Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Going Postal

29 March 2016

We're settled back in Buenos Aires for a few weeks, while we get organized for our next adventure.  Though somehow I seem to find adventure despite being in a busy city and taking tango lessons.

First, the coffee.  All around South America, we've found delightful coffee shops, cafés, and cafeterias - which in Spanish means coffee shop.  The cup of coffee, cafe con leche, latte, cappuccino, or whatever often comes with a little cookie on the side.  

This particular shop included a small bowl with two little cellophane wrapped and beribboned cookies, tiny little sandwich cookies of vanilla cookie with dulce de leche in the center.  Doll sized cookies.  But just so delightful with the little curling ribbon.  How could anyone resist a one-bite cookie with a ribbon?

So, my adventure in mailing two postcards.  You'd think this would be simple.  I bought two penguin postcards in Patagonia.  Addressed them, wrote my messages.  Got busy and neglected to find a post office in any of the towns along our return route to Buenos Aires.  Figured I'll just go to the post office here, no problem.  Although we've been to the PO here in Buenos Aires, and it's always busy.  You go in, take a number, and wait about half an hour for your number to be called.

Well, Richard wanted to buy some postcards, so we went to one of the news kiosks in the neighborhood and picked out some cards.  The vendor was also selling stamps.  So I figured I'd save some time and buy stamps right there, for the same price as the PO.  Plus he gave me a choice of stamps, and of course I picked the tango stamps.

Today, we went out walking, Richard needed some help with his computer.  We went by a post office (correos), and I brought in my postcards (postales) with the stamps (stampas) on them.  I tried to figure out if I could just put the stamped cards in the slot, and the lady at the desk called me over.  Oh no, she said, these aren't our stamps.  We're the Argentas correos, a private postal service.  Your stamps are DHL.  You must find the DHL office.  (Of course, that was all in Spanish, with the customer translating into English for me.)

NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  Who ever heard of DHL sending post cards?????  And where's the DHL office???

We couldn't find the computer store we wanted, so we asked at a bookstore.  The two adorable older women spoke English, and the owner sent us to the computer repair shop she uses, one block over and up several more blocks.  

While Richard was getting help, I asked if anyone knew where the DHL office was.  The English speaking computer guy gave me directions - one more block over, around the corner, and halfway up the block.  So I headed off, except DHL wasn't there.  FedEx was!  I thought perhaps the man confused the two shipping agencies, so I went inside.  The young man there said yes, they are only FedEx, no, they don't take DHL stamps, he never heard of DHL sending postcards or any mail, only packages.

He then ran a check and said it would cost 800 pesos to mail the postcards to the US.  That's about $50+ US!  No thank you!  

Then he asked what DHL said, and I explained I had received directions to DHL, but they weren't here, only FedEx.  OH, he says, DHL is up around the next corner, just down the street!

I thank him and head off to DHL.  Their sign isn't visible from the road, but there was a caravan of their trucks lined up on the side.  I go inside.  I wait for a free agent.  I slide the two postcards to her, expecting to hear "We don't do mail."  Or "that will be another 700 pesos."  (My stamps were only 40 pesos, exactly what the real post office charges.)

No, she takes the two cards, checks for the stamps, and says, "Gracias."  I paused, waiting.  "That's it?" I asked.  "Si, si.  No problemo.  Con stampas," she replies.  "Okay, muchas gracias," I say.

Who knew it took so much to just mail two postcards??? 

Regarding the maps - the first shows the route we took heading south and around Patagonia.  The second shows the route we took northbound, back to Buenos Aires.  Not too much different, since we wanted to stick with the coast rather than heading across the desert and up the mountains.  We like beaches, and wanted to avoid cold.  While we returned to a few towns/hotels, we stayed at some new places as well.

And I'm still tangoing.  We learned a very dramatic sequence yesterday, which includes the woman doing a 3/4 turn on her left leg while her right leg is extended out and downward, making this grand sweeping motion as she dips a bit.  Then the man extends his right leg in the opposite direction, so the two of us are dipped down but like a giant triangle, with our right legs stretched outward.  Then shift weight to the right leg, stand upwards, step around him with the left foot, and go back to the twirling and twisting.  SO theatrical!

I need to bring my camera to tango class and take some photos.  Especially when the instructors dance, they're absolutely impressive!