Going Postal in Bolivia

I walked into the main Post office in La Paz, Bolivia. It is a massive building with flags flying on its roof top. The front plaza was full of people sitting and talking in the sun. It had the distinct feeling and look of a very chaotic government building. Yet when I walked inside there were only five customers but twenty-one service windows. There is an information desk as you walk in the front doors yet the women was to busy gossiping with her pal to actually give me any information. Across from the information desk are the many green uniformed police with machine guns, pistols, tears gas canons and riot shields, give me the opposite feeling of safety and security. I walked up to the nearest unoccupied postal clerk only to be directed to the occupied clerk three stalls over. I waited my turn and then approached the small smiley, round Bolivian grandmother said “Buenos Dias” she replied “Buenos Dias” anbolivia april 25 2009 019 - Copyd placed my five postcards bound for my Canadian friends and family on the counter. The sweet women smiled and took my post cards off the counter and placed them in front of her. She told me it was 37 Boliviano, so I paid her and she Said “OK that’s all, I can put the stamps on for you, have a good day”. I smile thinking, ‘what lovely lady, so helpful and kind’. I walk out of the post office back into the chaos of La Paz and stare into the noise and pollution and insanity of the honking traffic. It dawns on me maybe I should have put the stamps on myself. I wonder did the grandma put my stamps on or did I just buy her and her family supper.

As days pass by I wonder when my post cards will be received in Canada it’s been 18 day now. Maybe I should wait another week. OK it’s been 5 weeks and the post cards should have arrived by now. I email my pals and family to see if they got my post cards but they have not arrived yet. I think about the women in the post office so was so friendly and kindly she was someone’s grandmother. I think of my own grandmother who was the Postmaster in Taylor BC when I was a child. She was sweet, kind and a very helpful women, she would never have stolen someone’s stamps. It has been three month the postcards haven’t arrived in Canada.

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