La Poste

Enter at your own risk
Enter at your own risk

The minute I walked into the post office, I knew it was going to be a dee-zas-tah. And it was. All the signs were in French! Sometimes you get lucky, and some signs have English translations, especially in public transport stations. They even sometimes have German and Chinese translations as well. I guess they only expect tourists to board the bus, not post letters.

So after standing around for about five minutes, sneaking peeks at other people, and trying to decode some of the instructions. I called a friend and asked what to say. She gave me two words – lettre prioritaire. Armed with those, I braved the information/cashier desk. Thank God ‘envelope’ is the same in French as in English. I was able to get the envelope.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do with the letter after I had enveloped it. I waved the letter in one of the assistants’ faces, and muttered lettre prioritaire a couple of times. He got the message, and helped me use some touchscreen machine. He left when it got to the payment stage. I paid, but still didn’t know what to do with the letter! I glanced surreptitiously (I hope I succeeded in being surreptitious) at the man to my left and saw him stick something that the machine had spat out unto his letter. So, I did the same. But… Yes, you got it! I still did not know what to do with my enveloped, stickered letter.

As I looked around in confusion, (that man to my left was doing something else to his letter, but I could tell I wasn’t supposed to do the same) the assistant suddenly came to my rescue. He was on to me. He could tell I didn’t have a clue. He took the letter from my hand, put it in a pile and said “Au revoir.” His smile was laughing at me.

I really need to work on my French…

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