That's sort of the theme of the day, I suppose. Technology failure. I was supposed to be teaching using the web and the cd's yesterday morning which I certainly could have done, except for one teeny, tiny glitch. The brand, spanking new $1500 Proxima projector decided to act like a two year old and refused to cooperate. The tech guys tried everything under the sun, and finally found one laptop in the whole room that our miscreant projector would play nicely with. By then it was lunch, and I had spent most of the morning using a whiteboard and markers to get across the things I needed to do. Hey, it's all part of teaching with technology. Always have a backup plan, and it's a really good idea to have a backup to the backup, too.
After lunch (and I must say the food at the Palace Swasno Hotel is fantastic!), we thought we were good to go. The projector had had enough of a timeout, everyone's cd's had finally been coaxed into cooperation and the stars seemed to be aligned. Then, Shiksha 2 decided to also take a break. We have two wireless hubs, Shiksha 1 and 2. (Shiksha is the Hindi word for "Education"). Shiksha 2 had died on Monday afternoon only to be resurrected Monday night. By yesterday afternoon, she had gone on holiday again and we were down to practically no bandwidth. This really is not a recipie for succes when you are teaching technology skills. The folks were very patient and understanding, probably because this is India where the power goes out ten times a day and you can make an appointment with someone but must consider the power of IST (India Stretch Time).
Vicky and I had decided early in the morning that we wanted to do some shopping after class. The ladies in the class were very helpful and knowledgeable about places to go for the items we were looking for. We thought we could get Bob to drop us at the hotel, then wait 15 minutes while we changed shoes, then take us to the mall where we were told we would find the shops we wanted. Rememeber, Bob speaks very little English. We thought that we could get Gagan, one of the teachers here, to translate for us, and give Bob directions. 10 minutes and at least 4 people later, we were on our way.
Bob dutifully dropped us off. As I got my bag from him I gestured 15 minutes and he said, "Yes, 15 minutes." We changed and went downstairs eagerly anticipating a credit card exercise session.
No Bob's car.
The helpful doorman, after the three of us stood around for 15 minutes, said,"Oh, he has gone away. I saw him leave." He suggested we sit inside for a few minutes until Bob came back. We finally formulated a plan of attack on the bar for our "free" drinks (we get a new coupon every day). We informed the doorman that he could call us in the bar if Bob showed up. By this time, Bob was 45 minutes late.
We arrived in the bar, coupons in hand and throats parched. Now, we find that the coupon is good for a beer (size L) or a mixed drink (size Barbie). We went with the flow, ordered snacks and sat back to enjoy the evening. It was sometime into the second drink that one of the bartenders came to the table to tell Mr. Foltos that there was a phone call. Les came back to announce that Bob had been waiting for about a half hour for us. The doorman had called our rooms and when he couldn't reach us it seems that Bob called the travel agent who arranged his employment with us. She, in turn, called Gagan, who called the front desk of the hotel, who did a tiny little bit of sleuthing and found us in...the bar. Just where we said we'd be.
Will the food at Hotel Swasno continue to be fabulous? Will the travel agent show up to give us the plans for Agra? Will Vicky and Cheryl get to go shopping tonight?
Stay tuned for the answers to these and many more questions.