Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2.5hrs & 5lbs

this morning around 11am my doorbell buzzer rang. i picked up the phone for the intercom; it was the postman. i ran downstairs and signed for a slip of paper indicating that i had a package waiting for me at the post office. yeah :-)

figuring out where the post office is was a challenge. on the slip there were it's cross streets, but no physical address and one of the cross streets didn't show up on any maps. with a friend's help over a cup of coffee, she told me which bus to take and about where to get off.

the main post office in B.A. has a bad reputation. i've read / heard that it's in a bad section of the city, that you have to wait forever, that they misplace your packages, that you have to return several times and that you have to pay the tax on whatever is in the box. knowing this i gave myself a couple hours figuring it all out.

the postoffice
around 3pm i took the 93 bus. the driver charged me $1.25? the bus used to cost $0.90, but the fare went up to $1.10. i guess the extra $0.15 was a foreigners fee? i also asked him to tell me when to get off for the post office. he did, but it was no where near where my friend and i thought. so i crossed the street and tried to figure out where i was and then asked a police. he pointed me 5 blocks in the direction i just came. who do you think knows the city more? the bus driver or the police?

i only walked two blocks and spotted a branch of the Argentine postal system; they should know where i need to go. i went inside and asked a worker. the worker was very kind, he wrote a list of busses i should take that would drop me off in front of the main post office. he also pointed out that they close at 5pm...tick tick tick

i walked outside and took the first bus i saw, the 91 (which was one of the numbers the post office worker wrote down). i asked the driver if he was going to the main post office and showed him my slip. he started to flirt with me and i flirted back in the hopes of him dropping me off right in front of the post office, which he did. he really went out of his way to point out the post office and he pulled as close as he could even though there wasn't a stop. when i got off he told me to be safe.

the area had several large warehouses, the bus station and a very wide avenue with no trees. it looked like a seedy area, but luckily i only had to cross a small street and directly on the other side was the post office.

when i walked in, there was a small room with about 10-15 chairs. i took a number like they have at the deli counter and within 5 min i was being helped. i showed a copy of my passport and the slip postal slip i got from my postman this morning. i signed the slip and then the worker ripped of a portion of it, pointed to the 6 digit number on the slip and then pointed to the next room.

the next room was larger with many seats and many people in the seats. there were no postal workers in the room and no digital sign to see what number was being called. it took me a little bit to figure out what was going on.

in the middle of the room was a large stereo-system like speaker. a postal worker was calling out the numbers. the stereo speaker was low grade or just poor grade. it was so difficult for me to hear what he was saying. i know my spanish numbers by now, but i couldn't understand this man over the low quality speaker. crap. is he calling out 93 - 66 - 15 or is he calling out 9 - 3 - 6 -6 -1 -5? i sat there for 5 min trying desperately to understand but still couldn't, so i slid a chair over and asked an older man sitting next to me to help. i asked him in spanish and he was very kind to watch for my number for me. just 15 min passed and i heard my number. i jumped out of my chair not expecting to be able to understand, but i did.

by watching others i knew to walk to the front of the room, go through a turnstyle, open the door on the other side and then go through another door. on the other side of the two doors was a woman who took my number and the package was right there waiting for me. so i just carried it out, but before i was out the door a postal worker yelled at me 'chica chica'. crap, is this where i have to pay? no, i just had to sign again.

(i heard that when the value of the package is under $25 you don't have to pay tax on it)

shoot. now how do i get home, with this package and not get jumped?

i walked out of the post office and crossed the wide avenue. i saw the 92 bus so i flagged one down. when i got on board and told the driver where i was going he told me i wasn't going in the correct direction and that i needed to take a bus over there (he pointed).

'over there' there were 5 long long bus terminals / or bus stops. if i were to walk up and down all of them to see where the 92 stopped i'd still be there. so instead i waited to see a 92 bus and then see which of the 5 lanes he was going to pull into. sure enough it was 3 across. i don't think i was suppose to duck under the bars like that and dart across the buss lanes but i just wanted to get out of the neighborhood after all the things i heard about it....and i did so. safely, 2.5 hours later.

(photo below: the bus driver had a bobble head panther and fuzzy dice. digg the curtains?)

of course the first thing i do after walking in the door was open the package...

it's funny now to think that i ran through a dangerous part of B.A. with a 5 pound bar of chocolate. yes, it's one huge bar. the bar is so big that the box didn't fit in my B.A. sized frig and when it came out of the box it is seriously the width of my fridge...seriously. i also got a letter and some PA memorabilia, both made me cry and booth are super sweet.

the chocolate was only in the frig for a half hour before i poured myself some milk and ripped it open.

i'll be sure to post once i finish the 5 pound bar, i just hope that post isn't tomorrow. good thing i didn't buy the Argentine swimsuit yet, right?

thank you nick. you're the best :-)

(photo below: there is my 'bag 'o' milk')




Nancy said...

holy crap! that's one big ass chocolate bar! YUM!

Jenna said...

Scary! Wow, yilly, I'm impressed with your urban skills! I'd be jumpy if I had to deal with that here, but the difference here is that I know I ultimately could walk miles home if I had to, without getting too lost.

I'm backlogged on your blog, but I went back a couple of posts and see that you're getting up to speed with Spanish- yay!

Janet said...

Wow... that chocolate bar will last you allllll year!

Nicholas N said...

Hahaha! I love it!.... Tell me the bar arrived broken... cause if it did and I tell the boys at Hersery... they'll send me another one free of charge....... I know this because i did it 10 years ago haha SUCKERS!!!!

yillabean said...

LoL... oh yeah, it really is one big ass chocolate bar. yum yum is totally right!

my friend who helped me with which bus to get on suggested that if i felt unsafe that i should just jump in a cab and give them the address, so that was my backup plan. luckily everything went well and no body messed with me and my chocolate bar.

Janet, a year to eat this mammoth bar? it's chocolate, not pea soup:-). i estimate a month. 6 weeks tops.

Nick, does it count if i broke it trying to shove it in my fridge?