aaron2

Hurry Up & Wait!

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

After seventeen years as a retired sailor, I never expected to utter those words ever again.  Life in the military is based on that tenet.  It’s one big rush to a point where you seemingly wait forever.

Well, it happened.  Mostly, I was amused that it did.  Reliving parts of one’s life can be stressful or can be enjoyable.  This was somewhere between the two – just where, I still have to figure out.

Get Expert Consulting and Coaching from Live in the Philippines

THE “HURRY UP”!

The hurry up part involved a purchase of “merchandise” from Hong Kong.  It was special – a great, limited-time offer that I just couldn’t pass up.  I plunked the bucks down, made the order just in time, and received my notice that the “merchandise” was on its way.

Everything was riding on Hong Kong SpeedPost.  Prior orders from the vendor were most successful in speed of delivery, with nothing taking more than a week or so to arrive at the local post office.

This time, I wasted no time in hurrying to the SpeedPost Tracking website to follow my package’s travels:

Date # Location Delivery Status
29-Oct-2010….. Hong Kong….. Item posted.
29-Oct-2010….. Hong Kong….. Processed for departure.
29-Oct-2010….. Hong Kong….. The item left Hong Kong for its destination on 29-Oct-2010
1-Nov-2010….. Philippines….. Pending customs inspection.

.

All was going smoothly – just as numerous times before . . . .

THEN CAME THE WAIT!

Two days, four days, a week, a week and a half – WAIT A MINUTE!  Something isn’t quite right.
This part was never more that five days in length.  I was sure that I had beaten the Christmas rush.  What has happened?

Two weeks passed by.  I was more stunned than anything else.  Did I miscalculate the Christmas rush?  Did my package find the infamous “black hole of Manila”?  Twice, sometimes thrice a day I’d hurry to that tracking website.  NO CHANGE.  (“Sorry, sir, no change” – that’s another story for another day!)

The arrival at customs was usually the last line of the tracking, even during other deliveries.  THREE WEEKS.  This time, there must be some interest in what’s in the box.  I was sure that evil had reared its ugly head.  I started to search John Miele’s website “The Albularyo” to see if there was some remedy I could use to lift this apparent curse.  I ate this, rubbed that all over myself, cleansed myself with the other – nothing seemed to work.

FOUR WEEKS – THEN A MONTH

All is not well with Paul.  A month has passed and still no word or sign of the package.  I must have bothered the poor postal employees to a point beyond help.  Where was the package?  Still no word?  Nothing?  Sigh. . . .

Even the Bureau of Customs website was a hit or miss affair.  I was mostly “missing,” timing out before the website’s home page could load.  Could my package be sitting next to the website’s server somewhere in a dark closet?

F-I-V-E – – W-E-E-K-S.  I’m living on the edge.  Then I remember:  ADJUST.  This is just another opportunity for adjustment to the local environment.  I calmed myself with thoughts of the 1700’s and the wait in Manila for the ship from Mexico to arrive.

FIVE WEEKS AND THREE DAYS

Having just finished reading a news article that reported rumors of a “Customs Slowdown” at Ninoy Aquino International Airport were false, a text came over the cell phone.  A friend strategically located near the post office reported that there was a package there for me.  Whom do I believe?  Come to think of it, it wasn’t a choice of believing one or the other, it was an “all or nothing” choice.

My dear wife had to go to town for some social business, and she volunteered to pick the package up.  OH JOY!  Finally, my long pined-for package shortly would be in my hands.  Just a few hours more of waiting – piece of cake.  My dreamlike state was interrupted by my wife’s words of “adjustment”:  “Honey, the post office closed early today.”

Argh!

ONE MONTH, ONE WEEK, FOUR DAYS

FINALLY!  A trip to the post office, being stopped along the way by that “well-located” friend, and there’s my package in my friend’s hands.  She was on her way to deliver it to me, passed by me as I was walking toward the post office, and wonderfully handed it over.  Santa will have a special present for her this year!

Date # Location Delivery Status
29-Oct-2010 Hong Kong Item posted.
29-Oct-2010 Hong Kong Processed for departure.
29-Oct-2010 Hong Kong The item left Hong Kong for its destination on 29-Oct-2010
1-Nov-2010 Philippines Pending customs inspection.
7-Dec-2010 Philippines In transit.
8-Dec-2010 Philippines Not delivered because no delivery service is avilable for this product or service at the specified delivery point. Addressee advised to pick up the item.

.

With the last two entries on the tracking website (two entries I’ve never seen before) the rest is history.  Not only do I have my “merchandise,” I also have learned a good lesson in adjusting to life in the islands.  Imagine a weekly or monthly boat bringing in supplies to an island.  It’s a good rebuke for a member of the “instant gratification” generation.

Oh, you ask what this so very important merchandise was? . . . . .

Limited Edition, Custom Rolled Cigars

Good things do come to those who wait – even those of us who wait impatiently!

Posted in ,

PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

Most Shared Posts

35 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Neal in RI
Neal in RI
11 years ago

Paul
By the time you got them smokes they were probably stale.
What you need is some good old perodi’s like my riding buddy smokes I call them sh-tsticks but at least they keep the skeeters away.
Why don’t you grow and roll some of your own special cigars there to feed your head. lol.

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Neal in RI

Hi Neal – Oh no! They were fresh with just an extra five weeks aging in the box. 😉

My biggest fear was that I had inadvertently purchased some customs official’s Christmas present!
😆

Grow & roll my own? Have thought about it. Getting the right seeds/seedlings is the problem. Here in “Ilocandia,” they grow a lot of burley tobacco for cigarettes. Cuban-seed cigar tobacco is grown in Isabella province. That’s a haul over the mountains.

peterjoy
peterjoy
11 years ago

ho ho ho Paul u are a man after my own heart like u i also smoke lol and from time to time i love to smoke a good Cigar mate but here for just a little one u are looking at about $5 just for one and that is not a very good one at that i went and got one this week for my brithday and it was $5 and it was not all that very good buthe ones u have there mate would cost a lot here in tassie just for a paket off smokes here u… Read more »

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  peterjoy

Hi Peter – I try to stay away from smoking pieces of rope. 😆

A box of good Habanos, as long as it’s savored over time, is worth the investment. It’s also worth all of a spouse’s hassles and harsh words. (The “How could you’s?” sort of fade into the background behind that pleasant blue-gray puff of smoke!) 😆

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Hi Paul…That looks like a fine box of nice cigars and came just in time for you to enjoy them during the holidays a there along with some cold SM’s. Ya, I am wondering also why a person does not have a few different kinds of tobacco plants a growing there if they like to smoke…I would think that they would grow good there. Ok..fun read and wishing You and Yours a happy Holidays there…..

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Hi Dan – Cigarette tobacco grows well here, but the type for cigars needs a little cooler, moist climate like in the highlands/mountains. If I could find some seeds or seedlings, I’d give it a try. The municipal agriculturalist has her eye out for some seedlings for me – I told her I’d experiment for free.
😆

Dan
Dan
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Ya..be fun Paul…because you never know…it may grow good enough to make some little cigars…I mean smaller leaves so maybe good for just everyday cigars and save the expensive ones for Saturday nite or Sunday…..You could always drive over the mountain and down into the valley at Isabella province and charm one of the farmers out of a few seeds or seedlings.

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Fresh out of charm this holiday season – have to build that supply back up! 😆

Being a “long leaf” kinda guy, . . . . Of course, I could go to the market and buy some freshly rolled local cigars. Always wanted to, but have always been told by my wife not to. I wonder why?
😆

Dan
Dan
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

I quess only she knows why Paul……

Don
Don
11 years ago

Hi Paul.

A bit off topic. I love my cigars. Coming from Singapore, I always pick up a box at the Duty Free. What brand of Philippines cigars are the best as I wont be travelling through Singers for a while?

Happy holidays,
Don

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Don

Hi Don – Happy holidays to you and your family, too. Best brand? That’s a tough one because those I consider the best are now out of business. You can still find some here and there, but the island’s supply of what’s left of final production is dwindling quite fast (they’re no longer available north of Baguio). Those are Tabacalera by La Flor de la Isabela. The corona largas are similar to the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas. Another great one by the same now defunct company is Don Juan Urquijo cigars. Some are still available around here and I… Read more »

hudson
hudson
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

I had one of these once…It was pure pleasure

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago

Paul;
You sound just like my three yr old grandkids waiting for Christmas right now. Everyday waking up to disappiontment until that magical day comes. Although I tend to look at your affair as a action thriller movie with high suspense knowing the effiency of the Philippine postal system. I’m sure if one of them smoked cigars with any class they would have disappeared from the world scene.
Glad you got your sacred package the only thing that could top that would be a case of the CAPTIAN to go with your cigar. OH YEA NOW THAT’S LIVING 🙂

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Michels

Hi Bruce – Anything goes well with a good cigar! Sip at a time, sip at a time! 😆

Tony
Tony
11 years ago

Hi Paul

The post office here leaves much to be desired. My son got is birthday card from Granny one month after she sent it from the US. I must admit however the excellent job they did steaming open the envelope to steal the $20 bill she had sent him!

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Tony

Hi Tony – Perhaps there was a $20 customs duty on birthday cards that day. 🙂

Sometimes the mail gets through so long as currency isn’t with it.

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Tony;
The Filipino postal worker has a better nose for smelling out money then a hound dog has for smelling rabbit tracks. Not to mention our criminals over here could take some pointers over here on how to restore the crime scene the same way they found it and not get caught. 🙂

Dan
Dan
11 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Michels

Well..for the fun of it…put $100.00 Monoploy bill in there….sure they would get all excited untill they caught on..but then that joke may make them mad and they trash the card…….

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago

Paul:
Ever thought of having you sons send you your cigars and maybe some Captian through a BB Box?

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Michels

Bruce – Yes, but then, a BB Box full of the Captain and cigars would definitely set off the customs alarms! Party on the waterfront!

😆

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul
There’s got to be a better way than the agony you experienced.

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Michels

I could fly to Hong Kong and pick ’em up myself, but that adds to the cost of the cigars!
🙁

B. Michels
B. Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul;
Do they have those items at the free port in Subic if so It might be worth the trip 🙂

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  B. Michels

Don’t think so, Bruce. If they did, I would have heard about it from a number of guys with whom I share “the same boat” shipment-wise.
🙁

B. Michels
B. Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul You mean to say I’ll be joining you in that same baot when I get there.
Oh the Pain Oh the Pain. 🙁

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Mastr cheif; Did I here you right? Or do I need to clean my ears. You said that their are no high quality cigars or bottles of the Captian at the Subic Freeport. Did you run this through our shipmate Paul T down there. If It’s true that changes everything can’t live without the Captian and a good cigar or my pipe. What am I going to do? Well as all good saliors do they run to the command master cheif for the answer. Do you Know of any and do they have the answer. How about a smuggling ring… Read more »

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Hi Bruce – The Captain and other cigars can be found down in Subic, I’m sure. I was only referring to some “special” 😉 😉 😉 cigars that can be had in Manila for an arm and leg too many. They are cheaper in Hong Kong.

Bruce Michels
Bruce Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Could they be Cuban I Guess? 🙂

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

As a “cwazy wabbit” used to say, “Nyaaaaaa, could be!”

B. Michels
B. Michels
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Master had them a few time when the Midway visited Hong Kong. Man are they good I’m going to have to get that sight from you when I get there. Will you share it?

AlexB
AlexB
11 years ago

Hi Paul,

Something to destress you, in your neck of the woods. Only thing now is to find your favourite cigar. Maybe just check out the local neighborhood, they may have one for you:

http://www.sitioremedios.com/home.aspx

Alex

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  AlexB

Hi Alex – Currimao and its Sitio Remedios is a pretty nice place. It is “cigar-poor” however. One place closer that has a little better selection is Ft. Ilocandia in Laoag

(http://www.fortilocandia.com.ph/ ).

The vendor there is a friend and offers discounts for this regular customer. 😉

Ed Griffin
Ed Griffin
11 years ago

Reminds me of the Balikibayan Box sent to my best friend in Davao City; took 1 month and 4 days. Makes me think my friends may think I lied about sending. Or when the boxes take some 50 days or more to Manila. My friends get impatient. Here in the states you pay extra for rush shipment and yet oftentimes there is only a day or two difference in receiving. Then there is the EdenPure heater I ordered to keep from freezing in my new apartment. They said 14 days. Tomorrow wil be 14 days! What if it doesn’t come… Read more »

Paul
Paul
11 years ago
Reply to  Ed Griffin

Hi Ed – We just received the last BB box we sent ourselves while still in the states! Sent it about October 11th. It arrived December 16th, within the “guaranteed” 45-90 days! 😆

Imagine the “foo-foo-rah” centuries back when the great ship arrived in Manila from Mexico!
😉

kei
kei
10 years ago

Hello. I’m also new to that last tracking status (Not delivered because no delivery service is available…) so I googled and saw this post. Can I ask where did you pick-up the package from Hongkong Post? I live in Pampanga (2 hours away from Manila), will it be shipped her in my local post office and will I receive a note to pick it up from there? Or do I have to go all the way to Manila which is ridiculous? Correct me if I’m wrong but you didn’t get an official note to get your package right? Your friend… Read more »

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.