No, no, I wanted a ticket to the other Edinburgh.
August 7, 2005 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Tristan da Cunha has just been assigned its first postcode by the Royal Mail. This makes it easier for the inhabitants of these remote chunks of rock to receive mail. Easier, but still not easy - to get there, packages must first make their way to Cape Town and then travel 2,800 miles by fishing boat.
posted by kcds (17 comments total)
I send mail periodically to Trinadad and Tobego and when I type in "TRI" to the Pitney-Bowes machine it comes up with Tristan da Cunda. And I say, "Tristan da Cunha? What in the hell is that?"

Thank you. Knowing is indeed half the battle.

Actually, it sounds like it's been pretty hard for them to actually GET mail. Not that my Pitney Bowes machine cares, particularly.
posted by selfnoise at 7:36 PM on August 7, 2005

If you want to read local stories, try the Tristan Times. No news there yet of the postcode.
posted by Nelson at 7:38 PM on August 7, 2005

If true, this is a tragedy beyond comprehension. However, the staggering magnitude of the accusations here makes me wonder if it isn't more like the McMartin Day Care case et al.
posted by caddis at 8:30 PM on August 7, 2005

caddis, what tragedy are you talking about? Are you confusing Tristan da Cunha with Pitcairn Island, perhaps?
posted by JeffL at 8:54 PM on August 7, 2005

(JeffL, I think maybe caddis is in the wrong thread, and is confusing Tristan's postcode with the French child abuse case. Easy done...)

Yay! Wonder who makes these up? Couple of years ago we got a postcode for the Falklands, which is FIQQ 1ZZ, also inspired by the need for internet shopping. Just the one postcode mind, for an area the size of Wales/Connecticut.

There's a couple of girls from Tristan here in Stanley, I guess the population of 2,000 must make it the equivalent of the big smoke. Tristan might be a few thousand miles from the Falklands, but they're seen as our neighbours, along with Ascension Island and St Helena, also several thousand miles away.. South Atlantic rocks rock.
posted by penguin pie at 9:04 PM on August 7, 2005

Awww . . . MeFi swamped Tristan da Cunha's tiny bandwidth allowance . . .
posted by Uccellina at 12:58 AM on August 8, 2005

I remember when we first got postcodes here on the Isle of Man (wasn't actually all that long ago) - before getting them we had problems because most companies systems require a postcode, and then once we had them, the systems didn't recognise them as valid! Doh!

Most residents over here still don't use the 'code for local mail though - there isn't really much point. My parents once got post that was addressed simply to their name, in their village. It got there within 2 days of being posted, exactly the same as something with a full address and postcode.

Wonder if the TdC residents will use their new postcode for anything other than international mail?
posted by Chunder at 1:34 AM on August 8, 2005

penguin pie: Wow, you live in the Falklands? I've always been fascinated by these remote islands—have you ever considered blogging about it? Or maybe some interesting links to the front page? I see your previous link was about Ascension Island.

Although they have a postcode now, you still can't send first-class mail to Tristan de Cunha (or the Falklands), can you? Still has to be airmail or international surface? If so, what's the point of the postcode? It seems to me that these online companies need to treat the sending as international mail anyway.
posted by grouse at 2:12 AM on August 8, 2005

have you ever considered blogging about it?

I have, but one of the first things I discovered when I moved here from London was that all those things that you think you'd do if you had more time - you still never get round to them. Also, after nearly 2 years here, it all seems so normal (yawn, another bunch of elephant seals outside the tent? Wish they'd stop burping so I could get some sleep....)
posted by penguin pie at 6:26 AM on August 8, 2005

...have you ever considered blogging about it?

Hi grouse, I have, but one of the first things I discovered when I moved here from London is that all those things you think you'd do if you had more time - you still never get round to them, even when it only takes 3 minutes to get home from work and there's nowhere to distract yourself by going shopping. Also, after nearly 2 years here, it all seems so normal (yawn, wish those elephant seals outside the tent would stop burping so I could get some sleep....OK, I admit it, I do still love the novelty, but I am too impatient to sit down long enough to write about it).

I really should pull my finger out and do something though, it's true. Hmm....

As for mail, yeah, it's airmail or surface (but even airmail takes about 3 weeks from UK). The only point of the postcode is that there are a lot of websites that won't accept your order if you leave the postcode/zipcode space blank. Generally you do get treated as overseas mail (e.g. When ordering Amazon from the UK you don't pay VAT). And yes, a letter sent to [my name], Falkland Islands, would reach me. We don't have a postman, only mailboxes in the post office, so your actual home address is irrelevant, and the post office staff generally know which is your mailbox.

/sorry, anecdotal derail ahead...
A friend of mine called directory enquiries recently and was told "Sorry, that person's number is ex-directory. But she's cleaning in the office next door, shall I get her to give you a ring when she's finished hoovering?"
posted by penguin pie at 6:44 AM on August 8, 2005

Thanks for the link to the Times, Nelson. I love local papers:

Rams Settle in to New Home
- (30.04.2005)
The four rams that made the voyage from Goose Green to Tristan da Cunha are doing just fine.
posted by languagehat at 6:45 AM on August 8, 2005

doh, sorry.
posted by penguin pie at 6:47 AM on August 8, 2005

Four of our finest Corriedales, IIRC, languagehat. Made it to page 2 of our esteemed Penguin News too. (which is also known as "the two minute silence" for the amount of time it takes to read it every week.)
posted by penguin pie at 6:52 AM on August 8, 2005

37° 6'22.56"S
posted by joecacti at 9:32 AM on August 8, 2005

Thanks for the Tristan Times link, Nelson. I especially enjoyed the article on Friday the 13th being unlucky for the island's rats.

Sounds like a lovely place.
posted by QIbHom at 10:37 AM on August 8, 2005

From one of the external links from Wikipedia:
Five bachelors on Tristan in the early 1820s asked a naval Captain if he could arrange for five wives to come from St. Helena. In 1827 the ladies arrived and the community began to increase.
Can you imagine either end of this transaction?

"Yeah, some boys from this rock a few thousand miles away want to know if five families are willing to give up a daughter; they'll never see them again, and have no idea whether these lads are worth going to."


or ...

"Awesome! We get wives. Now, let's draw straws to see who gets to pick first..."
posted by norm at 1:36 PM on August 8, 2005

Heh heh...

The modern day equivalent is still rumoured to be prevalent given the small pool of potential partners in the Falklands (when spying man with wife from Asia or Russia, lower your voice to gossip level, and mutter to your neighbour "Well, he got her off the internet, didn't he?")

But I guess it's less of a one way ticket these days, what with planes an' all (not so in St Helena or Tristan, where there are no airports).

There's a couple here who are said to have met through a "correspondence club" in the days before regular air links. After some exchanges of letters, he proposed, and she got on a ship for the many-weeks-long journey to the other side of the world. When she got off at the public jetty in Stanley, they had to both stand around waiting until they were the only people left to work out who their soon-to-be-betrothed was. Still together.

At least that's what they say... Falklands stories are about as reliable as seamail, but much more entertaining.
posted by penguin pie at 2:02 PM on August 8, 2005

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