Tuesday, October 28, 2008

de livrais (delivery)

So, France is great. We have been writing about the phenomenal quality and variety of the food available here, the beautiful and infinitely variable scenery, the relaxed pace of life. In order to be fair, and to demonstrate the occasional absurdities of life here--which even natives must deal with--this post will detail our adventures with various parcel delivery services.

Package #1: Fedex from the US (subcontracted with France Express)
On the expected delivery date, the delivery driver calls to ask where our apartment is, and after a brief exchange in hazy French, as we try to figure who is calling Rebecca's cell phone at this hour and why, we realize who the caller is and that he is only slightly lost, nearby in the street somewhere. When we poke our heads out of the door of our building, he is 100 feet away. He was looking in the wrong part of the street.

Package #2: Fedex from the U.S. (subcontracted with France Express)
Despite the fact that we knew the package was coming, and stayed home all morning in anticipation, we aren't home at the time the delivery person came by on a Friday around lunch (which only goes to show that our cognitive map of the complex nuances that determine whether or not a service will be operational during the lunch hour is wretchedly incomplete). They leave a note under the front door to our building, which one of our neighbors places in front of our door. The note seems to contain information concerning the various agencies that have handled the package, and possibly also the current location of the package, but is nevertheless entirely incomprehensible and contains no instructions on how to have it redelivered. (to be cont'd).

Package #3: DHL from Germany
Delivery driver first rings the wrong doorbell, and then calls. Jeff goes downstairs, phone in hand, to retrieve the package. The guy holds out the delivery slip for Jeff to sign. "What, you haven't brought your own pen?" his expression seems to ask. Well, he doesn't have one either. They walk across the street together (Jeff in his pajamas) into a trendy clothing boutique to borrow a pen.

Package #2 (cont'd)
After checking the status on Fedex.com the Monday following the initial delivery attempt, we realize that they may not try and redeliver it without getting a call from us. We call twice, one time we get transferred to a number that doesn't stop ringing, and the second time no one picks up the phone. Well, since Jeff likes to ride his bike, and we want our package, Jeff decides to ride the 10 miles to the delivery warehouse (in Dissay, which also has a really fantastic 'Disneyesque' chateau). Once there, after a few inquiries and intra-building transfers, he finds the right place within the France Express compound. They happily get his package and set it on the counter, at which point he has to explain he can't take it with him (remember: no car! and it weighs 30 lbs!) and would prefer to have it redelivered.

Package #2 (part three)
The next day, Rebecca wakes up a little early (remember, daylight savings time can do that to you). While waiting for the coffee water to boil, she hears the doorbell ring in the apartment below. "My my, a bit early for visitors, isn't it?" she thinks groggily. Ten seconds later, it's our doorbell ringing. Loudly. She trots to the door and buzzes the guy up, and then changes her mind and decides to walk down (in her pajamas); they meet in the middle.

In other news, Jeff got this cool wool sweater (to go with the wool hat) for winterbiking:

and Rebecca voted by absentee ballot (still waiting to get Jefe's ballot). After filling it out, she had to find two witnesses to sign the envelope and give their addresses. She felt a little awkward asking the clerk at La Poste to sign and give her his address, but swallowed what was left of her pride. He consented, which is what counts. We also went to a bar to watch a blues band called Malted Milk. Rebecca might have seen one of her students there, but she wasn't wearing glasses so she isn't sure.

She also finished the first painting (which actually consists of six small paintings...

(Rendering of Parc de Blossac in the center of Poitiers)

Finally, as we sit here drafting this blog, we are trying to avoid the scary France Telecom technicians who have invaded the apartment as they sort out the antiquated wiring and bestow internet upon us.


Trevor said...

Since when does Jeff wear pajamas? Does this mean his hairy white legs no longer compliment his sleepy bearded face in early morning?

Trevor said...

-his oh-so-very adorable sleepy bearded face.

Cara said...

I love the painting!