Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The mail service in Brazil

The mail service here can be spotty. I don’t want to deride the local government workers – but… I gotta tell ya, we have had a few troublesome experiences.

Sometimes a letter arrives in about 10 days from the States. Sometimes it never arrives. We’ve tried regular service and Registered service. It would seem that a parcel arrives on time in reverse proportion to its importance. Sigh.

But – don’t be afraid. Things usually arrive just fine. Unless they don`t.

For the record – here is our address:

Luiz Madureira and Jim Shattuck
Rua Gavião Peixoto 331, Apt. 301
Icarai, Niterói - Rio de Janeiro – 24.230

Some words of caution when dealing with the Brazilian postal service:

For the most part things are fine. However we have waited up to 10 weeks for a piece of mail to arrive from the US. In one case – a piece of Registered mail never arrived at all (but that was when the post office here was on strike…) On the bright side – we have also gotten mail within 10 days. Go figure.

The real gamble is sending packages. The customs office charges 100% duty on the declared value of things sent into the country. So for example, when I sent a gift to my mother-in-law and noted on the paperwork that it was worth US$60 – she had to pay US$60 just to receive the package. – some gift…

Since then we have learned from our local postal carrier that if the package is worth less than US$20 (declared) the postal service will just let it through. More than that and they will charge the 100% duty. So now any packages are labeled “used clothes” or “personal papers” or “household items”- or some such thing, and have a declared valued of US$20 or less. Sigh.

My current worry is getting Luiz and my ballots back to Florida in time to cast our votes for Obama and against the anti-gay ballot initiative in the state.

Do feel free to send mail our way – but beware the realities.

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