Monday, November 28, 2011

On a slow boat to China

That's what I feel my letters and packages to China are on!

When I lived in Beijing in the mid '90s, letters from home reached me in as little as three days. which was a heckuva lot quicker than the Postal Service could move them cross-country, to the other side of the United States. Only rarely did a letter take longer than two weeks to reach me from the Pacific Northwest. However, recipients did tell me it usually took two to three weeks for my letters from China to reach them.

I am not sure what the hold up is these days on mail to China. The post office says a letter or package sent by air will take five to 10 days. Ha! Months is more like it.

Last year it took four months for our Christmas card to reach friends in Shanghai, even though it was sent air mail, and you can fly from here to Shanghai in about 15 hours time, including layovers.  The year before we mailed a small package for Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year) which is a big gift-giving holiday for the Chinese. Even though it was sent airmail, it was almost five months before they received it.

When we returned from Yellowstone in early September, I mailed -- again by air -- a souvenir of our trip, as that is one place our Chinese friends want to visit on their next trip to the USA. It's not been received yet.

Our friend is pregnant and will have her baby in June. Since I wanted to be sure she received the gift before the baby's first birthday, I mailed it last week. The post office again told me it would take five to 10 days; the clerk seemed shocked when I laughed.

We'll see.

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, especially Beijing, check out my website and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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