Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two New Countries, Rwanda and Antigua & Barbuda #'s 214 and 215

Today was a great day at the mailbox. Eight postcards, including two new countries in my collection , and a beautiful cover from Austria. Not to mention 2 cards from Iraq. Makes for a pretty good day, I think.
My first card is from Rwanda, country # 214. It is a view of the Source du Nil Golf Club in Kigali. In actual fact is is Hole # 6, Par 4, 340 Metres. Rwanda is a small landlocked country in east-central Africa, bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. The country is home to over 10,000,000 people and has the densest population in continental Africa. Rwanda has received considerable international attention due to its 1994 genocide in which 800,000 to 1,000,000 people were killed. My postcard was posted from Kigali, the Rwandan capital. I received this card from Kriss K, but unfortunately our connection escapes me. Kriss used 2 stamps from a 1995 set of 4 featuring trees and forests. This is a great addition to my collection. Whenever I get a new country, it is great and when that new country is in Africa , it is even better.

Next up is another new country , # 215. It is Antigua & Barbuda. The card shows a couple of sailing ships , and is entitled Antigua Sailing Week. It was sent by The Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association. I vacationed in Antigua about 20 years ago , well before I starting collecting postcards. Too bad, I could have sent myself one. Oh well, the vacation was quite enjoyable, though. The stamps used are from a 2001 issue of 5 featuring ships and boats. This one shows M V Freewinds in Bequia. I find it a little strange that Antigua and Barbuda would issue a stamp with a ship shown in Bequia, an island in St Vincent and The Grenadines.

The next 2 cards are from Iraq. I don't know about you, my readers, but I seldom see postcards from Iraq on any of the postcard blogs. So, getting 2 on the same day is really good. They are both from the same sender, Milad Z of Baghdad. The same stamps were used on both cards and I will get to them in a moment. The first card shows Al-Thahreer Square at night. The square is the main square in Baghdad. The second Iraq card is a multiview of 4 scenes in Iraq. Both cards were mailed on March 29th and postmarked April 1st, and arrived Calgary today, April 22nd. Milad used 3 stamps, the larger one on the left is from a 2008 set of 3 entitled One Nation. The other is from 1 2006 set of 2 , folklore issue. Thanks Milad for these cards.

My last card for today is from Seattle, Washington, USA. It was sent by Kris of PostCardKris fame. The card is of Seattle Tacoma International Airport and sports a Boeing 747 flying over the field. Seattle Tacoma is the busiest and largest airport in the Pacific Northwest. Kris knows that I collect postcards with aircraft on them and this one is the 3rd that he has sent. Kris used a couple of definitives from 2006 and 2003, along with a new Frank Sinatra commemorative from 2008.

Finally , I want to show a cover I received from Austria. It was sent by Edna C of Vienna. She and I have exchanged stamps along with postcards. She used just super beautiful stamps on this cover. I hope no one is offended by the stamp on the left.

That is my report for today. A really great day for postcards and stamps , not to mention 2 new countries.
Take care and comments are welcome.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bequia # 213 and Cuba Update

For only the first time this month I have received a card from a new place in my collection. The card from Bequia makes it 213 different countries or stamp issuing entities that I have received a card from. Bequia is the 2nd largest island in the Grenadines. It is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The island capital is Port Elizabeth, from where this card was posted. Bequia does issue its own stamps , but, unfortunately such was not used on my card. But is was postmarked Port Elizabeth, making it indeed a card from Bequia. The card shows a view of Admiralty Bay, Bequia. The card was sent by Vernamay and Julene, both of whom work at the Bequia Tourism Association. They used a stamp from St Vincent & The Grenadines featuring a plant of some sort. I was hoping for the card to have a Bequia stamp on it but such was not the case. The main thing is that it was sent from Bequia.

Next I want to show a cover from Cuba. The cover was postmarked Varadero, Cuba , 17Mar2009. The 3 stamps on the cover are from a set of 10 issued in 1991 for the Panamerican Games , held in Havana, Cuba.The stamps here show boxing, bowling and kick-boxing.

Now a little background and maybe a little rant. First of , I have nothing against Cuba. The country is a great place to visit on vacation and the people are very friendly. But it seems their postal system sucks a bit. I first visited Cuba in 2007. Of course I wanted to send a few postcards to a few of my postcard collecting friends. I was staying in a hotel in Varadero and everyday, a lady would set up a mobile post office and sell stamps in the lobby. I thought this was a little strange but still hoped it would work. Well, I bought some postcards and purchased the required stamps from the lady. Put the stamps on the cards and handed them back to the lady. When she left , I'm sure she left with a stack of a hundred or more cards. At that time I sent cards to England, Slovenia, Bahrain, Estonia and a couple to Canada. The only ones that arrived were one to England and one to Canada. I was not a happy camper.
I went back to Cuba In March this year. And again I wanted to send a few postcards and a few covers this time. Again I was in Varadero , but a different hotel. This time I located a small one room post office about 2000 feet from the hotel . I thought to myself, this is more like it. One clerk, a little old lady worked there . She was most helpful and I was encouraged. Many older stamps were readily available and I was able to select just about anything I wanted from her stock book. I purchased stamps and sent cards to Macedonia, Malaysia and Canada. Covers went off to Belgium and a couple to France. This was on March 12th. More than a month later, the only one I know that has arrived is the one I showed. A cover to myself. To put it mildly, I am still not a happy camper. I don't know what more one can do. I don't know where these items go. Maybe someone steams of the stamps and then the country can resell them as none of the Cuban stamps that I saw have any sort of gum on the back. The post office people all come prepared with a glue bottle. Your guess is as good as mine. I only hope those items do eventually arrive at their destinations.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Morocco, Austria and Belgium Cards and Italy stamp

Well , it"s Friday again and it appears I have been lax with my updates. There are a couple of reasons for this. First last weekend was a long holiday weekend here , with no mail delivery last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Then , my wife and I , looked after our 15 month old grandson for 3 days. So there was certainly no time for postcards, stamps or blogging. So, I should now be able to sneak in a small update.
Just a couple of cards though, don't want to spoil you guys. My first card is from Morocco. It shows a stone gate in the wall surrounding the medina(old village) of Essaouira. Essaouira is an isolated city of about 70,000 on the west coast of Morocco. Research shows the city has been occupied since prehistoric times. It is considered one of the best anchorages on the Moroccan coast. The present city was only built in the 18th century. The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as an example of a late 18th century fortified town. A medina is a distinct city section found in many North African cities. The medina is typically walled and contains many narrow and maze-like streets, many less than a metre wide. This card was sent to me by Yates Moon, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania. This is her 2nd card , having earlier sent one from Mauritania a few months ago. Thank you Yates and don't forget me if you get to any more African countries. On this card Yates used a 2006 stamp, 1 of a set of 3, featuring King Mohamed VI.

Next is a card from Austria. It shows St. Stephens Cathedral. This Romanesque, Gothic styled Catholic Church was consecrated in 1147 and construction was completed in 1160. The card was sent by Martina, a Postcrosser from Hurm, Austria. Martina used 2 stamps from 2008 and 2009. The bird stamp on the left is from a set of 2 , issued in 2008 for animal protection. The larger stamp on the right features Schonbrunn Castle and was issued in 2009.

That's it for cards today, but I also want to show a couple of stamps that I did receive on other cards. First a stamp from Belgium. It is the 2009 issue , or part of it , from the Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers issue, featuring a polar bear. Also worth noting is the great socked on the nose cancellation, not often seen these days.The other part of this Belgium issue features penguins. A nice issue , too bad I only received half. This is part of a worldwide issue , Canada included, to highlight the polar regions and glaciers.
Now a stamp from Italy. It is a 2008 issue for Italia 2009, a philatelic festival to be held in Rome from 21-25 October 2009. The stamp features The Mouth of the Truth, an image carved from marble, of a man-like face, located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. The most famous characteristic of the Mouth is its role as a lie detector. It was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth, it would be bitten off. I think that's more than enough information about one stamp.

Finally I just want to show 2 souvenir sheets issued recently by Canada Post. The top one was issued for the Preserve The Polar Regions and Glaciers. One stamp shows a Polar Bear and the other The Arctic Tern. A really nice issue. The other one, on the bottom was issued for The International Year of Astronomy. The stamp on the left features National Research Council's Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich, British Columbia , Canada. It is pictured with the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion. The other stamp features the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, located atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii.This stamp shows the Eagle Nebula in the constellation Serpens. Another wonderful issue.
Just wanted to show that not all of Canada's stamps are the boring ones which pay the international rate for postcards. Unfortunately though , these shown only pay the domestic rate for within Canada.

I think this is enough for today. Take care and as always your comments are welcome. Let's hear from you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A few More Of The Fourteen

As I mentioned yesterday, today is a holiday and as such a good day for postcards and stamps. My first postcard today is from Bonn, Germany. The card shows the Bonn Post-Tower. The building is designed as a pair of twin towers connected on every floor through glass bridges. It is the headquarters of Deutsche AG. It is 163 m high , has 42 floors and was completed in 2002. Sent by a Postcrosser, she used a single flower definitive from 2006.

Card number 2 is from Taiwan, R.O.C. It was sent by Wu Wei Yi, a regular reader of my blog and postcard contributor. His card this time is a reproduction of a Time Magazine cover of November 9, 1936. It shows then Premier of China, Chiang Kai-Shek. Just a fews days ago , April 5th , was the 34th annivesary of the death of Chiang Kai-Shek. Wei Yi used 3 stamps, 2 face different , including the large stamp showing Chiang kai-Shek.

An artist's representation of Dubai Creek is shown on the next card from United Arab Emirates. The UAE was formed in 1971 and is a federation of seven emirates, situated on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. I'm sure these names are quite familiar to all the old stamp collectors out there. We all had stamps from these so called sand dune countries in our collections. It just proves that philately is still a changing hobby. Moving along. Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek in Dubai. It extends inland 14 km from the Persian Gulf. Plans are well underway to increase the creek by 12.2 km more by November 2010. This card from U.A.R. is also from a Postcrosser. The stamp is from a 2007 set of 7 definitives featuring falcons. Unfortunately the stamp is torn in the top right corner. Too bad as one doesn't often see UAE stamps on mail in this part of the world.

A map card of Texas is next. It was sent by Rosemary L of El Paso. She is a reader of this blog and a postcard collector herself. A card is on the way to you Rosemary, so keep reading. A postcard often tells a lot about a place. This one says that Texas became the 28th state on December 29, 1845. It's state bird is the mockingbird and the state flower is the Bluebonnet.

The last card for today is from Australia. Scott from Melbourne sent this great flag card. The Australian national flag is the result of a competition held in 1901. The Union Jack, national flag of the United Kingdom, occupies the top left corner. Directly below is the seven-pointed Commonwealth star. The right side of the flag depicts the Southern Cross , a constellation seen in Australia's night sky. Scott used a 2008 Beijing Olympics stamp to get this card to me.

Now for a final bit of of housekeeping. I received a mail out from Scott Thomson of Positively Postal in The U.K. He sent a pack of postcards of the Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution , one of which I show here. This is the one I like best. Scott used a number of these stamps on the package he sent. He has a number of things happening , including a nice competition , on his website, which you can see on the Postbox shown. I have reproduced his links here . Just click on the image to enlarge it . Give him a visit.

And that is all for today, and this week. Take care and have a great weekend. If you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter to you and yours. If not, have a great weekend anyway. Cheers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Big Bunch of Cards, 14 In All

Well I am back, and I didn't even go anywhere. I'm back to blogging after a number of days without. Even though I didn't blog, cards continued to arrive, thankfully. Fourteen, in fact. Now I won't bore you with all of then, just maybe 4 today and 4 or 5 tomorrow. No new cards will arrive tomorrow as Good Friday is a Federal Holiday here in Canada, so Canada post has the day off. Now, on to our first card.
It comes to me from Geneva, Switzerland. It was sent from WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization . The card shows the Geneva headquarters building of WIPO. The stamp used, 2 copies on the card, is from 1982. It is 1 of 5 stamps issued by Switzerland for this UN group. WIPO is 1 of 11 different UN groups that Switzerland has issued official stamps for , to be used for UN business from Switzerland. Unfortunately , my card and stamps arrived uncancelled. I am glad to have received it just the same.

Card number 2 is from Greece. It was sent by Postcrosser Nopi. It shows the island of Zakynthos or at least a portion of it along with it's famous ship-wreck beach. The ship shown on the card wrecked there in 1983. The beautiful beach is only accessible by boat and according to Nopi , it is the 2nd most photographed place of Greece after the Acropolis. I think I can safely say that if I am ever lucky enough to visit Greece, this cove and beach on Zakynthos will be on the top of my list of sights to see and experience. The stamp on the card is from 2008 and is 1 of a set of 5 stamps featuring sports clubs.

Now a card from Kris of Fairbanks , Alaska. This is another of a number of great cards Kris has sent my way. Give him a looksee at . Kris's card is another one that I can add to my airlines and airliners on postcards collection. It shows an American Airlines Convair 990 Astrojet from the late fifties , early sixties. Only 37 were made and lack of passenger capacity was the downfall of this particular jet aircraft. Some of the airlines that operated 990s were American, Swissair, Garuda, and Spantax along with Nasa , which operated 3 of them. Kris used the 2008 Bette Davis stamp along with 1 of the new 2009 civil rights stamps.

The last card for today is from Chile. Nothing extra special about that except the actual town it came from . Puerto Williams , the southernmost town in the world. Puerto Williams has a population of just over 2000 and is the capital of the Chilean Antartica Region. The card shows Cabo de Hornos National Park, the world's southernmost national park. The card is 1 of 2 , received today from Randy of Sim Expeditions. Check out his tour website at . Randy used 2 stamps from 2008 highlighting Torres del Paine National Park.

Thanks to WIPO, Nopi, Kris and Randy. Great cards and stamps. And that's what this is all about.

I'll be here tomorrow with another update.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Card From Italy

Another small update today. Just a single card mailed from Italy by Postcrosser Rossano. Nothing too spectacular with regard to the picture on the card, so I thought I would show it for the stamps on the back. The card does show multiple views of Lake Maggiore , the most westerly of three large lake in Italy. Now, let's get to the stamps. There are 3 different stamps used here. The first one , on the left is from a set of 7 definitives, featuring women, issued in 2002. Another set of 3 featuring the same design type were also issued later in the same year. I have mentioned in past updates that I like and collect American and French definitives. I think I will add Italian definitives to the list. They make a nice looking set. The middle stamp, also issued in 2002 is from a set of 3 issued to highlight nature conservation. The set of 3 features an orchid, a cat, and some type of insect. Another good looking set. And finally the stamp on the right. Issued in 2008, from a set of 4 , issued to promote tourism. Again a very attractive set, one I wouldn't mind adding to my collection. All in all I was very impressed with the stamps that Rossano used and as a result I just might have to put a push on to pick up some of the nicer Italian stamps that I see. I'm open to receiving them of course, if any reader has any to pass along.

That is it for today, hopefully I'll have something again tomorrow. see you then.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting Ready for Take-off

Hello again. I have just a single card update for today. The card is from Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. It was sent by Kris S of PostCardKris fame. It is a card that I can add to my airplane collection. And this one is pretty cool . It is of a float plane somewhere up Alaska way. It shows a curious grizzly cub scouting out his surroundings while perched on the pontoon of a DeHavilland Beaver floatplane. As Kris writes, one must be careful of the pre-flight inspection. I have actually flown on this type of plane while living in Labrador in the 70's. Thanks Kris for this great card.
Kris used a couple of stamps. The definitive flag stamp is from 2007 and the larger commemorative is from Feb 21 ,2009. It is another of the set of 6 marking the 100th anniversary of the modern Civil Rights Movement in The US. The stamp is from a 6 stamp souvenir sheet. It features Oswald garrison Villard and Daisy Gatson Bates. Villard ,1872-1949 , was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Bates, 1914-1999, mentored nine black students enrolled at all white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.

As I said, just a short 1 card update. Also just an update on my postcarding for March. I received 42 postcards and 27 of these were from Postcrossing. Included in the 42 were 2 new countries in my collection- Mauritania and Anguilla. I guess Hell don't count as a new country. I mailed out 32 cards and 29 of them were through Postcrossing. My received cards were up in March , from 32 in Feb and 33 in Jan. All in all , a good month.