Monday, April 02, 2007

India Journal 2006 THE POST OFFICE SAGA

Well, it all began when I arrived on February 5th and began accumulating, very slowly at first, things to put in a parcel to send home. In the beginning it seemed to be a simple straighforward thing. And I've done it many times before in the past so didn't think much of it at the time.

The size of the parcel grew as each week went by, and I added to it many things which I no longer needed to carry with me, making room in my bag for new things I had bought along the way.

The paracel includes my stuff which I am sending back as well as many gifts, medications (mostly ayurveda stuff I bought) and a couple of books etc., When I finally decided it was enough,
I took it slowly, a couple of small boxes at a time down to the local tailor to have it sewn into a proper parcel. The maximum parcel weight is 20 KG and this one seemed to have been about up to the limit once it was packed.

Once done, I needed someone to help me get it down to the post office. No rickshaw comes all the way up here and no rickshaw, even if someone gets me into one, will take me all the way to the Post Office.

So, in the end, the guys here agreed to help me on one of their motorbikes. I assumed (something which I try never to do, but for some reason did), that he would put the package between his legs on the floor of the motorbike. But no. He expected ME to carry the package as well as keep myself seated on the bike. It weighed over 17 KG! I was sure both the parcel and me would fall off. But we somehow made it down to the Post Office. The guy carried it down several flights of stairs only to find the PO closed!! Why? Who knows?? What to do?? The thought of going back up with it and then down again the next day, especially in this heat, didn't sit well with me. So I remembered my friend the chemist just a few shops down from the PO. The guy carried the parcel for me to the chemist shop and as soon as he, the chemist, saw me he said "yes, yes...closed today...end of "money"year...March 31st...leave here...OK...come back Monday". And I did just that!

Came back today, Monday, and he helped me carry the parcel up to the PO. Only to find the power was out so they couldn't weigh it. And I certainly couldn't carry back to the chemist shop. I couldn't even lift it (or so I thought). They said I could leave it there and come back later. So, back to my friend the chemist, bought a couple of more things that I needed and then tried again at the PO. Power on! Weighted in! Had to lift it twice myself, onto the scale and then down into the main parcel room. 17+ KG is REALLY heavy. Whoever picks this up in Israel will have to bring some form of transportation to get it home for sure!

Everything, to their great surprise, was OK on the parcel outside, but I've done this before so I know what they want written there.

And then paying. To my surprise, again, it was over 2000 rupees!!! Prices have gone up but I didn't want to send it cheaper by regular sea mail so decided to apy. It raises the parice of everything I bought by about 30% but...what to do??

Then, I realized I didn't have that much money with me. So out and down again. Asked the chemist about changing money and he told me where to do it nearby. Changed the $50 and back up again. Fill in a short form, not like the long ones in the money and done!

Hopefully it will get home before I do. And in one piece.

And that's it for today!