Friday, April 14, 2006

Post A Letter? Jokin' Aren't Ya!

Ever since I moved to the Miggle East I have fallen out of the habit of using snail mail. This happened even before the advent of the Interweb. The reason is that using snail mail in the Miggle East has never been anywhere near convenient. To send a letter, you have to go to a Post Office. To receive a letter you have pay for a P.O. Box.

Let me tell you about Post Offices in Dubai. There's one in Jumeirah. There may or may not be one in Satwa - last time I passed it, it looked like they were demolishing it. There's the main one in Karama. No doubt there's one or two in Deira. All of these sites have actual post office boxes, where you could collect your mail if you were fortunate enough to be able to get a key to one of them. I've also seen clumps of P.O. Boxes at some gas stations. There's a mini-clump at Media City. Anyhoo, don't want one, never going to get one. My mail goes to a shared Media City box, and if you are dumb enough to snailmail me stuff, I'll pick it up once a fortnight and then throw it away.

As for sending mail, I usually do it via Media City also. There is another alternative - our local Choithram's sell stamps and they have a Post Box just outside. If your package seems a little bit heavy they weigh it on the fruit and veg scales and it comes back with a sticker that says 'Brown onions, 53 grams, 3 dirhams'.

If you are unfortunate enough to receive something 'suspect', then you will get a card ordering you to go to a real Post Office to retrieve it (Samurai Sam has a hilarious account of such a visit - but I can't find the link...). This is Old Dubai at its worst, and if snail mail wasn't such a total irrelevance I would be jumping up and down about it.


Blogger Lalit Paryani said...

Not forgetting the amount of junk stuffed in that little space of curelty.

5:07 pm  
Blogger Harsha said...

Lalit Paryani, why are you so familiar to me...

10:34 am  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

And you forgot to mention the chances of receiving any thing sent by post... slim to none; whether it's you receiving or you sending the chances of that package making it where it needs to go...

uh hu... rarely gonna happen.

3:50 pm  
Blogger sheikha cheryl said...

oy veh...they cram so much junk in my box that all of MY mail falls to the floor on the other side so I have to go back, just to repeat the frustration. and I want to know why al tayer can get their unwanted mail through to me, but I can never seem to get my bills or bank statements on time. I love the inter"web". they know they suck or they wouldn't have the "win-a-million-dirhams-thing" going on all the time...or whatever it is.

7:15 pm  
Blogger kaya said...

The only person who still send me snail mail is my Mom. she will always post our birthday cards 2 weeks in advance.
We get them 2 weeks later after the event!
having said that as of today its been 3 weeks I am waiting for a registered mail to come from Muscat. go figure

11:22 pm  
Blogger Omni said...

I can't believe there's actually a mail system worse than the one here, LOL!!

9:06 am  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

As in most places, working for the national post is a good job if you get it.

What's been your experience having something Fed Ex-ed here when you don't have a street address? My solution has always been to tell the sender to omit the PO Box from the address, because Fed Ex offices refuse addresses that appear only to be PO boxes. The result is that my address looks like this:

my name
name of my employer
city, United Arab Emirates

You have to wonder how the Fed Ex folks figure it out from there. They must be something like - Keefie Boy dare I say? - London cabbies who must rely on a detailed memory of places because London is virtually impossible to map out (though with GPS memory is no longer necessary - maybe that's what Fed Ex does here, i.e. have a match of place names with GPS coordinates).

6:24 pm  
Blogger samuraisam said...

chilton, the only problem with that is that for instance, my brother ended up with several boxes of... gun catalogues of all things, that were for someone of a similar name, but not my brother.

go figure ):

2:14 am  
Anonymous PNG said...

Keefie, you are a Blogger; Bloggers BLOG! Write something!

I wait up in the middle of the night JUST to see if there are any revelations!


10:34 pm  
Blogger J. Edward Tremlett said...

Not long before we were ready to head back to the states, we got one of those 'suspect parcel' notes, and it was from Thailand.

Of course, this sent some worry rocketing through my head. We'd been to Thailand not long ago, and were wondering if maybe the locals had decided to send us something illicit in the hopes we'd ferry it onto them: sort of a Spanish Prisoner with the prisoner's hand in a box?

We had no reason to think of anything that would come from Thailand. We had lost a shipment of comic books from the states recently, yes, but that wasn't coming from Thailand. And I could just see myself trying to explain a bag of coca powder to an unamused police inspector, without much success...

So between that and the fact that I wasn't sure where the post office was - and its close proximity to a police station on the map in the Dubai Explorer - I did not go to get it. I ignored the first postcard, and then the second. And after that, we were home.

Come to find out that the package was, indeed, the lost package of comics. For some reason it'd gone to Thailand, and then arrived in the UAE, and when we didn't come to get it, they sent it back to the return address - my mother in law, in Wisconsin.



12:05 am  
Anonymous el condo said...

Thanks guys for knocking Emirates Post.

I occasionally purchase goods over the internet, nothing I ever purchased in the past few years has ever been lost or undelivered (exception below).

DVDs etc from Amazon (UK) come through in 5 - 8 days. The exception: a few years ago, a couple of items sent from Integrity UK disappeared. One was a CD titled "Shalom Jerusalem" (Peace, Jerusalem) and the other was a video called "Shout to the Lord 2000". The first had some Hebrew letters on the cover design, possibly a reason for confiscation. The video was of a Christian musical programme held in Australia. I understand that in those days they weren't allowing (Christian) videos through. I just took a chance in ordering that one. But in the recent past all my Christian CDs and DVDs have been delivered safely.

In any case, I dont blame Empost for those losses, it was more likely the Ministry of Information, I would think.

3:43 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

el condo - you must have mucho wasta. I just find it incredible that a 'postal service' is allowed to confiscate stuff just because they feel like it, and is so utterly inept at delivering anything. They're good at sending stuff though.

3:55 pm  
Blogger GMJ said...

its very annoying when your waiting for your package desperately and you just never receive it. They should have the decency of informing you they have confiscated it, then you can atleast stop waiting. But no, they just feel they have the right to do that without our knowledge.

But I feel they are working on improving Empost. The downside is, they are hiring more locals (due to emirtization) and more than often i have heard of locals ignoring certain people because of their gender or race etc
like for example the other day my friend got ignored by this local lady working there, because she was busy flirting with her male colleague! they need supervision these people!

4:17 pm  
Anonymous Chris said...

You need a real PO Box, my friend! All the expats are using them these days.

Why travel somewhere to check a p.o. box when you can check your postal mail entirely online, just like email? They'll scan the contents and display 24/7, forward, shred, and more.

The current addresses offered also have the advantage of being in the tax-free state of Oregon.



8:46 am  

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