Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Postcard Perfect 027: P is for Patong Beach in Phuket

Postcard Perfect New

I was here three years ago for one month with my husband. Although not for holiday - mostly work - but we managed to squeeze in a bit of R and R on weekends there and other places, too.

Patong Beach - the main and most popular beach resort in Phuket, and the  best place to play, party, and shop. (ID: TH - 78555)
Cambodia and Thailand are neighbours. Phnom Penh is less than an hour's plane ride away and about 10hrs bus ride to Bangkok. However, this is first and only official postcard from Postcrossing (one private swap). My friend, Faye, though sent me several booklets of Thai postcards as a birthday present. I might find some use for them later this year when this blog turns three years old.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Indian devotion

This postcard came all the way from Netherlands:

Buddha's feet, one of the symbols of Buddhism, covered in saffron/yellow-coloured dye.




I love the massive statue and the bright colours! And look, the woman is wearing a crown of sorts. It must be some kind of a religious ceremony and she is doing a religious ritual. This postcard - captioned Indian, Devotion at the back - is something that I don't expect to come from the Netherlands. The writings on the statue look like Sri Lankan though, but I could be wrong.  For a while there I thought the sender bought this postcard in India (or Sri Lanka) and mailed it when she got back to her home. 

Turns out the sender bought this in a shop in her city. I found out that the postcard above is produced and sold in Europe by a company based in Germany. And my, I was drooling at the other postcards that are for sale. A bit expensive though, but for 24 pieces of good quality postcards in one book pegged at 6.90, I would gladly purchase one book if only to support their Fair Trade advocacy.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday Stamps 031: The Kremlin in Moscow

stampbuttonb[5]

This week we don't have a theme so I'm posting two of the stamps that were used in the lovely Russian dolls postcard I featured two Mondays ago.

The Kremlin in Moscow.  How many of you know that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

One of the 12 designs in the 6th Sixth Definitives series, devoted to the different Kremlins in the Russian Federation, issued by the Russian Post in 2009. The stamps are all self-adhesive and in different denominations from 1 to 100rubles.

The Kremlin in Moscow is featured in the 10ruble-stamps above. It is the most popular of all the Kremlins in Russia and has been used as a sample for many other Kremlins around the country. But what is a Kremlin? When I was younger, we used to watch spy movies. At the very mention of the word Kremlin there was always a dramatic sound effect, almost suspenseful, sinister background music that went with it. One that made us shudder and cower at the sound of it. 

According to the wiki:


A kremlin (Russian: кремль, tr. kreml, IPA: [ˈkrʲemlʲ], fortress) is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there. - Source

Russia's presidential administration is located in the Moscow Kremlin. During the Soviet era, the government of the USSR was located in that kremlin, but now the Russian government occupies a building outside it.
The Kremlin is often used as a metonym to refer to the government of the Soviet Union (1922–1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars), in the same way that the metonym Quai d'Orsay refers to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the White House refers to the Executive Office of the President of the United States and Number 10 Downing Street (or simply Number 10) refers to the Office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. - Source

In high school up to university, I associated the word Kremlin to socialism, the working class, revolution, fierce politics, power, you know, things that were taught in our Political Science classes. But, of course, I was wrong. There is more to it.

I found out that the Kremlin in Moscow - along with the other Kremlins in Russia - is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This walled-in city contains Moscow's greatest political, historical, and cultural landmarks. I may not have been to Moscow but, judging from the beautiful postcards I received, there is no arguing that the Kremlin is the most popular and greatest icon of Russia. Just look at the amazing display of architecture on the churches and cathedrals, palaces and buildings, walls and towers, and the medieval squares and streets there. Truly a world wonder.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 046: A fun mapcard of Estonia

Post card friday pffhtml

 

Here’s a bright and fun mapcard from Estonia:

fun mapcard of Estonia

The people I met from the Postcrossing and private postcard swaps have become my friends now, albeit virtual. They already know what I like and don’t have to ask me if I’d be interested to swap again if they see a postcard that is in my wish-list.

 

Take for example this friend from Germany. She was in Talinn for a job interview and squeezed a bit of time for sightseeing in between. She was applying for one of the  Room Director Jobs in one of the posh hotels there. After her interview she walked back to her hotel, passing by the Old Town in Talinna and saw this mapcard.  She wrote a sweet message at the back, telling me that she knew right there and then she had to get this card and send it to me. Isn’t she a doll?

The postcard itself is quite lovely – not only  does it show a map of sorts, but it also show the traditional costumes for Estonian man and woman.  I’m so lucky to have a friend like her, don’t you think so?

Tänan väga, kallis sõber!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Postcard Perfect 026: Museu do Ipiranga

 Postcard Perfect New

Ahhhh… São Paulo!  The sizzling São Paulo.
It is the largest city not only in Brazil but also in the western and southern hemispheres and home to the world’s 8th largest population. São Paulo is the business and industrial heart of the country and most popular for its large helicopter fleet and multitude of skyscrapers!

But away from the bustling and maddening metropolitan area is the Museu do Ipiranga (also known as Museu do Paulista), the oldest museum in São Paulo and an oasis of green that  provides a totally different feel.

Sao Paulo Museu do Ipiranga
             BR – 87759
Postmark 21 DEC 2009
Centro Commerciale, Barueri

The museum grounds has lush, well-manicured gardens, a spectacular fountain, and  a museum building with a Neo-classical architectural style. It was constructed in the 19th century right exactly where Brazil’s independence was declared by Don Pedro I of Portugal. The front lawn looks spectacular indeed and the ground is wide and beautiful. It reminds me of a venue for equestrian competitions that I used to watch on TV. I can imagine strong horses and their snappy riders in crisp uniform and matching helmets. But I digress.

The museum displays Brazil’s history through its vast collections of  documents, furniture, and historically important pieces of art, especially from the Brazilian Empire era.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunday Stamps 030: Deck your halls with Christmas holly wreath…

stampbuttonb[5]


Here’s one of the odd-shaped stamps I received. It is a Christmas stamp from Brazil:

Christmas wreath on Brazilian stamp
A special wreath-shaped stamp issued by Correios Brasil for Christmas 2009 – why not? I think it’s lovely!

The Christmas wreath is one of the traditional symbols of Christmas.  The wreath is traditionally made from holly (it’s also called the holly wreath) and is adorned with the Christmas star, red ribbon and holly berries.  All over the world, the Christmas wreath is one of the most beautiful and most recognisable icons of Christmas. It is a western tradition but has become very visible everywhere, including here in Cambodia and in my country, the Philippines, from the porches and living rooms as house decorations, greeting cards, and also on rack card printing materials we all see everywhere during the yuletide season. For the Brazilians, the Christmas wreath is a symbol of prosperity, love, and good fortune.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Postcard Perfect 025: Lovely Russian dolls all in a row

Postcard Perfect New

I wasn’t scheduled to go to the Post Office last weekend but since my friend and I were already in the vicinity,  a morning of window-shopping, we decided to drop by.  We  both came home happy at the end of the day. She, with a two pairs of shoes and a new ipod nano case; for me, a new set of crochet hooks and cotton yarns, six official postcards from Postcrossing as well as two packets from Croatia and Canada. What a day it was!

Anyways, here’s one of the postcards that arrived that day:

 Russian dolls in traditional costumes RU – 483272

A wonderful collection of delicate-looking Russian dolls in colourful traditional folk costumes reflecting the various regions in Russia. They are not your ordinary Barbie dolls. They are made of porcelain and are delicately hand-painted. The clothes are superb, the headdresses beautiful. St. Petersburg has centuries-old tradition of doll-making that exists up to these days.

I so heart this! Printed at the back of the postcard: From Russia with Love.

Thank you very much, Mina.
Мила, из Камбоджи, я благодарю Вас очень много, с большой любовью.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sunday Stamps 029: Wedding rings and cakes on US stamps

stampbuttonb[5]

Since this week’s theme is “as you wish” and, incidentally, this month is our wedding anniversary month, I decided to feature these stamps from the 2009 US Wedding series.

 

Wedding ring and cake on US stamps

These stamps were part of the USPS’s wedding series issued in May 2009. This is how it looks like without the cancellation marks:

stamps_usps_44 

stamps_usps_64
On the left is a pair of gold wedding rings resting on a white pillow and held together by a white silk ribbon. On the right is a  lovely three-tiered wedding cake, topped with white flowers with the green leaves contrasting beautifully against the cake’s frosting. Both these write photographed by Renée Comet of Washington, D.C.


The wedding stamp reminds me of my own wedding ring. It’s also made of gold and silver and was made to order from a Cambodian jeweler. I didn’t have an engagement ring. Instead of giving me a custom engagement ring, my husband surprised me with a  “promise” necklace with a pendant of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, carved in it. It also came with a matching pair of earrings. They were made of silver and Blue John stone, a rare semi-precious stone that can only be found in Derbyshire’s Peak District in England,  and hand-crafted by an English jeweler. Please excuse the blabs.

Looking back, I wish the Cambodian Post Office issued similar stamps prior to my wedding – they would have been great embellishments on my wedding invites. But I know of one lucky lady who got to use these!

 

***
Photo source:  Wedding Stamps

Friday, 12 August 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 045: Princess Nobody

Post card friday pffhtml


My entry happened to  just arrive from the US. It’s an official postcard from Postcrossing:

Princess Nobody and finches US-1206847

Postmarked 14 July 2011
Oakland, CA, USA

This is beautiful postcard with an equally enchanting illustration of a pixie called Princess Nobody and a flock of birds, probably finches.  I love how the little pixie is directing a chorus of  attentive and enthusiastic finches. I wonder what kind songs would they love to sing :)

This is actually a reproduction of a vintage image from the collection of works at Castle in the Air, an online shop selling all sorts of  paper ephemera and other inspiring materials and supplies.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Postcard Perfect 024: Chihsingtan Beach

Postcard Perfect New

 

 

It is summer in the northern parts of the world, so this postcard is dedicated to all of you :D

 

Hualien beach, Taiwan

               Chihsingtan Beach, Hualien, Taiwan
               TW 94036
                Postmarked 21 Oct 2009
              

Based on the postcard, Chihsingtan Beach looks lovely – beautiful shades of aqua blue and green,  white pebbles, and a magnificent view of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range in the background.

Hualien is in the eastern part of Taiwan bordered by the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the first choice travel destinations of local and foreign travelers in Taiwan because of its natural beauty. In fact the whole Hualien is a national scenic area with five of the nation’s national parks are located.

The sender said that Hualien’s sticky rice cake is popular in their country. It is packed with lots of flavours, such as sesame seeds, peanuts, and red beans.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday Stamps 028: LRT on Philippine stamps

stampbuttonb[5]

 

My entry is a First Day Cover from my country, the Philippines, commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Light Railway Transit Authority. The stamps also come in four se-tenant blocks (at P7 each) and souvenir sheets of four (at P10each).

Light Railway Train Philippines First Day CoverA beautiful FDC sent  by a very good friend Myron. Maraming salamat, kaibigan. Thank you, my friend.

 

On July 12, 1980, the country’s president, Ferdinand E. Marcos, created the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) as a government agency. The Chairman was the then First Lady and Governor of Metro Manila, Imelda Romualdez Marcos. This LRTA confined its activities to determining policies, to the regulation and fixing of fares, and to the planning of extensions to the system. The project was called Metrorail and was operated by a sister company of the former tramway company Meralco, called Metro, Inc.  -  (Source)

The system was designed as a public utility rather than as a profit center. The initial assistance for building the LRT project came from the Belgian government granting P300million “soft” and interest-free loan for a 30-year repayment period.

 

Built in 1981, LRT is the oldest among the rail transits in Metro Manila. I love trains and I make sure to take an LRT or MRT (the newer train) whenever I am in Manila.  Not only that it reduces travel time, it is also cheap and I love the convenience as it takes me around Manila, eventhough it is jam-packed most of the times.  I cherish every commuting experience I have and I enjoy the view when I take the LRT.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 044: A Vilinsons postcard from Latvia

Post card friday pffhtml

 

Sitting in one of my boxes full of postcards is this awesome postcard from Latvia (my first from that country)…

Baddogs Postcard from Latvia        
                                                         Nēģeri Pikojas, by Aviars Vilipsons (LV-13246)

 

This postcard is actually a free artcard/postcard from Baddog in Latvia, an advertising company in Riga that utilizes postcards as one of its advertising tools and aimed directly at the young crowd with active lifestyles.  Baddog’s postcards are distributed free and placed strategically at special postcard stands in entertainment places, such as bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs and dorms in universities all over the cities in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

The illustration on the postcard above is a reproduction of an artwork of Latvia’s contemporary art-icon, Aivars Vilipsons. It is a lovely piece of work using ink on paper as medium! According to the sender, the postcard shows “black men  snow-fighting”. I’m not sure if the sender’s translation is accurate, so I welcome corrections. Anyways, after searching for more information, I found out that the artwork above is a typical Vilipsons; most of his  works have erotic, sensual nature.

 

I love the concept behind Baddog postcards! It is an interesting and unique way for companies to reach out to the young crowd and for artists to have their artworks displayed to the mainstream audience.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Postcard Perfect 023: Ciudad de Mexico

Postcard Perfect New


Postcard du su semana vino todo el camino de México.
  This is the first postcard I received from Mexico sent by my very dear friend Luisito who, despite our distance (he is in Caracas, Venezuela), has constantly been in touch with me all these years.  He actually sent me an envelope full of postcards he purchased (all for me, of course) while he was on holiday in Mexico, HK, and France. I thought he also included the Halloween invitations he was planning to send me, hihihi. I apologise, it’s a private joke between us.

 

Anyways, on to the postcard:

 

postcard from Mexico 
The postcard shows the iconic landmark El Ángel de la Independencia, or The Angel of Independence, right in the heart of downtown Mexico City. Commonly called El Ángel , it is officially known as Columna de la Independencia. It is basically a victory column  based in the centre of a roundabout along Paseo de la Reforma constructed commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence, celebrated in 1910. Crowning the column is a statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, which was made of bronze and covered in 24k gold. In later years it was made into a mausoleum for the most important heroes of that war. At the base of the column the names of celebrated Mexican heroes are featured. More details about the El Ángel features here.

 

El Ángel de la Independencia is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City, and it has become a focal point for both celebration or protest. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

Muchas gracias, mi querido Luis. Besos y abrazos.

 

P.S. Update. The Royal Souvenir Giveaway  by Postcard Perfect is already closed and winners have  already been announced. Check out the page (click the badge in the beginning of this post) to see if you are in the winners list. Congratulations to all the winners!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Sunday Stamps 027: Tunisian flag on stamps

stampbuttonb[5]


The following stamps were affixed to the Tunisian flag-on-postcard that I received early this year.

 

Tunjsian flag on stamps

The postcard (posted previously, click here) and stamps were my firsts from Tunisia.


The sender, Nour, actually sent me two postcards – the Tunisian flag-on-postcard and another one showing the Tunisian’s traditional costume for women. How the postcards got to Cambodia is a story in itself.

 

Nour emailed me in the first week of December asking me for swap. I don’t usually accept private swaps unless the swapper comes from a country that I consider difficult to get postcards and stamps from. So I quickly said yes but asked him to postpone the swap till after the Christmas holidays. We all know what happened in Tunisia, right?  In the days that followed after our initial contact massive protests and riots happened in the streets of Tunisia (now known as the Tunisian Revolution) that stretched for months. People were clamoring for reforms. During this period I was afraid of Nour’s safety as he went to the shops in Tunis to find the postcards that we agreed to exchange and mailed them.  I felt a tinge of guilt. Fortunately, Nour was safe, so is his family, and the postcards arrived in Cambodia just over a month after. Merci beaucoup, my friend. شكرا جزيلا لك من أعماق قلبي.


When I received the postcards, the old government was already overthrown and the then- President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family already fled the country. And what a strange coincidence it is. If you look at the stamps, it is a commemorative issue celebrating the 23ème Anniversaire du Changement (23rd Anniversary of the Change) in Tunisia.   Mr. Ben Ali, was a former prime minister who took over the Presidency in November 7, 1987 in a bloodless coup d'état from then-President Habib, was only the second president of the country, which won independence from France in 1956. I could not exactly find info specifically what is “The Change” but now I can only assume that the Movement of Change was launched when Mr. Ben Ali took power. (Source)

The Tunisian revolution paved the way for the citizens in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, and other Arab countries to also begin protesting against their governments. Let us hope that the mass movements going on these countries will yield positive results.

 
Images by Freepik