We had a rare day off the other day and I took the opportunity to pick up a few postcards which abound here in Ibiza. That was the easy part- well almost easy anyway, once you hunt down the person selling them that is, among all the towels with the imprinted Ibiza skink and fluff and bother touristy items.
Once written, I then had to locate stamps – so I set off with great intentions of a fast run off the boat to pick up some stamps and post the cards. I figured the fastest and easiest way would be to head straight to the Post office or Correos here, but I was waylaid by the Marinieri guys (they are generally on the dock to help the boats to tie up when you get back into port), who mentioned that stamps are best bought at the Tabac. Okay I am up for that and that there is a Correos box on the main street – great, thanks for the lead.
Off to the closest Tabac which was in the opposite direction to where I had been going. My turn arrives and I utilise my best Spanglish and ask for Stamps for the post cards – no problem she says in rapid fire Majorcanised Spanish and handed over some stamps. I looked at them and they appeared to be a different amount to the two I had already managed to get when I got the post cards.. she did explain that the cost of the Europe stamps was around 75c and the out of Europe ones were around 90c, how many did I want? The same as I asked for when I asked for the ones to Australia....out of Europe ......
Anyway, she only had one! And judging by the amount it was for out of Europe. Off to locate another Tabac which are not as frequent as they could be and to locate the box on the Main street. Of course you have to know which Main Street they are talking about - the Main Street or the Main street that everyone uses because the Main Street is always busy.. I opted for looking for the box along one of the Main streets on the way to the next Tabac – which could sell me one stamp for Euro 1.75c would this be okay.
I settled for asking where the Correos would be? Oh! She said – ‘take this street to the end, turn left and then at the traffic lights turn right and it is just there’. Then a Correos lady came into the shop and they had a full on brawl (or conversation depending on how you look at it) and apparently the Correos doesn’t close for lunch so I was good to go (I should have known).
So out of the shop, up the street, left onto a ‘main street’, at the lights turn right and start walking – talk about cut lunch and toilet stop required. I asked a lovely gentleman about halfway to Madrid about a Correos – after he corrected my pronunciation he told me to keep going and then he waved at the other side of the street – I figured that was to indicate that it was there (seeing as no-one waved back at him from the other side). I passed the same office supplies shop from a few days before that were using a double hole punch as a door stop – with the correct height I guess anything is useable. Eventually, I could see the curvature of the earth in the middle distance and just off to the left was the Correos!! Mazing!
In I totter and punch the only choice working on the ‘take a number’ stand and wait for my number to come up on the flashing red display – apparently this must be the only post office in town and everyone had decided that today was the day they were going to send all manner of chickens in boxes and pay their bills. Eventually my number comes up and I stand in line behind the others at the same window and am waved forward to the desk – nothing like have a 3 way conversation with all in line when you ask the girl behind the counter. In gruff English one of the others mentioned the dying art of buying and sending postcards and I had to agree with them. It appeared that after the false start with the stamps for Austria – she didn’t have access to stamps of this denomination and it would have to go to a higher pay grade unless I wanted to put them all through the franking machine....??
Please to go and wait at counter 3 and she will help you when she has finished. Off to the next counter and the theatre productions going on behind door number three. I think they were just making up things to put onto bits of paper to pass time, but eventually the fellow ahead of me left and she turned her attention to me.. hand out for the cards and I explain that I need 6 stamps for Australia - hmmmm – she does have stamps 98c, and they are the same length as the cards... and I have already written on the cards. Anything smaller, asks i?? Hmmmm I have these and you can have two for each card – 54c each. I could almost squeeze them on and hope the recipients would be able to pick up the sticky bits to read around them... right so you need 12.. and then she starts to shake down the guy on the seat next to her for a UHU glue stick. I wasn’t sure what I had asked for but if she was throwing in a glue stick as well for the extra price I wasn’t going to argue. I picked it up and had a questioning look on my face and she mimed rubbing it on the stamps - ah says I as the light dawned, not licking them – and I went to lick one of the stamps. Well, I thought she was going to leap off her chair to stop me but I pulled the stamps away from my tongue just in time.
With violent shaking of her head and mutterings of dire circumstances for such a horrid act from her, I dutifully smeared the glue over the back of the stamps and tried to strategically place the glued bits away from any writing (good luck to anyone receiving a card).
Obviously not trusting me to do as I had been instructed and despite the long line of waiting customers out the door, she let me finish gluing the stamps to the cards before asking for the next contender. I handed over the cards for her safe handling and left to look for my space shuttle back to the boat.