Archive for July, 2004
Kirsten and I had our first package held up in customs last week, and as a service to anyone who may have to collect mail in Peru, I offer this step-by-step guide.
Be sure you have your customs form. Take a taxi to the Serpost HQ near the airport. It looks a bit like a fortress constructed out of powder-blue cinder blocks.
Go past the impressive gate.
Go past the two nicely maintained pedestrian doors.
Go past the 100-yard long blank wall with no doors or windows.
Stop at the roughly person-sized hole in the back wall of the complex. There will be a shoe-shine boy and three taxis. Enter here.
Get the form from the desk. Use your old customs form to fill out the new one. Fill it in except for the blank marked “numero de paquete.”
Stare blankly at the customs form which has two numbers, one marked “numero” and one marked “paquete.”
Go the window marked “Formularios de Aduana.”
Give him one of the customs forms. It will be the wrong one, so have the other one handy. Under no circumstances should you give him both forms. In this case neither form will be correct.
Take your number and sit. The “Now Serving” ticker is on the left. This part will take quite a while, as the customs agents will not yet have returned from lunch.
When the customs agents do return, check your number, because the guy in the red sweater-vest at Window 2 will start clicking through numbers as fast as possible.
While that is going on, another man will begin calling names out at Window 4. You will not be able to understand him over the microphone, so at every name, half-rise and look around to see if someone else is advancing on the window with more authority. Resume sitting.
When the woman at Window 3 calls your name (despite the ticker standing 10 short of your number), go immediately. She will take all of the remaining forms, open your package, and assign the standard duty of 112% of the highest possible estimated value of each item. She will keep the package, but give you your forms, now with several stamps and a customs duty to pay at the cashier’s window.
Go to the cashier. You are at the wrong window. You must get a ticket at Window 6.
Go to Window 6. The people in front of the window appear to be in a line, but they are not. Use your elbows. The man at the window will look at your form, write on another form, stamp them, and give them all back to you. The computer on his desk does not appear to have been turned on in some years.
Return to the cashier. Pay. The cashier will inform you that the value is not in Soles, but dollars. Pay quickly before you realize that the duty has now tripled and must be well over the value of the items in the box. You will receive a receipt.
Go to collect your package at Window 1. You are again wrong, but very close: go back to Window 6.
This time the man will stamp your receipt and give it back to you.
Window 1. Get package. Run for your life.
Total time: 2 hours, 53 minutes
This morning is Fiesta Patria in Peru, similar to the 4th of July in the States, except here there’s a street named after it. I was determined to celebrate with a cup of coffee and a few minutes at the classic video game Star Control 2 (now available free!), and proceeded down-stairs to do just that.
As I got to the base of the stairs, I noticed wet cat-prints all over the foyer (yes, our new place even has a foyer), and quietly cursed them for swimming in the toilet again. However, upon reaching the living room and stepping into two inches of water, I realized something was amiss.
Apparently the floating cut-off valve in our underground cistern failed to either float or valve. In any event it definitely failed to cut-off, and gently filled our postage-stamp yard, then living room, then kitchen, then utility room, and so on.
The school sent over Senor Chavez, FDR’s one-man emergency response crew, and he supervised the relief effort. With the help of three dustpans, a bucket, a laundry basket and a long-handled squeegee borrowed from MS principal Marilyn Holladay, I am pleased to report that the downstairs is approximately dry. Casualties include two rugs and a copy of Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love. Moral: don’t store books on the floor.
In short, we will post pictures of the new place soon. Once we scrub the waterline off the walls.
Well folks, it looks like we have finally caught up with our photo album. In addition, I have added a link to the ultrasound video over there on the right (or click the picture). Be warned: it is quite large (8MB), so if you are using a dial-up modem, fix yourself a drink.
So poke around, and if there are any pictures of you that you want, email me and I’ll get you a full-resolution copy.
The long-lost pictures from our January 2003 trip to Arequipa are finally on-line.
Thought to be destroyed after the great hard-drive crash of ’03, a back-up was recently found on a “Compact Disc” buried under layers of fossilized debris in the dining-room sideboard. We have restored and preserved the find for your enjoyment.
It is still a little early, but if you must shop for the future Welbes, I have registered at Babies ‘R Us through amazon.com. Click here.
I was not especially thrilled with the clothing choices on amazon.com, so I found some baby clothes on line that I like. Click on the “Baby Clothes” Link on the right hand side of this page.
Dr. Arce (the Ob/gyn) says everything is fine with the baby. Still no news on the sex. More news when we hear.
Want to see a bunch of sots? Then you can hardly do better than Randall Connoly’s Annual St. Patty’s day blowout! (Sadly, not pictured is the homemade corned-beef brisket. Salty.)
I’ll admit that this was a pretty long time ago–really I’m just testing the links between the weblog and photo gallery. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pretty pictures!
Right now, I’ve decided to make this weblog revolve around my construction of this weblog. To keep you apprised, I have added Kirsten to the user list, so you can expect posts from her any old time now.
Additionally, I changed the default style and added the corner image.
So, do I look drunk in that shot?
The obligatory first post. I will now apologize for the mess, point you toward links that probably don’t work yet, and warn you that my twiddling with the site will probably bring it down several times in the next few days.