Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lesa's Birthday

We've had a whirlwind couple of days... Lesa's Birthday is December 23rd and I've been wanting to share this year's experience with you. Her birthday is an important day, but also a difficult day because I want to do my best to separate her birthday from the Christmas holiday. This year it was not much of a problem. Normally her birthday is surrounded by Christmas marketing, Christmas music and festivities... Not true in India.
Laxman and Manish made a nice Indian meal for her, including her favorite curried cauliflower. We purchased a wonderful cake from a very nice bakery in Sector 18 of Noida called, "Top Breads." Chocalate Truffle cake. Here, what is displayed as Christmas is actually a little frightening." More on this in my next post.
The big event on Lesa's birthday was our trip to the airport to finally claim our air shipment from Texas. Fortunately we had a transport/customs company assist us with this very bureaucratic process. It would have taken us hours and hours (instead of just 3 hours) of waiting at the Delhi air freight terminal without this help. Note the image to the below: "Flow chart for clearance of unaccompanied baggage" The flowchart involves 15 stages. Six of these flowchart steps indicate "staying in waiting hall." The process involves multiple forms, passport and visa checks, receiving a "Foreign Resident Permit" (this took a week to get), additional passport-sized photos and a visual check of our belongings with a very stern female customers officer. This is a woman who insisted that my cheap 10 year old guitar was new and therefore liable for import duty tax. She also had absolutely no idea what Audrey and Evan's car booster seats were.
Our 16-odd boxes were cleared and were delivered before dinner time, so we were able to enjoy Lesa's nice birthday meal and cake that evening.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas. That bureaucracy makes my head cringe. We missed you today on the street.

mj sayer said...

Glad to see your birthday was sweet! HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Mrs. Smith said...

Our oldest, (Number One Son) once ducked out about half way through the "flow chart". He saw an opening in the ropes and when nobody was looking, he bolted. He came out of the terminal walking at a brisk pace whispering, "Get in the car, get in the car!" Normally I would have lectured him on following the rules, but after waiting for two hours and arguing with two different security gaurds who kept trying to get me to leave, I just congratulated him on his quick thinking.

P.S. Happy Birthday to Lesa and thanks for sharing the cake. It was yummy.