I don´t think I have ever experienced anything quite like what has happened with the post office here in Lima. In the past two weeks I have been there 5 times. Let me give you the low down because it seems kind of hard to believe that it would take this long for me to get a package. Not to worry. This story ends on a good note even though the process was a bit frustrating. This is Peru after all and after a certain amount of time all you can do is laugh at the ridiculousness because getting upset gets you no where.
The first trip. I got the tracking number from my father and checked online to see if it had arrived and apparently it was in Lince. I headed over only to find out that I couldn´t pick it up because my last name was marked as Zamudio. (I found out today that is actually said Amy Brown de Zamudio on it which is absurd that wouldn´t allow me to pick it up because my husband´s name was at the end.) Since it said Amy Zamudio on my slip I couldn´t pick it up because it didn´t match my carnet. I talked to various people and got the papers I needed to fill out in order to get the name changed. I went home and my dad wrote a letter and I got a copy of the receipt for the package from his end. I made sure to ask two times if I needed to get anything legalized. I have been in Peru long enough to know that pretty much anything with any possibility of being an important document has to be notarized. I was told no.
The second trip. I brought my papers ready to pick up my package. I was told that I was missing the letter from me that also needed to be notarized. Off I went to do that.
The third trip. I brought all the papers including the notarized letter signed by me (10 soles) and paid 36 more soles to have my name changed on the computer. I was then told it would be three days until it was processed and ready to go. Fine. A little more waiting won´t hurt. At least the package is there right?
In between the third and fourth trip I received a call from a woman at Serpost asking me to write a declaratory letter stating exactly why my father got my last name wrong. I also had to justify why my home address did not match up to the address my father used. I am a part of the SAE club and use their address because packages either go directly there to Miraflores or to the post office in Lince. I could never use my address because it would never get to me on the villa. I also sent a copy of my army ID showing that I am in fact married to a Zamudio and that is why my name was wrong. They would call me when everything was in the system.
The fourth trip. I made two copies of my carnet and had my receipt in hand. I got to the customs window to open the package and the man who was attending me told me I would have to pay 38 dollars in taxes because the package was valued at 250 dollars. WHAT?! You have got to be kidding me. No one could let me know that I would have to pay a tax at some point? Fortunately, the guy was nice and told me that since I had traveled to the United States and this was coming from the United States and it arrived within a week of me getting back into Peru, I could bring my passport and it would waive the tax because the package could be considered luggage.
The fifth trip. With copies of my passport, my entry and exit stamps and all my paperwork I headed back to Serpost one more time. I was given preferential treatment due to a law here that states if you are pregnant, with a child, elderly or disable, you get preferential treatment in public establishments. Works for me! Anyway, I had to fill out one more form declaring the package was extra luggage but it was fast. The lady who opened the package with me told me that I would have to pay 30 dollars because even though it was considered luggage, it wasn't something like clothing or personal items. What? Why had the other guy told me I would be fine with my passport? Fortunately, he was working that day and he hooked it up and made sure that I didn't have to pay anything. Thank you kind customs sir. You made my day much better and have kept my faith in the postal service here in Peru.
Lessons learned: Never address anything to me using my husband´s last name. Never declare any package to be worth more than 100 dollars.
Without further ado. The photo in its rightful place in our living room!
And as per my father's excellent suggestion, here is a picture of us holding it to give you an idea of its size.