Saturday 17 November 2007

The mail blues

I think I could write a book about the Turkish mail services. I imagine the main post office in Istanbul as a big, crumbling, ill illuminated building. Well, that ill illuminated is probably inspired by the fact that I am writing this post by candle light on my laptop. It is rainy weather, and when that is the case, we have no electricity, sometimes for hours at a time.

Well, in that big darkish building I imagine an enormous pit, where the sacks mail coming from the plains are emptied. Once in a while, a foot dragging, tired civil servant, grabs some mail and put it on the bus to some remote destination, for instance, Marmaris, the small town in the outmost South West, where we live. There in the post office, big baskets filled to the brim wait the whim of another bored civil servant to be distributed. This is no fantasy, the tale telling baskets are in plain sight. The post office employees drink gallons of tea in the mean time and hope that the mail evaporates.
So, it should be clear, that receiving mail is erratic at best. The record of tardiness rest with a post card coming from Holland, that took a year to arrive. Of course other pieces of mail unbeknownst to us could be still very well at the bottom of the pit gathering…experience.
But, because of this, you are grateful and pleasantly surprised with any small mercy coming from the post office. The post office makes you humble and teaches you not to take any thing for granted. Did you know that the post office could do that for you?

We rent a P.O. box in the main office in town, not to over work the mail man. Seldom any thing ever lies there, but once I found the box overflowing with mail. Briefly I thought the improbable thought that we had won all of a sudden a popularity contest. But of course, it became very soon clear that it was wrongly delivered post, puzzling enough it was outgoing mail, that the tourists in Marmaris had written to home, in the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, etc.
I queued in the post office and tried to give the mail to the employee, telling him it wasn’t mine. His baffling answer was: we have a margin of error of five percent. And with these words he refused any farther dealing with it, leaving me with almost four hundred post cards in my hand. I told you, life is never boring, here. Routine? ...never!

Sometimes, mail do arrive, and brings wonderful things, like these unbelievable little mermaids, a trade with a lady on Etsy that makes this delicate little gals full with great details and grace. You can find them in her shop, along with other whimsical jewelry for a steal. Go quickly and shop!


  1. I feel your pain, Star! I grew up in the Philippines, where you learn very quickly to distrust the post office :) But I am sorry I sort of laughed--you are funny when you tell your tales!

  2. It's similar to the post service in Indonesia too. Last year my friends got their X'Mas-cards in February, which I've sent in the first week of December!! Here in Germany we are spoiled with all the luxury of having electricity thoroughly, enough water, quite reliable post service and other "tittles", that makes live much more worthy and still.. we're complaining.. Stories like yours reminds me to be grateful for what I already have. Thank you, Star!!