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Old 27 Feb 2013, 12:03 AM   #16
emebrs
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Originally Posted by webecedarian View Post
Where I am, in New York, it's particularly bad, with rude workers, misdirected mail
How often do you miss important mail like statements or tax documents?
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Old 28 Apr 2013, 04:20 AM   #17
webecedarian
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Thank you to all of you! I'm sorry that I disappeared, but one of my main internet sourced collapsed, so I've had less time onlin. In the meantime, the U.S. has gone through a lot of heated discussions, and the latest is that they're sticking with six days for the moment.

However, I was very interested in your posts. Tsunami, you're so unbelievably international! That never occured to me about different alphabets; the closest I've come is when writing to a friend in Italy, I put both Venice and Venezia on the envelope. Rob, I'm envious that you get your mail so reliably in the morning; in New York, my mailman straggles in as late as 4:00.

KijinBear, yes, you're right about the post office's loss of income, but it's hard to be sympathetic when they seem so incompetent overall, and seem dogged by bad decisions. Personally, I'm convinced that a major part of the problem is their union. N5bb, it's possible the actual price may be the same for the basics, but from reading family letters from the 1940s, it's clear that the overall service was better (two daily deliveries!?), and certain special services, like the equivalent of airmail, was much cheaper.

Emebers, actually I can't count how many things I miss, because obviously I may not know I'm missing them. But I have had repeated instances where things, including bank statements were wrongly labeled "Unknown - return to sender" so that banks, utilities, etc., assumed I'd disappeared. And of course when you tell a company that you're sorry you're late with the payment, but you didn't receive their bill - they won't want to believe you.

That's hilarious about chocolate-favored stamps, but the first thing that occured to me is that in the U.S. someone allergic to chocolate would immediately sue the post office!
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Old 2 May 2013, 01:46 AM   #18
Tsunami
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Originally Posted by webecedarian View Post
Thank you to all of you! I'm sorry that I disappeared, but one of my main internet sourced collapsed, so I've had less time onlin. In the meantime, the U.S. has gone through a lot of heated discussions, and the latest is that they're sticking with six days for the moment.

However, I was very interested in your posts. Tsunami, you're so unbelievably international! That never occured to me about different alphabets; the closest I've come is when writing to a friend in Italy, I put both Venice and Venezia on the envelope. Rob, I'm envious that you get your mail so reliably in the morning; in New York, my mailman straggles in as late as 4:00.

KijinBear, yes, you're right about the post office's loss of income, but it's hard to be sympathetic when they seem so incompetent overall, and seem dogged by bad decisions. Personally, I'm convinced that a major part of the problem is their union. N5bb, it's possible the actual price may be the same for the basics, but from reading family letters from the 1940s, it's clear that the overall service was better (two daily deliveries!?), and certain special services, like the equivalent of airmail, was much cheaper.

Emebers, actually I can't count how many things I miss, because obviously I may not know I'm missing them. But I have had repeated instances where things, including bank statements were wrongly labeled "Unknown - return to sender" so that banks, utilities, etc., assumed I'd disappeared. And of course when you tell a company that you're sorry you're late with the payment, but you didn't receive their bill - they won't want to believe you.

That's hilarious about chocolate-favored stamps, but the first thing that occured to me is that in the U.S. someone allergic to chocolate would immediately sue the post office!

The flavoured stamps... I haven't even tried them myself. Keep in mind Belgium is a small country and chocolate is about our most famous export product along with french fries If you walk through Brussels you come across so many chocolate stores you lose track, and even a chocolate museum (with free tasters )


Not that international really. I lived in several countries but all used the Latin alphabet. The only non Latin alphabet I use is Hebrew since I study Hebrew in evening school and try to keep in touch with my Israeli friends to keep exercising my Hebrew. Now with email the alphabet issue is resolved, and since I know how to write and read Hebrew I could easily write the Latin and Hebrew variants both on the enveloppes (to assure both Belgian and Israeli postal offices would grasp it).

However, that is Hebrew, and that's the only non-Latin alphabet I am used to write and read in. I would be stuck if I had to send a letter to Korea, Japan or China for example... I guess I'd have to transliterate and ask the receiver to email me the correct address in his alphabet, then paste that paper on the enveloppe... In Cyrillic or Arabic, I guess the best bet is to use that same trick. Only in Hebrew I could do it without some help with the alphabets. In other non-Latin alphabets, I'd be quite lost as well.

With language issues within the same alphabet (eg "Vienna" being "Wien" in German, quite a difference) I think using the right zipcode would resolve the issue even if the postal office folks are confused with the English version of the city name (and this example is not too well-chosen because most Austrians know well enough how their cities are called in English. It may get a little problematic when writing to a very rural area in Ireland or Wales where Celtic languages are still the first choice)
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Old 2 May 2013, 02:44 AM   #19
webecedarian
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The flavoured stamps... I haven't even tried them myself. Keep in mind Belgium is a small country and chocolate is about our most famous export product along with french fries If you walk through Brussels you come across so many chocolate stores you lose track, and even a chocolate museum (with free tasters )

Not that international really. I lived in several countries but all used the Latin alphabet. The only non Latin alphabet I use is Hebrew since I study Hebrew in evening school and try to keep in touch with my Israeli friends to keep exercising my Hebrew. Now with email the alphabet issue is resolved, and since I know how to write and read Hebrew I could easily write the Latin and Hebrew variants both on the enveloppes (to assure both Belgian and Israeli postal offices would grasp it).
I already wanted to go to Belgium, but the idea of free chocolate tasting makes it even more alluring. On the other hand, when I think of times that I've helped to send out large-scale mailings, licking chocolate stamps for an hour or more might get nauseating. Can I ask what kind of exciting life you have that takes you globe-trotting?
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Old 5 May 2013, 01:19 AM   #20
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I've lived in 7 countries but 6 of them were EU members. Turkey was the exotic exception and best experience of all, would have stayed there if only working permits were not such a bureaucratic pain. But the other 6 were all EU members. So I don't think you should call me a globetrotter. I mean, the EU is a bit like the US: you could compare the different EU members to different US states. Imagine someone lived in 6 states of the US + lived in Mexico, that already sounds lot less globetrotting than those who live in countries all over the world, no? I think I can call myself a globetrotter the moment I've added some more non-EU members to the list.

PS: the difference between US and EU is purely that every EU state is sovereign, has its own laws, head of state, government, issues own passports, ... But then the EU also has laws and those overrule the laws of the different EU states. Also, every EU nation issueing a passport has "European Union" printed on the front too. So really, I would not call this globetrotting. Not more than someone who lived in let's say New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas. That guy would probably even have travelled more miles along the way than me, Europe isn't such a big place. Some provinces of Russia are about as big as the whole of Western Europe

As for Hebrew: it's my big dream to settle in Israel. Hence how I started studying Hebrew and made friends in Israel + amongst the Jewish minority at home. Why Israel? No rational reason really, just attraction. Just like a lot of Europeans want to live in the States or Japan for example because those countries fascinate them a lot. I got the same thing with Israel. I am not Jewish myself so getting a residence and working permit is very hard (Jews can use the Law of Return, I cannot and have to apply for hard-to-get permits). Studying Hebrew seemed a logical step to
a) keep the dream alive and remind myself never to give up
b) slightly increase my chances to get in (and make integration easier should I ever be lucky enough to be able to realise the dream)

So globetrotting... I don't know. 6 EU countries but then look at the size of Europe and how small it is. Add Turkey as one exotic destination and hopefully I can add Israel in the future. But until that happens, I'd not say I have been globetrotting more than the average guy. People in Europe move around easily, especially since the EU introduced free movement and freedom to reside and work in any other EU state without applying for a visa.

The reason for the moving? Well, we only got 1 life and I believe we have to make the most of it. The world is big and there's a lot of beauty to see. I hope to see as much of that beauty as I can, so I consider every new destination as a new discovery of beautiful fascinating things. I could easily settle near where I've grown up, but that never appealed to me. Even now I still feel like it's urgent time to get out there and visit Africa and Asia, it looks very beautiful and I can't wait to see that beauty with my own eyes The complex side of things are permits, which means it is easier to move around inside the EU without the bureaucracy involved. But I do feel the desire to explore more of the world outside of Europe. Travelling is an option but I find it more exciting to at least spend several months living amongst locals, you learn a lot more that way compared to staying in a hotel and just visit all the sights. To better understand a country, contact with the locals is very important so working and living in different places is extremely exciting.




As for chocolate stamps: I think you can taste as little or often as you wish in the museum, but keep in mind we have flavours enough to issue lots of stamps with different tastes Isn't it sad when our most famous export product is fries and chocolate? Yes, and Brussels Sprouts, but most people don't even like those. We also have great waffles yes. But culinary stuff aside, Belgium hasn't made any serious claims to global fame. We are known mainly for hosting the EU offices and for having a good cuisine (depending on taste by the way: I, as a vegetarian who also avoids dairy as much as I can, find the Belgian kitchen little appealing as most are very fond of beef, steak and similar stuff. Most veggies in this country are heavily into foreign cuisine as the Belgian local specialities aren't very veggie-orientated. Luckily we have lots of Indian restaurants )

Should I ever realise my Israeli dream, food will become easier. A lot of vegetarian dishes are de facto vegan due to kosher food laws. I'll never refuse a nice Middle Eastern veggie shoarma and falafel dish

If you like chocolate, fries and waffles, then a stroll through Brussels would be a great holiday for you (but don't forget to also look at the buildings they sell those chocolates in: most Belgian cities are filled with medieval architecture. I would prefer that people know us for that rather than for our food)

Last edited by Tsunami : 5 May 2013 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 22 May 2013, 11:59 PM   #21
ausGeoff
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In Australia when I was a kid, we had two deliveries Mon to Fri and one on Sat.

Now we have one Mon to Fri and none on Saturday.

That's societal advancement for you LOL.
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Old 23 May 2013, 12:09 AM   #22
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When I was a kid, RFC822 did not exist. RFC1 did not exist either. Never mind, RFC as such wasn't there, even as a idea....

And now (e)mail delivery is more or less continuous, 24/7, Sat & Sun included.

That's another view of societal advancement
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Old 24 May 2013, 03:52 AM   #23
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I wonder what's the slowest post delivery on earth. I cannot say I know all data, but reading a lot of travel guides and watching lot of travel documentaries learnt me a few things:

- Pitcairn Islands: the smallest democracy in the world, with just about 50 residents. A UK overseas territory with a certain autonomy (half of the adults on the island are in government, logically). The island has no airport and the nearest mainland is a boat trip of 2 or 3 days away. Post delivery can take as long as half a year or at least several months. That said, Pitcairn stamps seem to be extremely wanted by stamp collectors as they are such a rarity.

- Alert CFS, Canada. On top of Ellesmere Island, the northernmost outpost in the world has 5 permanent residents and some scientists who stay there usually half a year or a year before going back home. Average postal delivery time: 6 months.

- The USA owns a research station on the very south pole. The station is staffed by a 14 or 15 scientists during the long Antarctic winter, and slightly more short staying staff during the short Antarctic summer. With temperatures dropping to about -80 in winter plus polar winds make it feel like it's below -100, and with the nearest other station too far away to make the flights during the stormy winters, the base is cut off from the rest of the world for several months a year; sometimes even half a year. Obviously, postal delivery is out of question during these months, and from the last article I read on this fascinating place, there is no internet connection neither. So during antarctic winter, those 14 or 15 scientists are totally on their own.

China is now building "Dome A", a research station further from the actual pole but on top of the highest plateau of Antarctica. Combine -80 degrees with a latitude of over 4000 m high, and it gets so cold they don't even dare to send staff there during winter. I can imagine the moment someone dares to stay during winter, he won't receive any mail neither.

- Tristan da Cunha island: remotest populated island in the world, takes 7 days boat travel to get there. Postal delays can be several months, sometimes more. The UK (of whom the island is a colony) did award the island a UK zipcode so that the islanders can order from ebay.co.uk ; their delivery could be on their way half a year though and internet connection in a place so remote is so expensive anything longer than 10 minutes online could swallow a fair portion of your monthly income.
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Old 24 May 2013, 03:59 AM   #24
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Comes into mind: in Belgium we had a story making nationwide news: one street in a small town had such a long street name it didn't fit on any enveloppe. Those in town wanting to play the lottery or order by mail form didn't have enough boxes to enter the entire street name. I believe the street name was "Parallelweg Kleine Kerkstraat" or something similar. The story made nationwide news due to post delivery going wrong so often. They then decided to shorten the streetname to just "Parallelweg". Even in a country as small as ours (the average US state is much bigger than Belgium) we managed to not get some of our own national courier delivered

Also, just out of curiosity but does the Vatican issue own stamps and have an own postal service, or do they use the Italian one with just a zipcode indicating the difference between Rome and the Vatican state? If a Vatican postal service exists, I can imagine a Vatican stamp being so rare it's worth a lot. Just like the Euro coins issued there with the former Pope's image on the back, there were so few coins issued in the Vatican that a 1 coin from the Vatican was actually worth a few hundreds euros when selling it on eBay.
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Old 24 May 2013, 04:02 AM   #25
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Tristan da Cunha island: [...]The UK (of whom the island is a colony) .
For the record: oficially it's a British Overseas Territory.
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Old 24 May 2013, 04:05 AM   #26
janusz
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does the Vatican issue own stamps
http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/v...he---2013.html
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Old 24 May 2013, 10:25 AM   #27
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...If a Vatican postal service exists, I can imagine a Vatican stamp being so rare it's worth a lot...
It doesn't appear to me that Vatican City stamps are so rare:
http://www.worldstamps.com/pricelist.php?country=320

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsunami View Post
...Just like the Euro coins issued there with the former Pope's image on the back, there were so few coins issued in the Vatican that a 1 € coin from the Vatican was actually worth a few hundreds euros when selling it on eBay.
I think that in some years Vatican City issued only limited edition commemorative coins, but in other years issued coins for general circulation. So just as for stamps in this and other countries, there is a wide range of prices. This seems to be true both before and after their agreement to use the Euro.
http://www.vaticancoins.com/vatican/coins/

Bill
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Old 25 May 2013, 05:55 AM   #28
Tsunami
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No new stamp issued with the new Pope yet?

PS: Janusz is correct, Tristan da cunha is not a "colony". It is administered from St Helena which is an overseas territory. The UK makes things rather complex, as their overseas posessions are split in "ballywicks" (Jersey, Guernsey, ...), colonies, overseas territories (eg Pitcairn Islands, St Helena) and crown dependencies. However, even though all of them issue own passports, I do believe anyone from a UK dependency is considered a British national?

Anyway, we mentioned Antarctica. Is there anything such as an Antarctica stamp, or would every scientific station use stamps and postal services from the country operating the scientific base?
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Old 25 May 2013, 07:40 AM   #29
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... Anyway, we mentioned Antarctica. Is there anything such as an Antarctica stamp, or would every scientific station use stamps and postal services from the country operating the scientific base?
Yes, there are some Antarctic stamp issues:Bill
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Old 25 May 2013, 07:57 PM   #30
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Wow, I never expected that. I guess for a stamp collector, those stamps must be the hardest to get collector item out of them all...

I used to collect coins of several countries (no bank notes, I'm not that rich ) and remember when someone donated me a coin from Mongolia and one from Argentina. I felt like a child in a toy store because I never thought I would ever manage to find a coin from such far away places in my collection. I can only imagine the joy a stamp collector feels getting an Antarctic stamp...

PS: I stopped collecting coins because of lack of time but still kept the box with all the ones I collected. A coin from neighbouring Luxembourg or Germany has, since we have the Euro, become something like a museum item
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