Monday, 31 October 2011

Brooklyn Bridge of New York

Here's another postcard sent by my padangat Jaja who was recently in the Big Apple for a quick holiday with her husband. I'm so envious of the two of you - always on holiday ^.^ 

That's it - I will find a job soon! Any kind of job, you know. Even those Datawarehouse Designer Jobs that I am least qualified or not exactly my expertise but will take anyway so I can finance my travel plans. Desperate much? lol.

But I digress.

The beautiful panoramic view of Brooklyn Bridge and the Lower Manhattan, in the background.

Built between 1869 and 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States of America. The bridge connects Manhattan to New York's most populous borough of Brooklyn, and is considered as one of the most magnificent landmarks in New York. 

The moving force behind the construction of the bridge was a German immigrant, Joe Roebling, who worked with the Prussian government as a bridge and road builder. It was said that the idea of building a bridge across the East River came about when the ferry he was on got stuck on ice. He didn't live long enough to see the bridge completed though. Twenty other workers died while working on the bridge. (Source)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunday Stamps 039: Icebergs and art on Australian stamps


Here are two stamps used in an official postcard from Australia that I received not long ago, featuring a iceberg from the Australian Antarctic Territory, top, and art on Australian stamps, bottom.

The top stamp is one of the 4 new stamps issued by the Australian Antarctic Territory. Each of the 4 stamps depict a picturesque view of different icebergs, each capturing the beauty of these icebergs and showing the shapes, colours, and textures. (Source)

The bottom stamp is a special issue  by Australian Post celebrating the 150th anniversary of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Flowers have long been the favourite subject of artists and consequently, the five-stamp set features five floral still life paintings  selected from the collection of the NGV.  The bottom stamp depicts the Camellias  by Arnold Shore. Shore was an artist, teacher and critic. (Source)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 054: The Flags and the Rock of Gibraltar

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The second Gibraltar postcard in my collection arrived this week via private swap. The first Gibraltar postcard is featured here.

Thanks, Rachel. I love the flags and the view of the Rock.

I did say that I like flags on postcards and so she sent me one that has not one but three flags!The EU flag, on the left, because they are Europeans; their own red and white flag of Gibraltar, in the middle; and, because they are British nationals, the Union Jack flag also flies in Gibraltar, on the right. I am amazed at how a country as small as Gibraltar can have three flags!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A pretty hand-made card from Finland

I am a fan of everything handmade and I'm good at crocheting (my mum told me so!) So when I received this card from Finland, my jaw dropped!

Butterfly and flowers. It's a beauty, isn't it? Now why didn't I think of this?
Sent in an envelope.
Postcard ID: FI-639622

It's actually quite thick and heavy so the sender, Kajo, probably paid extra for the weight. She is a Geography and Biology teacher for upper level students in Finland. We all know how busy teachers are but the sender always finds free time to pursue her hobby - making handicrafts. As you can see from her card, she is quite skilled. I can only imagine what else she makes! Kiitos, Kajo.I bet we would be good friends if we live close to each other :)

I know not many Postcrossers like handmade cards but there are others who do appreciate them - one of them is me. It is as personal as it can get when I know that great effort and time (and love) was devoted to make this card. And this just gave me an idea :) I wish there is a decent place to get all crafting needs here in Phnom Penh, like this wool yarn shop. It has a complete array of knitting (and perhaps, crocheting, too) yarns, needles, and other accessories. Can you imagine what kind of yarn materials and colours are in store there when the seasons change? This store also sells finished products for men and women for those who have no patience nor time to knit and crochet for their own use. Like a one-stop shop. Fantastic!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday Stamps 037 and 038: Two-in-one post


I missed last week's meme so I'm going to put two entries in this week's post to make up for my absence. Sorry, friends, I got so engrossed with stamping and that I had forgotten our meme.

Last week's theme asks for stamps from mainland Asia. I need not look too far - I'm featuring an old stamp of Cambodia issued in 1984 when Cambodia was under the Vietnamese control (1979-1989). It can be recalled that the Vietnamese expelled the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and helped install a Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government.

Used but well-preserved.
No idea if this is a definitive or a commemorative but it does look like a commemorative issue of the 1st anniversary of the International Forum for Peace in Southeast Asia which was held in Phnom Penh in February 1983. Notice that the partially visible postmark bears the word "Kampuchea", or, Cambodia. At that time, the use of French was common and the country's official name République Populaire du Kampuchéa. Big, big thanks to my good friend thestampraider for giving me this and other old Cambodia stamps. She will soon be  blogging about stamps of Cambodia that she had collected out of several years of seeking far and wide, specifically the post-1979 Cambodia stamps. You can find her newly created blog here - Stamps of Cambodia.

Next up are stamps from Japan, under this week's Oceania and Island-nations theme:


On top is a stamp showing one of the most popular sports in Japan. Baseball was introduced to Japan in 1837 and has been a popular sport ever since. Japan’s 33rd National Athletic Meeting in Nagano in 1978 was celebrated with a stamp showing a batter and catcher against a backdrop of Nagano's mountains. (Source) No info on the one below. Help appreciated :D

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Stamping out loud!

Well I'm back...

... and excited about my recent discovery. Well sort of. You see, when I get excited about something, I tend to neglect my blog. As you see I already miss how many posts here. Who wants to blog when there is a new hobby that I want to try out!  It's my own doing, of course, no excuses anymore. 

This sudden giddiness about stamping came out of a handmade card I recently received from a friend. It looks great and well-crafted, like a professional. The image is embossed and the accessories are paper distressed in beautiful shades of orange and brown (two of my favourite colours) and in different textures, too. I emailed her right away to ask about this technique and she told me it is stamping. I had to google "stamping" to see what it meant, and voila! I was introduced to a whole new world of stamping. Well, I never thought there are other exciting things with stamps and paper products other than the usual scrapbooks or notary stamps that I used to see on my grandfather's desk.

Something like this but with a more personal marking.
As I was overwhelmed by the information, she suggested some tutorial sites for me to explore as well as her trusted shopping sites to get starter kits. I'm glad she did because I am learning so much in the same speed I am munching my chocolate bar tonight! lol. I never never had any inkling about the existence or use of pre inked stamps and dies and other stamping thing-a-majigs. Oh, I am so excited about this new find that I got myself a starter kit and soon a personalised postal stamp like in this pic (left) for cool personal marks on the postcard that I will send out in the coming weeks. I have a hunch that it will take me forever to get good results at stamping, so, if you don't see me blogging here in the coming days - don't fret - because you already know what is keeping me from doing so :) tee-hee-hee.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Postcard Perfect 034: The beautiful Nettetal

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I was at the Post Office the other day and my package finally arrived along with several postcards! The box contained items that I (and two of my Peluka sisters) collectively ordered at an online shop. The box wasn't even full-packed. It had some clothes and hair accessories, a pair of shoes, several beauty products, a couple of ladies' bags, and a shawl and yet it was very light I could lift the box in one hand! Had I known, I could've ordered a couple of sets of  bed linens but the thought of excessive tax stopped me from doing. Don't ask me about teven considering to order sohe customs tax - I don't know how they compute the ridiculous amount they are charging their customers. 

Anyhoo, here is one of the postcards I received. It is an official Postcrossing postcard from Germany! 

Das schöne Nettetal. The beautiful Nettetal.
Postcard ID DE-968379
Nettetal is a municipality in the district of Viersen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 40kms from the city of Dusseldorf where the sender, Klaus, lives. It is the most frequented places in Germany famous for its winter attractions. But during summer, it is also a pleasant holiday destination due to its beautiful lowland landscape for exploration as well as the fascinating chateaus and castles dotting the area that are rich in history.

What is unique about Nettetal is that it is not a town itself but a federation of villages that have developed around the river Nette, and the worked-out gravel pits that now form five lakes and is quite obvious in the map-card.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 053: Mapcard of Gibraltar

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Here is the first and only postcard from Gibraltar in my collection:

At the end of his cycling tour of western Europe, my husband sent this postcard to me before heading back to England.
Gibraltar is a UK territory located in the southern tip of mainland Spain. I guess this postcard tells us clearly about where in the world is Gibraltar. 
That's the Rock of Gibraltar and my husband's bicycle.
Gibraltar - a 7km2 British-owned triangle of land on the southern tip of Spain - is a relic of the times of massive naval battles, captured to protect the mouth of the Mediterranean. Nowadays, ‘the rock’ is an intriguing blend of English and Spanish culture, with balmy weather and towering views to Morocco. - Source

My husband came along the coast, from the bottom left of the photo, towards Gibraltar, in red.  He told me about the bus-loads upon bus-loads of tourists, very obvious because they're wearing name tags, wandering around the town doing touristy stuff.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Children's art in Amsterdam

Here's a very interesting postcard from Amsterdam showing a bit of Dutch culture.
From a distance, they look like presents. While at the fair you can almost touch them. - Esra, 11.
The picture above was taken by one of the children of Johannesschool (John School Foundation) in Osdorp, Amsterdam, in cooperation with Stichting De Bakkerij and the Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. The children took photographs of themselves and their lives in Osdorp with the aim of promoting a better neighbourhood and a fun, safe place for children.

The photographs of these kids are then displayed to the public in a fair-like event called Foam Osdorp sponsored by the above-mentioned organisations, with balloons and trade show booths and all the fanfare. The sender of this postcard wrote that it is a part of their town's culture art that children are actively involved. I think this is wonderful - engaging children in activities like this not only achieves the goal but also allowing children to exercise their creativity and learn to socialise with other children in a very positive way and with artistic outputs.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Postcard Perfect 033: Viva, Valencia!

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Hola, amigas!

My dear friend, Ana, of My World of Postcards, never fails to surprise me! She was holidaying in Spain *I'm so jealous* and sent me this fantastic piece of sunny Spain that I'm dreaming about.

Viva, Valencia! It is Spain's third largest city and offers tourism that caters to different tastes.
The central feature in this postcard is the bull ring called the Plaza de Toros, an impressive building in the style of a Roman coliseum but using the ancient tradition Dorik ornament, and was built in the middle of 1850-1860. Next to it is the Estacion de Norte (northern train station) that was built in 1917. It bears influences of Neo-Gothic influence and - wait for this - inside you get a feel and view of Valencia's local culture through a kaleidoscope of typical Valencian mosaics and ceramics showing the Valencian countryside. 

 An online site describes Valencia as a fascinating city where ancient buildings offer a tantalising taste of centuries past and some of Spain's most futuristic architecture draws admirers from all over the world. It's a city steeped in history and fiercely protective of its Valencian culture, language and traditions. It claims to be the home of the holy chalice used by Jesus at the Last Supper and it's the place where Spain's most famous warrior, El Cid, ousted the Moorish invaders more than 1,000 years ago.

On a more personal level, Valencia is the birthplace of paella, a rice-based dish that is called - surprise, surprise - Valenciana in my hometown in the Philippines.  It is also where two of my favourite people were born and bred - my good friend, Zaida Peris, and one of my favourite tennis players, David Ferrer.

Gracias por la postal, mi querida amiga. Gracias por llevarme en un viaje a Valencia. Algún día estará de gira por España junto.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday Stamps 036: Queen Elizabeth on Gibraltar stamps


Affixed to my one and only Gibraltar postcard (sent by my husband who was on the last leg of his cycling tour of western Europe) is this 1st class mail stamp issued by the Royal Gibraltar Post Office, the year unknown. I can't find any info from the Royal Gibraltar Postal Services site or anywhere else.

 A young Queen Elizabeth on Gibraltar stamp.
I initially thought the stamp above was one of the two definitives in a set issued by the Royal Gibraltar Post Office in 2001. The design is identical, however, when I looked it up on RGPO website, there were two glaring differences. In the 2001 stamp,  the words "one pound twenty pence" appears on the outer circle in lieu of the word "1st"; and, the year "2001" is at the bottom of the stamp, whereas in the above stamp there is none. Here's the 2001 definitive stamp to see for yourself.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 052: The sublime Ha Long Bay

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Today's postcard is from another new country in my collection - Vietnam. I mentioned "new country" because the VN postcards I sent to myself years ago were not in my current album. But I digress.

Vietnam's close proximity to Cambodia made Vietnam a popular weekend getaway of ex-pats like me. I have been to Ho Chi Minh City several times already. HCMC, is the most progressive city in VN and lies south of the country, a mere six hours bus ride from Phnom Penh where I live. However, the postcard I'm featuring today shows the breath-taking Ha Long Bay, which is up north of the country, in Quáng Ninh province.

A junk boat sits in the middle of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, with several floating villages nearby. Ha Long Bay, meaning the Bay of the Descending Dragon, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sent by my very good friend, PinayWifeSpeaks. Postmarked 27-09-2011, Saigon 700000.
Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam's most popular, if not the most popular, tourist destination. It is an amazing body of emerald waters with a 120-kilometre coastline in the Gulf of Tonkin, near the border of China and about 170 kilometres east of Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. The bay includes thousands of monolithic islands and islets in different sizes and shapes that create a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. According to the World Heritage Centre online site, the site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest. Most of these islands are uninhabited but some support floating villages of fishermen who ply the shallow waters for a diverse species of fish and mollusks. Tourists enjoy a day cruise of Ha Long Bay (or for longer periods) aboard stylish junk boats and often stop on these floating villages for visitors to observe the lifestyle of the boat-people.

PinayWifeSpeaks, cảm ơnThank you very much.
Here's hoping my husband and I can visit Vietnam again, this time, go further north towards Ha Long Bay and to Sapa Valley. Or perhaps, the two of us together with our husbands? ^.^

P.S. I noticed that the postmark still bears the name "Saigon" which is the old name of the capital city of the French colony of Cochin-china, and later, of the old independent state of South Vietnam. Saigon was actually once known as Prey Nokor and was a very important Khmer seaport prior to the annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Yes, Saigon was once part of Cambodia and it is a very controversial issue up to now. I'll leave it up to the experts to debate on this issue.

When Saigon fell during the war - what we all know as the Fall of Saigon -  the city's name was later changed to Ho Chi Minh City, after the VN's beloved hero, Ho Chi Minh. I wonder why HCMC hasn't been incorporated yet in VN's cancellation marks.  

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Postcard Perfect 032: The stunning skyline of Hongkong

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This is my first postcard from Hongkong excluding the ones I sent to myself years ago (but haven't posted here yet):

A breath-taking view of the Victoria Harbour. Muchas gracias, mi querido Luisito.
The postcard shows the modern Hongkong, specifically the central district of the  island, with the skyscrapers that make up the city skyline.  The International Finance Centre towers above the rest  and it is said to be one of Hongkong's two "Pillars of Hercules" guarding the Victoria Harbour. It must be the Victoria's Peak at the background.

I've been to Hongkong twice but I never really got to enjoy much this city-state has to offer as I was there for less than 24hours in my visits. Since my visits were merely several hours long, I made sure I had my fill of Chinese food - dim sum, particularly. Yummy in the tummy! ^.^

After filling my tummy, all I saw were rows and rows of shopping malls - which I'm not really so crazy about except that one of my travel mates had to look for an alloc original to compare prices between HK and Cambodia. After the window-shopping we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the Ocean Park and the Victoria's Peak (Disneyland wasn't constructed yet at the time of my visits!). Oh, the way to the Peak was a story in itself and will be told some other time!

The shopping malls are so huge and the city and the people so cosmopolitan that I feel so small and "provincial" amidst the cavernous, maze of the city, the shopping frenzy and ostentatious displays of commercialism. By golly, it was a different jungle out there - a concrete jungle!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday Stamps 035: French period on 2009 Maltese stamps

I have to thank my friend, Silvan, for this beautiful postcard from Valletta that I featured in Postcard Friendship Friday two weeks ago. Affixed to it is this beautiful stamp, one of the new definitives issued by the Postal Office of Malta in 2009: 

Beautiful stamp, looks like a painting.

The stamp depicts a typical harbour scene during the French occupation period in Malta, 1798-1800.  Note the cancellation/postmark :) Some collectors I know have received postcards with stamps that bear no marks at all. For some reason, mine has, and I like it that way.

Thank you, once again, Silvan. This is my first and only postcard and stamp from Malta. Hope to add more in my collection.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday 051: Camino de Santiago

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I'm sharing a very special postcard sent by my ex-boyfriend - now my husband - when he was on a cycling trip of western Europe and eventually went on to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

A Camino de Santiago pilgrim with only his bare things and a walking stick.
After dreaming about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage for many years, my husband was finally able to realise his dream bike trip in 2004. Using his trusty mountain bike, he left England in June to go to France and finalise his camino route while there. Kicking off his bike tour in Elne, Perpignan in France, he cycled for more than 23 days following the ancient trail ending at the doors of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Except for his mountain bike and a trailer carrying his personal belongings and tent, my husband tells me he looks very much like the caminero on the postcard - Mister Stinkee! At times he stayed in a refugio (a shelter or a hostel) when it is not already full while food is available in villages along the way.

I lifted this paragraph from my husband's Hit the Road blog, which, I think, describes the magical camino mood that continues to fascinate the millions who have done the pilgrimage by foot, bicyle, and others:
A very friendly and multinational affair all the way.
Everyone on the Camino is having a rough time, long days, hard work, sweat and blisters. The way is chosen for you, you have to climb those hills and have to stay the night on the route. Slog to a campsite or no sleep in a refuge, good or bad you get what you get. Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone pulls together. A fantastic atmosphere, all friendly, all helpful, all smiling.
There's another thunderstorm here, and people are getting soaked right now, all their gear, tiny tents and little experience and all I can hear is music, chattering, and laughter.
I am so amazed at his wonderful experience. I don't know what makes the camino magical - maybe it's the places, or the walk itself. Or maybe the people you meet and the camaraderie. Perhaps, it is the self-introspection that goes on when you do the walking (or cycling). Whatever that is, my husband promised he will be returning to the camino and we are going to do it together. Soon, while we still can. I can't wait.
Images by Freepik