Friday, 26 March 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday 020: Street art

Coming back again to join this week's Postcard Friendship Friday.

Sent by Claudia
Postmarked 30 October 2009

The postcard above shows a part of the Berlin Wall which divided Germany into two parts from 1961 to 1989. When the wall fell down, people young and old flocked to East Berlin and soon the walls have been painted with colorful squiggles called graffiti. Graffiti is considered vandalism but most people hail it as street art and have been part of the Berlin street culture.

Who could ever forget the (in)famous Berlin Wall?
I was in high school during the fall of the wall and I remember hearing my parents talk about it enthusiastically.  I vividly recall watching on the television news footages of thousands Germans chipping away the wall that divided their country. At that moment,  I had imagined how a German girl my age, who had seen the wall there all her life,  would have felt when the news spread. But I digress.

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 as a desperate but effective move by the then German Democratic Republic (GDR) to stop East Berliners from escaping from the Soviet-controlled East German state into the West of the city which was then occupied by the Americans, British and French.  The wall, called the "anti-fascist protection barrier" sheltering its people from the ravages of capitalism, was started as a barbed fence but was deemed too easy to scale so a second fence was started in 1962 parallel to the first fence and 100 yards in. According to, the area in between the two fences was demolished to create an empty space, which became widely known as "death strip" as it was here that many would-be-escapees met their doom. The strip was covered with raked gravel, making it easy to spot footprints, it offered no cover, was mined and booby-trapped with trip-wires and, most importantly, it offered a clear field of fire to the armed guards who were instructed to shoot on sight. More Berlin Wall info can be found here.

The Berlin Wall, the starkest symbol of the Cold War, has long since been torn down and the two halves of the city, which has long been separated have now obviously been reunited. But the memories, however, are still alive.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Mystery of a Valentine card

I found this story today about a Valentine card from Salem, VA postmarked February 14, 1934 that was found at the postal services department at the Duke University in the USA. If we are to believe it entirely, it is an interesting story with a sad ending. I kind of wished that the lady to whom the Valentine's card was supposed to be sent, had a chance to see it before she died.

So where was the card  hiding all along? How could it be overlooked by post office workers all these years? I can't believe nobody ever saw this envelope! I know why snail mail is called a snail mail... but hey, 76 years to deliver a letter? Oh noes. Does this somehow reflect how unreliable the US postal system is just like anywhere here in Asia?  I hope cases like this don't happen more often.

Let me just say that I so, so love the Valentine's card in question. It's so cute and the accompanying message is just as endearing.  Don't you agree with me?
                                                                                        Pictures from Yahoo News.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tell Me Thursday 001: Pearl Shoal Waterfalls

This is my first
Tell Me Thursday, featured in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday:

The full power and majesty of Pearl Shoal Waterfall of Jiuzhaigou.

Sent by Ed Liu
Postmarked 2nd March 2009
Chengdu, China

In February last year, Edward Liu contacted me via Postcrossing to request a private swap. Soon after, I received the above postcard in the middle of March. Ed is from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, and one of the most important economic centres, transportation and communication hubs in Western China. Chengdu is well-known as the home of the giant pandas.

The postcard shows the Pearl Shoal (Zhenzhu Tan) Waterfalls and is one of the most magnificent sights in Rize Gully, Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan province. Located at an elevation of 2433 meters, the Pearl Shoal is a wide, gently sloping area over which a thin sheet of water cascades down a 20 degree gradient. The water then empties down the spectacular Pearl Shoal Waterfall, which drops 28 meter over a broad 310 meter curtain. A wooden walkway leads across the shoal and down one side to the foot of the falls.

The Pearl Shoal got its name from the sparkling effect of droplets that resemble pearls as they cascade down the shoal towards the fall. I am definitely adding this in my dream destinations list.

Images by Freepik