The Great Post Office Debacle of 2012

The Great Post Office Debacle of 2012

While we were speaking with our neighbors, Bob mentioned the post office. This got us thinking that we really needed to stop in and make sure that there wasn’t anything there for us. Last night we drove by and checked on the hours because we were planning a big day Friday. We needed to go to Mojacar and check in with the bank, wanted to pick up a few gifts for family back home, and then go to the beach one last time. The Arboleas post office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 to 10:00 so that was going to work out just fine!

We got up and zipped across the bridge into town, and when we got to the post office there was a bit of a line. No problem! We’ll be in and out of here in a flash! (cue ominous music, yet again…)

Arboleas post office

La oficina de correos

Finally it was our turn in line. I was prepared for any confusion: I had written down our names and address just in case my caveman Spanish might be misunderstood. The man behind the counter said, “No, we don’t get mail for that address here.” I explained that our neighbor gets his mail at this post office, and certainly mail for our house would be delivered to this post office as well since all four homes are connected to one another. He said he would double check. But when he came back to the counter (which is about ten steps from where he had to go to “double check” — this is a small post office) he said, “Sorry, but that mail is delivered to the main post office in Huercal Overa since that address is across the bridge.”

Now, keep in mind that “across the bridge” is within walking distance, so we were baffled by this craziness. Some nice British people in line behind us asked the guy one more time, in much better Spanish than mine, but he told them the same thing. So the lady in line asked if we knew where the post office in Huercal was, and then kindly gave us directions. Of course the directions were those “Just go right round the bend until you reach the first roundabout, go right and then go through two traffic circles and then turn left before the hospital” or something to that effect. No one ever uses street names, since you probably couldn’t read the street signs anyway since they are stuck to the sides of buildings and you’d cause an accident slowing down to read them. Curt seemed to have the directions under control, so we said a hearty “Graçias!” and drove over to Huercal Overa.

Huercal Overa is just shy of a half hour away from Arboleas, so we would be able to drive over there, check on the mail situation, then make it to Mojacar in plenty of time for the banking and shopping.

(Could someone PLEASE turn down that ominous music…???!?)

I’m not going to bother with the minute details of us driving around Huercal Overa looking for the elusive post office, but suffice it to say that we were getting pretty frustrated. There was obviously something missing in the directions, and we were going mad. Any sign that said “correos” got us hopeful until we realized it was leading us not to the post office, but to a mailbox

correos

Not what we were looking for…

Finally we decided to park and we walked into some building that looked somewhat official. I honestly don’t remember what it was, but it had words on the front that made me think the people inside could possibly deal with city matters, or crazy English speaking tourists, or something… At any rate, we ventured inside and found a lady behind a glass window. (An older lady in a lot of makeup and a tiny outfit.) My guesses were wrong because this lady spoke NO English whatsoever. She was, however quite nice. I asked her in Spanish for help in finding the post office. She rattled off a bunch of directions, and when we looked like deer caught in the headlights, she emerged from the glass booth and took us outside to the sidewalk to show us how to get there. How nice was that?? We said “Graçias!” and headed on our way.

While driving there, we realized that the directions were lacking in one key turn, but no matter — we were on our way and would soon be done with this wild goose chase!

(That ominous music is seriously giving me a headache… Do you mind???)

We got to the Huercal Overa main post office and of course there is a line. But, you know, we were happy to actually be in the right place, so we tried to keep a positive attitude. There was one, yes ONE, clerk dealing with this huge line, while another woman wandered about behind the counter. Every once in a while a man appeared and said something to one of the ladies and then disappeared in the back. There was much sighing in line. Eventually the line was being held up by a man at the counter who was shipping multiple tiny boxes… one by one… box after box after box. Finally the extra lady behind the counter begrudgingly opened her window and took the next customer. Someone came into the post office and tried to go right into her line, but it was like dropping a goldfish into a pool of piranhas: None of the others waiting in line were going to let that happen! “Get to the back of the line!!” The person slinked to the back.

More sighing, shifting of feet, grumbling… now the second lady was only dealing with people who needed to pick up mail. Which, by the way, was no one… The guy mailing what looked to be like 50 mini vhs tapes of questionable nature was still at the first window… I was trying to keep calm, cool, and collected, reminding myself that stress causes premature aging…

Finally! It’s our turn! Oh happiness! If we had tails we would have been wagging them. We go to the counter, I get out the notebook with our address handily written on it, tell the woman we are here to check on any mail for our address, and she says, “Oh, for that address, you need to go to the annex next door… but it’s closed now.”

Wha—?

 

 

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