Monday, January 21, 2013

Water Delivery

As hopefully everyone knows, tap water here is undrinkable.  My first year here, Sophia and I did drink it (based on poor advice), and we really didn't drink that much, because, well, it didn't taste good!  But I used it for coffee and for cooking her pasta.

She had a horrible rash for the first year and a half, and her pediatrician in the US suggested it might be the water.  By that time we were drinking bottled water, but I was still using tap for coffee and pasta.  Well, I quit that and even had her use bottled water for brushing her teeth, and the rash went away and has never come back.

Most locals I talk to don't even use tap water for cooking.

So then comes the issue of bringing that much water to your home.  I would buy it in 5-liter bottles for about 240 Tenge a bottle ($1.33) and I could lug two bottles home with me at a time.  I would buy from the mini-market that's in my building; it's more expensive but so close!  Nearby there is a water store that will refill for about 70 Tenge, but I rarely was in the mood to walk.

A teacher's son started a business; he would refill my water for 100 Tenge; he made money and I saved time.  But during the winter, his mother didn't want him walking that distance in the dark (it gets dark early) and so slowly I stopped using him so much.

This past August, my Kazakh friend was over at my home when I ran out of water.  She just called a place and they delivered.  I had thought delivery was something where you set up a time, and you have to be home at that time every week.  Apparently, you just call when you need it.

So I did that a few times.  The place my friend uses, Rosinka, is 400 Tenge for 19 gallons; the place the school uses is 500 Tenge for 19 gallons.  They also each charge for the bottles, but I already had two bottles in my house, so I never have to pay that.  (They come with however many full bottles that you requested, and take away that many empty bottles.)

So every time I needed water I had someone call for me.  Then the school secretary noticed that you can order delivery for Rosinka on-line.  The address is  I used google translate to put my address in Russian, and I ordered.  So now I can order water to be delivered and I don't have to call anyone!

They do call me, however, but usually I just say, "da, da" (which means "yes, yes") and sometimes I recite my address in Russian, and they seem satisfied.  A bit frustrated with my lack of understanding, but satisfied that they have my address and that I am home, and then they come and deliver.

The problem is... I entered my mobile phone number the first time I did this.  And somehow now that is in their system and they seem incapable of changing it.

One day I ordered water to be delivered while a friend babysat Sophia.  I entered my friend's mobile phone number.   However, Rosinka called me, while I was in a taxi on the way to a concert.  Luckily, I was with a Russian-speaker, who explained to them that while I was not home, my friend was, and they could deliver the water.  I then called my friend to make sure that she was home.  She was, and I got my water.

When I went to Berlin for the winter holidays, a friend stayed at my place to watch my cat.  One day, as I was shopping in the famous KaDeWe department store, I had a phone call. It was Rosinka.  I tried my best to explain that I was not home, but a friend was staying there, and maybe she had ordered water, but I did not know.  They were frustrated and simply wanted to know, was I at home?  To which I replied in frustration, "I don't know!"  After I hung up on them, I texted my friend, who then called them and managed to receive her water.

Yet another time I had water ordered to be delivered when a friend was there instead of me, and this time my friend called and specified that they had to call her number, not mine.  However, they called me.  I explained that they had to call her.  They said they didn't have her number.  I said that she'd given it to them!  They were frustrated, so finally, I said, yes, she's home, and they were satisfied and hung up on me and delivered the water.  Funny, though, since I'm sure that I had originally said that I wasn't home and didn't know if she was home.  But all they needed was a "Da, doma" ("yes, home") to be hapy.

Later that evening they called me again!  Apparently they'd forgotten that they'd already delivered!  My friend laughed and said maybe they just like the sound of my voice!

Anyways, I'm still happy to have water delivered, and happy to pay 400 Tenge per 19 gallons.  Just wish I'd originally given my land-line number instead of my mobile.

1 comment:

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