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July 1, 2016 6:43 PM   Subscribe

"The very term 'country' can be controversial. Who decides what is a country and what isn't? The criterion used in this document is simple: if the USPS lists it in its Index to Countries and Localities, we treat it as a country. Thus some localities (such as Reunion Island) that are not distinct countries are listed, whereas other localities that consider themselves countries (such as Western Sahara) are not listed (but still discussed). Rationale: if you address mail from the USA to WESTERN SAHARA, the USPS won't know what to do with it. If you want to send mail to SAINT PIERRE AND MIQUELON (a part of France that is in Canada) from the USA, it doesn't make sense for the mail to go all the way to France and back." Frank's Compulsive Guide to Country Addresses
posted by threeants (30 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, is this like the part in Miracle on 34th Street where the judge rules that if the Post Office delivers mail to Santa, he must be real?
posted by briank at 6:50 PM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a piece of France in Canada?
posted by Autumnheart at 6:57 PM on July 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


CGP grey weighs in.
posted by poe at 6:58 PM on July 1, 2016


derail: I've been to the isolated little stretch of coast in Newfoundland that is closest to St Pierre and Miquelon, and it is an actual real-life smugglers' cove. The people I was hiking there with had their car windows smashed on a previous trip, because smugglerz. /derail
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 7:04 PM on July 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


All my letters to a certain young lady in Petoria were delivered promptly. I have her replies as evidence.
posted by Michael Tellurian at 7:06 PM on July 1, 2016


Honestly, given the 4 week delivery time that seems to be standard for mail from Spokane to Montreal, it might as well go to France first. Canada, WTF is up with your mail service?
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on July 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is so the kind of thing I need at my job, because people don't know where they live and then they say it's our fault their mail got lost.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:31 PM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a piece of France surrounded by Canada, off the west coast of Newfoundland. Saying it's "in" Canada seems awfully inexact for someone otherwise pretty meticulous!

But yeah it's supposed to be a pretty cool place to visit. One day when I do my combined Anne of Green Gables/Vikings in the New World tour, I shall also go to St. Pierre et Miquelon ...
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


Sites like this are why the good lord made the Internet.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Hey, there's a piece of the USA in Canada: Point Roberts, just south of Tsawwassen, BC. I'm glad to see that Frank's still maintaining the guide, as the days of mailing out Kermit disks (from mostly.gears.sorry) is long gone.
posted by scruss at 7:42 PM on July 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Every time I listen to that one Journey song, I am reminded that "south Detroit" is actually Windsor, Canada.
posted by hippybear at 7:52 PM on July 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Rationale: if you address mail from the USA to WESTERN SAHARA, the USPS won't know what to do with it.

I'm not so sure about this. The USPS is pretty good at getting badly addressed things to where they belong. They're used to dealing with Americans after all.
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:59 PM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It looks like the Compulsive Guide to Country Addresses is the least interesting thing about Frank.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:16 PM on July 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Hah, I've been using this for years at work. It's part of the list of sites I give all my trainees to use. Part of my job is tracking down address for international payees and often have to interpret weird database listings in a bunch of different languages. This site's been extremely helpful figuring it all out.
posted by downtohisturtles at 8:16 PM on July 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


derail: I've been to the isolated little stretch of coast in Newfoundland that is closest to St Pierre and Miquelon, and it is an actual real-life smugglers' cove. The people I was hiking there with had their car windows smashed on a previous trip, because smugglerz. /derail

Smugglers?

Surfers protecting their waves.

Valleys go home.
posted by notyou at 11:46 PM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a piece of France in Canada?

Also in South America.
posted by XMLicious at 2:15 AM on July 2, 2016


Honestly, given the 4 week delivery time that seems to be standard for mail from Spokane to Montreal, it might as well go to France first. Canada, WTF is up with your mail service?

I don't know, but it's much faster to send mail to Europe than the US, and mail within Canada -- unless it goes on strike next week -- isn't particularly slow.
posted by jeather at 6:27 AM on July 2, 2016


> Canada, WTF is up with your mail service?

It's about to get a lot more WTF for the summer: Canada Post is facing a strike. The Harper regime gutted Canada Post, and although "Too Good to Be" Trudeau reinstated household delivery as a feelgood election policy, there's some deep brokenness (like pension funding nonsense, as in the USPS situation) that remains.

For those in Canada, while we're waiting for the summer mail, you might want to ask Parliament about that stupidly low $20 import duty trigger.
posted by scruss at 6:37 AM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


mail within Canada -- unless it goes on strike next week -- isn't particularly slow

I don't mean this as some sort of national pride thing and even if Clinton wins we will collectively be kinda jealous of Trudeau, but Canada Post really is kinda slow all-around.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 AM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, it isn't FAST but within the ON/QC area, I get mail and packages within 48 hours between non-rural areas. It's fine, I don't really feel service standard needs improving.

There's just something very weird about sending to or from the US, which doesn't happen with other countries.

Thanks for that link, scuss! $200 is a little low, but it's a good start, though it will never pass.
posted by jeather at 7:03 AM on July 2, 2016


I've been to Saint Pierre, lovely little place; although we didn't get across to Langlade-Grande Miquelon (which is, we joked, where all the secret fun happens). Certainly we felt it provided a higher quality of pastry than one can get in Fortune, waiting for the ferry (no offence to Fortune, which I am sure has its own charms). The Musée is worth a look, if one is interested in fishing and smuggling booze into prohibition-era U.S.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:15 AM on July 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


"There's a piece of France in Canada?"

There's pieces all over. Along with other old colonial remnants, it means there's pieces of the EU even in the middle of the Pacific.
posted by meehawl at 8:27 AM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have also been to Saint-Pierre-but-not-Miquelon! It really is properly French-French, right down to the dial tone. Makes a great overnight trip if you're ever in Newfoundland. Bring some Euros!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:32 AM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, there's a piece of the USA in Canada: Point Roberts, just south of Tsawwassen, BC.

See also, the Northwest Angle, Minnesota
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a piece of France in Canada?

They also have their own time zone, IIRC.
posted by maryr at 6:59 AM on July 3, 2016


Anyway, best of the web. Thanks, threeants!
posted by maryr at 7:00 AM on July 3, 2016


Looking through the various territories, I noticed "TRISTAN DA CUNHA" listed as one of the territories of the UK. Never having heard of it, I googled it, went to map view and found that it is a small island at the south end of the Atlantic, approximately 3000 miles from the next landmass. I was intrigued to find it has a small settlement on it that seems to be sensibly centered around its only pub, the Albatross Bar, which looked strangely familiar.

I thought I'd share some of the customer reviews of that establishment with you:

- After one extreme pub crawl starting off in Sutton Courtney in Oxfordshire, we somehow ended up here. I blame Masih as he wanted to get on the sambuca straight away, but I was like "No way man, who knows where we might end up!". Low and behold we end up here after a marathon swim, and drunk as a fish.

- The locals are a bit fighty so be careful. One particularly heated argument with a guy in a tux (about ocean currents and team Edward/ team Jacob dilemma) ended up on THE street but I took him out eventually. Embarrasingly found out the next morning it was actually a very lost penguin trying to find fish.

- I came here to meet a girl last year, turns out she meant The Albatross Bar in Melbourne, NOT Tristan; don't get these confused because there's only like 200 people on the island to tell the story to and after that you're just "that guy"...guess I'm not the first....that girl really should be more specific.

- Best bar in 500 miles hands down.

posted by sour cream at 7:29 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I, too, have had this bookmarked at work for years. It very satisfyingly pushes that one office-nerd button, and I know I can send something anywhere with relative assurance it will get there. Thank you, Frank.
posted by wallabear at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2016


This is wonderful. Reinforces my faith in a certain aspect of humanity. The sheer love of detail and clarity is beautiful.
posted by howfar at 12:41 PM on July 3, 2016


France also claims an exclusive economic zone for fishing and mineral exploration extending out 188 nautical miles long and 10.5 nautical miles wide from St Pierre and Miquelon. So... it's long, narrow, and French? Some people call it The Baguette.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:12 PM on July 4, 2016


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