Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let's travel to Vietnam!

“Chào!” (“Hello” in Vietnamese). Today we are traveling to another world, a world where the colors are more vivid, the culture is richer, and the history more compelling. This is the world of Vietnam, the latest Asian dragon to wake from its slumber.

Many thanks to Phu Can for sending this gorgeous cover (my first from this lovely country!) and a set of soft-shelled turtles stamps from Vietnam!

This awesome set of stamps depict Asian giant soft-shelled turtle (800d), Asiatic soft-shelled turtle (2,000d), Chinese soft-shelled turtle (5,000d) & Wattle necked soft-shelled turtle (9,000d). It was issued in 2002.

The 2 stamps on this lovely cover are part of the “Hue’s Court Music” series, issued on 3rd June 2008.
The Hue's Court Music or nha nhac is a music style specially connected to the old emperors in Hue. Nha nhac's roots can be traced to the 13th century and became a genre of court music reserved for annual ceremonies and special events like coronations and funerals.
In the year of 2003 the music style was proclaimed as a World Heritage by UNESCO.
This cover was posted on 20th March 2009 in Ho Chi Minh City and took 7 days to traveled an estimated distance of 1,087km.
Commonly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Miny City is the largest city in Vietnam. The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers from the South China Sea and 1,760 kilometers south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
The Main Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1

Ho Chi Minh City is also known as "World capital of motorbikes". Cool!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My cool cover from Iceland!

Here is my first cover from Iceland! This was sent by an eBayer in Kόpavogur, Iceland’s second largest city. It had traveled an estimated distance of 11,514km and took 6 days to reach me. Cool!The top left stamp on the cover belongs to the “Glaciers in Iceland” Series, issued on 24th May 2007. Glaciers are formed when snow does not melt during the summers. Glaciers cover about 11% of Iceland's Surface and the stamps depict five of them.
Breioamerkurjokull (5 ISK) - second largest in the world Langjokull (60 ISK) - second largest in IcelandHoffjokull (80 ISK) - smallest ice cap in IcelandSnaefellsjokull (110 ISK) - rises 1446 meters above Sea LevelOraefajokull (300 ISK).

The 3 identical stamps on the cover depict a Yule Goblin Stiff-Legs. It is part of a pair of Christmas stamps issued on 6th Dec 2008. Post Iceland always ends the year by issuing its annual traditional Christmas stamps. According to legend 13 Goblins arrive from the mountains before Christmas. The first one, Stiff-legs, arrives on December 12th. The last one, Candle-beggar arrives on Christmas Eve.
The other stamp of the set shows the Christmas cat. The cat is the house pet of the goblins' parents, Gryla and Leppaludi, and anyone who does not receive a new garment for Christmas is said to be taken by the cat.
These stamps were designed by two children who won the Iceland post competition for the best Christmas Stamps.

The round stamps belong to a set of 2 Christmas stamps, issued in 2007. The 45 ISK stamp on the bottom left of cover depicts a ptarmigan. It is part of a pair of Christmas stamps, issued in 2004. The other stamp in this set features a reindeer. Both are symbols of winter and Icelandic Christmas. Next on the cover are 2 stamps (55 ISK) designed by Orn Smari-Gislason for Christmas 2006. They depict mirror images of angels. While the 75 ISK stamp in this set shows multiple images of hearts. It is sad to note that Iceland went ‘bankrupt’ towards the end of last year.

What ‘bankrupt’ means is just that: The country cannot pay back its external debts, and the Icelandic currency, the krona, has become essentially valueless in the rest of the world. That means the country can no longer pay for imports. The future is uncertain, but it seems sure that every Icelander will see a big decline in their standard of living.

This chart clearly defines what happened. (www.theatlantic.com) I think this is only tip of the ice berg, the world is in very tricky water.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A colourful cover from India!

Today, I would like to share with you this very colourful cover that I received from India recently. Many thanks to Jyoti for sending me this great gift. On this lovely cover are 3 stamps from the "Festivals" series, issued in 2008. From left to right, the stamps depict Dussehra in Mysore, Dussehra in Kolkata and Diwali or Deepavali. You can read more on these stamps in my previous post.
The singular stamp on the cover shows a Leopard cat. It belongs to a set of 2 stamps from the "Cats of India" series, issued in 2000. The other stamp in this set depicts a tiger in Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans Reserve is the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, stretching across coastal India and Bangladesh, over the northern part of the Bay of Bengal. This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves of the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.
Pls enjoy this lovely cover on this beautiful day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My second cover from faraway Uruguay!

Today, I am happy to share with you my second cover from faraway Uruguay!On this cover is a souvenir sheet issued in 2008 by the Uruguay postal administration to commemorate the fourth “International Polar Year” 2007-2009. It is one of the many postage stamps issued by more than 40 countries from around the world to feature the slogan “Preserve the Polar Regions and Glaciers”. The aim of this project is to raise public awareness of the central importance of the Polar Regions in the Earth System - especially as it relates to climate change.
The stamp featuring the Beijing Olympic mascot Fu Wa is part of a set of 4 stamps from the Beijing Olympic Series, issued on 22th July 2008. The stamps depict swimming, canoeing, cycling and pole vaulting.
The triangular stamp on the cover belongs to the Flower definitive series. It is part of 3 flower stamps issued in 2008.

This cover was posted on 11th March 2009 in Montevideo and reached me on 26th March 2009. It had traveled an estimated distance of 15,766km!

The city of Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and is located in the south center of the country. It is the only city in the country with a population of over 1 million. Montevideo has beautiful beaches, such as Pocitos, Buceo, Malvín, Playa de los Ingleses, Playa Verde, Punta Gorda and Carrasco. Many monuments and museums are found in the city, as well as historic buildings and squares. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Montevideo has the highest quality of life in Latin America.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A lovely cover from mystical Bhutan!

The Kingdom of Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas has always fascinates the philatelic community with its innovative and exquisite postage stamps.
Since 1962, Bhutan has released a series of interesting "world’s firsts" stamps such as the first scented stamps, the first steel stamps, the first silk stamps (made from Bhutanese thangkas), the first 3 Dimensional (3 D) stamps and the first "talking" stamps (tiny vinyl records that played Bhutan’s national anthem and a brief history of the country when spun on a phonograph).
the first scented stamps in 1973 the first steel stamps in 1969 the first silk stamps in 1969 the first 3 D stamps in 1967 the first "talking" stamps in 1973
In 2008, Bhutan released a CD-Rom stamp to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Monarchy. It visually displays historic events of the country and when affixed to a large envelope, the cd stamp can be used as postage. The Bhutan government hopes that this computer-age stamp, which is also the first to feature a documentary about a country, will help educate people in the country and outside it about environmental, cultural and economic sustainability.
CD-Rom stamp in 2008
For years, Bhutan stamps have created an important source of revenue for the country, which aided in the development of Bhutan’s first electrical power, hospitals and road systems. In the 1960s, stamps were Bhutan’s biggest source of foreign exchange, pulling in $500,000 a year from foreign philatelists. Today, its stamps earn it about $175,000 a year in revenue.

The stamps have also created an international awareness of Bhutan and helped to boost its tourism. In Bhutan, stamps aren’t just a payment for a mail service, they are a work of art!

For today, I would like to share with you my first cover from this mystical country. On this registered cover is a souvenir sheet that belongs to the Bhutan XXIX Olympic series (Beijing Summer Olympic Games), issued on 2nd May 2008. The stamps depict Bhutan’s national sport, Dha (Archery).
This cover traveled an estimated distance of 3,268 km and took 8 days to reach me.
With such beautiful stamps, it's no wonder Bhutan was rated as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the "World Map of Happiness" survey conducted in 2006!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lovely postcards from Brunei, Netherlands & Spain!

Good day! Here’s another 3 awesome postcards from my recent acquisition.

Many thanks to Angelina for sending this gorgeous postcard from Brunei. It is my first postcard from this lovely country!Named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei and designed by an Italian architect, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque was built in 1958 in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan. The golden-domed structure, the tallest building in the city, has Italian marble floors and walls. It is classified as one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major tourist attraction. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is considered amongst the people of Brunei as the country’s major landmark.

The stamp used on this lovely postcard is part of the portrait of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah definitive Series, issued in 2006. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the current Sultan of Brunei. He is also the country's Prime Minister, and is the acting head of Brunei's Defense and Finance Departments. Because of Brunei's oil-wealth, Bolkiah possesses vast personal wealth and is known for living lavishly. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was the world's richest man with a net wealth estimated at $38 billion according to Forbes. Next, we have this lovely postcard sent by Detje from the Netherlands. Thank you very much!
Friesland or Fryslân is a province in the north of the Netherlands consisting of islands and peninsulas interconnected by the dams and bridges. Translated into English, it literally means sea land because that’s basically what it is.
Tourism is an important economic activity for Fryslân. Its sunny beaches make it a popular holiday destination in the summer. In some areas, the population can be two to four times higher during high summer season. Fryslân is also famous for its black and white Friesian cattle and black Friesian horse (shown on this postcard).

The stamp on this card belongs to a set of 2 priority stamps issued in 2009. Great thanks to Vicky from Sevilla for presenting my first postcard from beautiful Spain!

Seville is Spain's 4th largest city with a population of some 710,000. There is nowhere else in Spain that complies so closely with the foreigner's perception of stereotypical Spain as Seville. For it is here that flamenco, bullfighting and fiesta are a way of life. Never more so than during the Feria de Abril (2 weeks after Easter Sunday) when everyone seems to hit the streets for a week long party.

Clockwise from left, this card shows:
1. Torre del Oro

Another view of this marvelous building

The Torre del Oro (Spanish for "Gold Tower") is a dodecagonal military watchtower built during the Almohad dynasty in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river.

2. The Cathedral

Interior of the Cathedral

The Cathedral is claimed by some to be the largest Gothic cathedral and the fourth largest Christian church in the world. Construction of the cathedral began in 1402 and continued into the 16th century. There are steps from inside the Cathedral to the top of the 90m high Giralda which is the minaret of the former Mosque.

The interior, with the longest nave in Spain, is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. In the main body of the cathedral only the great boxlike structure of the choir stands out, filling the central portion of the nave. It is also dominated by a vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. The altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

3. Plaza de España

Another spectacular view of Plaza de España

The Plaza de España is one of Seville’s most easily recognised buildings and the epitome of the Moorish Revival in Spanish architecture.
The Plaza is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous beautiful bridges. In the centre is a large fountain. Today the plaza mainly consists of Government buildings.

4. Corrida de toros
Spanish-style bullfighting is called a corrida de toros (literally a "running of bulls"), or fiesta brava. In traditional corrida, three toreros, also called matadores or, in French, toréadors, each fight two out of a total of six fighting bulls, each of which is at least four years old and weighs up to about 600 kg (with a minimum weight limit of 460 kg for the bullrings of the first degree). Bullfighting season in Spain runs from March to October.
The stamp on this card belongs to the ‘Fan and Mantón of Manila’ series, issued in 2009. It is a single issue.

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