International Ants

I have been using my android phone as a kindle with the nifty kindle app. I was really looking forward to having that as my reading material for the trek, so I wouldn’t have to lug around books on the trail. And you know I will do so. Even tired and exhausted I will want a book to read before bed.

On my last full day in India, I was adjusting the brightness setting of the book, which is done by opening a book and hitting settings, etc. I accidentally slid it too far to the left and the screen went completely dark. Now, I could back up to the home screen and view it just fine, but the moment I opened a book my screen went dark. You need to be able to see the screen in order to make changes to the viewing. This seems like a fundamental software flaw, and amazon’s support, which is always so amazing on book related stuff, is absolutely bloody useless when it comes to the kindle application.
He basically gave me the same step by step that I wrote above, despite the fact that I can’t do any of that WITHOUT SEEING THE SCREEN.

So I figured that I’d just uninstall and reinstall the kindle app and that would reset the settings.

Or it would have, if amazon hasn’t decided that it’s going to get its own app store. So I had to download the app store, “buy” the kindle app which, on the purchase screen, it says my device is compatible with. (This whole amazon app store is asinine bullshit that makes me wish I had never had the kindle app to begin with.) However, when I go to open it in the app store, it says I’m not compatible and to download it to my computer on this URL. The URL does not let you download it to your computer. Amazon customer service was, again, less than helpful.
I spent a good deal of the morning pissed off and frustrated with this. I’m a reader, I own those fucking books (or at least the use of them, in technical legal terms) and dammit I want access to them.

I didn’t solve that problem. I now have dozens of books I had stockpiled for this trek completely inaccessible to me.
Amazon is not convincing me that I should by a kindle, and I’m appalled at the uselessness of their customer service.

One of my students made this for me as a goodbye/thank you. I don't know if the backwards Y is endearing or a sign of my failure as an English teacher.


My day got better in that Michelle, Angie (the two volunteers currently at the project) and I went in to Khan Market for lunch. I, typically, spent my last 300 rupees that were supposed to be for lunch at the airport, on a book. Book-shopping is largely, effective retail therapy.

When I came home I discovered that an ant colony had moved into my day pack. Tiny red ants everywhere, on everything that had been in that bag. Including some clothes.
I potentially literally had ants in my pants (and panties).
I swept the bag. I beat the bag. I eventually sprayed it several times with DEET and let it air out overnight. I drowned the ants crawling all over my panties and pants in water and got several ant bites for my trouble. (To be fair, if someone was trying to drown me, I’d probably do the same thing.)

In the morning, Mamta made me the Indian version of cream of wheat (milk, sugar, and wheat-noodles) and cried as I left.
She hugged me and told me to come back with my husband. (She’s not the only one of my Indian people who has mentioned me getting a husband and having children in the next five years. No pressure! But in five years my now-fourteen-year-old will be married! You’ll be thirty!)

One of my students volunteered her daughter to do this henna on my hand as a thank you/good bye. It covered up some of the ant bites.

Every time I travel (plane, bus, train), I unconsciously channel the long line of worriers in my family.
What if my bag isn’t there? What if there are security problems? What if there are immigration issues? What if the flight is canceled? What if the bus breaks down? Crashes? What if I get sick? What if someone else takes my bag?
I can, and do, counter all of these with a rational answer. But even though I have lost count at this point in my life of all the flights/buses/trains I’ve been on, my mother’s voice and her mother’s voice (and probably her mother’s voice) still chatter in my head about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

The plane landed safely. There were no immigration issues. My bag was there.
I was followed by obnoxious taxi drivers on my way to the ATM. They all have hotels they get commission from and they are extremely aggressive. To avoid them and get my bearings in the peace and quiet of a car, I took the prepaid taxi.
Only to have a guide get in the front seat and natter at me the entire time about this hotel or that hotel and all the services his company could provide me.

While I tuned him out, I noticed a little red ant on my bag.

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