Shipping business

Today I wrestled my bike boxes down into their folded state, wrapped some tie straps around them, and booked a shuttle ride back to the airport.

This handy wall-size collection of information is hanging in the airport.

My intention was to drag them over to the DHL shipping office and send them back to the US, and that was what I did, except it took almost four hours instead of one because the DHL office is not actually at the airport. It’s four long blocks away.

Luckily I could make this long trek easier by swiping one of the luggage handcarts from the baggage area and chucking my boxes onto that. I felt pretty silly pushing a stack of boxes down the sidewalk, around the industrial area next to the airport, but I didn’t care — as long as I didn’t get any attention from the police. If they searched me they would find a wallet, a passport, and a big pile of candy bars. Highly suspicious!

Good thing there are handcarts sitting around at the airport, or the walk to the DHL shipping depot would have taken forever, dragging those big boxes along...

This map on the wall of the DHL shipping depot shows how Iceland is in the same time zone as the UK, even though it's a good distance west.

The clerk at the DHL office was surprised that I was trying to ship boxes with nothing in them. He took measurements of the boxes, weighed them, then told me to wait as he got on the phone with the central office and argued with them in Icelandic for almost half an hour, transferring to three different people, all of whom he knew on a first-name basis. When he hung up he announced that he could cut almost 80 dollars off my shipping fee, which was quite a relief to me since the original quote was well over 300 dollars. It would cost twice as much for me to ship these boxes back home empty as it cost me in baggage fees to fly them into Iceland fully loaded.

Stats about the bike boxes:

  • The large box weighs 14kg empty.
  • The small box weighs 10kg empty.
  • Both boxes are the same size folded: 134cm x 79cm x 12cm.

Bike boxes all taped up and ready to go! The cost of shipping was insanely expensive, but they sure got to their destination fast...

I borrowed some packing tape from the clerk and since he didn’t have anything else to do, he held the boxes closed while I applied the tape, and we chatted a bit about travel.

“I visited America last year. I have some relatives in New Jersey.”
“Oh yeah? What did you do in New Jersey?”
“They took me to see Wrestlemania.”
“That’s … A very American sort of thing to see.”
“Yes! And we went on a road trip. I saw Washington. I parked in front of the FBI building by accident and some people came out and asked me a lot of questions, then they told me to move.”
“Hah! That’s pretty cool. Not very many people can say they visited America and got hassled by FBI agents.”
“Yes. I want to go back. I would like to live there.”
“Oh? Why?”
“Everything is so inexpensive!”

I laughed and told him I could see what he meant, but my experience was the opposite, because I’m from San Francisco. Things in Iceland actually cost less for me. He seemed surprised by that. I encouraged him to visit again, because his accent would be very popular with the ladies. He didn’t say anything to that but his face turned a little red.

Now this is service. Some poor traveler left their car in the long-term parking lot at the airport with their window halfway down. Since the windows are all electric, the airport staff have no way to raise them. Instead of just ignoring the issue and letting the car interior get destroyed by the constant rainstorms, they got plastic and airport packing tape and sealed over the partially-down window. Very thoughtful!

With the boxes taken care of, I pushed the luggage cart back to the airport and waited for the free hotel shuttle. Once again I was the only person riding it. Isn’t this the height of tourist season? Shouldn’t every hotel be bursting at the seams? I wonder if they over-built…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *