Friday, June 28, 2013

Cruising Thru Postcards # 5

It's time for another episode of Cruising Thur Postcards and this edition will be number 5. It's been just over 6 weeks since we disembarked in Vancouver and just about all postcards from this cruise have now arrived. Almost all postcards , I'm still waiting on 2. They may never arrive , who knows , so I think it's time to go for it.

This was a 23 day Panama Canal cruise on Holland America's Statendam. Built in 1993 The Statendam , in the capable hands of Captain Albert Schoonderbeek, is 720 ft long and 101 ft wide. She carries a crew of 580 with a passenger count of 1260. My Lovely Teena and I departed Fort Lauderdale on April 12 , 2013 and arrived in Vancouver on May 5, 2013. During that time we covered a total of 11648.5 kilometers. Our ports of call were Kralendijk, Willemstad, Oranjestad, Panama Canal Transit, Puerto Caldera, Corinto, Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, Victoria, and finally ending in Vancouver, Canada. So, let's have a look at the Statendam on our first postcard.

Here is my Cruise Log for our voyage.

Friday, April 12, 2013 - Departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 4:15 pm
We sailed for 2 days and experienced rough seas on the second day.

Monday, April 15 - Arrived Kralendijk, Bonaire at 2:15 pm
I located the Post Office, it was quite near where the ship docked, so that worked out well. I purchased 10 or so cards of Bonaire in the local shops. On the way back to the ship, we walked to the Post Office and I purchased a number of stamps, all the same, no choice. Stamps cost $1.00 each for international mailing. I posted 7 cards here including 2 to myself . Here they are. Nice KLM DC-10 on the first one.

The only stamp I could get was from the 2012 Sailboats issue .
Departed Kralendijk at 10:40 pm.
Tuesday, April 16 - Arrived Willemstad, Curacao at 7:15 am
Willemstad is a lovely place and the Handelskade is even lovelier. It's the harborfront street lined with brightly painted 18th century buildings. It is the most famous picture from Curacao. Few things are more beautiful as this place at night. So my postcard from Curacao gives you a look at Handelskade and the floating Pontoon Bridge.

The stamp on this one was issued this year, 1 of 6 in an Abstract Art set. That sounds easy but there is a story here. The Post Office here wasn't a lot of help. When we arrived at the post office, there were only 2 people ahead of us. I took a number and prepared my cards, all 8 of them. Waited 45 minutes and the same 2 people were still ahead of us. There was about 15 people behind me by this time, but Nothing was happening.. Finally decided to leave without stamps. I had to take my cards back to the ship where I knew that the service desk sometimes had local stamps for purchase. Not this time though. What to do now ?
Well I paid the postage for my cards and left them with the ship for mailing by the ship's agent after departure. It seems to have worked out okay, and of course the stamp was a surprise to me. You never know what you will get when you depend on someone else . More about that later.  Oh yes, the stamp.

Departed Willemstad at 10:30 pm
Wednesday, April 17 - Arrived Oranjestad, Aruba at 6:54 am
Not to get caught again, I bought Aruba stamps on board before going ashore this time. Picked up a number of postcards on shore and wrote them out to all the lucky ones.
My card shows an Iguana, Aruba's most exotic island animal resident. He may be the official Bon Bini or Welcome to My Country guy. Iguanarific to say the least.

These 2 stamps are the ones I bought on the ship. The one on the left is a definitive from 2007, it is part of a set of 14 issued over 3 years . The right stamp is from 2006 , 1 of 2 in a set issued for World Cup Football in Germany.

Maybe I should have waited to buy the stamps in Oranjestad. I found a small post office in the tourist area and the lady there gave me directions to the main post office. After getting lost a couple of times I finally found it. A large and very impressive building. I think there were 10 wickets and I was the only person in there. I posted my cards with the stamps from the ship and then made my way to the Philatelic Division. Needless to say I looked at many stamp issues and purchased a fair number. A good day for sure.

Departed Oranjestad at 4:50 pm
Friday, April19 - Panama Canal Transit 5:20 am
7:00 Enter Gatun Locks

I have 2 cards from The Canal. The first one has an oil tanker, situated just alongside the Gatun Locks control tower, headed southbound.

The 2nd card has a container ship , headed southbound and another large ship, headed northbound.A tight squeeze for both.

For the record- Even though this is my 2nd transit of The Canal, I have not yet set foot in or on Panama soil.   How did I get postcards stamped and cancelled you ask ?  As I wasn't stopping in Panama I bought the stamps from the ship and left the cards for the ship's agent to mail, hoping big time that it would happen. And it did. The stamp on the left is from a set of 7 Tourism set issued in 1998. The stamp on the right shows M Moscoso, a former President of Panama. It was issued in 2000.
  12:00 Enter Pedro Miguel Locks                                                                                                     
1:00 Enter Mira Flores Locks                                                                                                       
2:00 Clear all locks                                                                                                                      
2:25 Welcome Pacific Ocean                                                                                                       

Sunday , April 21 - Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica , Arrival at 5:40 am                                                             
This port is about 20 km from Puntarenas, the only real town in the area. There wasn't a whole lot of anything in Puerto Caldera but I did manage to find a good supply of postcards. I wasn't able to locate a post office, not really surprised by that , but I still needed some stamps. I asked the lady who sold me the postcards about stamps and that was a good move. First she tried to sell me the common ATM type sticker stamp , but I passed on that. She then said I have stamps for collectors, so I said bring them out. Sure enough, she had a large supply and she let me pick what I wanted. I love it when that happens. I selected 3 large different stamps for each  card. 
There were no local Puerto Caldera postcards, so I settled for one showing the National Theater in San Jose. A nice looking building. 
   Now let's take a look at those stamps. All were issued in 2007. The stamp on the left and the blue stamp on the bottom are a set of 2 featuring Musical Instruments. The stamp on the top right is from a set of 5 in a souvenir sheet featuring Precolumbian Art. Oh yes, with no post office I had to take the cards back to the ship again for the ship's agent to post.

Departed Puerto Caldera at 4:25 pm                                                                                                           
Monday, April 22 - Arrived Corinto, Nicaragua 8:54 am                                                                             
Nicaragua's contribution  to my postcards is from the small town of El Viejo and shows the colonial-era church of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It was build in the 17th century.

In Corinto I met a local named Lester who gave me great directions to the Post Office. On arrival , we noticed we had a definite language barrier.   With all the jigs and reels I did manage to buy stamps and get a few cards cancelled and mailed.     Again the lady had a nice selection and let me pick and choose. 
The top left stamp was issued in 1993 and is 1 of 7 in a set issued for the Olympic Games. The middle stamp is from 2004 and is 1 of 2 in a Tourist Places set. The stamp on the right is 1 of 7 in a 1991 set of Orchids. The bottom stamp, issued in 1994 is 1 of 7 in a Modern Art set. 


Departed Corinto at 4:53  pm                                                                                                                   
Tuesday, April 23 - Arrived Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala    7:32 am                                                             
Postcards and stamps were readily available  in Puerto Quetzal so I purchased a bunch of each. It was quite hot out there, 35 degrees, while looking for a post office.  In total I mailed 12 postcards from Guatemala. My first card from there shows a small lad at play, rolling some sort of wheel along with a stick. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that. 

The stamps on this one are a couple of older stamps , including 1 airmail stamp, that were overprinted for use again in 2007. Seems like a good money saving idea to me. Maybe not one that a lot of philatelists might like, though. 

Here's another card from Guatemala. It is of the Church of La Merced, one of the oldest in Antigua, Guatemala. 

On this one is a newer stamp from 2012. It celebrates 150 years of St Vincent de Paul. On both of these cards you can see a really nice shaped cancellation on the stamps. Too bad most other countries don't have anything quite so nice. 

Before we leave Guatemala I just want to share with you a slogan that I came across quite often , on caps , posters, tee shirts, etc. It was "Guatever You Want ". Sounds like a winner to me.

Departed Puerto Quetzal at 5:45 pm
Wednesday April 24 - Arrived Puerto Chiapas, Mexico at 7:54 am

Puerto Chiapas is the first of four ports of call in Mexico. Huatulco, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta are all coming up later. Postal service from Mexico is living up to its record with long waits for mail. I posted 4 cards in Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Manzanillo and 10 in Puerto Vallarta. My card from Puerto Chiapas has not arrived, yet but I know for sure that 2 of the 4 have arrived overseas.

Departed Puerto Chiapas  at 4:40 pm
Thursday April 25 - Arrived Huatulco, Mexico at 7:31 am

After touring around Huatulco, including La Crucecita Main Square , as shown on my postcard , I was able to purchase a few cards in a local shop. The lady running it also had a wide selection of stamps and let me pick out the ones I wanted.

The 2 large stamps on this one are from a 2012 set of 3 celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the University of Sonora.

Departed Huatulco at 4:36 pm
Friday April 27 - Sea Day
Saturday April 27 - Arrived Manzanillo, Mexico  8:06 am

Here's my postcard from Manzanillo .

I came up with a 2013 stamp for this one. It's a stamp issued Feb 14th for Day of Love and Friendship in Mexico or Valentine's Day as we call it

Departed Manzanillo at 4:49 pm
Sunday April 28 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at 7:28 am

Of the 10 cards I posted in Puerto Vallarta , I only know of 2 that have arrived and mine isn't one of them. So no card to show here.

Departed Puerto Vallarta at 4:40 pm
Monday and Tuesday April 29 and 30 - Sea Days.
Wednesday May 01 - Arrived San Diego, U.S.A. 6:08 am

The weather in San Diego was great for walking around, and that's just what we did. Picked up a few cards in a local shop. Here's the one I sent myself. It's Crystal Pier and Pacific Beach.


I was only able to pick up a few common USA stamps , as you see here. All are from 2007.

Departed San Diego at 9:10 pm                                                                                                                    Thursday May  2 - Arrived Victoria, Canada  6:37 pm , after 2 more Sea Days                                            
 We  only had a short stay in Victoria, just 4 hours, but I managed to find a few cards , but no stamps. What to do, what to do ?    I went back to the ship and asked about stamps. No luck, they had no Canadian stamps. The lady at the ship's desk said I could pay cash for the postage and she would have the ship's agent in Vancouver mail them. Vancouver now, not Victoria. I don't know why the Victoria agent wouldn't mail them , but that was my only option. This is where the story gets muddy. I handed in 4 cards , 3 for overseas and 1 to myself in Alberta. This was on May 2nd. I received my card on May 30 and it arrived with a High River , Alberta postmark , dated May27th. High River is 1,116 km to the east of Victoria. I contacted the 3 other people that I sent a Victoria card to and asked about their cards. All 3 were postmarked on May 16th at Haines , Alaska, USA, with American stamps. 
Her is my Victoria card , front and back. 

                                                                                  It's a strange mystery , one that will never be explained, I'm sure.

Well, we departed Victoria at 11:30 pm
Sunday May 5 - Arrived 7:00 am 
We must have took the long way as the distance is just 112 km, but it took us 7.5 hours.

Speaking of long, this has been a long update, I started this many days ago and kept adding to it.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Cruising Thru Postcards. I know I have enjoyed looking back on it myself.  Thanks for reading, leave your comments and I'll read them.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cards From Other Postcarders --- Part 2

Continuing on as if it were yesterday, actually like it was Wednesday or Thursday, it's more cards from postcarders , postcard bloggers and postcard collectors.

My first card for today is from Luanda, Angola. When you get a card from Angola you just have to show it. I mean, how often does one get mail from there ? That's right, not often. This is just my second card from that country and both of them are compliments of Bruce who was in Luanda on business. The gentleman on Bruce's card is a Soba. In all of Angola's provinces, the title Soba is given to the traditional community leaders to provide local guidance and leadership in solving social and physical community matters.  
Bruce used  a couple of stamps from 1995. They are from a set of 4 featuring traditional ceramics.

My next card is from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It's a bird's eye view of Dubai from the top of the Burj Khalifa. 

 Here are the stamps that Jean Pierre used. The two on the right were issued in 2012 and are 2 of 4 in the set issued for the World Energy Forum 2012, which was held in Dubai. The other two , issued in 2013, are also from a set of 4 issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Postal Service in Abu Dhabi.

Two more cards to go. 

This card is a photo of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter operated by the U.S. Army. Joe of New York took this picture at the Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott, N.Y. in 2008.
The stamps on Joe's card are from 2012, 1999 and 2005, as viewed from left to right. The stamp on the left is a self adhesive issued honoring the Purple Heart Medal. The stamp in the center is called a Christmas stamp but it more accurately  resembles a New Year stamp, at least to me. On the right is a stamp commemorating 50 Years of Presidential Libraries.

Today's last card comes from Don in New South Wales , Australia. His card shows us The Grand canyon in Blue Mountains National Park.The Greater Blue Mountains area was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
  Don used 2 stamps from a 2012 set of 4 Explores stamps. The upper stamp commemorates the 200th anniversary of the first Blue Mountains crossing in 1813. The lower stamp commemorated the sesquicentennial of the first South-North crossing of Australia . 

That's all for this time. Thanks for cards go out to Don, Joe, Jean Pierre and Bruce. Hope you enjoyed these cards today and hope you come back again. Take care , Comments welcome, good or bad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cards From Other Postcarders --- Part 1

Hello again, here I am back with another bunch of postcards. All these cards are from other postcarders, postcard bloggers and postcard collectors. I guess the one thing they and I have in common is that we all love postcards, sending and receiving.

My first card for today comes from Spain. It comes from Fabienne and she and I have swapped cards a number of times. I know she loves and collects UNESCO WHS postcards and she knows  I  like Aircraft & Airline cards and aviation related stamps. This card shows an Iberia Spanish Aiways DC-9 aircraft. DC-9s saw a lot of service with a lot of airlines over the years.
Fabienne has a great blog about her World Heritage Site postcards . You can find it here . Fabiene used a number of great avaiation related stamps on her card. The left stamp and the center stamp are 2 of 4 in a 2001 souvenir sheet. They commemorate the 75th anniversary of a number of  first flights from Spain . The stamp on the right was issued this year and commemorates the centenary of aviation in the Canary Islands. 

Card # 2 is from Johan  and his card gives us a look at at the Dijver , a stream and a street in the historic center of Brugge. And that reminds me of  the 2008 movie, "In Bruges ", it was just a great one . Who can forget it ? 
Johan's card is postmarked in Brussels  on May 13, 2013 , the First Day of Issue of the 2 stamps that are used. They commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Verdi and Wagner. 

Oh yes, here's the 2 stamps that I mentioned above. 

Be sure to check out Johan's postcard blog here

Now we have a card from Turkey. It is a look at the Alanya Lighthouse, built in 1880 .

Leslie used a couple of new 2013 stamps. The one on the left shows the high sped train the runs between Ankara and Eskisehir.  The other stamp marks the 150th anniversary of Turkish stamps. It is 1 in a m/sheet of 4.  Leslie, too, has a postcard blog. You can find her here.

Let's have a look at another new addition to my Aircraft/Airlines on Postcards collection. This one is an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 707on the tarmac in Harare. Note the quite old livery on this aircraft . Air Zimbabwe operated this aircraft on its London route among others. Of note is the quite old livery on this aircraft.

Bruce from South Africa sent this card along and used a 2012 stamp from a set of 4
issued for National Heroes.

My final card for this time comes from Sri Lanka, compliments of Ravindra. It gives us a look at a group of ladies transporting water along Udappu Beach.


Ravindra used a number of 2012 definitives along with 2 commemoratives . The one on the left celebrates the Centenary of Dharmasoko College.

Ravindra has a number of postcard and stamp blogs on the go. Here is his Light Houses on Stamps blog.

So ends part 1 of this update. Part 2 should be up and running in a day or two.

Thanks going to Ravindra, Bruce, Leslie,  Johan and Fabienne for their great cards and stamps. 

Take care,   See you next time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

People on Postcards

Hello again , here I am with the first update for June. My cards today will all show people on them , a little different from most cards, which show places. My Lovely Teena thinks these People cards are more interesting. Today's cards come from China, Germany, Netherlands, Taiwan and the United States. Let's start with China.

This card is entitled Tibetan Folklore. Llu sent this card and wrote that there are more than 3 million Tibetans living in Qinghai- or the Tibet Plateau, often known as the roof of the world. 

Llu used 2 flower (Roses) stamp that were issued back in 1997. They were a joint issue with New Zealand.

Card # 2 is a Paul Ratcliffe picture of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. She needs no introduction, as she has been on the throne over 60 years.

Kerstin , who lives in Germany sent this card along. She wrote that she picked the card up while visiting her daughter in  London.  She used the 2011 Regensburg stamp , a joint issue with Japan.

My next card comes from the Netherlands.It is entitled Unknown Tattooed Woman, 1950s.

Sari who hails from Deventer used 2 stamps from 1997 along with a
semi-postal stamp featuring a flying snowman.

Yi-Ning of Taiwan sent my next card. It is of a Taroko Tribe Lady. There are more than 20,000 Taroko Tribe members. Facial tattooing was once an important cultural practice.  Among women, these tattoos were  complex and included one or more lines on the forehead and a continuous patterned arc around the mouth and across both cheeks, and were thought to enhance feminine beauty. However, these tattoos did not have just an esthetic purpose. They were also a symbol of entry into adulthood and eligibility for marriage and the special pass needed to join the ancestral spirits after death. To qualify to receive a facial tattoo, a woman had to be a  skilled weaver.

Yi-Ning used 2 stamps on her card, but I wasn't able to
 locate any info on them.

Today's last card comes from green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.It shows a picture from around 1900 , the photographer of which , remains unidentified. The gentleman appears to be standing on a Pennsylvania Lines train car , directly behind a sign reading "I Don't Know Where I'm Goin But I'm On My Way ".
    Diana used the now very common Global Forever stamp issued earlier this year.

And , so ends another update. Thanks go to Llu, Kerstin, Sari, Yi-Ning and Diana for their cards. As I often say, I can't do this without cards. Remember your comments are welcome, good, bad or ugly.