Thursday, 5 June 2014

That Elusive Post Office, Pokhara, Nepal, May 2014

The saga... It's taken thus far 2 days traipsing around town looking for this post office. Post is a concept little understood by the locals and so after following up various false leads day 2 ends in failure.

Determined to track down this post office, Mr. P. receives a mild interrogation. He points me back to Mahindrapool insisting it's there - and I'm insisting it's not. A phone call, a frantic exchange from Mr. P to someone who should know. Turns out the downtown post office is closed for good, but on the bright side another post office exists about half way between Lakeside and the tourist bus park. Well, that remains to be seen of course, but this sounds like the strongest lead yet! Mr P. sketches out a map, looks simple enough.

So, from Lakeside heading towards the airport. At the first major junction turn left according to this map. Soheed Chowk is the place and is where to find official government buildings. Big queues at the passport and identity office, very old school with a shabby interior and clerks buried in stacks of paperwork as irate locals vie for attention - but it's still not the post office! Showing the map to a policeman in the hope of narrowing things down a little further.

Success, here is the post office, down an obscure lane. A high walled compound protected with coils of barbed wire and a high wrought iron gate, more like a jail than a post office! If ever looking on the outside can give a false impression of what might be on the inside then this is it! A pretty nice building by Nepali standards. A heavy wood panel door ornately decorated leads on into a dark, dusty corridor. Looking for some obvious sign of where to purchase stamps, even post the postcards but it's not obvious at all. On the left a small room, very austere in appearance and containing 2 bodies. Yes, they are alive as one licks on stamps and fills in a register while the other fidgets by the window. Both are totally uninterested by my presence so I leave them in their far away world and proceed to take a look around. The place is deathly quiet, not a soul around. Wandering unhindered, another very old school building, shabby and dingy, little evidence of a postal industry here. No computerised counters, no queuing - it really is just me desperately looking for a place to buy 12 stamps.

Back to the beginning, that first room on the left by the entrance. Again the occupants seemed somewhat disinterested that there is a potential customer loitering. But eventually after some prompting the stamp licker points to the man at the window. Ok, so back outside to purchase 12 stamps from a gap in the window. 35 rupees for a stamp to England which is 20 days away - I guess part of the journey is by Donkey! A small post box sits just below the window and with no other options, 12 postcards to England are slipped into the tin container. And whether they actually get to England, well, I'm just a little dubious about that - maybe they'll turn up in 35 years time!


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