Posted by: Ali | November 11, 2009

Care Package!

I got a care package today from my daddy!  It was very awesome and full of pumpkin pie.  Sort of.  Apparently I am going to have to make more pies now and have more adventures!

The fun adventuresome part is how I received it.  Remember my post a while back about credit cards?  Well that’s kinda how the government here works too, filling out forms in triplicate with copies of your essential documents…

Yesterday I received a note in the mail.  At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but after reading it carefully I determined that I had to go pick up a package.  Awesome.  So I headed out to the post office and about halfway there I read some fine print.  There was a list of seven items that might have been rules about picking up a package (did you know that you could authorize someone to pick up your package for you but you would have to provide them with a letter that has been notarized?), and one of the items said that there may be a charge of S/. 7, unless the package was under 1 kg.  There also would be a charge of S/. 0.50 per day for packages between 1 and 10 kg, or S/. 1 per day for packages over 10 kg.  Interesting.  So I went back home and got some money.

Then I arrived at the post office, and asked where I should go to pick up the package.  Then she points to the note I am holding and points out that there is an address for the post office in Lince, which is a district that is not Miraflores.  Lince?  Why would I want to go to Lince when there was a perfectly good post office two blocks from my house?  Sigh.

The post office in Lince also apparently closed at 4pm, while the more sensible one in Miraflores closes at 8pm.  So I couldn’t go yesterday.  Today I woke up bright and early and took the bus out to Lince and got to the post office, where they required a photocopy of my passport.  I was prepared, but it always strikes me as amusing that they will request a photocopy, and then send me outside and literally next door where the equivalent of a convenience store has set up, selling things like envelopes, pens, packing tape, birthday cards, and photocopies.

I was told to stand in line behind these two men, who were apparently from the deep south.  I didn’t mean to listen in on their conversation at first, until one guy said to the other “okay make sure you act like you don’t speak or understand Spanish.”  That was intriguing.  I had no idea what these two guys were doing other than what looked like claiming DOZENS of packages (there was this HUGE stack of paper).  I think what happened was one of the guys’ luggage got lost, so apparently his solution was to have someone mail dozens of small packages to himself in Peru.  I also overheard him say that they were mailed from three or four different post offices so that was causing some confusion.  I was waiting for a while so I started hypothesizing about what situation might cause you to feign ignorance of the language and mail dozens of packages internationally from different mailboxes.  Maybe they’re spies.

Luckily for me, they sent one of the men away to do some photocopies, and the lady helped me out while he was gone.  I was told to wait while they retrieved my package.  Soon enough, my name was called, and a group of like four people asked me to open my package in front of them, which I did – that was an adventure.  They were asking me what everything was (there was some maple syrup and pumpkin mix), and trying to figure out how it all corresponded with the customs declaration (which it didn’t).  But they decided that I wasn’t a terrorist, so after filling out about a billion forms and telling me that I should keep three of them, I was sent on my merry way.

Thank you Dad!  Especially for the crossword puzzle.  I haven’t done one in ages!


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