India, Land of … Insane Postal Service?

We wanted to ship a package to my son in India, where he’s doing a term abroad. Amazon says, “sure no problem, it can be there for his birthday, that will be $50.”

It didn’t arrive, and this was my entry into what seems to an American the surreal world of India. Let me enumerate.

1. Where he’s living, there are no street names, or street numbers. You send your mail to a particular post office in a city, and from there it’s identified just by the family name. So apparently mailmen (and DHL couriers) are good when they know the names of everyone and where they live, and fucking useless otherwise.

2. I called DHL and she said she’d contact the DHL office where the package is supposed to be delivered. She also gave me a local number for DHL. But phone #s in India are 10 digits — usually — and she only gave me an 8 digit number, with no indication of a city code. Given that the number of phones in India won’t fit in 8 digits, I don’t have high hopes that it will be very useful. Not only that I can go to the DHL India’s web site and it gives different numbers.

3. In a web-based sort of insanity, on the DHL page, the image where the phone #s are isn’t actually a normal image — it’s a flash application. And until you right click and zoom in, the text below the phone numbers is illegible.

3 Replies to “India, Land of … Insane Postal Service?”

  1. You’d think DHL would be ok. I don’t think we’ve ever mailed anything besides a card to our folks in India. Everything was sent through humans flying there, either with us or people we knew.

    Costa Rica also has no – or rare – street signs & addresses. My current address here goes like this:
    * Barrio Jesus; after the school, take a right; In front of the minimarket ‘R y O’

    There are lots of addresses with stuff like ‘100m south of the (building)’ and ‘turn left at the giant xxx tree’ (which may have been cut down 10 yrs ago).

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