Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Intermittent Nets

Even Mohammed didn't actually fix my computer's Internet problem, which returned yesterday afternoon and disappeared again this morning. I'm beginning to think my computer is trying to tell me something...who knows what? I'd better take this window of opportunity to discuss the wonders of the International Postal Service aka Snail Mail.

You devoted regular readers of this blog will recall that I went to Flahdida in April. While there, I learned that my half-grandniece-in-law at the dascha had cleverly ordered some items from the Internets and had them sent to her auntie's house, the very same Pippi Bluestocking I was visiting, thus saving the more costly delivery charges to Israel. She also cleverly told her auntie that the items could be mailed or delivered either by me or by auntie, thus leaving us several options.

Among the items was a beautiful and heavy book, which I declined to schelp to LA, NY, and Tel Aviv. However, I also thought it was too heavy for Pippi Bluestocking et al to schep, so I took it upon myself to pack it up and mail it. Having found among their impressive box collection a suitable book carton with a little extra room in it, and seeing as how said half-grandniece-in-law (HGNIL) is a budding fashion designer, I bought her a couple of sewing books that the local library had on sale in its Friends of the Library shop, and stuffed them into the box to fill it. Prowesslessnesslessness cooperatively drove me to the local Post Office (walking in Flahdida during daylight in April is apparently illegal), where I decided to send the books by sea for $26, rather than air, which would cost more than double. My experience has been that sea mail takes 6 to 10 weeks, and these books were not needed urgently.

Weeks passed. I returned to Israel. I went away again. I returned again, this time with the relatives we share. HGNIL announced that she had received a notice that the books had arrived in Israel! However, the customs people decided they had to open the package in the presence of the recipient, and the notice mentioned this detail. It meant she had to present herself to the Main Post Office in Haifa to observe the Examination of the Package, because her local post office does not have customs inspectors available for such important tasks. Haifa is about 1/2 hour's drive from the dascha, but she doesn't drive yet. Her father categorically refused to participate in this project, having previously suffered sufficiently at the hands of the Haifa Postal/Customs Authority.

So this past Monday morning I proposed a Family Outing. Her father was at work, her younger sister was at horseback riding camp. Why not an expedition to Haifa to recover the package? And so it came to pass, with Prowesslessnesslessness again driving me to a Post Office, this time to retrieve the same package we had mailed in April. Of course none of us knew where the Haifa Main Post Office was, but we managed to find it using clues like the address, a map, and some helpful road signs. The customs guys there were having a little party in their air-conditioned subterranean lair, trying to determine what a tubular package from China could possibly contain. They took a break from this entertaining pastime to retrieve the very package I had posted (in the Snail Mail sense, not the Blogger sense) about 11 weeks ago. When they opened the book package, they decided that HGNIL should sew them some new trousers, but would not have to pay any duty or penalty.

To celebrate the completion of delivery, we all went out for brunch by the sea, and found a tractor outside the restaurant (see photo).

Savtadotty's International Postal Service is now closed for vacation.


Anonymous said...

Sure hope your computer problems are resolved soon!
What a story about the postal service. Maybe I'll keep my mouth shut about the service here in the US.

SavtaDotty said...

In their defense, I must admit that during the 19 years I've been using the Israeli Postal Service, they have not once (to my knowledge) lost a piece of my incoming mail. One small package I sent via air mail to Sarasota was never delivered, but we don't know whose fault that was!