Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Schlepping to Schiedam

As we've mentioned, it is getting cold here. Like long-john and fur boots cold here. And I have been coveting a pair of warm, fuzzy Uggs for sometime now - all the Dutch girls have them. So as a reward to myself for getting all A's this semester I went in search of the perfect pair to keep my toes toasty on winter bike rides. Amazingly enough, due to coupon codes and the sagging dollar, it was much cheaper to buy them online in the States and have them shipped over. With a few mouse clicks and a credit card entry, my coveted boots where on their way to me.

And that's precisely where the snag began. Either our intercom is not working or UPS is incompetent, because everyday I sat hopeful in my apartment watching the truck on the tracking site get closer and closer to my door and then farther and farther away.

"WAIT! You have my boots!"

After three days of this nonsense, I called and asked if I could simply come pick them up. "Sure" they said, but they forgot to mention it wouldn't be simple.

For starters the nearest UPS location is not in Delft but in Schiedam - a suburb of Rotterdam. I looked up the route on and set out on the trek to claim my boots this morning. And along the way I learned a few things:
  1. Just because you are getting on bus 54 at the correct stop, does not mean that this particular bus 54 will follow the same route that another 54 bus follows. (We actually learned this in Utrecht a few weeks ago, but is was once again confirmed today.) Hello! What happened to naming buses by the routes they take?
  2. You can't get out of talking to the man begging you for bus fair by saying you don't speak Dutch because even the bums can speak English over here. However, "No entiendo. Hablo Espanol." works quite well.
  3. We actually live 5 minutes closer by foot to Station Delft Zuid than Delft Central. This information will come in handy in the future.
  4. UPS needs a more user friendly location - surely they can find a space for rent that is not in the middle of an industrial shipping zone. I can now catcall in Dutch.
5 bus rides, 2 train rides, 4 long walks, and 3 hours later I arrived home with my boots. And they were worth every bit of trouble!

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