Post Around the World
The weird and wonderful world of postal services
The next time you moan about the late delivery of your electricity bill, spare some thought for your poor old post person. OK, your postie probably has only to make a short journey from a sorting office to your luxury pad but around the world it's not always so simple, so we decided to take a look at the weird and the wonderful when it comes to postal services around the world.
United States of the Weird
Perhaps its no surprise that some of the most eye-watering facts come from the USA. Across it's nearly 10m sq. km and a population of 318,000,000 it presents some of the biggest delivery challenges. The highest USA post office (in Alma, Colorado) is over 10,000 feet above sea level whilst the lowest is 282 feet below - that's a Post Office in Death Valley which unsurprisingly is also the hottest and the driest on the continent. Pity the poor postie who has to deliver to Main Street, Island Park, ID - at 33 miles long, it the longest in America. But perhaps walking it is not the most stressful way to deliver post. A mule train delivery is in operation in Arizona. Each mule carries about 130 pounds of mail, food, supplies and furniture down the 8-mile trail to the Havasupai Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, averaging 4,000 pounds per day. On the Detroit River in Michigan, the JW Westcott contract mail boat out of Detroit delivers mail to passing ships and even has its own zip code. A dock-to-dock delivery takes place on the Magnolia River in Alabama as a 15-foot contract mail boat delivers to 176 dock-side mailboxes on a 31-mile stretch of the river.
And just in case you were thinking of it, posting children was banned in the USA in 1920. Apparently before that date, Americans often posted kids as it was the cheaper than any other transportation method.
The weird weird postal world
In 2001, the German Post office began training courses to teach dog psychology to postmen. No surprise really as figures showed that 3,000 postmen a year are bitten by dogs in Germany, leaving 2,255 pairs of torn trousers and £8million of medical bills.
There are over 363,663 million items sent by post annually - that's one item per adult per week.
The ground floor of the Eiffel Tower is a post office and probably explains all those queues at this famous landmark - they're not tourists but French pensioners! Other interesting locations for Post Offices include a 17th-century palace in Turkey, Port Lockrey in Antarctica and an underwater Post Office in Republic of Vanuatu.
In the UK a recent survey suggested the top 10 ‘weirdest' things ever posted included a dead cat, a live hamster and a 500-strong army of Barbie dolls, but it sounds just like an average day at Baker Goodchild.