Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preparing to Leave

I'm starting to pick up those last minute souvenirs and Christmas gifts that I know I want to take home with me, so, naturally, my mind has turned to luggage space.  I decided I could ship home some of the clothes I never wear and my collection of newspapers and pamphlets.  Not trusting the Nigerian Postal Service, I headed off to DHL.


In Zambia, I sent some fairly large boxes via DHL for about $150 each.  They all arrived home safely, unlike the boxes I sent via ZamPost, some of which never arrived.  I figured DHL was reliable and cost-efficient considering the airline fees for extra baggage.

When I made inquiries earlier in the week, DHL told me they open at 8am on weekdays.  Perfect, I start work at 9.  So at 8:15, I arrived at the DHL office at the Hilton.  Nobody.  8:20.  Nobody.  8:30.  Some employees from a nearby shop say "she will soon come."  8:40.  Nobody.  8:45.  One of the Hilton employees passes in the hallway and says she'll be there in about 5 minutes.  5 minutes later, she arrives and invites me into the office.

We unpacked my collection of clothes and papers, repacked them in a smaller box and put the box on the scale.  7.5kgs.  She then starts writing down numbers.  Line after line after line.  4 or 5 numbers in a column, and then she starts to add them.  $500!  What?!  That's ridiculous.  I could replace most of the stuff in that box for less than that.  Ok, not the newspapers, but the clothing at least.  So I asked about shipping just the papers.  Still about $200.  Nevermind....

I thanked the DHL lady for her time, took my box and headed to the front of the Hilton to catch a cab.  I had planned to walk to work from the Hilton, but now it was already quarter after nine, and I had a box.

The Cab

The cab driver seemed to have no idea where he was going and took the most backwards-vampire route possible.  Work is directly down the street from the Hilton, almost due south.  There's even a back exit that spits you out less than a mile from the Federal Secretariat.  Instead, the cab driver went around the hotel, to the front exit and then turned up a street that goes completely the opposite direction from the Secretariat.  To fix the problem, he turned down a crescent (Nigerian for big loopy street that'll get you lost real fast) and wound around until he had gone so far west as to pass the Secretariat.  He then, finally, turned South, and I thought we were going to be ok.  We were on the street that borders the Federal Secretariat on the west.  But no. he turned east and cut up a street that runs behind the Federal Secretariat so that he then had to go around part of the building!  At least I didn't have to cross the street this way.

I arrived at work half an hour late.  It didn't matter.  The clerk was the only person there, and he was cleaning the office.  Now, I just have to figure out what to do with this box, and I'll have to take a cab home, too. :(


Jeannie said...

Hope you can get your things home. I suppose you'd have to pay extra for your luggage at each change of planes...?

MaryRuth said...

I thought I heard DHL was going out of business?

Jeannie said...

MR's right, they are going out of business - so it's probably better that you don't use them. I think paying extra for luggage would still be cheaper than sending things home.

goldenrail said...

Well, guess it's good they cost an arm and a leg. I'll just bring it all on the plane. I only had one carry-on on the way here, so I got a little plastic woven bag with a zipper that I can put clothes into and then shove in an overhead bin. I hope...