We Get Caught Up in International Politics

You might ask 'How could a couple of average American travelers get caught up in international politics'?
The answer - Easier than you might think...

We had traveled to Argentina, the first stop on our trip to South America. We had taken our Rough Guide to Argentina travel book to help us learn about the places we would visit and help us get around.

As is our custom, at the end of our stay, we packed a box of papers and other items we would no longer need (including the Rough Guide) into a box. We took our box to Federal Express in Buenos Aires (BA), filled out all the necessary forms and paid them to transport it back to the US. This task complete, we left their office with our receipt in hand.

A few days later we were in Peru and went online to check the tracking number to make sure our package had arrived. To our surprise we learned that our package had gone to customs at the airport in BA where it had been inspected. All we could learn from the Fedex website was that our package had been refused for transport, and had been returned to the shipping office 'for pickup by the shipper'.

Needless to say, we were quite dismayed ! Now, several thousand kilometers away, how were we going to either get our package back or somehow find out what was wrong and get it resolved. What to do?

Our first idea was to call Fedex, so we went online and using Skype tried calling the office in BA, but because it was mid-evening in BA, the office was closed. We then decided to call Fedex's 800 number in the US and talked with a nice woman who finally understood our problem, but had little more information than that on the website and had no capability to do anything for us. She suggested that we should call the BA office directly and work it out with them and offered to send the BA office a message describing our problem and indicating that we would be contacting them.

The next day we called the BA office and spoke to a nice woman who explained that our package had been refused because our Rough Guide had certain maps in it that were objectionable to Argentine authorities. These maps (get this) included the Falkland Islands in the Atlantic Ocean that have been a possession of Great Britain for many years, but are still claimed by Argentina where they are known as the Malvinas. The problem was that the names shown on the maps in the Rough Guide were the British name and not the name used by Argentina.

Finally understanding the problem, we asked her what we could do to solve this dilemma. She suggested that we could authorize her to tear the pages that contained the 'objectionable' maps out of the book and then resend the package. We quickly agreed.

A few days later we learned that our package, containing the Rough Guide with the objectionable areas on the maps carefully excised, had arrived in the US. (see pictures below)

One little crisis in international politics was now history.


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