Earlier this week, we received an email from DHL, via Costa Rican Customs, wanting to know "What ingredients are in tea?".
Yes, you read it correctly the first time.
What ingredients are in tea?
"Tea", DH replies, via phone rather than email, "tea, contains tea, just like coffee contains coffee". Even though he his talking Spanish, I pick up on his sarcasm, which is usually non-existent.
We have been waiting for some documents from England for about six weeks now. The package left Reading on Tuesday 17th December and passed through East Midlands airport, Barbados, Venezuela and Panama City, before arriving in San Jose on Thursday 19th December! Yes two days to get from one continent to the other, and yet three weeks later we are still without the documents. Meanwhile, we have had to pay extra money to customs, in order for them to actually receive the package; this is before they even bother to look at the contents. That was over two weeks ago when customs briefly returned to work between Christmas and New Year.
Now that normal working hours have been resumed, it seems that customs have just looked at my package, hence the email "What ingredients are in tea?". As it says on the Tetley Tea packaging '100% Black Tea'. A phrase which I believe is easy to understand in most languages, however limited your English maybe.
Of course there is always the off-chance that my friend in England is actually smuggling dope to Central America, via me in CR, in individual teabags that are enclosed in cellophane-wrapped boxes which advertise tea! No wait, isn't that the wrong way round? Surely it is usually cocaine and marijuana travelling from Colombia to the US or Europe as described in today's Independent? No mention of teabags being used - maybe they should consider it!
Anyway, even though customs are the ones holding the package and investigating its contents, we are the ones that will have to pick up the extra charges, which mount daily. As we have paid a silly amount already, we have begged and pleaded for the paperwork, but have said that we will not pay for the rest of the items. Looks like they may be winding their way back to the UK, sorry friends.
In the meantime, we received another package from the UK on Monday, which was bizarrely sent the same day. This too we had to pay extra dollars for, as it seems everything that comes into this country is subjected to hefty import taxes. I think perhaps the customs officer in charge of this case was perhaps bi-lingual; teabags were allowed through no questions asked!