It was going to be touch and go, I just knew it. I could imagine the luggage I left back in Oaxaca, filled to the brim and getting heavier in my mind’s eye. That’s why I decided to ask Talavera Armando to ship the three plates, bowl, and six small tiles I bought. How much, I asked, would it be to send these by air freight. Fifteen hundred pesos, she answered. She pointed to the maestro who was in charge of shipping, saying that he does this every day. Barbara pulled out her iPhone with the instant currency converter app and showed that the cost would be $123 USD. We gulped. Then, we thought about what it would mean to jam these things into our luggage, which was already at risk of being overweight, and decided to take the plunge. Okay, we said and forked over our pesos. It’ll arrive by Monday, she said, four days from now.
Back in North Carolina, I waited. Then, we got a call from FedEx. Talavera Armando had not transcribed my address correctly, even though I had printed it clearly enough. My husband, who received the phone call, corrected the address and today, four days later, we received the package.
Gleefully, I just opened it only to find the poorest packaging possible, a bit of bubble wrap protecting the fragile contents, in a box much too small to safely cushion each piece. In fact, the dishes were wrapped together with only a thin veneer of bubble between each of them, and there was no tape to keep the bubble wrap secured. When I saw that, I was not surprised to see that the contents arrived broken.
Lots of things work in Mexico. This didn’t. I have filed my FedEx claim, but who knows? Meanwhile, the $123 we paid for shipping and handling (most of which probably went to the “handling” or the “packaging” was a way for Talavera Armando to put a few extra dollars in their pocket. I’ll know better the next time.
Meanwhile, everything I packed myself and shipped home in my suitcase came undamaged. The safest bet is to use Mail Boxes Plus or Mail Boxes Etc. They do a great job from their franchise in Oaxaca.