Friday, January 14

Post Office in Pai, Thailand

This was a personal victory for me: I have the opportunity to visit a few nations outside of my own, so I've been making it a personal goal to visit official post offices where I travel. I haven't made it 100% of the time or even 50%, I don't think.

In my other blog, I posted a picture of my visit to a (temporary) post office in Bali, Indonesia. When I was in Iceland I'd only walked back and forth outside a post office in Reykjavik but never made it inside. I regret that a lot. I thought I was going to replay that regret when I finally located the post office in Chiang Mai City, Thailand, but showed up on the one day of the week it was closed.

As it happened, I was visiting Pai for two days and wrote up a bunch of postcards, hanging out at a coffee shop. I figured one of the local convenience stores around here might have some stamps (7-11 is very big in Thailand, the way Circle K was in Indonesia) but anywhere I went was out of them. Pai has a pretty strong independent artists community and its remote geographic location is a popular motif to play upon, whether it's the "762 curves" on highway 1095 between Chiang Mai and Pai or the tiny town's postal code, 58130. There are a lot of beautiful postcards for sale throughout the town, and if there's such a demand for them, perhaps people really were draining all the 7-11s of their postal stamps.

I was directed to the post office (which I was excited about) but finding it was another matter. There were several maps in town but... I don't know if the scale was off or if they were simplified to highlight the local bars and hotels. The map in Lonely Planet was worse than any of those. Rebecca and I wandered around the neighborhood south of Pai proper until she asked some directions from some friendly women at a corner cafe. We took an immediate left and found ourselves in front of the post office--we'd walked that street before on the other side and didn't see it at all. How'd that happen?

Regardless, once inside the process was swift and simple, and I think the postal rate for postcards was more or less equivalent to that in the States. That's convenient, but time will tell whether their postal infrastructure is any better than Indonesia's: only two intended recipients have indicated the cards reached their destination, out of a couple dozen sent to friends around the world. It's too soon to tell whether any of the Thailand-issued cards have arrived, but still I wonder.

Sweet relief: greetings from Pai, Thailand!

2 comments:

Raw to the Core said...

Did the other people receive their cards??

Christian Wilkie said...

Yes, all the cards sent from Thailand arrived safely. I think it took less than a month for them to travel, too.