What’s happened to our package? Its stuck in customs!

Last night, this view at sunset took our breath away. 

The package.  Oh, goodness.  What a pain!  We received packages in Kenya and South Africa without too much trouble.  I guess that in Portugal, it’s a bigger deal. Yesterday, we went to the post office in Ribeira Brava with the tracking number for the package. 

After a 30 minute wait while the rep went back and forth on the phone with the main post office in Funchal, we were told we have to find all the receipts for all of the items in the box and take them to the main post office in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.

Last night as the sun began to set around 9:00 pm, it cast these beautiful light and sky over the valley as shown from our veranda.

Luckily, reasonably good record keepers that we are, we had all the receipts in a folder in my email.  Recently, our portable printer quit working.  Printing the receipts is impossible.

Another view at sunset as the light quickly changed over the valley.

Instead, we’ll bring my laptop to the post office to show them all of the receipts which I placed, page by page, on a single long Word document to avoid searching through my email at the post office.

Today, Tom went alone to the ATM by the supermarket to get cash to pay the fees. (It’s the first time we’ve been apart in over three months when I went to a girl’s only lunch with Kathy and Linda in South Africa). 

The total value of the items in the package is US $593.64, EU $436.12.  We’d better bring at least US $300, EU $220.39 to pay for the fees.  With the 21% VAT (value added tax) plus other taxes and fee, this could total the entire US $300.

Although we can’t see the sun as it sets we can enjoy the colorful sky at sunset each night.

Who knew?  The most we had to pay for a package of which we’ve received a about four since we’ve left the US, was approximately US $25, EU $18.37 in South Africa when a prescription arrived through customs. I suppose we should have thought of this before ordering the products we needed.  Most likely, we may have placed the order anyway.  These types of expenses “go with the territory.”

The challenge when we go on Friday morning will be finding the post office in Funchal.  With little to no help from any online map apps or working GPS finding anything in Madeira is tricky and time consuming.  It’s that part alone that will make the trip more annoying than the time we’ll end up spending at the post office. 

With strong winds off of the Atlantic Ocean, the sky changes before our eyes as the sun sets each night.

We’ll report back as to the outcome and subsequent costs of the duty fees we’ll be required to pay. 

Also, we haven’t been able to find the two restaurants located in our area. No one seems to be able to do more than point “up” in the general direction. With the winding, hilly, roads with multiple one way streets and hairpin turns, there’s no easy way to explain where anything is located.  Certainly, its no fault of the locals when even they can’t explain how to get to a specific location. 

A view at the top of a hill while we were in Ribeira Brava for the trip to the post office and dinner at Muralha.

The drive to Funchal is mostly highway making the trip easy until we get close to the busy city and confusing central road system.  We shall see how it goes.

Last night, after the trip to the post office we returned to Muralha  Restaurant for the second times which is located across the street, for yet another fine dinner with extraordinary service, heading home well before dark.

Tom was ready for his large mug of beer on the far left bottom.

We’ll be relieved once this package thing is resolved and our stuff is in our hands.  By the next time we need supplies, we’ll be living in Hawaii, USA, making the receipt of items easy and uncomplicated although with costly shipping. 

Our waiter brought this fresh fish platter to the table so I could choose my meal.  I choose the seafood skewer with squid and prawns.  It was amazing with the chunks of squid cooked to perfection and not as chewy as usual in most restaurants.

Ah, the trials of travel are frustrating at times, some of which could be avoided if our requirements were less.  But, in order to fulfill some of our creature comforts, medical, clothing and supply needs from time to time, we ultimately make our own lives a little more complicated. 

There’s my gluten free, starch free, grain free, sugar free dinner. I had a side of steamed vegetables on the side and a part of Tom’s salad (mainly the veggies he won’t eat). Once again it was a fabulous meal!

We always try to remember that in our old lives, for example, we drove to Costco on a snowy day, purchased a huge cart of stuff, loaded it into the car while our hands were freezing, drove it home, unloaded the car with freezing hands, hauled it into the house and then put it all away. This included a huge expenditure and a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Tom gave me the chicken legs off of his plate.  He doesn’t eat the dark meat which makes whole chickens ideal for us.  Check out those chips!  I don’t make these at home.  Ever!

I suppose in a way, our lives are easier now, even with the annoyance and cost of dealing with the receipt of a package three or four times a year, after placing the orders online.  Life is always a series of trade-offs, wherever one may live or travel. 

At this point, there’s nothing I would trade for the life we currently live.

Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2013:

We were on our way to Barcelona, Spain from Dubai, UAE to sail on a cruise from Barcelona to Venice, Italy through the Mediterranean Sea.  Our flight to Barcelona was on Emirates Airline, a first for us.  We were fascinated with the hand held remote we had at our seats for viewing movies and for the first class amenities at a coach seat. For details of that travel day when we ended up staying at the same hotel we’d stayed in Barcelona before the cruise to Dubai on May 5, 2013, please click here.

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