Today’s blog post was written by Jeanne Govert, who joined us in the Galápagos Islands last October.
…stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed
In days of old, when large masted ships and their intrepid crews sailed the oceans, those waiting at home were rewarded for their patience with a letter delivered by a ship heading back home. Sometimes these letters were on the seas for many months, even years before reaching their destination.
On a tiny island in the Galápagos chain, there is a mailbox for these letters. It’s not the original barrel used in the 1800’s but a pretty rustic replica that is still used today on Floreana Island. The modern day version works similarly, connecting tourists with their just a tiny bit jealous friends back home, or perhaps even a note sent to themselves delivered by another tourist living near the addresses called out by the crew at mail call.
On our recent trip there we took delivery of four such postcards, three in cities in Ohio and one in Paris. I am optimistic, aren’t I? So on April 16 we headed to the first delivery address in Vermilion Ohio. Since the sender did not include a phone number or an email address, we showed up unannounced and she was out of town, information given to us by her neighbor out walking her dog. But she promised to deliver the postcard and told us Anne would be very disappointed to have missed us. Then it was on to our second destination after a night in a B&B in Tarlton, Ohio.
A side trip to the Hopewell Indian Mounds National Park was a bonus. Sharon and Gary had used their email address along with their home address in Wheelersburg, Ohio, down near the border by Kentucky. We warned them of our coming and they met us at the door with a camera and snacks! We shared photos of each of our trips. They had been there just two weeks before us so this was quite a quick delivery, being sent only six months earlier from Ecuador. We were in what is considered as Appalachia and they kindly offered to treat us to lunch at a place they knew well. They informed us that their county is the poorest in all of Ohio, while they live in a lovely, upscale neighborhood. We departed feeling that we had made new friends with common interests. Travel has a way of bringing like minded folks together and instant friendships are formed, even when you haven’t traveled together, simply to the same place.
The final delivery was to a business address in Sharonsville, Ohio just north of Cincinnati. Our arrival time was late due to the nice lunch with Sharon and Gary, but the card was delivered at 5:05! The door was still open and lots of workers were still in their workstations, all but Chris, the sender of the card. She leaves at 4:30 on Tuesdays! But since the card was addressed to her co-workers, they were thrilled to receive it. They knew of her trip and even of the postcard system because she too, had a few to deliver in the area. My photo was taken holding the card so she could see who drove far and wide, through rain and sun to keep the promise of the postal service. We headed on to Dayton to spend the night in another B&B in the historic district. A Thai dinner along with an after dinner drink at Blind Bob’s (yes, he is really blind) made for a long and interesting day. In the morning we took a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood which was settled in the 1800’s by craftsmen and shopkeepers of the area known as Oregon.
Our trip started and ended with remnants of the early 1800’s. While these early German immigrants were building their homes and settling in to a land that was foreign to them, adventurous sailors were on the high seas discovering new lands too. Our journey these past three days took us to new parts of Ohio with over 600 miles traveled. But those three postcards traveled 2,954 miles to reach their destination. Now it’s on to Paris to deliver that last postcard.
Photos and story by Jeanne Govert, April 19, 2012