Thursday, 30 April 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday 010: Polish national costumes

It is Friday once again and it's Postcard Friendship Friday! So here is my entry for this week:

Postcard Friendship Friday 010_Polish costumes
Sent by Sylwie
Postmarked Ilawa
Dated 12 March 2009

Have you ever wondered about the ways of other countries?
I do. And one of the best places that I love looking at are the national costumes, or national dresses, as some would prefer to say.

I may not be a fashionista but I do love national costumes. I like the romanticism of it all... how each country's clothings are different from or similar with other countries, how it is worn and in what occasion. It also tells us a lot about countries and their values.

This postcard is definitely one of my favorites. It shows the different dresses worn by women and men in different regions of Poland.

Polish costumes are unique, though distinctly Slavic. Poland as one of the oldest and proudest Slavic countries delivered influence on many of the neighboring Slavic cultures.

- European Heritage Library

Wearing the national costume is like displaying your one's pride and heritage. I am just saddened that in my country, except in formal occasions, we no longer wear our national dress. I admit I do not even own a baro at saya but I hope it does not make me less of a Filipino.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thean Hou Temple, KL, Malaysia
Sent by Sue of GeeAnuar's Postcard Collection
Postmarked Kuantan
Dated 09 January 2009

Perched on a hillock at Robson Heights in southern Kuala Lumpur, Thean Hou Temple, or Temple of the Goddess of Heaven, stands between a sacred Bodhi tree and a Buddhist shrine built in 1874.

Thean Hou Temple, with beautifully decorated dragon-inspired columns and charming pagoda rooftops, is considered to be one of the largest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia. The temple is dedicated to Thean Hou, or the Goddess of Heaven, and, as protector of fishermen and those who make a living from the sea, is worshipped by hordes of Chinese, especially living in the coastal areas.

Thean Hou temple is located on top of a hill and offers a magnificent view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. No wonder it is popular to locals and foreign tourists. The temple is beautifully decorated with dragon-inspired columns and pagoda-rooftops.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday 009: Say cheese!

As I am writing this, thunder is rolling, and it's punctuated by flashes of lightning... ominously signaling the coming of rain. Although I am terrified of thunder and lightning, that hasn't stopped me from writing this (already) late post. Yes, we are currently experiencing rains in the middle of the dry season... some freak weather we have here!


I received another fun, cheesy postcard - this time it's from Croatia.

Postcard Friendship Friday 009_Croatian Cheese
Sent by Tomislav Dolar
Postmarked Nedelisce
Dated 05 March 2009

It's in the shape of a cheese, with holes you can punch to simulate cheese holes. Cool, eh? This odd-shaped postcard shows views of Vir, a beautiful island located on the coast of Adriatic sea. It has only one village, also called Vir, and is connected to the mainland via a road-bridge. Vir has a small population, but the numbers drastically increase when tourists arrive at the coast during summer. Apart from being a holiday town, Vir is also popular for producing the Dalmacija cheese.

Before Vir became a popular holiday destination, it was a barren island. In the 1980s, the then Yugoslav government considered building a nuclear power plant there due to its barren condition, causing the price of real estate to fall to an all-time low. Because of that, people who normally couldn't afford it were able to buy parcels of land. In a twist of circumstances, the planned nucler plant was not built and that's when people started building resorts.

The island of Vir gets over-populated during summer holidays, but with the existing resorts, the demands of the tourists are met. Off-season, Vir is a quiet island with a fantastic Mediterranean landscape and shoreline.

According to the Wikipedia, the word 'vir' is Croatian for "whirlpool". However, the name of the island probably originates from the word 'ueru' (probably from an old Dalmatian dialect) which means "pasture".

See more Postcard Friendship Friday entries at Marie's Vintage Postcards.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday 008: NY's Yellow Taxicabs

This arrived before I left for Laos and I am really happy to have this taxi postcard in my collection. Thanks, FF. Even my 5-year old godson loves it so much he wanted to keep it for himself. He had to be cajoled and bribed before finally handing the postcard back to me.

Postcard Friendship Friday 008_NY taxicab postcard

Sent by Fortuitous Faery
Postmarked New York
Dated 20something Feb, 2009

The most famous ride in New York City comes in yellow color - yes, it's the yellow taxi cab! Both loved and hated by New Yorkers, this iconic symbol provides a quick and easy means of transportation for busy New Yorkers, especially in Manhattan area where it is not served by the subway. It's believed that there are over 10,000 yellow cabs plying around NYC -- my, I can only imagine the traffic scene during rush hours there!

If ever I set foot in New York, I'll make sure to get a taxi ride to complete the Big Apple experience :)

For more Postcard Friendship participants, click this link.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Suosdei Chhnam Thmey!

I'd like to say... suosdei chhnam thmey to my Khmer friends. Happy New Year to the Buddhist world. Today is leung sakk, the last of the 3-day celebration of the Khmer New Year. I didn't go out today as I didn't fancy (dirty) canal water thrown at me, as is the tradition here.

"New Year in April?!?", you may ask. Don't worry, my non-Buddhist friends also asked me that in a rather incredulous tone, the same kind of incredulous response I get from them upon learning that after nine years, I am still here in Cambodia. But that's another story.

To answer the question... yes, dear friends. Not all cultures celebrate the new year on January 1st, and one of them is Cambodia.

The Khmer New Year started Tuesday, April 14. It began around 1:36pm, according to the Buddhist astrology, and runs until today, April 16th. Here, and in other Buddhist countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, among others, the new year is based on astrological calculations. When the old year ends and the new year begins, is also based on these calculations. So the year here now is 2553 BE (Buddhist Era) -- that is, 2,553 years since Buddha achieved enlightenment and entered the state of nirvana.

The first day of the celebration is called the grand Maha Songkran, or the first day of the Khmer New Year. According to the Buddhist beliefs, angels known as apsaras or devatas come down to replace the old ones here to watch the earth. Cambodians clad in their best clothes go to wats and pay homage to Buddha and offer food to the monks.

kny and iggy2
Our landlady preparing her offerings

fruit offerings
And this is our offering at home

The second day is called vanabot. It is the time when families donate or give to their less fortunate neighbours and relatives. They also go to wats for a special ceremony dedicated to their ancestors. The third day is called leung sakk, and the one I like the most. Cambodians wash all their Buddha statues in scented water. Children pay respects to their elders by washing their feet in water, and in turn, they are blessed by them. Read more about Khmer New Year traditions here.

kny and iggy4
A facade of Buddhist wat decorated for the Khmer New Year celebrations

post office closed for KNY
Of course, government offices are closed for the holidays, including the Post Office above

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sent by Tarcisio
Dated 11 Dec 2008

A busy business district of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil and South America, second only to Sao Paolo, and the third largest metropolitan area in South America, behind Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. Rio de Janeiro is famous for its natural settings, its Carnival celebrations, samba and other music, and hotel-lined tourist beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

I am imagining Rio de Janeiro as similar to New York City -- big and diverse -- but only surrounded by beautiful beaches. Rio is a city with more than 12million people all squeezed into a strip of narrow land.

And, standing on top of the Corcovado mountain, is the new world wonder, 120 ft. tall statue of Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, and overlooking the city of Rio Janeiro.

Unfortunately, the Cambodian Post Office staff ruined, again, an otherwise beautiful set of stamps.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday 007: Yellow Mailbox

Spotted along the beautiful Lane Xang Avenue in Vientiane, the capital of Laos while my husband and I were exploring the city:

Postcard Friendship Day 007_Mailbox in Laos
Yellow, weather-beaten mail box located in front of the Laos Ministry of Communications. Notice the French writing under the Laos writing?

Given my love for snail mail, I love mail boxes as well so when I saw one in Vientiane, I excitedly tugged my husband's sleeve and point him to its direction while exclaiming how nice it would have been to have something like this in Phnom Penh as well. I immediately took my camera and snapped a photo of this yellow, weather-beaten mail box. By the looks of it, it surely is serving its purpose.

Please correct me if I am wrong but at the back of my mind, I remember that our host, Marie Reed, likes to see mailboxes from all over the world. So this one's for you, too, Marie!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Postcards galore

A truckload of postcards and two parcels came while I was away on a holiday.

a truckload of postcards

My face lit up when I opened my mail box and saw it brimming with postcards today - all from Postcrossing members and from private swaps.

Thank you.
Maraming salamat.
Okorn charan.
Kap khun kaah.
Serdecznie dziękuję.
Tänan väga.
Muchas gracias.

The sight definitely cheered me up and put extra spring in my step :)

Images by Freepik