Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Three Mystery Packages

Everything that comes to Unalaska must come in by ship or by plane. Knowing how to retreive shipments is a challenge for the new-comer. George's first such challenge was when a shipping company called and said that if he didn't pick up a shipment and pay the $700+ owed on it, they were going to send it back! George didn't know anything about a shipment, so inquired how big the package was. They advised it was about 10 feet by 5 feet and 2 feet deep--weight about 560 lbs! Not exactly the kind of thing you can just go and "pick up" without a fork lift!

He said he'd come look at the package, and asked where they were. He didn't know any of the local landmarks, of course, so after being given instructions like, "Turn right at the street with no name, then left at the bait shop--we're down by the radio transmitter," he set out.

After driving around in the commercial/dock area for over an hour with no success, he gave up and went home. The next day, being the resourceful fellow that he is, he went to the tourist information center and asked them to draw a map for him! Great idea--but it still took 45 minutes to actually find the place. Turns out that the church had ordered a commercial hood for their commercial range in the kitchen and an air conditioning unit--and they were shipped together on three pallets. The treasurer wrote a check, and eventually the men of the church figured out where to store it, got together, and moved it. (The shipping company was more cooperative when they'd been paid!)

When George got home from his first inspection of the hood package, there was a voice mail saying, "This is Joe down at the dock. I've got 23 crates of vegetables for you to pick up." Who is Joe? What dock? Why would there be a need for 23 crates of vegetables?! What was he supposed to do with them?

Turns out there is a "produce club" on the island that people pay to belong to, and they receive a crate of fresh vegetables every week. The parsonage is the distribution point, in spite of the fact that they get no vegetables! Mystery solved--and one of the church members showed him the way to the dock and helped retreive the first of what will be weekly loads of produce--see picture.

And finally, one that was easier! The post office box contained a book from Amazon that George hadn't ordered, addressed to him. (I hadn't ordered it either.) It's an interesting book on World War II in the Aleutian Islands, but it is a mystery where it came from--no packing slip. This kind of mystery package, however, is vastly preferred over the first one. George is pleased to have "relevant" reading material.

Since this kind of thing "comes in threes," will this be the last?

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