Monday, December 19, 2011

Holler if you want a card from Japan, Thailand, or Cambodia

I'm about to leave for Japan, Thailand, and Cambodia. If you want a postcard, leave me a comment! (I can't guarantee I'll have time to send one, but chances are good. :) I will be attending a Postcrossing Meeting in Tokyo and will most likely send cards from there.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cusco, Peru


This card is from a friend of a fried who traveled to Peru. He writes that the whole city of Cusco looks more or less like the picture on this card. Cusco (also spelled Cuzco, but officially Qosqo in Quechua), located in southeastern Peru, was the historic capital city of the Inca Empire. It was supposedly constructed in the shape of a puma, which was a sacred animal. Spanish conquistadores invaded the city in 1534. They destroyed many Inca buildings and built their own city on top of what remained, and Cusco became a base for Spanish expansion in South America. The city remained an important political center after Peru declared its independence in 1821. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983.

The stamp is from a 2007 set of four on invertebrates. This one is the elephant beetle (Megasoma sp.)

Thank you Haru!!

Tatra Mountains, Poland

Tatra Mountains
"High Tatras: Icy Peak in the Rays of the Sun"

I LOVE this card. Exactly the type of mountain view that is my absolute favorite. There is definitely snow in the mountains around here, and we even got a tiny bit of snow last night here in Seattle. Nothing sticking to the ground, though.

The Tatras are on the border between Poland and Slovakia, and the highest part of the Carpathian Mountains. The highest peaks are actually all in Slovakia, but since this card is from Poland, that's how I filed it. Several animal species are endemic to the area, such as Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica), a type of goat-antelope which is critically endangered. The Carpathians as a whole also have the largest Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) population west of Russia. Both Poland and Slovakia have established national parks covering these mountains, and both are part of a biosphere reserve designated by UNESCO.

I have a couple cards of Eurasian lynx. I also have Slovakian cards of the Tatras. I'll post those at some point. :)

The stamps are the same as here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Victoria, Canada

Wooly Mammoth

This big guy lives at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. I sent this card to myself while spending a weekend in Victoria last January. Victoria in January is rather grim. It poured rain and was freezing cold the whole time I was there. The main reason I went was that my favorite band was playing there, and the show was by far the best part of the weekend, so that was okay. Other than that, I think I did every indoor tourist attraction there was near downtown Victoria, and the museum was the best. And I bought a lot of postcards. There were hardly any people staying in the hostel, although it was quite a nice hostel, and I spent a lot of the weekend napping. That was okay too, since I like sleep. :)

It was a bit surreal reading what I had written to myself on the back of the card, though... part of a saga I wonder if I'd be better off not remembering at all. If I eventually post every card related to that saga, will I forget it more easily? Other parts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Some of those it's the cards themselves, some of them it's just what I was thinking about as I posted them.) There are at least 2 other cards to go.

2011 definitive on "baby wildlife," this one being the red fox, in the denomination for sending to the U.S.



This card is from sixth-sense for the favorites tag. I don't know what the picture is of, but I like it. :)

And I looooooove the stamps. Especially the one with the horses. The one with the horses is from 2000, in the series on Regions of the Russian Federation. This stamp depicts the Republic of Kalmykia, the only Buddhist region in Europe.
The child crossing the river is poster art for EUROPA 2003.

Then we have a bull mastiff from a set of 5 dogs issued in 2002.
And a chihuahua from a previous set of 5 dogs issued in 2000.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Granada, Spain

This is another one of those locations that I love to get multiple cards of 'cause it is so lovely. :)

Alhambra, Granada
From Rafal's vacation RR group when he visited Granada.

I was lucky enough to have a friend who lived in Granada and sent me the next two cards. Thank you very much, Elizabeth! :D

Granada - La Alhambra
This one was mailed from the US, so she taped a Spanish stamp to the front. Awesome.

This last one is basically one of my most favorite postcards ever. Gorgeous castle. Gorgeous mountains. What's not to love?
Alhambra, Granada

The Alhambra was built in the 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada. Each new ruler added onto the original building, so it doesn't follow a unified plan; however, certain elements of architecture and design were preserved. In 1492, the area was taken over by Spanish Catholics. They used part of it and allowed the rest to fall into disrepair for several centuries. Restoration began in the 19th century, and now the Alhambra is a major tourist attraction. It was listed as a UNESCO site in 1984. The name "Alhambra" comes from the Arabic for "red fortress," referring to the red clay from which it was built.

My friend wrote, "The Alhambra is one of the only places in Spain where you can see Moorish architecture that wasn't made over by the later Christian rulers, trying to show that they were bigger and badder than the Muslims they had defeated. It's a pity that Spain's nearly 8 centuries of Muslim history has been largely overwritten."

I would love to visit this place one day.

Three U.S. definitives: Navajo jewelry from 2004, American clock from 2003, and bighorn sheep, not sure what year that one was originally issued.

2005 issue on the theme of "struggle against poverty."

From a 2009 set of four on renewable energy. This one is geothermal energy. It's the same stamp on the front of the middle card, above.

Netherlands Museum Railway


A card from the June 2010 RR, from Wesley. The train is part of a museum in the eastern part of the Netherlands. This is the largest museum railway line in the Netherlands. The museum actually *is* the railway line, and you can ride on the train! The national railroad company used this railway line to transport freight up until the 1980s. It was preserved as an industrial monument of the peat moor country through which it runs, opening as a museum in 1992, and carrying passengers from 1994.

The railway operates on a regular schedule for museum visitors, and also hosts special events. For example, on November 26 and 27, St. Nicholas and his assistant Zwarte Piet will be riding the train.

This would not fly in the U.S. Apparently blackface, and Santa having a black slave sidekick, is not considered racist in the Netherlands.

Great stamps! The top two stamps are both from a set issued in 2001 for National Book Week, entitled "Between Two Cultures." The one on the left is a quote from E. du Perron, an influential Dutch poet of Eurasian descent, and the one on the right is a photograph taken by Ulay. That one on the bottom is from 1972 - wow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Aberdeen, Hong Kong


This card is from the boat/ship tag. It's actually a photograph pasted to a piece of thick paper, which is fine, because it's a nice photograph. The photo shows the harbor of Aberdeen. According to the sender, this used to be a little fishing village where native Hong Kong people would dock their boats.

The 水上人家 (shui shang ren jia), or boat-dwellers, were aborigines who were shunned by the Cantonese and Hakka Chinese people who lived on land. The boat-dwellers were said to be descended from water-snakes, and able to stay underwater for 3 days without breathing.

It seems that the boat dwellers have been subject to extreme racism ever since the Chinese colonized the area in the Song dynasty.

Hong Kong has its own stamps. This is a 2006 definitive showing a red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Beijing 2008 Mascots
These are the mascots ("fuwa") of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Beibei the fish, Jingjing the panda, Huanhuan the Olympic flame, Yingying the Tibetan antelope, and Nini the swallow.

According to the official website, "Fuwa embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature -- the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky -- all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation."

If you un-reduplicate the names and put them all together - Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni - it apparently means "welcome to Beijing." Cute.

I got the card from the favorites tag, and it was sent unwritten in an envelope. Sad! However, the sender said she was afraid that it would be stolen in the mail, and she didn't have any more copies of this card. I am not sure what the red circular stamps are from. The "stamp" in the top right corner is preprinted.

Finland Winter Scene


I really like this type of unique view. I am not sure what the picture is of, exactly - perhaps a sauna? I love the lights in the snow.

Also, I ♡ Finnish stamps. A country flag stamp is not very unusual, but in this one the flag is waving right off the side of the stamp! From 2006.

New Mexico Roadrunner

I got this card from my friend Avi who lives in New Mexico. According to the back of the card, "The comical roadrunner, New Mexico's state bird, prefers running to flying and have been clocked at speeds of 15 miles per hour. They are approximately 22 inches in length, and their diet consists of insects, lizards, centipedes, mice and snakes." Yum!

Someone who is collecting state bird, state tree, and state flower postcards messaged me asking for a swap a couple of weeks ago. I found a couple of rhododendron cards but no western hemlock or willow goldfinch cards... All I found was a map card that had those listed but not pictured. Lame. Actually I think it even had a picture of a tree, but it was a Doug fir, not a hemlock! Super lame.

My favorite part of this postcard may have been the mountains hand-drawn on the bottom. :)

This stamp is from 1998, depicting the yellow poplar (Luriodendron tulipifera), also known as the tulip tree. Avi said he steamed it off an old envelope and re-used it. Very cool.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Česka Lipa, Czech Republic


Here is another example of a card I dislike, and the perfect example of why I dislike multiviews. Even though most of the pictures are nice, you can't really see any of them! And, naturally, they decided to make one of the not-as-nice pictures the largest.

I can understand trying to convey all your region has to offer, but going this route you just detract from it. If they had chosen four or five even, and arranged them artistically, it could have been a much better card. Or they could just have picked one. If you do a google image search for the towns named on this card, you can see pictures of how nice they look, but big enough to actually see!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Horse Thievery


Apparently, there is a German saying about being able to trust someone completely. Literally translated, it means "someone you can steal horses with." The text on this card says: "Our first stolen horse."

I am grumpy and this card made me happy. <3

Stamp is here.

Queensland, Australia

Chinchilla, Queensland

Chinchilla is a town in Queensland, famous for its delicious watermelons. In fact, this tiny town (pop. 3,681) produces 25% of Australia's melons! Every other year they host the Chinchilla Melon Festival. "If you've never tried skiing with watermelons on your feet, you should come to our Melon Festival," writes the sender of the card. Mark your calendars - the next one is in February 2013.

The image is art by French-born Australian artist Francois Corneloup titled "Chinchilla Melons."

The stamp is the same as the one here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taipei International Flora Expo 2010

Taipei International Floral Expo

I don't have a lot to say about this card. It came as an official, obviously bought and sent from the Flora Expo. Apparently this "2010" expo lasted several months before coming to a close in April 2011, which is when this card was postmarked. The expo looked pretty cool - check out the website to see for yourself.

Speaking of postmarked... check this out. "Taipei International Flora Exposition - Taipei Temporary Post Office." They actually set up a special post office at the expo. How cool is that?? The stamp doesn't have a visible date of issue, but the flower is a vanda orchid.

Yoshkar-Ola, Russia

Jubilee Square, Yoshkar-Ola

This official is one of the first PC cards I ever received. Yoshkar-Ola is the capital city of the Mari El Republic, a federal subject of Russia, and this card shows Jubilee Square, where there is a 1975 sculpture of a man flying into space. According to wikipedia, the ethnic Mari people of this region are under heavy "Russification" and their language, culture, and faith have been under attack by the Russian government. :(

However, the image on the card is so bright and inviting... like a good place to take someone for a walk on a first date.

Polar bear definitives from 2008.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Texel, Netherlands


A card from the Suprise Me RR. The heart is actually a hole cut in the middle of the card, which I had never seen anything like before. I have to wonder why the designer chose the ugly picture to take up 2/3 of the card... but perhaps it's a blessing in disguise since the scuff marks left by the mail sorting machine are only defacing the ugly picture. :P (I think the card would be a lot nicer if the other five pictures, which are nice, made up the entire card.) Anyway, I still like it.

Texel is one of the Frisian Islands located in the Wadden Sea, although it is actually in the province of North Holland, not Friesland. Tourism is Texel's main economy, and it does look like a nice place for a vacation if you want to take it easy or go bicycle touring. About one third of the island is a nature preserve, complete with a visitor's center and wildlife museum, where you can watch the seals being fed twice a day. (I am not sure why they are feeding the wild animals at a nature preserve, though.)

More nice stamps. The one on the left reads "zomerpostzegels 1992, floriade nederland" Floriade is a flower festival held every 10 years in the Netherlands. In the middle is a stamp from 1995 showing the equation discovered by J. D. van der Waals, a Dutch Nobel Prize physicist. The stamp on the right is undated so I am guessing it is a definitive.

Polish Cats


Another one from the favorites tag. I've gotten so many nice cards from these tags. However, lately I've stopped doing tags and have been sending a lot more official cards. It's still soooo addictive to draw an address and pick a card for the person you get. I actually got the same person twice in a row this morning - once on each of his accounts! It's crazy that that happens despite there being nearly 250,000 accounts.

Anyway. These cats are an illustration by K. Majewska and A. Tylkowski, if I am not mistaken.

These stamps are a nice contrast to the stamps I normally get from Poland. First, on the left, is a stamp featuring mountain bike riding in a 1999 set of four on youth sports. Graffiti stamps: how awesome is that? On the right is a 2008 stamp depicting "drifting sand" (zamieć piaskowa) from a set of four on weather phenomena. On the bottom is a stamp of two species of rosella: crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans - the red and blue one) and eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius - the multicolored one). This is from a 2004 set of four exotic birds.

How do they pick what themes to make stamps out of, I wonder?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Western Highway

I am a driver on a western highway

from the mountains

Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA

and to the sea


And there's a song on the western highway saying I will be free.

The sky is fading to the color of the valley
Dust of angels and dust of dreams

Your city lights will shine until tomorrow

but I will not be here.

Your light is brighter than anything I've ever seen.
I hear your voice on every station, singing out of your dream.

By the roadside, the trees are shivering, black and silver in the cool night air

and under the moonlight I hear a song you're singing
saying I will meet you there.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Here I am on the road again


The song begins
and in the end
I'll be standing by the sea.


I am a driver on a western highway
from the mountains and to the sea
and there's a song on the western highway
saying I will be free.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lake Naroch, Belarus


BY-159003, which also happened to come from my favorites! :) I like forests *almost* as much as I like mountains, and this particular forest reminds me of those here at home. This is the river Stracha in Lake Naroch National Park in northwest Belarus (near Minsk). The park, established in 1999, is home to some 900 plant species and 243 animal species, including a herd of 50 royal stags.

There isn't a lot of information in English, but one blog post I found expostulates, "Mother Nature had intended this picturesque place to become a resort area with high attendance." I doubt Mother Nature had any such plan in mind. I think Mother Nature intended it to remain just as it looks on this card... natural.

Of the stamps, only the rabbit in the middle is new to us. It's a hare (Lepus europaeus) from that same 2008 set of wild animals.