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Expat, South America, Uruguay

¡Tu tienes correo! (You’ve got mail)

I am unreasonable excited by the fact that I got mail delivered by Correo Uruguayo to my new apartment in this brand new building. How you get the mail is one of those little things that differs from place to place. In Uruguay, at least in my town of Altántida, homes do not have mailboxes. Unless they have fenced-in yards, in which case a mailbox is bolted to the fence with just a front slot but an opening on the other side for removing the mail. We don’t have that. Just a gravel driveway and a dirt-becoming-grass patch in front of each modest apartment.

I was really unclear if we needed to do something to let the postal service know we existed here, that this building even existed. Also, there are no street numbers to buildings in Atlántida, so you give your address in various informal ways, like (in Spanish of course), “7th Street at the corner of Pine”, or “General Artigas across from the Bank”. If you have named your home with a big sign out front, you add that. Our complex has a name, but absolutely no sign, so we are just Apto 3 at the corner of two streets.

But which street to name first? It is an L-shaped building, and Aptos 1 & 2 are on one street, while 3-5 are on the other. Do I go by where the building starts? Do I go by the larger of the two streets? Do I go by the bizarre-to-me Padrón, Manzana, and Solar? Do I place it between the two avenues rather than on the corner? Plus do I include the unposted and perhaps simply informal name? Mysteries upon enigmas 🙂

But resolution comes in the form of two pieces of mail slipped under the door Wednesday and Thursday. The water bill, and the electric bill. Both arrived. Both with forms of addresses different from anything I have given out. Each different from the other!

I think I’m going to send myself a letter. Or three. See which ones get here.

About Mark Mercer

Expat aging sometime-ski-bum former corporate tool. Currently living in the beachside aging resort town of Atlántida in Uruguay. Sometimes skiing and teaching in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Location and velocity cannot be simultaneously observed.


3 Responses to “¡Tu tienes correo! (You’ve got mail)”

  1. I remember the first mail we got here in Marindia- it was exhilarating. We get most of our mail under a rock, on top of the water meter. But letters are hand carried from the post office by motorcycle. I don’t believe that Correo Uruguayo delivers the bills. I think each agency delivers their own (I could be wrong). But I remember one package that I had delivered. They couldn’t match my address, since I hadn’t specified Marindia North or South, so the postmistress looked up my number and called me, to inform me that a package had arrived. It took me a few days to get around to dropping by Salinas. When I came in, the package was laying out on the counter (where it had been for the intervening days, no doubt). I wondered how long it would have set out, if I had decided not to pick it up.

    Since then, I have become more precise in my address and haven’t missed a letter, yet.

    Posted by Wally Glass | 2012-01-22, 13:23
  2. Hi Mark,
    Funny story! Postmen must like it when they have to do a bit of guess work!!! Especially in smaller city and villages, where their work load must be much lighter.
    I remember once receiving a letter in France that only had my first name and had indication such as, the house at the end of the gravel path next to the bakery and in front of the bar XXX. And it got there!!!

    Posted by Sabine Panneau | 2012-06-21, 17:49
    • It was the "in front of the bar" that likely got it there… everyone knows where the bars are!

      They are getting closer. This month's facturas came to the same building, just to the apartment next to us.

      Posted by fuzzy | 2012-06-21, 22:15

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