Oh Brasil! Adventures in shipping
Let's start with the good news. The boards have been assembled and are en-route to the USA! Yeah!
Now to the not-great news. As I've discussed I designed a manufacturing test fixture that will program and test each board. I ordered the PCBs for it at the beginning of Nov from Itead Studio and shipped to the USA via DHL and parts from Mouser. The parts are here. The PCBs almost made it to me, coming as close as Denver, CO - 35 minutes away. But instead of getting on a truck they ended up on a flight to Brazil. Where they sit...
I worked with DHL to try to get them back: four different times. I have to give it to DHL customer support. They are friendly and courteous and they call you back. At first they were "No problem, we're so sorry, it'll be turned around in a couple of days". Then it became "They're stuck in customs but we've talked to them and they'll release them tomorrow and on the plane the next day. Don't worry". Next it was "Well you know we really don't have control of what happens in each country. We'll have to see but we expect for them to be released in a couple of days". And finally, "They're on strike and we have no idea. Sorry. We're closing the ticket. Can I help you with anything else?".
Last night at about 2:30 AM, no doubt awake because of a food-hangover caused by the American Thanksgiving holiday, I ordered a second set of boards from Itead and paid to have them express shipped (which, of course, is DHL). I've had nothing but good luck in the past so let's hope that the first order's accidental trip to Brazil is an anomaly.
I am still hopeful that we'll be able to ship everything to you all before the Christmas holiday but thought you should know about this slight hiccup.