Friday, February 24, 2017

Ten (10 ) Cards

Hello again. Yes, the title says Ten cards. Hopefully I'll get that many in today. I have lots of cards on hand so I thought 10 would be a good number for this go around .

Card # 1 - Let's start with a nice 3-D card  from Banff. Some 3-D cards are well worth the extra cost and this is one of them. Hopefully it scanned well. You can see on this card, Moraine Lake and the Valley of The Ten Peaks, Castle Mountain and The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel - Canada's Castle in the Rockies. The hotel, located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been a landmark  for morn that 125 years, opening on June 1, 1888.

My Lovely Teena dropped this one in the mail for me. We recently had a nice 2 day road trip to Banff and Lake Louise. Teena used a 2016 Permanent Plus stamp . The permanent 85 cents paid the normal first class rate and the extra 10 cents goes to the Canada Post Community Foundation.

Card # 2 - Green tongued girl - what else can I say ?

This card is from Sherryl, a Postcrosser living at Lake Constance, near the Alps. She used a couple of nice stamps. On the left is a nice Aviation themed stamp from 2011. It shows a Glider at the Wasserkuppe, the highest peak in the Rhon Mountains. On the right is a 2009 stamp celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Frankenberg Town Hall.

Card # 3 - Here's a card from Baarle, Belgium. Walking in Baarle offers a unique experience. You constantly cross between Belgium and the Netherlands. The Belgium part Baarle-Hertog includes 22 exclaves within Dutch territory. On the right side of the card you can see the border delineated on the brick of the roadway - B for Belgium , and NL for Netherlands. Many buildings straddle both countries. For these properities, here is the policy that applies- their address lies in the country that contains their front door. To make it easier, every house number plaque shows a flag of the country in which it lies.

Gerda used a lovely stamp from 2014. It was issued for International Woman Day. It includes 606 words, the most words ever on a stamp and was recognized by Guinness as a World Record. The stamp also depicts the face of a woman made exclusively from words.

Card # 4 - This one arrived from Laos and was a bit of a surprise. It is from Ana from Macedonia who now lives in China. She certainly gets around. Ana's card shows 3 lovely ladies from Laos in local attire.

Ana used 2 fine stamps, too. On the left , from 2010, is one celebrating 450 years of Vientiane as capital. It is from a set of 4 stamps. Over on the right is 1 of 7 in a 2005 set depicting different Buddhas.

Card # 5 - A new addition to my Airline / Aircraft Postcard Collection, the first in a while. Today it's Air Dolomiti's Embraer ERJ-195 LR, registered as I-ADJO. Air Dolomiti is an Italian regional aorline with its head office in Dossobuono, Italy.
 It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa.

This card is a first time swap with Nadine in France. She used a 2016 stamp showing former French President Francois Mitterrand.

That's five down, we're half way there.

Card # 6 - Dominique's card celebrates the 7th edition of the Loire Festival, which took place from 23 to 27 of September 2015. The festival is a large gathering of boats of yesteryear and has taken place since 2003 on a biannual basis.

Dominique used an older commemorative from 1967 on this one. It is from a Tourism issue featuring the landscape of La Baule in western France.

Card # 7 - I've been collecting postcards for just a little over 10 years now and only had one from Albania in all that time. Now I have a second, thanks to Indrit. Be sure to check out his fine postcard blog called " Postcard Albania " right here . Indrit's card gives a look in Gjirokastra, a city in southern Albania dating back to 1336. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site , having been designated as such in 2005.

Indrit used 2 stamps, on the left is a 2004 stamp , 1 of 25 in a set celebrating 50 Years of the National Gallery of Arts. On the right is 1 of 2 from 2014 highlighting a Kuci Meeting.

Card # 8 - Now it's another one from Jobbo, from Thailand . This one shows some Thai Royal memorabilia, a couple of old calendars from 1996 and a Royal photo on the wall.

As usual on Jobbo's card, this one also arrived with a bunch of stamps - 5 in fact. Let's get to them. Top left - 1 of 5 issued for National Children's Day, bottom left - 1 of 4 issued 1998 fir International Year of Oceans.  The middle stamps - top - 1 of 6 issued in 1992 to celebrate The Queen's 60th Birthday. The bottom middle stamp is 1 of 6 issued in 1990 showing Royal Palaces. Lastly, the stamp on the right was issued in 2006, 1 of 6 celebrating The King's Diamond Jubilee.

Card # 9 - Another card from Thailand, this time from Jean Pierre. This card shows many of the Buddhas in Wat Pho. Here you can find the largest collection of Buddhas and the largest reclining Buddha.

Jean Pierre used 3 stamps on his card. The stamp on the left and also the middle stamp were issued in 2016, 2 of 6 showcasing the Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year's festival.  The larger stamp on the right dates from 2014 , showing Buddha and celebrates the Chinese New Year.

Card # 10 - The last one for today. And it's from Turkey. It's a wide view of Antalya, a Turkish city, a gateway to Turkey's southern Mediterranean region. It was first settled around 200 BC.

This card is a private swap with Levent. He used 2 Bird stamps from 2004. They were issued in a set of 8.

So there it is. Ten cards down. Thanks for all of today's great cards go out to Levent, My Lovely Teena, Gerda, Ana, Sherryl,Jean Pierre, Jobbo, Indrit, Nadine, and Dominique. Thanks to all reading this and do drop by again soon. Any thoughts, comments, etc, just leave a comment. Take care.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Foggy Day Update

Good day to you all. Yes, it's foggy here today, at times you can hardly see your hand before you. It's been 10 days since my last writing. Time flies when you're busy. We had a little 2 day excursion to the Banff National Park - Banff and Lake Louise. We also took in an indoor soccer tournament  - our grandson Xander scored 9 goals during the 4 games, and his team won the silver medal. Then there was a birthday party for Xander and also his brother Zach and finally a Hawaiian Luau , to break up the winter. All in all a busy few days, with little time for postcards or blogging.

With the fog today and it being Family Day here in Alberta, I figured today would be a good day to visit a few postcards.

This first card came as a surprise and remains somewhat of a mystery. It is from Mali in West Africa and was posted in Bamako, the capital. The card shows a group of locals enjoying the shade of a large , old tree in Sangha. Sangha is a commune of Mali of roughly 260 square kilometres and approximately 25,000 inhabitants.

As I mentioned this card this card arrived as a mystery. It is signed by a Mike and by Taouvik Boukari, both unknown to me. Now I sent out a few feelers and it was suggested to me that the card might be the work of Maick, from The Netherlands.  He has a blog called " A Journey of Postcards " . Whoever actually sent it or is responsible for sending it ,  I do indeed say a big Thanks.
The 3 stamps include 2 face different - a 100F and 2 500F values, and were issued in 2015 showing Timbuktu Manuscripts.

Next is a card showing hay bales in the Saint-Lambert region of Belgium. It is a black and white photo by Jean-Marie Vandeloise.

Johan used 2 copies of the beautiful January 2017 stamp entitled Hope Springs Eternal Youth.

This next card shows a 1987 photo by John De Andrea called
" Diane " . Others in this set by De Andrea are called Marla and Juliette  .

I think Diane shows that the body can convey emotions based on position.

This is another card from Carla in Italy- we have swapped cards a number of times over the last few months. Carla used 2 nice aviation themed stamps showing Italian Aviation Pioneers. A set of 4 was issued in 2003.

Now for today's last card. Another one from Johan. Salut !! Hello to you , too.

A nice big stamp , 1 of 6 issued in January to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Gaston Comic Strip. Nice matching cancellation.

There it is , a little smaller that my usual update but it is what it is . Thanks for today's cards do to Johan, Carla and whoever sent or arranged the Mali card. Drop by again soon. Take care.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cards From Malaysia, England, Netherlands and USA

Hello again. Now that the latest Cruising Thru Postcards is done, it's back to regular postcards today. First is this card from Malaysia, showing the Cameron Highlands area. We can see the rolling hills of the Boh Tea Plantation near Ringlet, one of the most scenic areas in the Highlands.

 Jobbo used 2 stamps on this card. On the left is 1 of 3 in a 2013 Woodpeckers set. Then on the right , also 1 of 3 in a set, a 2016 stamp celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Guide Association in Malaysia.

Next is a card from London, England. Here we have the Life Guard Band parading in front of Buckingham Palace.

Jean Pierre used 2 of the set of 6 stamps issued in 2016 commemorating the 100th anniversary of The Great War. They arrived with a great 2017 Year of the Rooster cancel.

I have a little pin-up from The Netherlands now. It appears she has broken her sling-shot. What to do, what to do ?  I wonder if the elastic holding her nylons up will work ?

This is a card from a Postcrosser in Amsterdam. Cornelia or Coks as she likes to be called used a stamp from a 2015 set of 2. The set is titled " Toys of the Past " . I guess the sling-shot on the card qualifies as a toy from the past. If it isn't electronic , I don't think it would cut it in today's world.

Next is a card from Mike & Ashley, from Malvern , PA, USA. Good to hear from them again, it's been a while. This is the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. The Flyers, the 76ers, the Eagles and the Phillies all play in this complex.

Shown in the middle right corner is The Spectrum. It was demolished in 2011.

The stamps used here include, left to right, an Additional Ounce Penguins stamp from 2015, 1 of 20 in a PETS set from 2016 and 1 of 16 in the 2016 National Parks set. Shown is Mount Rainier National Park.

Last card of the day - this is another left over from my last summer's road trip to Montana. It's Square Butte, an isolated mesa in north central Montana , just off the road to Great Falls. When we drove by, it looked quite dry and was brown , not green as shown.
It's highest point is at an elevation of 1,747 meters. It's located near the town of Geraldine which has a population of 263 and is where this card was mailed from.

My Lovely Teena is the author of this card. She used 3 of the 6 in the 2016 Classic Era set.

That's it for today. Hope you had a good read . Drop by again soo0n.
Thanks for cards today go out to Jobbo, Jean Pierre, Coks, Mike & Ashley and to My Lovely Teena.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cruising Thru Postcards # 8

Yes, it's that time. I have been back almost 2 months and most of the postcards have arrived back here, so it is time for my cruise report , postcard style. This one is number 8, so here goes.

This one will cover a 14 day Singapore - Hong Kong cruise with Holland America Line aboard the MS Volendam, yes another Dam ship. The Volendam entered service October 24, 1999 and is 777.56 feet in length. She has a crew of 625 and carries 1225 guests and is captained by Jetoen Baijens. .

Even though our cruise started on Tuesday , November 22 this story starts a week earlier on Tuesday, November 15th. My Lovely Teena and I wanted to spend a little time in Hong Kong and we elected to do so before our cruise instead of at the end. So our trip began at the Calgary Airport . We flew on to Vancouver and overnighted. Then on Wednesday the 16th we boarded a Boeing 777 for the 13.5 hour flight to Hong Kong.
Wow, our first time in Hong Kong, there sure is a lot of up in that city. And a lot of people. We spent 5 days in the city and obviously we didn't do or see everything, but we took in what we could. We based ourselves at a hotel in Kowloon as we thought that would be the best area in which to stay. From there we set out each day via a hop on hop off double decker bus to see Hong Kong. We took in the Sky View 100 Observation Tower ( 100 floors in 60 seconds ), we saw Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, The Garden of Stars, Kowloon Park, The Clock Tower, the Ladies Market, the Temple St Market, Hong Kong Coliseum, and The Peninsula Hotel. WE took the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour and saw the Peoples Liberation Army Headquarters Building, often called " the inverted gin bottle" due to its shape. We visited Repulse Bay, Stanley Bay and Aberdeen, where we took a ride on a Chinese sampan. We also took a tour of Victoria Harbour, it's the best way to see Hong Kong's skyline. We also took the Victoria Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak. The views from here are over whelming.
Such was our whirlwind tour of Hong Kong. We certainly took in what we could in a short time. Like I said, we saw lots but left lots for the next time.
Oh yes postcards, what would a trip or cruise be without postcards?
I knew about this cruise months in advance, so had time to order stamps for all the ports. This saved time and provided nicer stamps to use, most times in the post offices there is little choice, so this time I chose. I posted a bunch of Hong Kong cards at the airport post office. The staff there were quite helpful in fact.
I have a number of HKG cards to show , and I am starting with one actually showing something we didn't see --- Giant Pandas. I believe these two are Ying Ying and Le Le.

The Giant Panda stamps are from a 2008 set of four, showing Ying Ying and Le Le. Nice airport style cancel.

Next is a card showing a group of very young apparent employees of The Peninsula Hotel. I thought 12 years old was too young to work in Alberta, but I guess younger the better is the rule in Hong Kong. I guess that's why the service at The Peninsula is tops, they trained from such an early age.

I used stamps from 2002 on this card. They are 2 of 4 in a Cyber Industry set.

My next card is the Peak Tram as it makes its way up Victoria Peak. As you can see, it provides a magnificent view of Hong Kong.

A stamp from a 2012 set of 6 was used this time. They marked 150 Years of Stamp Issuance in Hong Kong.

From Hong Kong we then flew to Singapore to meet up with our cruise. I brought Singapore stamps with me, intending to mail a few cards from here. Such was not the case. We ran into time constraints and there was simply no time for postcards. Maybe next time , at least I'll have the stamps.

We boarded the Volendam around 2pm on Tuesday , November 22 and sailed out of Singapore Harbour at 4 pm. Then Wednesday the 23rd was a sea day  . Our first port of call was Nathon, Thailand and we dropped anchor at 7:13 am on the 24th of November. We tendered ashore and took an excursion to Koh Samui to see the Big Buddha.

Wat Phra Yai , or as it's known in English, Big Buddha Temple , is a golden, 12 metre seated Buddha. Built in 1972 it depicts Buddha in a state of calm, purity and resolve. Here's the postcard of Big Buddha.

A number of Princesses adorn this card. On the far left is a 2012 Princess Rajrakitiyabha stamp. Next is a 2016 commemorative marking the 84th Anniversary of the Teacher's Training School. The it's Princess Sirindhorn from a 2005 issue. Lastly we have Princess Chulabhorn from 2012.

Two novice monks are the focus of this next card from Thailand. We saw many monks while we were at Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya is a city about 80 km north of Bangkok. It was at one time the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. It was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The old ruins are now an archaeological site containing palaces, Buddhist Temples, monasteries and statues. The historic city of Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list in 1991. It was wonderful to visit this UNESCO WHS but very sad to see the destruction caused by the Burmese , especially all the statutes with their heads lobbed off.

I used a nice set of 4 War Ships on this card. The set was issued in 2014.

I posted these 2 cards in Ayutthaya and they received a Bang Pa-in cancel. Bang Pa-in is 1 of 16 districts of Ayutthaya Province in central Thailand.

This next card is of an image I will always remember from our trip. It is a Buddha Head in tree roots at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya. This iconic image of a Buddha Head entwined within the roots of a tree is one of the most recognizable images from Thailand.

My Lovely Teena prepared this card for me and used a lovely set of 4 Thai Dancers  celebrating the 2011 Thaipex Philatelic Expo.

The final card from Thailand is a beautiful view of Ayutthaya.

The 3 stamps on this card commemorate Vesak Day 2015. They show the Emerald Buddha , left to right , in Summer attire, in Winter attire and in Rainy Season attire.

Those 2 cards are postmarked/cancelled in Suan Phlu Post Office, one of Bangkok's Post offices.

After leaving Nathon we sailed on to Laem Chabang, Thailand, arriving early in the morning of Friday, November 25th. Then it was on to Sihanoukville, Cambodia  arriving on Sunday , November 27th. Here we visited Pattaya City and later the Sanctuary of Truth. This temple is an all wood building, 103 meters high and filled with sculptures based on Buddhist and Hindu motifs. Construction started in 1981 and completion is scheduled anywhere between 2030 and 2050. One reason for this uncertainty is the wood construction , always seems this piece or that piece needing replacement.

We also visited Kampot, a city of about 40,000 located in southern Cambodia around 5 km from the Gulf of Thailand. Kampot is known for it's high quality pepper and durian. Of course we purchased some pepper. I picked up a few postcards here but by the time I got to mail them , we were back in Sihanoukville, hence the postmark.

This first card shows some of the images of Cambodia - salt workers, boat races and the famous durian roundabout.

On this one I used 2 stamps from 2004 issued for the 50th Anniversary of the Cambodian Red Cross.

My next card shows a member of the Jarai, an ethnic group living in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia.

The stamps are 2 from 1997, issued on the occasion of the Death of Princess Diana.

The next 2 cards are Angkor Wat cards. We weren't lucky enough to visit Angkor , but I found the cards in Kampot and bought them.
This first one shows a portion of Angkor Wat itself, the largest religious monument in the world.

Once again it's Diana stamps, 5 this time  along with one more of the Red Cross stamps.

Here's the last Cambodia card. On it we see Bayon Temple, the last temple to be built at Angkor.

I used a bit of a mixed bag of stamps on this one. There are 2 more of the Red Cross stamps, along with a stamp from 1996, issued to celebrate the Atlanta Olympic Games. The on the right is a 1996 Souvenir Sheet issued for Capex 1996, a World Philatelic Exposition held in Canada.

Now I know that this is a long update, and I really hope you're still reading. Just so you know, it's not over yet. I still have a number of ports in Viet Nam to address. I didn't want to break this cruise update up into 2 parts so I'm going to continue on , hoping you stay.

Tuesday November 28 was a sea day. Nothing to do but enjoy the ship and all it had to offer. Then, we would have a lot to cover in Viet Nam , 4 ports and Ha long Bay.
We arrived at our first port of Phu My, the gateway to Ho Chi Minh City,  on the morning of Tuesday, November 29th. From Phy My we set out to tour Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is still called, by almost everyone living there.

There was lots of interest in Saigon - Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Ben Tranh Market, the Rex Hotel and the Central Post Office. We also visited the Bitexco Financial Tower, saw the Opera House , and lots of evidence of Saigon's French colonial influence. And last but not least, the site of the last American helicopter leaving Saigon at the end of the war.

 Let's start with a postcard of my favourite place - the Central Post Office. It was busy, bustling even loaded with stamps , postcards and souvenirs. I could have stayed there all day. The best post office I have visited so far in my travels.

My Lovely Teena picked out this card and used a small 4 stamp mini sheet from 2005. It was a WWF issue.

This next card is a look at Reunification Palace, once the home of South Vietnam's president, which was the centerpiece of the dramatic seizure of Saigon , unconditionally , by the National Liberation Front in 1975. They did this by driving a tank through the front gate.

On this one we find a definitive from 2007, 1 of 3 in a set featuring Ho Chi Minh himself. Along with the definitive are 3 of 4 Lighthouse stamps from 2013.

Now here's a card featuring the Opera House in Ho Chi Minh City. I don't know if it comes with a phantom or not though.

A nice set of 4 stamps on this one. They were issued in 2012 and are highlighting Local Costumes.

Now it's a card showing a portion of the business section of Saigon, with the Bitexco Financial Tower,  mid center, near the back of the card. We visited the 49th floor observation platform . Quite the view from up there. We were told the platform was built as a helicopter landing pad, but no one can ever remember a chopper landing there.

I used another of the Ho Chi Minh definitives here along with a beautiful Ha long Bay stamp from 2008. It is 1 of 2 in the set.

The Ben Tranh Market is featured on my next day. This market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon. And looking at the ladies out front, it must have been a lovely day for a stroll on the square.

I used a 3rd Ho Chi Minh definitive along with 2 of 3 stamps in a Music Groups set.

Getting back to our cruise, we arrived in Nha Trang on 30 November and Da Nang on December 2nd. We weren't very impressed with Nha Trang so no postcards from there.
On to Da Nang - much nicer, but raining when we were there. Not that it stopped us from enjoying the day. We saw some of the remnants of the USAF presence in Da Nang, old air force hangars . We also saw and walked on My Khe Beach, which was known by American soldiers as China Beach.  This is a 20 mile long white sand beach and is considered one of the most beautiful in Asia.
Here we are ( My Lovely Teena and I ) on China Beach.

From Da Nang we next went to the ancient town of Hoi An - World Cultural Heritage Site. Here you can see some of Vietnam's best preserved buildings, dating back over 1000 years in this former spice trade capital. Hoi An was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1999. Here is my Hoi An card.

  This is another card from My Lovely Teena and she used a wonderful single stamp Monkey souvenir sheet. It was issued in 2014.

On the 2nd of  December we sailed out of Da Nang and after a day and a half, we arrived at Ha Long Bay around 6:30 am on December 4th. And Beautiful doesn't even describe it. Ha Long Bay was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and again in 1999. It was also named one of the world's new seven wonders in 2012. Ha Long Bay is the best of Vietnam in one place. We toured around many of the islands in a junk, a wonderful tour indeed. If film was still in vogue, I would have been disappointed early, as surely I would have run out of film. I took dozens of pictures , so would never have had enough film.

I have 2 beautiful postcards to show here but the real thing is even more beautiful. Here's the first one.

I used a mix of stamps on this one. 2 of the Lighthouses set and 1 of the Local Costumes set.

Here's a morning view of Ha Long Bay on this card from My Lovely Teena.

On this one Teena used a couple of definitives from 2016 and 1 of the Lighthouse set.

Ha Long Bay is certainly a beautiful place , a special place in my opinion. You can feel it when you're there. Before I visited Ha Long Bay, my special place was Moraine Lake, in The Valley of the Ten Peaks , here in Alberta. When I'm there , it's a place that relaxes me, I don't want to leave, it's that special. Here's a card to give you a look at Moraine Lake.

So now I've been to two special places. I'm sure there are others out there and maybe some day you'll read about my visit to them too, here on the blog.

From Ha Long Bay we sailed on to Hong Kong and arrived there at 7 am on Dec 6th. From there it was a taxi to the airport and the long flight back home.
A final postcard for this update is one from My Lovely Teena which she purchased in HK Airport and dropped in the mail to me. It's a great early evening view of Hong Kong.

Teena used 1 of 12 definitives issued in 2014.

So there it is , Cruising Thru Postcards # 8 is done. The cruise was great, Hong Kong was wonderful, Viet Nam was wonderful, Cambodia and Thailand were good  and I only wish that I had more time in Singapore..

Thank you Teena for the cards you sent , and with me going off and looking for postcards must take a toll on you, but you never complains about it. Big thanks to you.

If you're still reading, I am sorry for the length of this update but I felt it was best to issue it in one go. Hope you enjoyed it and I'm sure there'll be a # 9 sometime.  Take care.