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how to?: a step by step account of a package coming to Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

I always find a mailing address rather helpful, so I made sure to secure one before coming down to Ecuador, in case I should need any mail. I have successfully received post cards, letters, absentee ballots and packages. However, you never can tell when things will arrive, or how long it'll take for something to get to you once it's entered the country.
Case study: a package from my parents

1) Package sent from the US on October 31st.
2) Package arrives in Ecuador on November 5th (not bad!).
3) Package hangs out in a back room somewhere for a while.
4) A form is filled out informing me about the arrival of this package, November 10th.
5) Form receives the stamp of approval, November 11th.
6) The form gets lost somewhere, misplaced, stuck on the bottom of some pile.
7) The package and the form comunicate disgruntally about the efficiency of this process.
8) The package and the form twiddle their nonexistant thumbs.
9) The package and the form sit idly, plotting their revenge or escape plan.
10) The package and the form go into a hibernation state.
11) The form finally gets delivered to me, December 3rd, after the post office is already closed for business.
12) December 4th, I go to the post office.
13) The cashier takes my form, 2 copies of my identification, and a tax for receiving the package and stamps my form. He then gives it to someone else.
14) I sit on the bench and wait for my name to be called. They look for my package.
15) I am called and brought into the back room where all the packages are stored on floor to ceiling industrial shelves.
16) The postal clerk opens the package to check it's contents. "Clothes?" no, it's a bag. "Peanuts?" and other nuts. "What's all this?" that's just extra packaging, padding.
17) He puts everything back, tapes the box up, and hands me the customs forms. Tells me to follow him.
18) I bring the box along with me.
19) He sees me with the box and tells me to put it back.
20) We go to a desk and get more paperwork.
21) I have to go get a copy of the paperwork and come back to give it to them (and a rip off too, since the copy places near the post office have higher prices because they know people will need copies there, at that moment....a whole 5 cents for a page--ridiculous compared to my usual 2 cent rate).
22) Give the copy and the original paperwork to another postal clerk.
23) This new clerk gets out the package register and I sign for the package.
24) The clerk tries to pronounce my middle name. "Oh, like Luis!"
25) We go back into the holding cell, he continues reciting my name, and I claim my booty.
26) He wishes me a good day, and I return the sentiment.
27) I go home and immediately start eating trail mix. Woot.

Moral of the story, getting mail is taxing and time consuming. Though all in all, once I was notified of the arrival of the package, it only took me an hour at the post office to get my package, which isn't so bad. I've heard of people spending 2-3 hours getting packages before. I was truely fortunate--if only the other package I know was sent was there....ho hum. Another adventure awaits me another day.

permalink written by  Theresa on December 4, 2008 from Quito, Ecuador
from the travel blog: Adventures in Teaching and Living in Ecuador
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