Friday, 30 January 2009

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dataran Merdeka, Malaysia
Postmarked BB Bangi, Malaysia
Dated 12 Dec 2008

This arrived in my postbox in late December. It shows an aerial view of a section of Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur's prominence does not end at being the home of the Petronas towers, the world's tallest twin buildings. The city has a unique blend of different cultures - Malays, Chinese, Indians and other indigenous groups - and yet has evolved into one of the most industrialized and the fastest growing economy in the region, a leading shopping destination, and host to many international cultural events and sporting competitions. I have been to Kuala Lumpur several times already and I must say that I am amazed at how the different cultures blended in and how these cultures embraced the seemingly fast pace of development there, resulting to a vibrant, colorful, exciting capital that is now Kuala Lumpur!

The postcard was sent by Ian and it shows the historic Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square where the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time and Malaysia's independence was proclained on August 31, 1957 by Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Since then, it has been the venue for the annual Hari Merdeka Parade or the National Day Parade.

The accompanying stamps are equally nice featuring creatures that are unique to Malaysia. This sure are great pieces to start my Malaysian postcard and stamp collections with.

Terima kasih, Ian!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

When it rains... it really pours

... so the saying goes. I'm not talking literally about rains here but I am talking about the numerous postcards that I recently collected from the post office for two consecutive Sundays.

God must have rewarded me for sending quite a number of postcards lately - a record 14 (in one outing) to boot - as a result of the ever-growing requests for private swaps from postcard-collectors and hobbyists. I am really overwhelmed at the requests but I am not complaining at all. The following were received in a span of two weeks:

fifth batch

sixth batch

I observed that a number of them, or at least that I've encountered, were from the Eastern European countries, e.g., Croatia, Serbia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc. I am glad to be in touch with hobbyists and collectors from that side of the world. I think now more than ever they are enjoying the benefits of an open society more than the past decades. I feel that my world and my knowledge of the world has expanded, and so does my friendship circle and my desire to see the world out there. Oh well, if I could not travel around the world, at least, I have these postcards to look at and show off :)

My regular Sunday trips to the post office also yielded two parcels, one from dear Fortuitous Faery of New Jersey, USA who also sent me a postcard and a fridge magnet of the globe-trotting Miss Igorota (Postcards from Miss Igorota), and another one from my husband's parents in England, who lovingly packed stuffs including a video-CD of the family putting up their Christmas tree and quite a number of postcards from Grandma Rita's collection (see below):

Grandma Rita's postcards

I was told there are more postcards to come to add to my collection. I have a feeling that I am inheriting Grandma Rita's collection, thank you very much. It is with great pleasure that I accept these postcards and make them mine. Now I really have to buy one of those nice album to put my postcards in.

Anyways, to those who haven't received the postcard I sent, please be patient, they're all on its way to you. I only ask that you inform me once it reaches you. There are still postcards and stamp covers left unsent, but don't you worry... I'm trying my best to accommodate you all. Please feel free to come by, leave a comment or two, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Kemi, Finland

One of the first five people whom I sent postcards through Postcrossing was Airi, a sweet grandmother from Finland. When she received the postcard I sent her in November, she emailed me back telling me how happy she was to get a Cambodian postcard. It's her first in her collection, and that made me happy because I know it will have a special place in her album.

As a token of appreciation, she sent me the postcard below. Well, what can I say, there's snow everywhere in Finland! *lol*

Kemi, Finland
No postmarks
Dated 17 Dec 2008

Airi is from Kemi, a town and a municipality in the province of Lapland in Finland. Kemi is known to be the home of the world's largest snow castle which is rebuilt every winter season and in different architectural styles. Aside from the snow castle, another prominent landmark is shown in the postcard, theKemi church, and other familiar sights during winter.

Check out the stamp - it's no ordinary postage stamp - it is a 2D hologram stamp - AWESOME! I have to say this is one of my favorites, so far :)

Okorn charan, Aeri :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Opatija, Croatia

Opatija, Croatia
Postmarked, but too faint to read
Dated 16 Dec 2008

Located on Croatia's western peninsula and southwest of the city of Rijeka is this beautiful town of Opatija. A small town of about 8,000 inhabitants, Opatija's breathtaking views of the Adriatic sea and natural beauty of the Istrian mountains make Opatija big in terms of tourism. Many thanks to Dragan for this beautiful postcard showing Opatija's popular landmark, the Lady with the Seagull, overlooking the bay. He writes:

Opatija... is an old, touristic city, a favorite seaside resort of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.

When I receive a postcard from a particular country, I immediately research on the net (thanks Wikipedia!) to give me background information about the postcard's origin. And I am truly amazed at how much I am learning through this postcard swaps!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Florida, USA

Got my third postcard from the USA - from the sunny state of Florida!

Florida, USA
Postmarked -- Floria
Date 15 Dec 2008
Sent by Brenda of 9teen87's Postcards

Home to the world-famous Disneyland and Seaworld, professional sports clubs Orlando Magic and Miami Heat (basketball), Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins (football), Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning (ice hockey), and Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays (baseball), and to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, just to name a few.

Thanks, Brenda.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Six Harmonies Pagoda, Hangzhou, China

My first postcard from China, sent by a student Wang Jiayi, of Gone with Postcards.

Huangzhou, China
Postmarked in Chinese script
Date 15 Dec 2008
Liuhe Pagoda, or the Six Harmonies Pagoda in Hangzhou, China

It sits on top of a hill overlooking the magnificent Qiantang River and Xi Hu (West Lake). The pagoda is touted to be one of the true masterpieces of ancient Chinese architecture built during the Northern Song Dynasty (386-581) by the ruler of the Wuyue State.

This eight-sided, seven-storeyed Liuhe pagoda has thirteen upturned eaves, which get progressively narrower toward the top. It has a spiraling staircase that leads visitors to the top of the Pagoda, where visitors can get a nice bird's eye-view of the Qaintang River and the bridge on it. The ceiling of each storey carved and painted with flowers, birds and animals which looks elegant and delicate.

P.S. The stamps are also worth a look.


Thursday, 15 January 2009

Lecce, Italy

Here's another postcard from sunny Italia! It's from Sergio, a private swapper, and it shows the remains of a Roman theater in Lecce, a coastal province in the southern region of Puglia, also known as Apulia.

Lecce, Italy
Postmarked Bari CMP Italia
Date 9 Dec 2008
Sent by Sergio

This (above postcard) used to be a 25,000-seat theatre from the 1st century B.C., and sits right smack in the middle of the piazza Sant'Orozo.

If you look at the map, the whole Puglia region forms the boot heel of Italy. Its geography is mostly plain, and the region produces olives, grapes, among many others.

According to travel websites, if nature is the main attraction of Puglia, Lecce, though, is one of the loveliest cities in Italy that is rarely visited by tourists. A walk in downtown Lecce is recommended by travel sites as the entire town is home to Italy's most extravagant variation of baroque style of architecture.


Monday, 12 January 2009

Umbria, Italy

Umbria, Italy
Postmarked Firenze, Italy
Dated 20 November 2008

Sent by Monica, the postcard shows the natural and man-made beauty of Umbria. Umbria is mostly hilly or mountainous and, despite being one of Italy's smallest regions, it is one of the country's producers of grapes, olives, wheat, and tobacco.

Isn't it beautiful? I love the green hills and lush valleys, the medieval churches and monasteries erected not for pomp of religiosity but as retreats for hermits, monks and nuns, that best exemplify the spiritual nature of Umbria.

Monica is hoping that I'll like the postcard - of course, I love it, Monica. Thanks a lot :)

Just additional infos on Umbria: Saint Benedict and Saint Francis (of Assisi) were born and raised here, as were great artists Raffaelo Sanzio, a.k.a.Raphael, and Pietro Vannuci, a.k.a. Pietro Perugino .


Saturday, 10 January 2009

Räyrinki, Finland

This is the first postcard I received from Finland and it was sent by a 12-year-old boy named Juuso. Aww, that's cute. Okorn charan, that's how we say thank you very much in Khmer language.

Ruyrinki, Finland
No postmarks
No date

I love the stamp, it's so cute! Don't you think so too?

Juuso is from a small village called Räyrinki in western Finland. I wish I could write more but could not find much resources about Räyrinki over the net. Perhaps in the future there will be more people putting up information about this quaint village. One thing that surprises me though is that this postcard has no date or postmarks at all - as you can see from the picture - and so, I am wondering, how did it get out of Finland and get in here in Cambodia? I guess I'll never know.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Hluboka Castle, Czech Republic

I have always been dreaming about the Czech Republic. To most of my contemporaries, their Europe is Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, London, etc., but mine is simply Prague. There's something about Prague's amazing architecture and culture and history that strikes me.

So, anyway, this is the first postcard I received from the Czech Republic:

Hluboka Castle, Czech Republic
Postmarked, but too faint to read
Dated 19 Nov 2008

This was sent by Lena, and it shows the beautiful Hluboka castle in a town called Hluboká nad Vltavou situated in the Southern Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. According to the Wikipedia:

The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects F. Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres (0.73 sq mi) English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. The castle is opened to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.

Oh, and a trivia here: The castle has been used in a scene in a Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson-movie, Shanghai Knights.

Thanks very much, Lena. This postcard will make me yearn even more to visit your country.

I am a disappointed that the Hluboka postcard, and the postcard from Pula, Croatia that I received previously, arrived here in pretty bad shape. It was pretty much creased. I do hope that post office staff would exercise more care when handling postcards.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Pula, Croatia

Today, being Sunday, my husband and I decided to drive around the city for some fresh air. We passed by the French Quarter and was surprised to see that the Post Office was open. So with nothing to do, I told my husband to stop over and we went inside to look and see what kind of cover stamps are available as I have two requests for those. I also checked our box, and, lo and behold --

Pula, Croatia
A postcard from Croatia!
Postmarked Pula on 15 December 2008
Sent by Roberto who is from Pula himself.

Initially, I thought the postcard was from Italy because the postcard shows the Roman colosseum. But I was wrong.

According to Wikipedia, the Romans conquered the Istrian peninsula, of which Pula is a part of, in 177 B.C. During those times, the Romans made Pula their administrative headquarters, and they built great classical constructions in the city. Nowadays, only the ruins are left dotting the city's landscape, and the most impressive is the Roman ampi-theater (locally known as the Arena, shown in the postcard) where gladiator fights were used to be held. Today, especially during the summer, only concerts and festivals are held at the Arena.

Pula is a very old city, and apart from its long tradition of wine-making, fishing and tourism, it is also an important ship-building centre that dates back to the days when it was an important naval port under the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Thank you very much, Roberto. My postcard is now on its way to you. Do let me know if you received it.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great blast this holidays. I have to apologise for being quiet the past two weeks. My husband and I, including Max and Miss Igorota, went away to the coastal town of Kep to spend Christmas there -- as far away and as quiet as possible :)

Anyways, I would like to post the postcards I've received in the past two weeks. The postcards were a mix of official swaps and private swaps - actually, the postcards from private swaps outnumbered the postcards from official swaps. Anyway, official swap or private swap - it doesn't matter - to me, it's still a great way to collect postcards from all over. So a day after coming back from the holiday in Kep, I was pleasantly surprised to see these postcards in my postal box:

third batch

I was excited. Then a few days after that, these are what I had in my postbox:

fourth batch

Boy was I overjoyed! Even my husband was surprised to see them :) But since we are still on holiday, I'll be posting them individually later on. So stay tuned.

Images by Freepik