Wednesday, June 1, 2016

DPO vs Pouch

Everybody loves mail! Living overseas is like going to summer camp. There's no better feeling than finding out you have mail to pick up. It sounds silly, but it's really true. Besides that, having (US) mail is one of the most enviable benefits of living overseas on government orders. The other expats I've met are immediately jealous, as their options for buying American products are mostly limited to... well... having someone bring it to them.

That being said, when it comes to mail there are two types of Posts. In Chennai, all of our mail came through the Diplomatic Pouch. The benefit to this is that shippers 'think' they're shipping to the US. The down side is that we were generally looking at 7 days minimum shipping time AFTER it's delivered to the pouch facility. Having a Diplomatic Post Office (the State Department version of an Army Post Office or APO), as we do in Buenos Aires, has its own positives and negatives. On the positive side, our mail can arrive in as few as 3 days after arriving at the DPO facility. However, some retailers, e.g. Amazon, know that APO/DPOs aren't in the US, so their standard shipping timing is thrown out the window. It took one item we ordered 25 days to SHIP from Amazon, not to mention travel time to the DPO.

Of course, in Chennai we received our mail once per week, so you really looked forward to mail day. Here mail arrives almost daily, so perhaps some of the morale-boosting rush of receiving mail will wear off. Oh well, I'll just have to order some tissues to wipe away my tears of woe. :-D

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