Post Restante in kathmandu: In my mind it was much easier

Way back when I was dreaming up this little adventure of mine, I knew i would need things like trekking shoes &  warm clothing when i arrived in the himalayas.  I am lazy by nature & didn’t want to carry around more stuff than I needed, so i hatched a plan to have my lovely ( and perfect in every way) sister send me a package in nepal. I looked online & sure enough there were very simple instructions on how to send a package to a person abroad. It’s called Poste Restante and all major post offices have a Poste Restante section. What the internet doesn’t tell you is how to retrieve your package.

yep, that's me

Walking into the main post office in kathmandu is like stepping back in time, like to 1905. It’s dark, there is one long desk and 2 employees.  It smells of old paper & urine. Behind the desk the are a series of doors. I ask for “poste restante” they gesture to one of the doors behind the desk. I find the Poste Restante “room” and in it there is old office equipment, bags of what i presume is trash, a desk, and all sorts of postal flotsam & jetsam. I ask someone to help me & a surly man points at a small bin with some letters.  “poste restante is there” he says, pointing at the small letter bin. To which I say, “package? ” he wobbles his head, shrugs his shoulders & walks away. hmmmm. I find another employee, more helpful this one, and he says “you must know how the package was sent”.  “Airmail from the USA” , i say. Oh, you must go to room 32. Room 32 is in another building. I find room 32, & they tell me to look through the log book which is a tome, but there it is, on one of the ancient pages,  in curly script, MY NAME! success. well, not quite. Seems I need “the letter” from the main poste restante room. Back to the main building, i trudge. I finally find someone who tells me i must sort through the bin, find a postcard with my name then go to the foreign post office. I find the postcard, (i’m getting closer all the time) and trudge back to the foreign post office, post card in hand. This guy just shakes his head & takes me & my post card back to the main post office, where I encounter the typical civil servant. he takes my post card, but first he finishes reading the paper, has a glass of water and then he stands & leads me back to ‘the room” he unlocks a box, which holds a massive set of keys, which unlocks a huge safe, which holds “the letter”. I take the letter back to room 32. Then i get sent to room 29, where about 10 guys are sitting around and one takes my letter, and hands me a form to fill out. a form that is not in english. someone takes pity on me & tells me what & where to write. I  pay him 25 rupees. I take my form & my letter back to room 32. someone  gets my box, places it on a desk & opens it. Calls over a man, who also rummages through it. Then it gets put back behind the counter. Nooooooooooo!  “you must go to room 30”  I fill out another form in room 30, the guy signs it & sends me back to room 32. The woman gives me another form & I must go back to room 29 and pay 200 rupees. I get a receipt, go back to room 30 where I fill out ANOTHER form, in triplicate this time. Civil servant stamps the paperwork, I take it back to room 32 and then, yep, you guessed it, I fill out another form & pay 10 more rupees.  So one hour & 20 minutes after entering the post office, i had my package in my hot little hands.  I was beaming! so I am celebrating my success with a glass of chilean wine & lasagna on a rooftop cafe. Victory is sweet.

I also said good bye to some good friends today. My 75 cent flips flops I purchased in Bolivia. They have been really good up until now, but they have lost all of their tread & I have gone ass over tea kettle one too many times. Yesterday I was in Bhaktapur, outside of kathmandu & stepped in a puddle & whoosh, up went my feet & down went my ass.  Right in the puddle, which  I am  sure had equal parts cow shit, dog shit,  human urine & rain. I was covered.  So, as much as I love you, my little ronaldos, you are going in the trash heap.

good bye old friends

hello new friends


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About Miss Q

I am a travel obsessed foodie, with an inexplicable love of clamato, elvis costello & the unknown
This entry was posted in Nepal. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Post Restante in kathmandu: In my mind it was much easier

  1. Kirsten says:

    you know we civil servants love to send consumers on wild goose chases for our own entertainment and to avoid having to actually do work of course!

    sounds like you are having a great time – except for the puddle de shit. we are doing well. Kellan is smiling a lot now and getting nice and chunky. i went back to work last week and have actually enjoyed getting back into the work routine and feeling like a thinking human being again.

    we all miss you here! Kirsten

  2. Chantal Rosenthal says:

    Sounds lovely! Let me tell you you have quite the following in Portland. My mothers friends are loving your blog. I am too! I am happy you are having such a great time and you are still alive. The pictures of you looked great. Miss you. Chantal

  3. Steph says:

    Haha! Your story reminded me of the monsoony, rainy day in Hanoi when I stepped out of the taxi and into a flooded gutter. Awesome. There was not enough bleach in the world to clean those shoes. Then, the task was to find women’s shoes that fit western feet. Yeah, right. I wound up on Shoe Street in the Old Quarter buying a spiffy pair of Faux Nikes. Like my pair back at home, they proudly boasted “made in Vietnam.”
    Congrats on navigating the Poste Restante! Isn’t it a great feeling- the little victories- especially after the frustration of going back and forth? Have another glass, sister!

  4. Eddie Mulero says:

    Hi Suzanne, I have been following you trip. This story is great, even though I am sure it didn’t feel great but does make for a good story!
    Where did you get Chilean wine?
    Love, Eddie

    • Miss Q says:

      eddie, kathmandu has everything: italian food, thai food, burgers, creole, irish pasties, wine & martinis. I really missed my wine while in Indonesia. I really missed booze in general while in Indo.

  5. Jenny says:

    Loved that story. I could almost see it. It has been very fun living vicariously through you. I am not quite so brave, but I am leaving Wed. to attend a bluegrass festival and camp out in Chicken, AK, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

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