04 June 2004

Postal Services

Nothing as simple as getting the mail, right? Just tell people where you live and the postman will deliver. Not so in Dubai, one of the few civilised countries in the World that does not have a postal delivery service. You are given a post box with your

You are given a post box with your accommodation, or get your own. Then the fun starts. The post boxes are located in huge rooms in the area post offices or built into pillars just outside. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. All painted blue, with a slot for 'Unwanted Letters' occasionally. You have to go and pick it up regularly if you want to get your mail, or send the maid/driver/gardener to get it. The exception is a few apartment blocks (like ours) that have arranged a central mail pickup service. This means that someone from the management company gets the mail. In the case of our block unfortunately they are very slack and so we only get mail every few days. It also means if there is a lot of mail it may not all get put into the post box, so it is delayed even more. Or the pickup guy has too much to carry and leaves some behind. Sounds like a rubbish system? Well, it is.

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Karama Post Office - outside and inside post boxes

The result of this haphazard system is that most people have their mail sent to their office address, since someone is guaranteed to pick up from the post box at least once a day there, and it is pretty much guaranteed that the mail gets to you since presumably your employer knows who you are.

The Dubai post office is actually thinking about starting deliveries, having realised that this is an impossible state of affairs. But when this will happen we don't know. In the meantime, if you want to send snail mail, you will need to send it to Stuart's work address and if it comes from Europe, expect it to take anything from 2 to 6 weeks.

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