Post Office Blues

The Chi­nese Post Office con­tin­ues to excel. We’ve had scraps before. This was the out­fit that wouldn’t let me send Christ­mas cards in dif­fer­ent sized envelopes, or send copies of my the­sis to an Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ty in any box but their own.

Yes­ter­day I went to the near­est post office, a mod­est, easy to miss place in a laneway around the cor­ner. It had a new mas­ter. As soon as I said Aus­tralia (O’daliaah) he waved me away. I just want­ed to send an ordi­nary let­ter to my moth­er, which I’ve done before. No, for for­eign mail I had to go to a dif­fer­ent office, prop­er­ly autho­rized for such things. So, 20 min­utes walk away I came to anoth­er sprawl­ing estab­lish­ment. It even had a desert­ed counter for stamp col­lec­tors. In a coun­try where red is the colour of hap­pi­ness, luck and pros­per­i­ty, the Chi­nese Postal Service’s rul­ing colour is dark green — pleas­ant enough on the face of it, but as an antonym to the spir­it of red, some­how pre­dic­tive. Like the army of irrel­e­vant Inter­net cen­sors, this seems to be an orga­ni­za­tion heav­i­ly into stran­gling the Chi­nese people’s ener­gy and muti­lat­ing the country’s push for pros­per­i­ty.

Sev­er­al women sat at emp­ty win­dows. They waved me away to a sin­gle work­ing win­dow. Get­ting to that win­dow was a rug­by scrum. I shoved an arm through the melee like every­one else. She looked at the enve­lope, the same as the ones I’ve been using ever since I came to Chi­na. No, I had to use (buy) one of the post office’s own envelopes, even for an ordi­nary let­ter…

Buy an enve­lope, go away, read­dress it, come back to the scrum. Grrr.

One Response to Post Office Blues

  1. Pingback: Thor’s New China Diary » Post Office Blues

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