Thursday, December 15, 2011

No, you really can't get (it) there from here

I thought it would be fun to send the grandkids a letter form Bogotá, complete with Colombian stamps, so I wrote the letters and put them in envelopes and went to the local ServiEntrega store to send them.  There is no national postal service, so private companies have taken over the duty.
The nice lady at ServiEntrega took the letters and started madly filling out forms.  (Just to mail a couple of letters?)  
She finally finished, and showed me the calculator for the charge.  It read $180.160.  From previous posts, you probably realize that there is a great big difference in pesos and dollars, so I pulled out the equivalent of about $1.20 US and handed it over.  She kind of snickered and said I was a little short.  I tried again, and she finally gave up on the old gringo guy, opened the drawer, and pulled out three 50-mil peso and more to show me.  
With today's exchange rate, the total was $93.32 US.  AAAAAGGGHHHH!!  I love my grandkids, but forty-six dollars for each letter?  We quickly retrieved them.
The competing company is 4-72, so this time I went online first.
The company propaganda says that "4-72" refers to the latitude and longitude of central Colombia.  However, it was suggested by reviewers online that the numbers refer to the likelihood of anything entrusted to these folks actually arriving, roughly 4 out of 72, or 5.5%.  Ever.  One fellow sent postcards from three separate cities in Colombia, paying $6.60 for each, and after 9 weeks, none had arrived.
Apparently, there is a metaphysical disconnect between Colombia and the rest of the world, which can only be crossed in an airplane, or by throwing large amounts of pesos at reliable carriers (FedEx only wanted about $80 for each letter), or by putting the cocaine in a submarine and dropping it off in Honduras.  
The grandkids will have to survive with e-mail and Skype.
This whole thing gives me new respect for, you guessed it, the US Postal Service.
May all your letters arrive in a timely fashion!
Dave & Paula

1 comment:

Ann Orton (Kinard) said...

Must be why I haven't written! Very best of holiday adventures, and every other kind to y'all!
With love and blessings, ann