Baghdad isn't the best place for consumer therapy, but in moments of desperation, near the NBC News bureau here there is one small dusty shop selling alleged antiques, dusty carpets, and tattered post cards.
About a month ago, I bought some cards and decided it would be fun to send one to Petra Cahill, the msnbc.com World Blog editor in New York.
|The postcard sent from Baghdad to New York on Sept. 19 was scanned before it was dropped in the mail.|
My first step was to determine whether or not the postal system actually works in Baghdad.
Apparently like many government services, it does function, some of the time. It turns out there are 83 post offices in Baghdad and a total of 420 mailmen. These brave men travel the streets of this city by motorcycle, on bicycle, and on foot.
They deliver when they can, but often abandon their duties because many neighborhoods are still too dangerous. The mailmen do not have extra security or uniforms. There are no real statistics on just how much post is actually delivered.
And there are no mail boxes on the streets here. If you want to send a letter or package you have to go to the post office in person. Within Baghdad, Iraqis tend to deliver everything by hand.
|Postcard sent from Iraq: "Dear Petra, Greetings from Baghdad. I wonder if this postcard will ever arrive in New York?!? Kiko"|
For security reasons, I was unable to go to the Baghdad main post office. Instead I asked an Iraqi colleague to go on my behalf, and for $1.50 he launched my card on its journey around the world on Sept. 19.
I have no idea what route it will take, what countries it will encounter. I am not at all sure it will ever reach its final destination, but I would like to think that my postcard from the edge will make the long journey from Baghdad to New York. I certainly hope so.
As of Oct. 21, the postcard had not reached our msnbc.com offices at 30 Rock - Petra