Monday, January 25, 2010

Retiro: Picking Up a Package

Hi! So, I recently got a sweet comment from someone complimenting me on the blog and saying that my how-to stuff on colectivos/paying bills was really helpful, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Then I went and took a cold shower because warm and fuzzy isn’t the ideal state to be in on 37 degree days (that’s Celsius people aka 98.6 degrees F). Anyway, it also kind of made me feel bad, because I haven’t posted anything similar recently and I should—almost every day I do something new or have some novel experience that might help others who are planning to come here for extended stays.

One of the more important things I learned during the past few months is how to pick up international packages at Retiro, because who doesn’t love packages?! Yes, the holidays are over now so it’s a little less relevant, but I’ll post about it anyway, just because I can. So there.

First, to get a package, you must have someone send you a package. I recommend emailing or calling all family members and dedicated friends and whining about how you miss peanut butter or how the candy bars here just aren’t the same as a good old Reese’s PB cup. Hopefully they’ll get the hint. If not, don’t be afraid to just come out and demand that they send something—after all, you’re the one who moved all the way to South America, alone, broke, and looking for adventure!

Once said package is en route, you can expect to wait anywhere from a few days to forever (unfortunately) for your package to arrive. In general, unless it gets lost in the mail or detained at customs, you should receive a notice saying that you have a package within two or three weeks. This notice will be a little square of paper slipped under your door or left with the porter and will tell you that you have to go to the nearest post office location to pick up (retirar) your package. It should list the post office that’s closest to your house--Argentina is helpful like that.

However, this notice is a lie! Well, sometimes. Depending on the size of your package, they might actually have it waiting for you at the post office, but if your package is decently sized, it will have gone to the Correo Internacional. Take your notice to the post office location listed, and look for an area that says “Para retirar encomiendas/paquetes” or something similar (if you don’t see any obvious signs, just ask someone using the same phrase above). Depending on the location, the place for picking up packages will be separate from the main area where people are sending letters, etc. At my post office on Puerreydon (between Santa Fe and Charcas) the place for picking up packages is on the left hand side as you walk in. You will have to take a number and wait until it is called or appears on a little digital screen. Oh, and get used to those screens, there’s more where this one comes from.

When your number is called, approach the window and hand your notice to the lovely Correo employee, who will do lots of stamping, etc, then hopefully disappear and return with your package. However, the odds of this happening are slim. More than likely you will receive another piece of paper saying that your package is being held for you at the Correo Internacional in Retiro, and that you must go there and get it if you want to see it alive. The Correo employee will have you sign off that you got the new notice and then you’re good to go.

Unfortunately, the Correo Internacional is only open between 10 and 5 Monday through Friday, which makes it hard for people who have regular jobs. The address is on the new notice you will receive (Letonia y Avenida Antartida), which to be honest doesn’t really help because the streets in that part of Retiro are, as we would say in Castellano, jodidas. Unless you can take a taxi there, going by bus or Subte is the best way.

Using your handy Guia-T you can find a bus that will take you to Retiro—there are tons of them. Or, take the Subte (C-line) towards Retiro. If you take the Subte, get off the train and walk out to the main area, following the hordes of people because believe me, there will be hordes. Take the staircase farthest to the right (next to the shady food place) to go up and out of the station, and then keep walking straight for about 4 blocks. You will pass the train station and then the microbus station on your left. Keep your hand on your bag and walk with a purpose—Retiro is notorious as a place for getting robbed. When you come to the end of the main drag, you will be facing Avenida Antartida, a wide street that runs diagonally. Cross the street and head to the right.

You’ll see two or three buildings on your left, and I’m pretty sure one says Correo Internacional on it. If not, aim for the middle of the buildings, pass through a little gate, and you should see a line/mass of people waiting outside a door. This is Correo Internacional.

I’ll post the second part of this tomorrow—I didn’t realize it was going to be such a long post, but picking up a package definitely takes some explaining. It’s worth it though, especially if the sender really loves you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy! I'm an expat and I had this same headache too...I started a company recently to solve this problem- I also write for LandingPadBA and would love to be in touch - feel free to email: Beso! is THE care package solution :) International shipping is too expensive so now parents and friends from back home can simply order a care package online for their loved one in BA. care packages are filled with FRESH BAKED homemade favorites such as birthday cakes, brownies, bagels, banana bread, carrot cake, and more! Best part? Easy online payment and on-time delivery to the recipients door in BA.