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If you have ever considered sending a package from a Asian country to friends at home, this article and video may make you think twice.

I have been here in Nepal for a month and wanted to get a few small items home to my family. BEWARE! The post office in Kathmandu is VERY different than any post office in the United States! You have to remember that I am in a country where it is a miraculous day if you have all three utilities (electricity, water, internet) at the same time, for any length of time. I should have realized the post office would put me to the test!

Because I'm on the road for another year it's not as though I can check items through in my luggage. Well, I could but I would start to get weighed down and then forget who or why I had gotten the item. So, I gathered a few small treasures together and sweet-talked a friend in Atlanta into delivering them to everyone. Somewhere along the way a little angel whispered in my ear to send them all in one package. If not, I would have ended up going postal at the post office.


So here is the process that I went through to mail the package:


1. I ride on the back of a motorcycle (scary beyond belief) through Kathmandu traffic knowing that the butt pucker is what is keeping me attached to the two-wheeled demon.

2. Walk through the WWII prison camp-type building to check the mail box.

3. Walk back down to the front of the building to the main desk to mail package.

4. Get sent to EMS (Express Mail Service) because it is bigger than a letter envelope.

5. EMS starts to unwrap all packages that I have wrapped, inwardly I am freaking out....that took hours!...but he's a guy doing a boring, repetitive job and doesn't care....outwardly I very nicely explain that it is a postcard wrapped with a prayer flag and prayer beads...every single one of them with the exception of three of the items. He stops unwrapping, I breathe a sigh of relief.

6. Get sent to customs.

7. Have to walk across and down the road to get a copy of my passport.

8. Go back to customs to fill out the form.

9. Have to explain the package and what is in it to the customs agent.

10. Customs agent signs off and is very cool about it all.

11. Tape everything back together and reassemble the whole package.

12. Seal the inner bag and the outer envelope.

13. Pay the trio of package wrappers to wrap the package in cloth, sew it closed and seal it with red wax stamps around the edges.

14. Video the whole entire experience and tell them that they are going to be on American television.

15. Go to the Customs Secretary for it to be registered in the OLD FASHIONED, bound, paper pages, ledger book.

16. The Secretary says...in Hindi...another signature from a different customs agent is needed. This is the point that EVERYONE that starts EXPECTING a bribe in order to continue the process.

17. An exasperated look and everyone starts rattling away in some language that sounds like a combination of gun fire and low pitched frustration.

18. GO BACK to the Customs Office and am directed to the other Customs Agent..."out there" and a finger point.

19. I am told to stand in one place and to try not to act like a "tourist" while hte other customs agent is found.

20. Everyone comes back into the customs office and more bullet-fire conversation happens, Customs Agent #2 starts to posture like a jerk, customs agent #1 tells him to sign, a very long minute later Customs Agent Jerk #2 signs off. I have no clue what has been said due to it being foreign gibberish to my ears, I just smile, nod and try my best (with my now limited patience) to continue to be nice.

21. Go back out to the Customs Secretary where the package gets registered in the old fashioned ledger.

22. Walk back to the EMS room and get in line. At this point I am laughing about the whole process, my "friend" is mumbling under his breath about how back-a**wards the whole Nepal government is and how antiquated they keep things.

23. Start video taping everything, have to in order to take my focus off the frustration and to keep my sense of humor up. People are now starting to stare.

24. Finally recognized by the fellow behind the counter (refer to #4). He hands me yet ANOTHER form.

25. Start filling out the bijillionith form, laughing out loud, I am being filmed, bystanders start taking pictures.

26. Guy-behind-the-counter puts the package on the scale, tallies it up and hands me the bill.

27. The entire process has now taken 2 hours (the longest it ever took me in Atlanta to send an International package was 20 minutes and that was 15 minutes of standing in line).

29. I gladly pay the bill (a whopping $20 but when you put it in perspective for Nepal that pays for a week's rent here) and fill that package full of good thoughts for it make it to the States on time.

30. Any thoughts of my sending another package from Nepal back to the States are now completely shot. I WILL NOT be doing this again.

If you want to take a look (in double speed) of what it actually looks like there, take a look at this video. To me, it looks like a building that would be used on the set of a WWII type of movie.

On a good note....after a 2-hour ordeal at the Kathmandu Post Office the package made it to the States in a record time of 6 days. Obviously the time I spent at the post office was worth it because it then sat there for days tormenting my friends since they couldn't open the packages until an appointed day.

On another note, the U.S. portions of this story who had to get my package from point B to point C didn't do any better a job of making a good impression. My package, which had each present individually wrapped, all individual presents sealed tight in a plastic bag, that plastic bag of goodies inside a bubble wrap envelope and then the finishing touch of the Nepal cloth and wax stamp treatment added to it, arrived at the final destination with all three layers completely opened and barely fastened with 1, I repeat 1, very haphazardly piece of tape precariously holding it together.

So is it easier to take the goodies back with you packed away in your luggage? By all means, YES! I also have a feeling that everything will be much easier once I make it to Spain. I am ready for the "normalcy" of the European Union as compared to a Third World Country, but hey, all of these little stories will only grow and become funnier the longer I do this. Someday I will be in South America or Africa telling the story of how much easier it was to send a package from Nepal.

 

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copyright 2011-2017 Loxley Browne

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