Monday, 31 May 2010

Smiles of Laos will be on its way to Turkey!

See this postcard on the right there? Yup, this is what I will be posting any time this week. I received an email from a fellow postcard-collector expressing her interest in the Laos postcard I featured last weekend, and after a couple of email exchanges, we made a deal. So sorry, guys, Leslie has beaten you to it.  Thanks for your email, Leslie, and to the others who didn't make it, come back next time. I think I have some more postcards to be given away... okay? 

I am feeling a lot, lot better when I woke up today. The rashes have diminished over the weekend and the itch is now going away. Thank goodness for ointments; it really saved me from a lousy weekend of scratching. However, with the red patch and itching going away, I was greeted by a couple of pimples on my lower cheek. This is probably due to staying late for how many nights in a row last week, and I mean really late, watching tennis matches, especially Rafael Nadal's, at the Roland Garros. Since Rafa is on a winning-streak, obviously I am up for several more sleepless nights. For sure, I'll have a major pimple, or worse, an acne eruption again and will be scrambling like mad looking for an adult acne treatment. I hope not. One of my good friends, Seralalu, is coming over for a visit in Phnom Penh for the first time and I don't want her to see me still having pimples at my age. Gah.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Saturday errands

Just got back from doing our usual weekend errands. Our regular errands include a trip to the Post Office,  to the supermarket, and a hearty brunch in one of our favorite restaurants. It was a lovely morning, the sun was not yet at its hottest and there was a bit of breeze as we drove towards our first stop, the Post Office. Although I was disappointed leaving empty-handed, I bumped into a good friend of mine (and a fellow Postcrossing member) and her husband who were also checking their box - fancy meeting the lovey-doveys there! For the first time, our husbands met and while the two misters were chit-chatting, Che was telling me how much she loves the house they looked at yesterday. Good for them, finally, they'll be able to move in to a bigger house. 

As I was already hungry after getting our groceries, we drove to our favorite Indian restaurant along Sihanouk Boulevard for a dose of Ruby Murray. I wasn't really a fan of Indian food before  - my husband is - but after six years  of being together, curry had won me over. Lunch today was shared chicken samosas and chapatis, chicken madras for the mister and chicken jenjaloo for me. Mmmmmm, fantastic flavours of incredible India! With the frequency of our eating outs recently and the way we are eating, I wouldn't be surprised anymore if I had gained back the weight I lost two years ago. Same with the husband. We have to find a way to lose what we re-gained ASAP. I wonder if knowing first the side effects of betastax, or any other diet pills for that matter, the mister would allow me to try diet pills at last?

Thinking about weight and losing them and re-gaining them gives me headache. For now, let me just enjoy my favorite chocolate ice-cream without guilt looking back at me. After all, I just had a lousy morning (the rashes are still there) and the ice cream is the sure way to make me feel better.

Itchy-b*tchy mornin'

I woke up today feeling a persistent itch around my neck. I didn't give it much attention as I thought it's just one of those mozzie bites. But as time went on, the itchiness became more unbearable and my husband noticed patches of red on my neck. I got terribly worried for two reasons, one, a friend has had a bout of urticaria and I might have the same, and two, we had tilapya (cichlid fish specie) for dinner last night and I thought it must have triggered my eczema. Eczema is not something new to me (urticaria is) because eczema runs in my family. Although mine wasn't as bad as my younger brother (he had the worst case) when I had it long ago, it pains me to remember again how it almost ruined my younger brother's childhood. I remember my mother taking him to a dermatologist to receive eczema treatment. It took several visits before the treatment yielded good results. I just hope what I have is just a minor skin irritation and not eczema, or urticaria, as I feared it would be. My husband also got worried but we are not yet panicking. If the itchiness persists, we will go see a doctor. For all we know, it could only be prickly heat.

Will be leaving for the Post Office in a few minutes. Perhaps the sight of a full mailbox will help cheer me up today. Let's see what's waiting for me :D

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Chicago in my mind...

A popular saying goes ... strike while the iron is hot. It means to grab an opportunity before it is too late and this is exactly what I'm doing now. By this time most of you have already watched the conclusion of the American Idol. The winner, and my favorite, Lee Dewyze is from the city of Chicago. So this post is for all who be-LEE-ved :)

Sent by Susi
Postmarked Dekalb, IL
Dated 3rd September 2009

The postcard shows a magical sunrise over the restless blue waters of Lake Michigan with Chicago skyline as background. Nicknamed as the Windy City, Chicago has developed from a small trading post into one of the United State's largest cities, a thriving center of international trade and commerce, and a place for immigrants to pursue their great American dream.

Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois and in the Midwest with a population of 2.8million. It is the stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to many influential politicians, including the current US President Barrack Obama. 

On the sporting arena, Chicago is best known to be the home of the Chicago Bulls, the six-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champions in eight seasons, with Michael Jackson leading them. Chicago  also is home to  two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox and the only city in North America that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the American League began in 1900.

I was racking my brain trying to remember someone I know who is currently based in Chicago. Suddenly, my cousin Jess's name popped up...  yes, indeed! Cousin Jess has made Chicago his home for the last 5 years. He works as a Head Nurse at a Chicago hospital. He is only a few years younger than I am but I tell you, he looks older because of his receding hairline - a trait from he obviously got from his mother's side. He is so busy with his nursing duties that he doesn't even watch television. Yup, no time to enjoy his free time as it is still spent studying reading the latest medical/nursing journals. No time even to check online sites like and get advise on how to deal with his hair loss . 

Thanks for the lovely postcard, Susi. Sunrises, and even sunsets, are my favorites. To me, watching sunsets or sunrises is  a very magical experience. 

Smiles of Laos postcard up for grabs

This post is in response to an email I received from a fellow postcard collector asking about the indigenous peoples of the Indo-china region.  Well, you are a very lucky woman! I  happen to have a postcard that you are looking for:

I have to correct myself here, the concept of indigenous people is not used in Laos.  According to International Working Group of Indigenous Affairs:
The government of Laos uses the term "multi-ethnic people" and speaks of Laos as a "multi-ethnic society". It is the so-called "ethnic" people, however, that are usually referred to as Laos' indigenous peoples.
The postcard didn't have any information as to which ethnic groups the above smiling women are from. I do know that in Laos there are the Hmongs, Yao, Daw, Shan, and Tibeto-Burmese and several hill-tribes living mostly in the northern parts to the borders of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and China. All these groups are diverse in terms of culture and language. If you can see from the postcard, the women are all wearing different kinds of traditional costumes and jewelries. The fabrics are a must-have. I bought several yards of colorful Hmong fabric last year when my husband and I went to Vientiane, the country's capital. I fell in love with the colorful fabric and they are perfect for custom slipcovers.

So anyway, to the email-sender, I would need your postal address so I could mail the postcard to you soon. There's still one more available here... guys, it's up for grabs. Email me ASAP if you want it!

Dreaming of Kep again

And I thought my blogging mojo is back... we'll, not quite 100% yet so please let me just write an intermission post. This is one of the problems when coming back from a holiday - you actually refuse to go back to the normal schedule. You see, my husband and I have just gone on holiday to get away from the rigors of our daily life. Thanks to the Cambodian King's birthday two weeks ago, we were able to enjoy a weekend of pure rest and relaxation - where else, but in Kep.

A little info about Kep here: Kep was a popular beach-town of the French colonial masters and Cambodian elites back in the 50s and 60s. Now it is popular to holiday-goers not much for its beach but because of its peace and quiet, and most of all, the fresh seafoods! Imagine watching fishermen on their boats from your window, catching fresh shrimps, crabs and fish, the very same stuffs we ate in the restaurant. Just thinking about these make me crave for them again, never mind if I end up with a higher cholesterol level or with a  possibility of a colon cleanse... *lol* I didn't take photos of the food we ate because I'd taken a lot long ago. Here's some photos that I took last year:

Mouth-watering, yeah? Heavenly, I say. Imagine eating these every meal everyday! *lol*
So if you are planning a trip to Cambodia, don't forget to add Kep in your itinerary. Temple-hopping in Siem Reap makes you tired and exhausted and a side trip to Kep will surely please not only your muscles but also your palates! Can't wait to go back there again :P

Guimaraes to Guimaras - an interesting Filipino-Portuguese connection!

I was meaning to publish this post last night but a horrible thing happened - the most scary and frustrating to ever happen to a poor blogger like me. I inadvertently deleted the whole entire texts when I was only supposed to highlight them to change fonts. Darn my effing mouse, I knew I should have replaced it since last month! And before I realised what I just did, Blogger promptly auto-saved! Grrrrr.

Anyways, I didn't allow it to dampen my mood. Last night I was excited to post this postcard, and still am, today - the city featured is Guimarães -- and surprise! surprise! Back in the Philippines we also have a province named Guimaras...

Sent by João (PT - 103,737)
Postmarked Municipio Porto
Dated 5 February 2010

It came as a surprise to me because most of the Philippine towns are named after Spanish towns and discovering about Guimarães in Portugal piqued my interest. After all, Ferdinand Magellan, or Fernão de Magalhãesthe dude who discovered the Philippine islands, was a Portuguese explorer who later in his life obtained a Spanish nationality and served the King of Spain to search for the Spice Islands. Also, back in time when I used to attend international conferences, colleagues mistook me for a Brazilian owing to my family name. Others also asked me about my unusual name - an English name and a Portuguese family name (most of them said it's Portuguese rather than Spanish). All the while my family thought we have a Spanish surname... there sure is plenty of room for me to learn more about this interesting Spanish-Portuguese influences in my country of birth.

Let's go to the stamp now... The fantastic stamp used in this postcard features an appetizing no caloeira a tempura (from Japan) and is from the series of seven stamps and souvenir sheet issued by the Portuguese Postal Office in 2009. The series is called Sabores da Lusofonia - which means Flavours of Lusophony. I didn't actually know what Lusofonia or Lusophony is but it sure does look delicious! 

I also like the cancellation marks... it's so clean that you can still see the featured food through it. Sabor in the Bisaya-Hiligaynon dialect in the south-central Philippines means taste or flavour.  Lusophony, I learned, is a collective word to mean Portuguese-speaking countries and territories. A little visit to the ever-reliable Wikipedia never fails to educate me every time! 

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

From the beautiful town of Orebro to beyond the outer space

I'm slowly getting back into the blogging groove and, if my postcards could only speak, they'd be yelling "about time!" gleefully! 

Today's postcard is from Örebro, Sweden, sent by my friend Macelia who, along with their then one-year-old son, accompanied her husband who was taking PhD courses at  Örebro University.  She and her tot got free hotel accommodations plus breakfast and were either window-shopping or sightseeing while her husband was attending classes. Lucky them!

The postcard shows a multi-view of the tourist attraction of Örebro, a charming town right at the heart of Sweden. Örebro is smaller compared to Stockholm and, as of 2009, there are about 130,000 people living there. 

There wasn't any detail on the postcard about which landmarks are shown above so I took the liberty of finding them over the net. Clockwise, from top left: the beautiful town park, Olaus Petri Church, a soccer statue, Örebro City Ha1l, Wadkoping (a delightful area with timber houses dating back from the 18th-19 century that have been preserved), the water tower called svampen (the mushroom) that provides a majestic view of the surroundings, and the famous Örebro Castle (middle) which dates back to the 13th century.

Football must be a big thing in Örebro as they have more than a dozen of professional football teams. No wonder they built a statue of a football  umpire. Must be a popular umpire who is from Örebro? Can anyone give me information on this football umpire wearing a pair of funny-looking  boots please? I'd appreciate any help :)

And now for the stamps... astronomy enthusiasts were happy when this stamp (and another one showing a  rendition of a PoGOLite gondola) was issued by the Swedish Post Office in January 2009 to mark the International Year of Astronomy:

The stamp features the direction or path the PoGOLite gondola will take as it takes off in August 2010 for a pathfinder mission in space. PoGOLite is a light-weight Polarized Gamma-ray Observer experiment designed to measure the polarization of soft gamma rays. The PoGOLite is scheduled to lift off from Estrange, Sweden in August 2010 -- that's about three months from now!

Monday, 24 May 2010

For cat-lovers only

The following stamps were used in the postcard I posted previously. See the postcard here.

The grinning cat stamp is part of the sheet issued by the Japan Postal office in September 2009 showing 5 cats and 5 dogs. The stamp was published in Japan in celebration of the 60th anniversary of "Loving Pets Week". I haven't been able to find any information about the bee-and-flower stamp so sorry.

I'm not really into cats... but dogs? Oh don't get me started now. I have two and they are my source of joy. I would have love a dog stamp, but hey, I also dig the cat stamp. They are cute in their own little ways.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

JP_86013: Osaka and the sinking airport

Since coming back from the short holiday, I haven't had time to finally organise my thoughts and my postcards. For some reason, I inadvertently mixed the new postcards received this month with the ones received previously and were supposedly lined up for posting this week. I have no time to re-organise them but I just would like to post this one: my very first official postcard from Japan!

Sent by Yushifu
Postmarked Takatsukikita
Dated 18 December 2009

Yushifu is from the commuter city of Takatsuki, in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan. According to him, Takatsuki has a population of only 360,000 and is located between Kyoto and Osaka. Takatsuki was once a  sister city of Manila, Philippines.

There were no other details, in English, regarding the view shown in the postcard. It does look like one of the old Shinto temples set amidst a serene Zen garden Japan is known for. I have been to Japan in 2006 and I tell you, I so love, love everything I saw (and ate) there, especially in the countryside. I would love to go back someday with my husband :) 

Enough of my wishful thinking... 
Osaka is the third largest city after Tokyo brings the traditional and modern together. Osaka is home to the  historic Osaka Castle and the stunning 1,400 year old Shitennjo-ji Temple to Universal Studios Japan and amusement parts.

It is in Osaka where the Kansai International Airport is located but prior to the airport's construction, Osaka was the smallest prefecture in all of Japan. An artificial island was built in the middle of Osaka Bay to accommodate the international airport. I can't fully imagine how the Japanese engineers were able overcome challenges to build an international airport on a man-made island, and in a country that sits on an extremely, extremely high risk location where earthquakes, typhoons, and storm surges are normal occurences. Brilliant Japanese minds, I say. The construction was started in 1987 and operations started in 1994. The total cost, so far, according to Wikipedia is at $20million which includes land reclamation, two runways, terminals, and facilities. Reports are saying though that the airport is sinking at an alarming rate. Goodness, I hope the same brilliant Japanese engineers who made this possible will be able to find solution quickly to avert any possible disaster.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Mallorca, Spain

My friend and her lovely family went to Mallorca, Spain for a blissful holiday recently, and boy, was I green with envy. And do you know why? It's because the beautiful island of Mallorca, is the island that produced my favorite professional tennis player, the King of Clay, and recipient of the Prince of Asturias award, none other than Rafael Nadal.

Anyways, so while my friend and her family were basking in the sunny La Bahia de Alcudia,  she sent me this nice multi-view postcard showing the beautiful spots in the said island. Here it is:

My friend wrote:

... already loving the place on our first day. The beach is to die for even if it was very windy - clean, white sands and clear blue waters. Very good for kids. Even if Bim (her one year old son) is more into the sands than the waters.  Alcudia is also an old Roman settlement so we would set aside some time to see historical sites as well. So far, we are already thinking of going back another time...

I can only imagine. I want to go see these places, and if I could, one day, I'll make sure make a side trip to Manacor, Rafa's hometown. It is only less than 45 kilometers from the town of Alcudia. Ana, would you like to go with me? :D Pardon my wishful thinking.

I noticed that the stamps had no cancellation of sorts. The stamps are part of the Flora and Fauna set issued on January 2009 in commemoration of the Hortensia flower, or hydrangea sp.

Thanks for the lovely postcard, Cels.

Monday, 17 May 2010


Hi everyone... you must all be wondering why I'd gone missing in action for the weekend. Truth is, my husband and I went to the coastal town of Kep last Friday at the very last minute. R was able to fix the car by 11noon and took it out for a 15min. test drive. When he was satisfied, we had to rush and take the Max and Joe to the clinic before it closed for the 12noon break, otherwise, we either had to cancel our trip to Kep, or, take the dogs with us. Anyways, we were able to make it and so by 12.30nn we were already driving towards national road number 3.

Before we left, I posted a postcard from Budva, Montenegro (right). It turns out that the postcard showed the old town of Budva itself and not the Sveti Stefan that I previously thought and wrote about. My apologies for the misinformation. I saw a similar picture over the Internet and immediately thought that the picture and the ones shown on the postcard are the same as they look quite similar. I was wrong. Thank you, Ana, for pointing it out to me. Ana says:

...the card doesn't show Sveti Stefan but the old town of Budva... and in the back, the island you can see is called St. Nikola or is more known under its popular name of Havai, due to its sandy white beaches. Unfortunately, few years ago, the island was bought by someone else, so ever since it hasnt been accessible to public...

My apologies for my inadvertent mistake. I stand corrected, many, many thanks to dear Ana. I like it when friends and visitors interact with me, whether by saying hi, or commenting about the postcard.  It goes to show I have readers who take time to read and pay attention to the posts I write. I would love to hear more from you all.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Budva - the summer capital of Montenegro

Today is the first of the three-day of the celebration of Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni. As this is a public holiday, tomorrow, my husband and I are planning to go to Kep, a coastal town about 175kms away from the capital Phnom Penh. Kep is our choice of holiday getaway in Cambodia because it is relatively quiet and doesn't attract tourists as much as the other coastal town, Sihanoukville.

So while the husband is down at the garage fixing the radiator leak, I was up in my craft corner rummaging through old stuffs. I actually saw this postcard (below) which was sent by my very good (albeit virtual) friend and fellow tennis fan Ana of the My World of Postcards blog (see link in my blog list at the sidebar). I was horrified to discover the postcard wasn't posted yet knowing Ana sent it to me last year while on summer holiday in Budva, the summer capital of Montenegro. My apologies, Ana, I'm posting it here now.

Sent by Ana
Postmarked Budva, Montenegro
Dated 29 June 2009

Budva is a small but fascinating town with about 2,500 years of history and a natural surrounding that literally takes your breath away. It is populated by only about 150,000 inhabitants.

The postcard shows Sveti Stefan I Milocer - a must visit place in Montenegro. It is a town-hotel located on an island connected to the main island by a narrow strip of land that has two red-colored sandy beaches. Originally built by traders and fishermen in the 15th century, it became a town-hotel in 1960s popularized by Montenegrin painters Lubarda and Milunovic. Many famous personalities have been awed by the beauty of Sveti Stefan, among them Sofia Loren, Monica Viti, Willie Brandt, Sylvester Stallone, Claudia Schiffer, and  many others. If personalities were attracted to Sveti Stefan, how much more a regular person like me?  I can imagine the security around the area is tight and for sure security cameras are everywhere to keep these famous personalities from being  mobbed or something.  

I never realised that there is a hidden gem somewhere along the Adriatic coast. Sveti Stefan is quaint and beautiful and the castles and old stone houses were very well-preserved! I want to go to visit Sveti Stefan someday. 

Since becoming independent in 2006, Montenegro began issuing its own stamp and labeled in euro. The stamps Ana used for this postcard (above) shows  is part of the four definitive stamps issued in 2007 featuring four different topics:  nature, maps, old printing and fingerprint. Here is the complete set, all four stamps have a value of 1.75 euro:

Click for the photo source.

Delivery from the stork...

... has just arrived!
Okay, before anyone of you gets a wrong idea, the package is not mine. A bouncing baby girl arrived yesterday to my bestfriend Macelia up there in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. The mother and baby Malaya are doing fine, I heard, and oh my! I was really glad to hear this good news. Ana, my friend's younger sister, told me over Facebook chat that the father was quite exhausted from yesterday's excitement that he had forgotten to pick up his two-year old son at his father's house. Good thing the little boy was quite comfortable at his granddad's house and has behaved well. So now, it's about time - let's bring out and light those cigars in celebration of baby Malaya's birth! I am quite sure that Macel's parents back in the Philippines are also happy to learn about the little one and of her safe delivery. I wish I could go there to see Macel and Malaya and give them hugs in person.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

South Africa

Okay, I'm on a roll here :D
This is a new country in my collection, the fourth postcard I received from Africa, and the first postcard from South Africa, too, so I had to post this right away!

This was sent by my friend Fe while she and her family were transiting in Johannesburg international airport on their way to Botswana. She was the same person who sent me the Wildlife Botswana postcard which I posted here some weeks ago.

When she was still here in Phnom Penh, I used to tell her about my desire to visit South Africa. In case you don't know, South Africa is in my dream destinations list. I have heard so much of South Africa's wonderful diversity - from the magnificent wildlife and scenic splendour, to the diverse culture of its people. There's no harm in dreaming, right? It would also be a big push if I can finally locate my reward card lying somewhere amongst the clutter of my apartment so I could review and know whether I have enough points to redeem for a free ticket to any destination of my choice.

Back to the main story, I'd like to take your attention to the stamp used.

In 2008, the South African Postal Office issued a set of stamps featuring the Big 5 Wild African animals. The above stamp features the leopard, and the other members of the Big 5 include the lion, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. If you would notice, the illustration is cartoonish, which I like very much. The wild animals look playful and tame I want to have them as pets!

A booklet contains 10stamps with two of designs of each animals, denominated as Airmail Postcards. The stamps are designed by a South African artist, Dr. Jack and he also designed the FDCs and first day postmark. If any of you happens to travel to South Africa or are from South Africa, I would love to swap a booklet or an FDC with you for my (and my sister's) collection. Please contact me through this blog, or email me at postmistress-at-postcardscrossing-dot-com. Thanks, I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you.

2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver, Canada

I was very happy to be a recipient of this postcard commemorating this year's Winter Olympics in the Canadian winter wonderland.

Sent by Bora

Postcard shows the evening view of downtown Vancouver and the  north shore of False Creek. It must have been a lovely, lovely sight and I envy Bora for being there at the height of the Winter Olympics. Bora is a Cambodian student in the US and had traveled to Canada during his break to get a glimpse of the Olympics. He was my officemate, first at the local environment NGO ABE (Association of Buddhists for Environment), and for the second time at the IDRC's iREACH Project (Informatics for Rural Empowerment and Community Health). He left iREACH to two years ago to pursue a masters degree in the US and haven't been back since then but never fails to send me emails and postcards from time to time.

Bora is such a sweet kid, always helpful and his smile and energy is contagious, unlike one boy I knew way back when I was in Bora's age. This boy was very mean to me and called me names behind my back. I don't know, perhaps because I was a pimply girl and I was being teased to him. At that time, there was no internet yet to turn to so finding the best acne treatment was hard to do. Anyways, I didn't see this boy after our graduation and I went on to work in a television station. I managed to keep the problem at bay and, luckily for me, one of the perks about working in television is that you get an "image make-over" for free. One of the programs I was working in had a cosmetic clinic and hair salon for sponsors and I was given free facial and hair treatments. It did work its wonders on me. I hadn't forgotten the mean things this boy did so when I met him not long ago, I totally snubbed him. Served him right! *lol*

Enough of my teenage drama, let's go back to the stamps. There was only one stamp used:

The illustration on the left is not a stamp but one of the emblems of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games printed on the postcard itself (it's printed on the postcard, although it was also issued as a permanent domestic rate stamp) . The figure is a contemporary interpretation of the Inukshuk, a traditional Inuit sculpture that is said to provide guidance to travelers. On the right side is the stamp featuring Quatchi, one of the three mascots at the Vancouver Games. Quatchi here is a shy, adventurous sasquatch and plays hockey on this international rate stamp. Isn't Quatchi adorable? I want a Quatchi doll now! I was able to watch the opening and closing ceremonies and some skating events on television and I must say that so many years may have passed and yet the excitement and grandeur of the Olympic games have remained unrivaled. Don't you think so?

Tennis e-postcard

It's another hothothot day in Phnom Penh today and tempers seem to be rising along with the temperature. On the way there I saw two motorcycle drivers shouting at each other because of a simple traffic altercation - no one wants to give way to the other. When I arrived at the post office, I immediately did my business and while queuing I overheard two local girls behind arguing about something. Apparently one girl called the other fat, which offended this other girl. 

I didn't mean to be eavesdropping but they were talking loud enough to be heard by people 10paces around them. In fairness, this "fat" girl wasn't even near fat. One thing I noticed here in Cambodia is that it is seldom to see overweights, especially amongst young women, compared to, say, young women in the Philippines. Is it because of the diet, I wonder. Cambodians eat a lot of vegetables, cooked or raw. Also, they drink tea a lot, as in hot tea, especially every after meals. Could this be the secret? I'm sure these girls don't read a lot of Lipovox reviews as I know most of them are averse to reading English texts,  but who knows? For all we know they also are taking some pills or something.

Anyways, last night I received a fantastic e-postcard from a fellow tennis-fan and I'd like to share it with you:

 Pardon the girlish streak here but Rafael Nadal (here depicted as the Jedi Luke Skywalker) looks every inch the Spanish toro (bull) that he is! This month, he won the Monte Carlo and Rome ATP Masters Tour Titles successively, thus making history by having 17th career singles masters titles, tied with Andre Agassi. The only difference though is that Andre Agassi achieved this when he was in his 30s and Rafa is only 23 years old. Rafa is now one title ahead of Roger Federer. Going back to the e-postcard, my friend said she got this from a discussion forum. In case you don't know them, allow me to introduce the characters: clockwise from center, Andy Murray as Princess Leia, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer as the Dark Sith, and Novak Djokovic as Han Solo. I love the look on Andy Murray's face, he is very much convincing as Princess Leia. Is it just me or Novak Djokovic has a resemblance to a younger Jay Leno? *lol* Well anyways, I love this e-postcard a lot. I hope there's a postcard out there that exactly look like this. Send me one please!

Friday, 7 May 2010

A random post about Cambodia

I was surprised at the sudden increase in my traffic from a meager 1,000++ visitors, it jumped to 12,000++visitors. I looked at the stats through my Statcounter and found out a lot of visitors came from the Europe. They were not only postcard hobbyists and philatelists but were apparently looking for information about traveling to Cambodia. Now, I'm not surprised why I get emails asking me about visa and entry requirements in Cambodia. One of the most frequent questions asked is about the safety and security in the country. I am quite appalled to learn that most people from far away countries have very little and dodgy knowledge about the present Cambodia.

So to you dear visitors, the present-day Cambodia is much like any other countries in Asia. It is struggling all right but there is relative peace and security in the country. The capital is bustling with activities, and the people are gentler, friendlier compared to other Asians. They always have a ready smile on their faces and are quick to lend a helping hand.  Of course, just like any other developing country, Cambodia has its own problems that continue to challenge its government. One of them is the rising cases of auto thefts. For example, three months ago, our car battery was stolen in broad daylight. Car battery thieves are common and they do it to earn quick bucks. How much does a used car battery sell in the market? Not much, but enough to tide these thieves over a day or two. Although sometimes media reports are overly-sensational it is painting a wrong picture of the country. While we can only avoid another case of theft by installing a driveway alarm at home, travelers planning to visit the country will have to exercise extra precautions so as to avoid being victimized.

I was browsing the net earlier and came across the 2010 Crime and Safety report released by the Overseas Security Advisory Council or OSAC and in that report they examined the crime and safety situation in Cambodia. The report also listed some very useful tips  for travelers and even for long-time resident ex-pats on how to avoid becoming a victim. If you want to know more, head over to my new blog, My Phnom Penh, the link is just below the Postcards Crossing header.

Postcard Friendship Friday 023: Japanese mailbox

I've been meaning to post my Postcard Friday entry today but our scanner is acting up. We bought it secondhand from a friend who was leaving the country and been using it quite a lot for three years and now it is beginning to conk out. My husband and I are looking at buying a new scanner over the weekend, possibly a 3-in-1 machine that includes printing, scanning and photocopying. We have a small office at home and getting this 3-in-1 machine will provide us with what we need. Now, I leave all the techy details pertaining to the machine specifications to my husband but I specifically told him that I'd prefer a quieter machine like the neat epson receipt printer I once saw in a department store. I tell you, our old printer coughs like an old man and it's totally embarrassing to anyone who hears it. 

I'm afraid I won't be able to scan a postcard so, instead, I'm posting a photo of a mailbox I saw while window shopping in a Japanese thrift store along Norodom Boulevard a week ago. 

It's a ceramic mailbox, about 5-6 inches tall. I had never seen a mailbox anywhere in Tokyo when I went there  years ago but I did go to one of their post offices in Asakusa district when I mailed postcards for friends. I love mailboxes so much I would have bought it right away but for freaking $6 for a tiny secondhand item was too much for me. So I just took a photo instead :D Maybe when I go back to that shop and it's still there, I might reconsider, but for now, I'm contented with the photo.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

As slow as a snail mail

Have you ever experienced queuing in line behind shoppers with carts that are so full they overflow and  yet the line is barely moving? I just did, earlier today, and it annoyed me no end. At the counter, the cashier was slowly punching the items one by one while the customers - including myself with a heavy basket in one arm - stood and waited for like forever. I couldn't understand why the cashier didn't use the barcode scanner, when it fact, I saw other cashiers in other counters using it just fine. It would have made it everything faster and easier, sparing us all of unnecessary stress. I don't get it, forgive me, but barcode scanners were introduced to local stores here since 2000 and yet there are some stores, and cashiers for that matter, who still use the old-fashioned way, that is, punching the numbers on the cash register one by one. Perhaps the scanner was broken, or the batteries have run out, I don't know. I'm just glad that I had a mailbox full of postcards and it made me forget about the hassle and frustration at the grocery store.

Happy head!

Yes, I'm one happy gal today! And who wouldn't be? I made a quick trip to the post office this afternoon to check on a parcel from the Firefly Express but lo and behold! There's more than a dozen of postcards waiting for me. I was also at the Post Office a few days ago and yet today, a pleasant surprise greeted me.

What made me happier is that most of the postcards came from private swappers who posted a card for me months ago. It even made me wonder if they ever sent me postcards at all. And so I ask, where were these postcards hiding all along? Why didn't these arrive earlier? I found the answer in two postcards -- they were missent to another country. How could that happen when the postcards were clearly addressed to Cambodia? 

Anyways, I don't want to spoil my mood now but I'd like to assure the swappers, especially Rodel Evangelista, that I just received the postcards you sent to me. Many thanks. Expect a postcard from me soon. 

Monday, 3 May 2010

Cute new font!

How do you like my  new post title fonts? They're so pretty!
I've been fiddling with my blog template since Saturday in the hope to "upgrade" my blog look. I hopped from one blog to another, and finally found what I've been looking for at Little Ms. Firefly blog. What caught my attention was the neat handwriting fonts in her blog, post, and sidebar titles. It turns out, she got it from a site called Kevin and Amanda. So I went there and voila! I couldn't believe what I saw - hundreds of awesome fonts. What's more, they're all for free!! I wasted no time and starting checking out the fonts one by one. I felt like a kid in a candy store :D

So over the weekend, I excitedly tinkered with my blog codes like a geek... and OMG!!! It took me a whole day just to decide which font to use. Seriously, I tried like a dozen fonts before settling on the ones you see now but it was fun! After so much anticipation and several attempts to make it right, at least for the blog title and post title, I finally was able to make it right. But because I wasn't cool enough to figure out how to make it work for the sidebar title, I decided to stop on what I had now for the time being rather than go on tinkering and unknowingly deleting what I already did. But nevertheless, my new Postcards Crossing blog-look rocks! I bet my friends will be asking me no end as to how I did it :D

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The charming city of Pecs, Hungary

After the Khmer New Year, I was delighted to receive postcards that have been promised to me a very long time ago. It probably got stranded in Bangkok where, as you all know, there is a bit of civil unrest. I'm glad one of them private swappers kept their end of the deal, otherwise, I would really re-think my private swapping conditions. Anyways, as promised, here's one from the beautiful city of Pecs:

Sent by Lazslo
Postmarked Pecs
Dated 10-01-26 (Jan 26, 2010)

Lazslo is a graduate student in a university located in Pecs. I love the place, the old buildings are well-preserved and there are patches of green you can see everywhere. Looks like a nice play to study and to live, if you ask me. Lazslo said the postcard features the town center, the square and cobbled streets where students and residents take a stroll during weekends. Somewhere tucked along this streets are restaurants, coffee shops, and small stores, including the personalized gift store where he bought this postcard. The post office is also in one corner. 

Pecs, the fifth largest city in Hungary and close to the border to Croatia, is a melting pot of different values, history and cultures in Hungary. Up to this day,  Magyars, Croats, and Swabians still live together in peace in economy and cultural polarity. As such,  Pecs is hailed as the European Capital of Culture for 2010, sharing the title with Essen and Istanbul. 

Postcard-swapping dilemma

I went to to the Post Office today and, on my way, we were greeted by several road blocks. This irked my husband because it took us an extra 30minutes to reach the Post Office after being asked to turn around several times. It's a good thing I didn't come home empty-handed today. I have several postcards, mostly from private swaps. I am noticing the huge increase in requests for private swaps and this is making me poorer because most of them wants to swap more than one postcards. For an unemployed woman, this is burning my wallet. Should I find a job to finance this hobby of mine? 

Anyways, I think I just need to be selective about whom I deal with and as to the number of postcards to swap. Please don't get me wrong, I love swapping and I want to accommodate all the requests for private swaps. I do not want to disappoint a lot of postcard-swappers out there but it's just that I could not just cope with the demand anymore. Plus the fact that there are individuals who tend to forget about their end of the swapping deal after I have sent them a postcard. Oh well.  There are only three active postcard-swappers here in Cambodia, including me, the other two are my friends, and we all share the same dilemma.

P.S. I will post more postcards later today.

Images by Freepik