The markets in all the countries we’ve visited so far are just too tempting and having been 3 months on the road, perhaps I may have bought 1 or 2 items that have meant my pack is now too full. That coupled with too many hard copy (yes old school) guide books meant a trip to the post office to try out the international postal system was inevitable.
We first tried to sent a parcel home in Nepal but in Pokhara, a faded and jaded sign at the post office said that it was no longer possible to send international parcels in Pokhara (only in Kathmandu). However, by the time we got to the post office in Kathmandu, there was an official sign up saying that there was no outgoing international post “due to a technical cause” (which we understood to be a dispute with Thai Airways). This seemed to have come into effect only a couple of days before we had presented at the post office. Fortunately however, we believe that our post cards had got through from Pokhara despite being a little dubious about that given that we just bought stamps in a book shop and then put the post cards in their home made post box on the vague promise that they would then do something with the cards (hopefully post them).
Finally in Puducherry in South India, we managed to send our parcel but here, the story was not entirely straight forward either: the option for sea mail had been removed, only air mail was possible. Also from the post office we were in, it was only possible to send international packages to certain destinations (fortunately this did include the UK albeit at higher prices than if you were sending to France from there: perhaps the former colonial link secured you a better deal? Not so good for the couple of Austrian tourists who popped in while we were at the post office and who were told there was no service to Austria from that post office).
Once you’ve agreed a rate, your goods are examined more or less (you can’t send anything valuable including any USB sticks or stone materials) and then packaged up – everyone else seemed to end up with a white linen hand sewed package but our goods were packed up in a more mundane card board box with lots of selotape. “Official” sorts of forms are at least half completed and as always, yet another copy of your passport has to be made and given to the bureaucrats. I’ve lost count now of how many copies of our passports have been taken during this trip so far (for a start every hotel in India takes a physical copy and it’s not just in India). While the process sounded relatively straight forward, every aspect took some time and as usual, more than one customer was being served simultaneously making the whole process a little more chaotic especially since a lot of the parcels all look very similar before they are properly fully addressed. But I’m pretty confident that “my parcel” contained “my goods”. But let’s see what happens – apparently it will take “maximum 2 weeks” to arrive. Let’s see hey?
Update: the parcel arrived in the UK within a week!! Great stuff!