 9 years, is if they get fairly close, phone me and, then I give them instructions, ask them what kind of vehicle they are driving and tell them that I will go down to the main road to wait for them and that they should look out for a 50 year old mad woman flagging down passing cars!

They said they would try again today, Tuesday and, I've been here, all of it.

Something after 4 p.m. (when I'd virtually given up on them and had mentally noted to call the consulate to chase it up again tomorrow morning), I get a call from some youf who says, in a tone that was clearly bored and unconcerned, that they have this thing from the British Consulate to bring me. They weren't that eloquent and they were speaking Spanish, but in essence.

They say they are in Buenavista del Norte. I point out to them that the address is in El Palmar (a valley, with a village of the same name), which is about 3 km above Buenavista. They tell me to wait outside because they are on their way and, before I can give them any more instructions, they hang up on me.

There would be no point going outside without giving them further instructions, finding out what kind of vehicle I'm looking for, telling them what landmarks and person they should look for, etc. The house phone doesn't work outside, down at the main road, strangely. So, all I could do was wait indoors on the off chance that they would get up here, realize they need to know more and ring again. Actually, I didn't have to wait long. Less than a minute actually, when the phone rang again. They had not had time to get far and certainly NOT 3 km or more up a mountain road with successive hairpin bends from Buenavista to El Palmar. Of course, they couldn't find me, mostly because they were nowhere near here. I kept asking them where they were, what could they see around them, etc., and explained that I needed to know so I could tell them in which direction to go. They avoided answering those questions and made out puzzlement or indignation, like there was no logical reason for me to ask.

Obviously, because answering would mean admitting that they knew they weren't even trying. I couldn't hear an engine, or wind to suggest they were moving either. On the off chance that they were actually hurtling up the road by private jet, I had to go through the motions, tell them what landmarks to look for. As soon as I mentioned those landmarks, they immediately claimed, oh yes they passed them way back and could not find the house. Well they wouldn't, even if they'd been close, because the house is not near and is above the main road, which is why I have to go down to meet everyone ...

But it was absolutely impossible that they had been this far up, let alone further. Now they said they were on their way back down again. Giving up. No can deliver today. Not enough time / too difficult.

When I challenged them, saying that I knew (you know, I live here) they had not had time between the two phone calls to have travelled 3 km or got anywhere near this valley, let alone the right village, of course, they insisted they had. Just out and out barefaced lies.

In fact, the only thing this unprofessional courier seemed to be interested in was that, as they kept repeating, they had to be in Santa Cruz by 5 p.m. (To "clock off" presumably?)

Well, it would take an awful lot longer than the 40 minutes they had remaining at the end of this discussion to get back to the capital, so would another 10 minutes (or so) to do their job, really have hurt?

Oh no, they said they didn't have 10 minutes, they would try again tomorrow (how hard?) (good job I don't have to go to work!) and hung up on me.

Think of the wasted fuel, coming back across the island again tomorrow.

And I'm so afraid of the passport "going missing" the more it traipses back and forth across the island, especially in the hands of someone like this.

It makes you want to tear your hair out, doesn't it?

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