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.