Sunday, November 6, 2011

The China Diaries: Post

About a month ago, as some of you will remember, I finally figured out the Chinese postal service. It has come to my attention in the intervening month that none of my friends have received their letters. Even those to whom I sent letters five weeks ago still have not received them. The Chinese Government makes a regular habit of checking incoming parcels. Packages are typically opened and inspected before being moved on. They often confiscate things from said packages. It feels safe to assume that letters are occasionally subject to such things as well.

I have sent mail to foreign countries before, and I am aware that not all systems are as reliable as the Candian, U.S., British, and French postal systems. *cough* *cough* Brasil *cough* Having said that, aware of the likelihood that my letters are just slowly making their way, I still like to imagine one of two things: 1) There's a somewhat sweaty, slightly obese Chinese man sitting at a desk with a Charleston Chew he confiscated from a parcel intended for an English teacher somewhere in the country, slowly working his way through my dense, indecipherable prose with a Chinese-English dictionary, looking for key phrases like "once these people get a taste of Democracy," or "the gift of information which we work to bestow upon the working classes will help them to one day overthrow their repressive shackles," or "I hear Mao smelled like fart", OR, 2) The letters are in a crate marked with my name, in a warehouse not a little like the one where the Ark of the Covenant gets stored at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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In an update, the letters I posted on 23 September arrived in America on 7 November. It's still fun to imagine, though.

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