Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Snail Mail

I was raised in a household which harboured an unconcealed disdain and utter contempt for our country's postal system for the simple reason that it sucks. Or perhaps sucked; I've been out of touch with Canada Post for the past 2 1/2 years so perhaps they've finally - if not improved upon their service - at least learned what service is. This is a postal service which once delivered a letter with the postal code T0K 0E0 (an admittedly negligible town in the foothills of Alberta) to Tokyo before it was rediverted to Canada. I suspect I have Japan Post to thank for realizing that T0K 0E0 is not one of the 47 prefectures of Japan - so it behoves me to send them a heartfelt ありがとう.

In start contrast to Canada Post, Spain's Correos must send out their mail on the heels of Mercury rather than on the slime trails of snails. Letters from Madrid to an admittedly negligible town on the shores of the Mediterranean take about 24 hours. Letters I have sent to Canada and the U.S. have taken 2 to 3 days. It is quite humbling/refreshing/astounding to be on the receiving end of such service until I remember that there's no reason for mail delivery to take any longer. The only parcel to mar this almost perfect record was the month it took for one parcel from Canada to arrive - but given the fact that the sender neglected to include the apartment number in the address, they can be forgiven.

And displaying a wealth of confidence in the stellar service offered by the Correos, our friends and family from back home have inundated us with Christmas cards this year. We are stepping over bags of mail and sliding down the mountains of still unopened mail accumulating in our living room. Yes, we have received four (four!) cards this season. This represents a dramatic 100% increase from last year's faring in which two stragglers arrived in Morocco some time in mid-February - one of which was 14 months late.

But for the past few days, I've been frantically checking my mailbox - by Madrid standards, The Card should have arrived by now. Yes, last week King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia sent out their annual Christmas card with a not terribly imaginative photo of the royal family (see right). At least not terribly imaginative compared to 2005, when their yuletide offering was photoshopped to include members of the family not actually present. Now, not to put too fine a point on it, my card has yet to arrive and I'm peeved. I'm trying not to take this too personally but I do feel somewhat slighted. I don't wish to cast aspersions toward the Palacio Real and, in my heart of hearts, I know that I can't blame the Correos, so what gives?

In the meantime, I'll just have to remain patient - a quality which is sorely lacking from my genetic makeup. And hope that the card wasn't sent to Tokyo. No, that was Canada Post wasn't it? Perhaps King J-C just neglected to include my apartment number. Perhaps it'll arrive in January. Perhaps pigs fly. Oh right, this is Spain - they do!


Gatasombra said...

I must confess that I'd prefer the El Jueves version.

Gatasombra said...

Oh, and re:Correos; just remember that parcels certificadas are in less danger to get "lost", specially if it's heavy or it looks like the content is valuable. Apart from that,I have little complain about our mail system.

Alfonso el Idiota said...

Mail from Madrid to Barcelona seems to be averaging three weeks at the moment, and parcels usually disappear, certificated or not.

Did you know that the postmen's trade union here has a deal that they don't have to go to work if it's raining? At least, that's what my postwoman tells me.

La Gatita Gringa said...

This is what happens when I find something positive to say about something - everybody contradicts me and shows me to be an idiot! I've probably also cursed the service in Madrid too!

If no one ever receives a piece of mail again, blame me.

Cath said...

Well, I'm still amazed that the card you sent me arrived in four --four!! -- days. And at least part of that time was spent swimming upstream in Canada Post.

La Gatita Gringa said...

Hey Cath - I hear that delivering Xmas cards can be a deadly business in K-W these days. No wonder Canada Post doesn't break its neck delivering the mail.

Cath said...

That was absolutely shocking. It was on Glenwood Dr., which was the street where the Mosers and Brubachers lived. The victim was the same man who had a small plane crash in his front yard back in 1980. Now there's some lunatic who murders elderly men wandering loose in my dad's neighbourhood. Very comforting.

La Gatita Gringa said...

Oh my God! - I remember the plane crash. It's an unbelievably awful story. Time to buy your Dad a condo in Pebble Beach.

knarf said...

You wonder if perhaps Canada Post has improved somewhat in the past 2 1/2 years?


You're joking, right?

La Gatita Gringa said...

I *guess* I was ....

Di Mackey said...

I was so forlornly envious for a moment there ... mailbags of Christmas cards at your place compared to our 3.

I had always suspected it but now the proof is irrefutable, you are the better people, sigh.

Happy Christmas and I'm sure that lost card will come. Maybe the la gatita thing confused the King when he was addressing them?

Cheap 1300 Number said...

Snail mails are indeed very important when it comes to long distance communication.

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