Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chapter 23 - The Package (cont.)

Melaney called Rita and she agreed to come to the airport and San Jose with her.  They didn’t get out of the house until just after 11:30 and they had to stop for gas before they could venture onto the road. By the time they reached San Jose and found the office of the minister of health, it was into the lunch break and she wasn’t going to be back into her office until after two.  They sat in the waiting room till she returned.  I wasn’t there, so to get the sequence right, we must rely on Melaney.   She was told to get a form to fill out.  That cost 1300 calones.  Rita acts as both GPS and translator in these events.  She helped Mel fill in the form.  When the doctor returned (she is really a pharmacist, but they call her doctor) she stamped the form, kept a copy and the girls were on their way back to the airport at Alajuela.
They went to the office where we were waiting yesterday to find that Laura (the import agent) was in the other building across the road.  Rita accompanied Mel across the road to get a signature from Laura.  Laura had no English at all, so it was good to have Rita as a translator again.  Then they went back to the terminal where the parcels were stored.  Mel had to pay the cashier 72 calones (about 15 cents), get a stamp and go back to Laura to prove she had paid it.  Next, back to the building where the parcels are, which is across two parking lots and about two blocks distance.  They went into the side door, which is by the street.  She was sent to customer service again.  Melaney tried to explain that she had already paid for the service, and they told her NO….that was just the tax, now she had to pay 6300 calones (about $12.50); back to the cashier again, to get another stamp.  This charge is for handling, storage, warehouse fees for 11 days, and some miscellaneous things in Spanish that we couldn’t understand.  By this time the parcel is getting more and more expensive.We calculated that each of the four $10 bottle of pills cost about $30. Considering the gas it took to drive all over the countryside and the time it took, this is definitely NOT the way to do things.
The next stage is the window for small parcels.  There she had to sign another form and put down the passport number.  Then the tiny parcel was retrieved.
Somewhere along the way Rita and Mel had lunch at Quiznos, and later a coconut ice cream at Pop’s (this is the good ice cream with lots of real coconut chunks in it).  By the time they arrived back home it was nearly five again, and both the girls were tired and ready for a siesta.  We didn’t have dinner right away, Melaney had eaten and we opted for warmed banana loaf, split and topped with syrup and a pat of butter.
We watched a couple of programs, I had a nap, and we went to bed at 9:00.  I learned later that Mel didn’t go to sleep right away, so she went computering and talked with Charnell on Skype until the wee hours. 

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