Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not as Advertised

As you may have guessed due to the time and date of this post, I should be on a plane travelling ridiculously fast over the Atlantic ocean right now on my way to an island that likes to wrap fish and chips in news paper. However, that is not where I am. Where I am is at my friend Chelsea's house baking chocolate delicious. The reason for this is a cascading set of mistakes and so forth by the High Commission, Canada Post, and myself.
The first mistake was made by me, I did not understand the difference between Xpresspost and Priority. The difference is 24 hours, which is the amount by which I have missed my passport.
The second mistake is on the part of Canada Post, for telling me that Xpresspost delivers within 48 hours of recieving the package. This is totally, 100%, undeniably not true. Priority delivers for the following morning.
The third mistake was a drawn out process by the High Commission. Bureaucracy is frustrating to deal with in developed countries, it is impossible to deal with in undeveloped countries that don't really want you in their country in the first place. They were under the impression that I was stealing jobs from their labourers by volunteering... and possibly up to no good because the volunteering involved an educational institute; a.k.a. a library.
So, being as these three mistakes all happened together my passport with the approved visa is somewhere within the Canada Post mailing system, and they cannot tell me where it is. Their hours are also so short that by the time I realized there was an issue, there was not a single living person I could call, e-mail, or messenger pidgeon for help. Did you know Canada post has five different numbers that you can contact about your package and where it happens to be? I did not, but they all have exactly the same message recorded. Awesome.
I have learned my lesson quite well from all of this, and the cost of my learning is more than I would like it to be.

Lesson 1: Do not use Canada Post. Use FedEx, or possibly UPS, they deliver every day of the week and have a significantly more accurate and informative tracking system. They also have someone you can call who is not a machine.

Lesson 2: There is a system for dealing with High Commissions that don't like you. You must call, pester, bother, remind, leave all information six times and promise to call back within the hour to check they have done what you asked. It also helps to have a citizen of said High Commission's home country doing exactly the same thing, with all of your information handy.

Lesson 3: Make sure that when you want something there the following morning, you make that clear at the post office. "This needs to be in Ottawa as fast as possible." apparently elicites a different response from "This needs to be in Ottawa tomorrow."

So, with all these lessons in hand, some cashed savings bonds, and a little bit of luck, I will have my passport by 10am on Monday morning and will by flying out by five. It would be kind of a cool flight, being as I would be routed through Minneapolis and Iceland. Never been to Iceland, so that would be exciting. The nice people at Air Transat also offered me a flight out on Wednesday for $300. However this would mean I get to London, have a strange 20 hour layover, and then get on a plane bound for Africa. So... I would miss the entire London component.
This decision will be made shortly.
In other happier news I saw Greg and Chris off at the airport and they were excited to be on their way. Here's hoping they're not too bored on their flight and that the hostel they booked is as good as advertised. Have fun guys, I'm sure I'll catch up!
Kenna out.


  1. All of this is in such "Kenna" fashion

  2. Lesson 4: Plan ahead and send for visa months before flight