Sunday, May 1, 2011

Theme Day: Mailboxes

The worldwide Daily Photo theme for May 1 is "mailboxes." We do not have any mailboxes in Tamarindo, so for a Costa Rican interpretation of this theme, I am showing this photo of leaf cutter ants delivering their mail.

Costa Rica does not have street addresses. People traditionally lived in villages and everyone knew where people lived. As communities have grown larger, people identify their location by saying where they are near, as a system of street addresses never developed. For example, the "address" for our Langosta Beach condo is "125 meters north of the Barcelo Resort." In the capitol city of San Jose, with more than 1 million people, they are only now starting to develop street addresses.

In a country without street addresses, Costa Rica has not developed a modern, efficient postal service. People do not rely on the government postal service, as it is unreliable. People can receive mail in Tamarindo from the USA by having things sent to a P.O. Box in Miami and the UPS will deliver the mail or packages to a Mail Boxes, Etc. store one block from our condo, and then people can pick up the mail or packages from there. Of course people use the internet instead of mail for most communications.

I am sure Americans find the lack of postal service perplexing, but I should point out that the USA has 5% of the world's population but sends and receives 40% of the world's mail. Mail is not part of the culture of some developing countries.

Today is Sunday, so we have new photos on our Viva la Voyage travel photo site. This week we are showing photos of San Xavier del Bac, the "White Dove of the Desert" mission south of Tucson, Arizona. It is an architectural, cultural and historical gem.

To view how other Daily Photo bloggers interpret the theme of mailboxes, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

17 comments:

Steffe said...

I had no idea about this.

Oh, and I like photo.

Jilly said...

Am not quite seeing the connection between what the ants are carrying and mail but like Steffe, I love the photo.

brattcat said...

A wonderful solution to a difficult challenge, Dave. Excellent post.

Virginia said...

I love this shot. Wish I'd had it when I taught a rainforest unit to my third graders every year!
V

lewi14 said...

It's definitely the most unusual shot for that theme day.

Sharon said...

I guess it would seem strange to me to not get mail the traditional way. But, when I think about it, I don't get much traditional mail in the post any more. The important stuff comes by email.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

very interesting information. you had quite a challenge to photograph for theme day when the country has no mailboxes.

Jarart said...

Well, I had never even thought about this. I thought mail was the same everywhere. Thank you for this lesson!

glenda said...

Well since there are no mailboxes, you got the next best thing: grocery shopping.

Jack said...

This is an informative post. Of course, I never thought about this, but it must be the way in a great many countries. I wonder what the situation is like in the hugely populous countries of Asia, like China and India, especially the rural parts.

Bob Crowe said...

Fabulous shot. The burden is so much bigger than the transporter. It's another good illustration of why photographers should get the fronts of their shirts dirty.

b.c. said...

wow that's amazing...

J Bar said...

Great shot.

Hilda said...

Fascinating. Sounds like many of our small barangay, especially in the rural areas – their address would just be the name of the village and the province. Wonderful shot of the ants with their "mail."

Thank you for the welcome back, Dave. :)

Nathalie said...

Indeed I remember our address in San Jose Costa Rica being "apartado ..." - a PO BOX. We used to get our mail through my husband's office.

Things got tricky in San Jose when addresses used were like "150 metres north of the old pharmacy in barrio so and so. The pharmacy had moved over 10 years ago but everyone knew where it used to be - except us!

Nathalie said...

your photo is definetely the most unusual for today's theme ! chuckle!!!

JM said...

The coolest interpretation of the theme. Very clever, David! And I love watching those ants.

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