Sunday, March 11, 2012
My Bali Steel Pan
After waiting 11 months sinced I first ordered it back in April last year, I finally got a notice from the Makati Central Post Office to pick up my steel pan. I got the notice last March 5 which was a few days later from when the notice said that the package arrived at the post office (February 29).
I researched how the process is for incoming international packages ever since the steel pan makers emailed me that they had already sent my steel pan. And from what I heard from other people receiving things they ordered online, it seems customs really just throw a wrench into things. So I went to the post office next day with some knowledge on how this process goes.
There were three people there all with seemingly different responsibilities to do. One took my notice card and look through his log to check it off. He made me sign his log folder and pointed me to the next guy to pay a postal fee of PHP40.00. I paid the postal fee and waved at the first guy. He proceeded inside their storage room. A few minutes later, the guy carried out this rather large wooden crate. I actually didn't expect the thing to be that big. The 3rd person was an aged lady. She came over and asked the first guy what was inside the crate. There was no indication on the crate as to what it was. I told them "musikero ako, tambol yang nasa loob". Traditional percussion drums like congas and djembe are already hard to describe to most people. But somehow the word "tambol" guides their understanding best. Amusingly, the guy thought the crate was the actual "tambol" and started whacking on it. The lady was looking for some "declaration of value" document on the crate which was nowhere to be found. So by then, I already figured out that she was the customs official. Fortunately, the steel pan makers didn't put any valuation document on the crate. So I just told the customs lady how much I bought it for.
Okay fine, I lied. I told her it was 10% of the actual amount I spent on the thing. I hate lying. But I felt like customs would charge me an arm and a leg if I was truthful about it. It already cost me an arm and a leg just buying the thing. So the customs lady went back to her desk and pulled out her calculator and a form. After doing a few computations, she came back to me showing me the form while pointing to the amount that she computed as my customs tax. I felt the amount was still a tad horrendous. But compared to what I should really be taxed, I didn't bother reacting negatively to the tax amount shown to me.
The customs lady told me she would give me a 50% discount on the customs tax, which was nice of her. I paid the amount to the second guy, and picked up my package with all smiles and thanks directed to the three.
So I got my Bali Steel Pan! Finally! I've been playing around with it whenever I can since then. Unfortunately, I accidentally cut my finger that night while opening a can of sisig. It was a bleeder! So I couldn't play around with my steel pan for a number of days. But today, the cut seems closed and it didn't hurt so much anymore. So I decided to make my 1st steel pan video.
I still have to get used to playing my steel pan. So the video above is a one-take, very virgin steel pan player. So please be gentle when you watch it. Hope you like it. More videos to come as I learn my way around my steel pan.
I'm so happy I finally got it!
/ear to ear grin
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