Friday, 31 August 2012

Postcard Friendship Friday 077: Window to the Romanian Soul (Card #2)

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This is the second postcard from Romania that came from the Ferestre spre Suflet Românesc (Windows to the Romanian Soul) collection series.

The postcard shows a beautiful portrait of an elderly - she could be anybody's mother or grandmother.

I requested Danut over at World, Come to My Home! blog to help me complete all nine postcards in the series. I'm glad he agreed! I'm forever grateful to him :)  Just like the first Suflet Romanesc postcard that was sent to me earlier this year, the picture is set on an oversized black border. There are also symbols with the printed words, Suflet Românesc (Romanian Soul). A corresponding folk poem is written in one of the borders. Here goes:

Nu uita-i că suflet zace         
Din pamânt în bradu-i ace     
Din grâu cel sănătos, Până-n cȋnele frumos          
Toate ȋs date, toate-s vii 
Om din lume tre să fii
Să iubeşti tot ce iubeşti
Căci viaţȋmbătraneşi.

At the back of the postcard is the translation to this beautiful poem:

Never forget soul dwells everywhere
Be it earth, be it leaf, anywhere
Be it silky wheat or loyal dog
They all have souls, even a log
You must be a man of this world
And all that loves you must not leave you cold
You should love before life in you grows old.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday Stamps 063: Design Italiano


Do these look familiar to you? Of course, they are everyday fixtures.

Design Italiano 2000 series. The maxicard and stamp was sent to me by my favourite Italian sisters who collect stamps and postcards. The stamp is part of the  six-Design Italiano series printed in 2000, featuring furniture and furnishings.
Every year there is a huge furniture fair held in Milan, Italy. It is considered to be the biggest in the design-calendar where thousands of designers and visitors eagerly await to buy and sell furniture and to keep abreast of the latest and hottest trends.

All the six stamps in this series depict most famous pieces in Italy.
On this particular stamp, you will see:

Top, left: Fourline chair by Marco Zanuso for Arflex, 1964; steel frame, lightly padded seat and back.
Right: 4825 stool by Anna Castelli Ferrieri for Kartell, 1979.
Bottom, middle: Name unknown tableware (perhaps an icebucket?) by Bruno Munari.
Bottom, left: Tolomeo lamp by Michele de Lucchi & Giancarlo Fassina for Artemide, 1986.

These modern designs are very nice. They have sleek designs and are lovely to look at and have at home - but I wonder whether they are functional and practical for my kind of lifestyle? 

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good design and other aesthetics but there are just some furniture pieces that I find "mind-boggling", for lack of better word to use. It's always been difficult balancing between the form and function

Here is  an article by Justin McGuirk in the; he observes a situation unique to the Italian furniture design industry.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Postcard Friendship Friday 076: Riga, The Gem of the Baltics

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My entry for this week is from Latvia. It shows the capital city of Riga:

Riga, the gem of the Baltics.

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 650,468 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population (Wikipedia).

Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings that is one of the largest in the world, as well as a city in whose architecture the entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected (Official Latvian Tourism Portal).

This is my second postcard from Latvia. The first one is a artcard, a reproduction of Villinson's artwork by Baddog, and one of the most interesting cards in my collection.  Baddog is an advertising company known for reproducing local artists works into postcards that have social messages, ranging from teenage issues to that of messages seen on labor law posters.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Postcard Perfect 054: Kek Lok Si, the Temple of Supreme Bliss

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I hope Willa forgives me for being forgetful about the Postcard Perfect meme. This week is no exception. The recent news of the tragic demise of a fellow Nagueno, Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo left me in sadness and without motivation to do anything. Running errands to pick up the translucent plastic business cards  that my husband took to the printers  three days ago had to be scheduled the next day at my request because I am just too not in the mood to go out.

Anyways, today I felt that I need to post lest I lose my visitors (ahem, just imagining I have). Here is a postcard from Malaysia:

Kek Lok Si Temple at night. Penang, Malaysia.
The Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the best known Buddhist temple sitting on a hilltop in Penang, Malaysia. It consists of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples, and landscaped gardens.
Founded more than 100 years ago by benevolence Beow Lean, a devout Buddhist from Fujian province, the temple was once given the name of "Huock San" (Crane hill) due to the hills resemblance of crane spreading its wings. - Source
Penang is one of the states of Malaysia and its capital town of Georgetown is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday Stamps 062: Romania's beautiful pottery and ceramics


Hey there, I'm back again. One week just passed so quickly!

The following stamps came in from one of the postcards sent to me by my good blogger-friend and fellow postcard collector, Danut.

Dan used two stamps from the same series of definitives issued in 2005 featuring Romanian traditional ceramics and pottery. The art of pottery is the one of the oldest in the world. The Romanians have successfully preserved a great diversity of their traditional pottery and ceramics, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. My mother loves this kind of stuff, specifically dishes, jugs and other outdoor pottery kind, and I know she would feel like she hit a jackpot if she ever owns even just one of the above!

The stamp on the left (1.00Leu) shows a wedding pitcher from Curtea de Argeş and, the one on the right (50Bani) is a ceramic item from Vlădeşti, Vâlcea.

Curtea de Argeş is a city in Romania situated right at the bank of Argeş River south-central of Romania and was known in the 16th and 17th centuries for the development of pottery. On the other hand, Vlădeşti, Vâlcea, is a commune in Valcea County also in the south-central of the country, one of the    popular ceramics centre in Romania.

I love ceramics and pottery (I, too have a thing about dishes, jugs, etc. - must have inherited this from my mum?) so when I received the postcards with these stamps I enjoyed them tremendously. Thank you, Dan, for opening to me a window to your beautiful country and tradition.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sunday Stamps 061: The Cross River Gorillas and the Pine Martens


Animals, domesticated or wild, have been a source of awe and fascinations amongst the young and old. When I was younger, when the subject of animals was brought up into the conversation, the ones from the wilds of Africa automatically came into mind. How wrong I was. The whole world is one big zoo! Sadly, though. with current situation of our world environment, these animals are decreasing in numbers --- fast! And we are, in one way or the other, contributing to it.

Animals have graced postage stamps for as long as I can remember so I was glad when Viridian announced the theme for this week. Stamps are great tools for disseminating information about the plights of the animals.

Here are my choices for this week. They are exotic animals and come from far, far away lands:

I have one stamp from Nigeria:

Cross River Gorilla / Gorilla gorilla diehli. I would love to complete the four stamps in this series.

In 2008, the Nigerian Post and the WWF, launched a special stamp featuring the Cross River gorillas. There are two species of gorilla, the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The Cross River gorilla, on the stamp above, belongs to the western gorilla species and is native to the Cross River area on the border of Cameroon/Nigeria, and is considered to be one of the most endangered primates (classified as critically endangered according to IUCN in 2008) and one of the rarest. Approximately only 300 left in the wild, and just one in captivity at the Limbe Wildlife Centre, Limbe, Cameroon. (Source) Very few have ever seen a Cross River gorilla. Most of the gorillas live outside the protected areas and the major threats to their survival are loss of habitat and poaching :(

 Here's another curious animal from Latvia:

The European Pine Martens are related to the wolverines, otters, and weasels.  The stamp is awesome, I love the colours!
Pine martens are elusive mammals native to northern Europe and are characterised by their creamy, yellow throat bib and are about the size of a domestic cat or a house cat.

Pine martens are known for its beautiful soft fur that in the 1700s-1800s they became almost extinct because their pelts or furs were highly-valued goods because of its soft, luxurious feel. These were were used as a form of payment in the Middle Ages. Hunting martens still occur these days but, thanks to the increasing awareness on fur trade and laws protecting these animals, there is less demand for marten fur nowadays.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Repost: Oh, my Manila!

Being away from my country, safe and dry, while most of Metro Manila are underwater and hundreds and thousands of my kababayans are left homeless, hungry, and without electricity breaks my heart.

Yesterday's pictures of flooded Manila were very difficult to look at. I got scared looking at familiar places submerged in water.  I've lived in Manila when I was younger and flooding is a regular occurrence in the capital but it is noticeably getting worse every year. And there's not even a typhoon to blame this time, just a steady downpour of torrential rain. I am horrified at the thought that Manila is slowly turning into a water world!  

My country is in a state of calamity now. I'm worried for my friends and relatives there. Please keep my country in your thoughts and prayers. As more rain is forecast, I pray for the torrential rains to stop and for all the families that are in need to be rescued and provided for. In this connection, I would like to appeal to those who have extra in their pockets to please donate whatever you can.

In the Philippines, here's a list of drop off points {and contact details} for donations in Manila (please click the photo for a larger image):

Let us join hands and help those who are in need.
Please donate whatever you can.
And for those of who are overseas, the Philippine National Red Cross accepts donations via PayPal. Please check their donations page for more details.

Originally posted at Sreisaat Adventures.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Tennis update: Andy gets the gold!

It is close to 1am here now but here I am still up and about. I was watching the equestrian team jumping qualies earlier and admired the performance of Team Saudi Arabia, which include the Prince Abdullah Al Saud, they are the team to beat, so far. The course is beautifully designed - it features mini replicas of the famous landmarks in London! I lalso ove how the athletes are smartly dressed in  their equestrian riding apparel

When can we have Andy's stamp? This is probably one of the best souvenirs there now.
Photo  nicked from : @TheSliceTweets via Twitter.
In other news, in tennis, I'm very happy to see that my picks for the gold and bronze medals in tennis won! Andy Murray of Great Britain won the gold over Roger Federer of Switzerland. Wow, this Olympics win will be career-changing for Andy... will boost his confidenc at the US Open tournament next month. He played brilliantly and with much conviction. To win the gold in Wimbledon, in London and in front of his home crowd is such an epic experience. It's like winning the OLYMBLEDON! Lol. I'm very satisfied to see how he thrashed Roger Federer and denied Roger of that Olympic gold medal he so wanted. hahaha. Now, you all know I'm a Rafael Nadal fan so you might be wondering if I switched loyalty? No, never. My loyalty still is with Rafa, no matter what. I just wanted some kind of amusement while he is recuperating from a knee injury. Now that tennis is over at the Olympic Games, I can't wait for Rafa to come back. Also a big congratulations to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina for winning the bronze medal against Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tennis tonight!

Another quick post - I'm waiting with much anticipation the tennis match for gold at the Olympic Games. It's a repeat of last month's Wimbledon finals - Roger Federer will be playing against Andy Murray - and my, it will be like watching two Wimbledons this year. Will Roger get his dream of a gold medal?  Or will Andy finally win over his demons and take home the gold in front of the home crowd? Are we going to hear the Swiss national anthem or the UK's God Save the Queen? I am excited and I can't wait. I am a Rafael Nadal fan but in his absence due to injury, I am rooting for Andy just because.

Unfortunately, there is no coverage of tennis on local TV so I'm glued to my small-screened laptop for the live streaming broadcast. The sound is crappy because the speakers got broken a month ago during the Wimbledon tournament and hasn't been fixed yet.  Well, this is all I have at the moment and, unless there is a QSC Audio guitar center in the city where the speakers are of good quality, I will have to contend with what I have till I get a new computer with a kick*ass speakers! 

Anyhoo, at 12noon London time today, which is about 6 or 7pm here in Phnom Penh, I will get to see Juan Martin del Potro play against Novak Djokovic for the bronze. If I were to give the bronze medal, I'd give it to JuanMartin, no question about it. Did you watch the match between him and Roger Federer in the semis? It was the longest match in Olympics singles history. He played lights out but it wasn't the way I - and many others - hoped it would go. 

Crossing my fingers for delPo and Andy.

Sunday Stamp 061: Al Idrisi and his map of the medieval world

It's time for this week's Sunday Stamp so I set aside my online search for Tysabri reviews so I could concentrate on my entry which is of special interest to me. I have to admit I had a tough time finding suitable stamps but I did manage to find one that I surprisingly liked after doing a bit of research. The theme is stamps that leave you wondering: what is this stamp trying to show? What does it commemorate, etc.?

So this stamp made me scratch my head in bewilderment. Do you see what I mean? What is the design? I thought the dark parts of the stamp look like black ants on a red (clay) surface. And what or who is Al Isidri?

A quick search from Mr. Gugel gave me a wealth of information about this stamp. The picture on the stamp is actually a world map that Al Idrisi made during the medieval ages. That excited me. You know how I love maps.

Al Idrisi was an Arab cartographer and geographer in the Middle Ages whose contributions led to the enrichment of the maritime history of the Indian Ocean and the world. He created the Tabula Rogeriana, The Map of Roger (in Latin), considered to be the most accurate map of the world in the medieval times, which was commissioned by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily.  His great works included a planisphere, or a circular world map,  made of pure silver; a world map consisting of 70 sections formed by dividing the Earth north of the Equator into 7 climatic zones of equal width, each of which was subdivided into 10 equal parts by lines of longitude; and a compendium of geographical information, intended as accompaniment to the planisphere, which was completed in 15 years. The map portrayed on the stamp above is a part in the latter body of work. South is at the top of the map, and, with the map turned upside down (as is customary with the Arabs), the Mediterranean Sea, Europe, Asia, and Africa are easily identified. The Arabian peninsula is in the center of the map ( 

Al Idrisi was a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. He was born  Abu Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdallah Ibn Ildris al-Qurtubi al-Hasani in 1099 in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco and studied in Cordoba, Spain. He is also a doctor, a pharmacologist, and a connoisseur of Latin and Greek. In 2006, the Correos de España issued the above stamp as a tribute to him.

The postmarks only messed the stamp so, for comparison purposes, here's a clean copy of the stamp:

Stamp nicked from Correos de España site.
I tried to look at the stamp upside down but I got more confused, lol. Tell me what you see. This is one example of stamp that definitely made me say... hmmmm, I didn't know that.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Postcard Friendship Friday 075: Santiago de Compostela

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Guess what I got from the Post Office today?!? A beautiful postcard direct from Santiago de Compostela! This is a souvenir from one of my dear blogger-friends, Sheila over at A Postcard A Day, who was on holiday there with her husband a couple of months ago. Muchas gracias mi querida amiga. This surely cheered me up as I am experiencing a postcard drought of sorts these days.

The magnificent Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Many thanks, Sheila!
Santiago de Compostela is a World Heritage Site and a world-renowned pilgrimage town in the northern part of Spain where, legend has it, the remains of the apostle James is buried. Sitting at the heart of this city is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As you can see in the postcard above, it is a very impressive structure bearing the Romanesque-Baroque style of architecture. 

The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known as the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James. Every year, hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over Europe and around the world arrive in the city through the different pilgrimage points in Europe. Sheila described atmosphere there vividly as wonderful with an amazing spread of diverse people - school groups, visitors, cyclists, and the pilgrims.

In 2004, my then-single husband embarked on cycling tour that included the camino pilgrimage. The camino part of his tour he said was the best cycling trip he has ever done. He camped along the route or stayed at refugios or hostels if there are available. He also said that it's a trip that is truly life-changing. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

From postcards to driving in the Penh

I know I managed to combine two very different elements into one post. How I did it, I dunno but it seems like a I've acquired a new skill, eh.

It started when I was out today looking for postcards but went home disappointed because of lack of variety available in shops. The current postcards show the same touristic spots and nothing else. It is about time that new ones should be printed and available to the public. Somehow I got to checking my old external drive and found this picture below. I think it would make a nice postcard *wink*. It shows a parking area full of motorbikes.

Motorcycles, or simply motodop as well call it here, are the most common mode of transportation in the country. In the capital alone, there are hundreds and thousands of them plying the city streets. Can you imagine the chaos during the rush hour? Sometimes it makes me wish for something like giant lifting magnets to get us out of the horrific traffic mess. 

But setting this aside, motos are the cheapest and fastest way to go around. And a ride across the city is an adventure in itself especially that there are no road rules to follow. Wait, there are road rules but most often ignored with impunity, lol. Vehicle drivers can do as they please. When my husband first got here, he said:
Overtaking, undertaking, overtaking someone that is already overtaking or undertaking, cutting corners, short cuts across the pavements and through petrol stations are no problem (if you can get onto the pavement, parked cars - street vendors stalls - building materials - refuse - cafe tables - everyone except pedestrians use the pavements).
And this is only daytime driving. Imagine at nighttime when darkness and alcohol is added into the equation.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Postcard Perfect 053: Kazan Cathedral, Russia

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A bird's eye-view of the Kazan Cathedral and the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, Russia:

From this angle, the long stretch of Nevsky Prospekt (Nevsky Avenue) opposite the impressive neo-classical Kazan Cathedral looks like a huge  conveyor of vehicles. 

The Kazan Cathedral, or  Kazanskiy Kafedralniy Sobor, is a Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, the miraculous patroness and protector of Kazan and one of the most-highly venerated icons in Russia. Built in the 1800s and is said to be modeled after the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the dome of Kazan's Cathedral is about 80meters high and the colonnade has about 96 columns facing the Nevsky Prospect!

The Nevsky Prospekt is the main thoroughfare in St. Petersburg - the most popular in the whole of Russia - and is where most of the city's upscale shopping destinations, nightlife,  priciest apartments and notable landmarks like the Cathedral are located. The Nevsky Prospekt, named after the medieval warrior prince Alexander Nevsky, was planned by Peter the Great, the founder of city, and of the French architect, Alexandre Jean Baptiste LeBlond, who worked alongside with him.

Images by Freepik