18. 11. 2010.

Ecuador!

And so its been months since i wrote on here...change of circumstances..! I have been working for some weeks in october but the scanner broke down (with a little help from me and my zealous postcard scanning!oops) and i was kinda lost..! And after some more weeks here i am, enjoying my time in Ecuador :) and what a wonderful country it is!
Hm this is supposed to be a postcard blog...let me just add then that there is a wonderful abundance of postcards to be bought around here - but since i'm on a budget i had to forbid to myself any additional sprees as early as during first days in quito...oh well! I have sent three postcards to very dear friends of mine from the postcrossing forum, and three to my family. I hope they arrive in decent time! Lord knows i wanted to send many more but the postage of $2.25 is somewhat worrying...but surely there will be plenty more opportunities in the countries to come! Tonight we travel to Peru - see you there!!!

08. 09. 2010.

Marlon Brando As Stanley Kowalski

A very, very good example of a great movie card! I was lucky to find this in one of the offer tags - thank you marnie! Marlon Brando has been one of my favourites ever since i've seen him in 'A streetcar named Desire' - and this is him in that movie exactly, in his famously tight t-shirt :)

'A Streetcar Named Desire' is from 1951, and is an adaptation of a play by Tennessee Williams. Next to Marlon Brando it starred Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden - all three have won the Academy Award for their performances.

Living With Movies

There are hardly any better ways of spending time on a cloudy, windy day than watching a good movie or two...as september approached such days became more frequent (today a jugo of almost orcanic proportions).
On the island we have one TV in the commune kitchen - sometimes the signal is bad, sometimes the kitchen is full of over-excited card-players which makes it hard to concentrate, sometimes the movies are late and we only have power till midnight (sometimes longer, depending on activities of those in charge, but that is unpredictable). Not that there are many great movies on telly anyway! But every now and then i am sorry to miss something. Like Erin Brokovich the other day - that was during daytime, but we don't have power in the afternoon hours either..!

So. Would be worth investing in a decent laptop. I have an external HD full of movies back home, and a tiny dvd player with no USB port here. When I go home i burn films onto dvds and watch them here. But that is also feasible only when there's power, as the battery doesn't last the length of an average movie. There is also a 'decent' laptop at everyone's disposal but its battery lasts even less! Some strange magnetic field messing everything up eh...maybe an UFO burried deep within.

I love all kinds of movies, but my favourites are still: the coen brothers, ingmar bergman, british, eastern (asian) and french cinema, hollywood b&w classics, anything quirky and/or obscure...when it comes to modern blockbusters, i'll always choose a mindless rom-com over mindless teenage comedy, and that over mindless action :)
I love getting any kind of postcard related to the movies and movie stars, esp. black&white, old movie posters...a small collection ensued :)

05. 09. 2010.

GEO - Are We Cute Or What?!

WOLF PUP (Photo: Art Wolfe)
A young canadian pup playfully gnaws grass leaves while waiting for his mum to bring him caught prey. When the pup grows up, he hunts together with other wolves in a pack, which can fight down even the big animals such as moose or caribou.

RED FOX (Photo: Stefano Unterthiner)
A red fox is eavesdropping on marmot's whistling sounds - marmots are its favourite prey in the alpine italian National park Gran Paradiso.

PANDA (Photo: Keren Su/Getty Images/The Image Bank)
A young panda is resting on a branch - a rare kind of behaviour in free nature. These bears that solely feed on bamboo offshoots are strictly protected in their natural habitat, the chinese province of Sichuan.

04. 09. 2010.

GEO - What's For Dinner

YUMMY! (Photo: Lorne Bridgman)
Black goats don't shy away from climbing the very top of the endemic morroccan Argan tree in order to reach its nutritious fruits. From these fruits the local shepherds attain valuable oil, used in cooking and cosmetics.

GEO - Giraffe's Dance


SCENTMARKS (Photo:Luiz C. Maringo/Peter Arnold Inc.)
The male giraffe releases a strong smell from his glands by lifting his hind leg: it is beguiling for the female, but unbearable for the fleas hidden in fur.

GEO - Let's Go For A Swim!

DOLPHIN (Photo: Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures)
The dolphins like to wallow in the sand in shallow waters. Their skin is protected by a thin gelatinous layer against any cuts that mussels and rocks can cause in the process, or algae that would normally stick to skin.


ASIAN ELEPHANT underwater (Photo: Oliver Blaise)
These elephants are used as labour on the indian Andaman Islands for transporting timber. As there are around 500 islands they swim from one work station to the other. Elephants move underwater better than humans.

GEO - In The Realm Of Ice


 Polar Bears -  mother with her cubs - in canadian Wapusk National park, Hudson bay.
(Photo: Thorsten Milse)
For the younglings its the toughest job on earth to climb the snow mounds. All the important life lessons they need to learn from their mum.


With their white fur polar bears are perfectly adapted to their arctic surroundings. When they prey on their favourite food (seals) they also try to hide their conspicuous black nose.


 Harp Seal -  pup in icy nursery (Photo: Bernd Nill)
Each year harp seal females give birth to their pups on the pack ice of the Magdalen Islands in Canada. The mothers nurse the pups for only about two weeks before leaving them stranded on their own. ( :( )

 Western Rockhopper penguins (Photo: Solvin Zankl)
A group of penguins is bracing itself against storm in their windy homeland, the Falkland Islands. Only half a meter in height and weighing not more than 3 kilos, this species of penguins is among the smallest, but also incredibly resistant.
Anyone seen 'Happy Feet' or 'Surf's Up'? ;)

My Favourite GEO Postcard

The Loneliness Of A Long-Distance Runner

The very second i laid my eyes on this striking photo i fell in love with it, and it gave me shivers at the same time. The beauty of the landscape in undeniable, and the grace of wolf's leap - but the isolation that the atmosphere suggests almost brings a tear to one's eye...The text is as follows:
Polar Wolf  (photo: Jim Brandenburg)
Icy loneliness and hunger: the arctic wolf, who also feeds on carcasses, jumps from iceberg to iceberg in search of dead sea animals.

GEO Postkarten

Reisen, Wissen, Fotografie: Das neue Bild der Erde
(Travel, Knowledge, Photography: New Image of the World)

GEO is an educational monthly magazine, 1st published in Germany in 1976. Since then its 'family' spread to 21 other countries, among them India, The United States, and not least importantly Croatia :) Whats more, the magazine has been publishing postcards showing the wonders of the world, images taken by some of the world's most notable photographers.

My sister Marija has been living in Germany for longer than two decades now. During that time she was/is a devotued postcards-sender, and has especially delighted me with animal postcards (as she knows just how much i love them :)) Recently she's discovered  GEO postcards, which are not only awesome photos but are educational, explaining what it is exactly what you're staring and/or grinning at. I have a lot to show, so here they come :D (with an utmost hope my translation from german is worthy..!)
tnx sis!!!

P.S. - the only slightly unfortunate thing is that, because these postcards are panoramic/long,their ends can get crushed and/or creased in transit :(

You Can Spot Us In North America


As it is written on the back: Bobcat (Felis (lynx) rufus)
'Sometimes called Wildcat, a bobcat will attack animals many times its size. It can climb trees but prefers hunting on the ground. It will make its den in hollow trees or other protected areas. It is a wary animal rarely seen. They are 3 ft. (92cm) in length and weight up to 25 lb. (12kg).'
I think the bit about his reclusiveness is what appeals to me, at least as much as his cuteness and beauty..!
 Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
'Eating almost anything from nuts to crayfish, this crafty animal is equally comfortable with suburban man or habitating near forested lakes or streams.'
I had a thing for raccoons ever since i was a small child :) i think its cos of the cool sunglasses...
 Orca Whale (Orcinus orca)
'Perhaps the most popular of the Cetaceans. Males reach up to 31 ft (10m) and females about 23 ft (7m). They possess 40-56 strong teeth up to 4 in (10cm) length. They can reach speeds of 30 mph (48 kph) and dive to depths of 3300 ft (1km!) for periods longer than 20 minutes.'
Well at least minutes i dont need to convert..! :P Would be so cool to be able to go whale-spotting off the north-east coast of the US...

These wonderful animal postcard i received from Cardiffgal and Canno1979 via an Europe Vs World RR :) Love these, as they are some of my fav animals ;)

31. 08. 2010.

Cute Joey

Australia has such an amazing wildlife! I am so happy to have been able to experience it first hand 4 and a 1/2 ago, whilst i was visiting my friend in Melbourne. (I'll go into more detail about that in my forthcoming australian-trip section!) I am always very very happy to receive postcards from down under, and thanks to Heather i have been very very very happy happy this summer as we engaged in private swaps:)


My 1st reaction to this joey postcard was 'ohh my God, how cute is that??!!'. I have never seen a baby kangaroo live and was astounded by this unexpected adorability :)



Why Animals?

Animals are one of my favourite themes - there is hardly any kind that i don't like! well not esp fond of apes and monkeys, but even they can be cute and/or impressive - i guess my dislike comes from all the postcards i have seen with dressed up chimpanzees, and i seriously don't like animals being shown as humans! I always prefer photos of animals in their natural habitat (this is why i am not a big fan of zoo postcards either, depending. Or so called 'funny postcards'). Acquainted with this notion, my sister Marija (who lives in Bavaria, Germany) often sends me cool animal postcads; some of them with educational text on the back, some from the 'funny' category but she senses well what i can handle! heh. I will show some of my favourite animal postcards here :) a nice way to say farewell to august. pa pa!

28. 08. 2010.

From Russia With Love

I have chosen these postcards in offer tags not knowing they can't be sent written & stamped. And for them I abandon the 100%ness of my decision to collect only w&s postcards! There is a wonderful plethora of such postcards which have information on the theme written at the back, in russian and sometimes english.
This graceful portrait shows Elizabeth Petrovna, who was the Empress of Russia from 1741-1762. The word is she actually disliked governing, and adored dancing and new clothes. She owned 15 000 ball-gowns and several thousand pairs of shoes! But I guess she is not historically unique in such royal extravaganzas :)
Thank you Kate (Orangemood) for this addition to my still modest royalty collection!


I was exhilerated to find this Sagittarius in one of the offer albums! Zodiac sign cards are not very common, and i guess it is even more of a feat to find one's own zodiac sign....The text in the back is written in russian, and whereas I can follow some of it a translating endeavour might end up in painful pidgeon sentences..!
Generally, sagittarius in the 9th astrological sign; positive, extrovert , fiery. The ruler planet is Jupiter. It is traditionally depicted as centaurus, a mythical creature which is half man, half horse. They were considered to be wild, savage and lustful! Surely not the characteristics of the astrological sign they represent - well here's hoping! :D The constellation can be seen here in the summer months while looking southwards, just above the horizon.
Thank you Anna (Anutik) for this rare card!

Good Ol' England :)

I feel like i can never get tired of english or indeed british character in any form or view. Ever since i first set my foot on the british soil ( the year 2002 it was ) i knew i was in love - and prior to that i knew i would be. This is why i'm always excited to receive an official postcard from the UK, and the last one didn't disappoint me :) A wonderful view of Bamburgh Castle, sent by David (toucans) on August the 11th. GB-159877


Another great english postcard, this time a private swap (many thanks to Anu/ichabodhides!), showing cast iron signs in the Shropshire town of Bridgnorth. Gloves with frilled cuffs giving you direction - so quaint, love it!

Last Stages Of Summer

Is it really, august finished already..?! Only 3 days to go! This summer season passed by so quickly, I barely felt it. I thought I had all this time to save money, make plans, do preparations and chores for the upcoming winter journey...now it almost feels like its right around the corner and i need more TIME. I sure do hope it won't pass by as quickly once on the road...
The quieter months are ahead and i have best of intentions to start learning spanish. Online. Maybe i better start following one or two of those daytime spanish soap-operas too...heh
During these quieter next couple of months i will also try (TRY!) to slow down with my postcrossing activities. Easier said than done eh? All those RRs, tags, private swaps...= an addiction. And am just starting with some exciting collections! So yea, i have this hunch you will be seeing me still, fellow postcrossers .....

20. 08. 2010.

Official PC Postcards

This monday i went home for a day to see my folks. I was sooo happy to see my nieces and nephew again, to cuddle my two kittens Pixie & Suri (i keep calling them kittens although they are hardly small..!) and yes - to go thru all my received mail. In a week i got 32 postcards, was overwhelmed! Well yes it is a product of many contacts, swap requests, official postcrossing...but I never really imagined such a pile, oh happy day! :)
And on top of the pile THIS handsome fellow! Thanks to Renee :) (US-777635)




I really love this postcard from Thailand, as it is colourful and original and...look at those stamps, aren't they awesome!!! This week reminded me just how much glee a received surprise card can bring to one's life :) Thank you Leela! (TH-50232)



Same with the movie card of a classic: 'It's a wonderful Life'. I concur! The Heidi stamp is no less wonderful, and need i comment on the donkey stamp? Such a thoughtful gesture :) Thank you Nadja! (CH-58176)

13. 08. 2010.

Grant Whiskey





I was very excited when i tagged *cherity* in an offer tag and realised she has a whiskey-ad card! I was actually aiming at an israeli view or culture postcard, but considering how difficult whiskey cards are to come by i thought i'll just grab the chance :) Awesome stamps too!

More Donkeys, Yay

This was a great surprise from Claire! I have a substantial collection of UK donkeys but am always superhappy about any new addition :D


Another surprise, this time from Goran, sent from his holiday in Zadar :)


My first bulgarian donkey, from the Rhodope Mountains! And a lovely stamp to accompany it :)

02. 08. 2010.

Postcrossing donkeys

Over the years I have collected many donkey postcards, but it is always a special event when I get one via the official postcrossing site because of the surprise factor :) Here are some of my favourites:


FI-466713. The Finnish have been generous with donkeys :) This one was sent by *tsittus* I think I don't have to explain why I love this card!!!


FI-472222. Sent by *Madmango* on 7th of February, 2000. Travelled for 12 days. I love the postcards with people and animals where you can see a certain connection between them. Esp the ones of the more traditional atmosphere...!


FI-486574. Sent by *akkipakki* on the 24th of February, 2009. Its only now that I realise all these were sent in the same month, amazing! This postcard is really, utterly and totally cute :)



IT-19761. Sent by *sardus* on the 29th of June, 2008. One of the first official donkeys, and incredibly cute in all its furryness :)
US-723286. After a considerable period of non-donkyness I was super-surprised with this american little family :) Sent by *zaksmom* on the 12th of June, 2010.

01. 08. 2010.

Alexandria, Egypt


We returned to Egypt via Eilat and settled in a nice bungalow in Dahab. There I found this great postcard, a portait of an old man in Nubia (south Egypt). Dahab is a great place to chill out, quite touristy but not in a hectic way. Diving in the Red Sea sounded tempting..! But I have my own fears to take care of first :s
We bussed back to Cairo, where we spend another couple of days as I was caught by a cold and had high temperature (boo). But there was not much time to waste so we headed to Alexandria, where we had a day of exploration before catching a bus to Siwa oasis.  Of course we 1st checked the library! The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the ancient Royal Library of Alexandria, once the largest library in the world. This one is quite awesome too!





The 1st postcard shows the El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, which looked stunning in the moonlight :)
Alexandria must have looked amazing back in the Ptolemaic days - everything was grand, very much like this lighthouse on the 2nd postcard - the Pharos of Alexandria. With its height between 120 and 140 meters it was for centuries the highest man-made building in the world. Sadly it was devastated in the series of earthquakes. In 1480 the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site.
In the alexandrian post-office I found new stamps, goodie :)
These were posted on the 13th of December on the way back from the oasis.

The Palestinian Authority


While in Jerusalem I've decided to do a day-trip to Bethlehem. We took a mini bus which drove us up to the Israeli West Bank barrier - a huge concrete wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Territory. We were perplexed and didn't quite know where we're going, but after some minutes we caught a sight of a town which turned out to be Bethlehem. Not such a little town as one might imagine! After all it is being visited by millions of tourists every year.
In any case, I was thrilled to find an open post-office in the centre of Bethlehem. To my even greater surprise they had quite an impressive choice of stamps! I was beside myself, I think I must have spent a weekly pocket-money heh. My friend must have 'swollowed a dumpling' watching me do that :D I did stop myself eventually, somewhat lamenting on the stamps left behind, but overly excited about the postcards I was going to send from Palestine!
It took them longer than 2 months to arrive...after being convinced they were lost in transit the joy was...well you should have seen me..! :)



The West Bank Barrier - to my utter shame I wasn't aware of its existance before. Parts of the wall were covered with awesome artistic graffiti, all with the unified message of peace and tolerance.


This postcard shows Palestinian women in their traditional coastal costumes near the entrance of an old house in Old Jaffa. All of these postcards were sent on the 30th of November, 2008.


Views Of Israel


I don't think we reached the decision to go to Israel before staying in Jordan. It was just so close, so tempting...And because of the visa regulations it was possible to go from Jordan, but not from Syria or Lebanon, so a loop wasn't doable. It was an enjoyable week..!
What to say about Jerusalem...so much is said and written about it, but seeing it is in a league on its own. It is another place that I would LOVE to see again :)
Sent on 25th of November, 2008

From Jeruzalem we travelled to Tel Aviv, and up to Haifa to spend a night and visit Nazareth & The Sea of Galilee on a day-trip. Regardless of my current religion status it is mesmerising to look upon the lake and imagine the Bible stories taking place there :) Sea of Galilee & its Ancient Sites is on the Unesco WHS's tentative list, but also are The Galilee Journeys of Jesus & the Apostles.



Old Jaffa is gorgeous! Such a contrast fom the busy and urban Tel Aviv, and very picturesque. I made a wish on the Wishing Bridge touching my zodiac sign and facing the sea, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was..! Many many cool cats sunbathing on the coastal strip from Jaffa to Tel Aviv :D



And yay, in Tel Aviv I found a shop with stamps, old postcards and such. I have bought a few items but had to give up on the rest while biting my elbow...uff.

Amman To Jerash, Jordan


It is not enough to say I LOVE Jordan! I wish I could have stuck around for another week at least, but alas there was no time...If an opportunity ever arises I will gladly fly back!
First we crossed the border from Egypt by ferry, and went straight for Wadi Musa where we would spend the night in a nice little hotel. I was amazed to see how swollen my feet were from a day's waiting at the ferry dock..! But nothing would stop me from discovering the poetical Rose-Red City of Petra. Yes, I have read about it, I have seen some photos...but I still lost my breath! And not just once!!! With a strong certainty I can exclaim - it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Amman was such a pleasure to visit, there was a certain feel of easiness and comfort. We stayed there for a few days, enchanted by the islamic calls for prayer (Adhan) or rather by the mellow and smooth voice of the local muezzin. From Amman we went for day trips to Jerash, Ajlun Castle and Mount Nebo.
The main post office had a philately section, I was lucky enough to find a small but cool variety of stamps :)



Jerash is now a modern town with more than 30,000 inhabitans; in the olden days of antiquity it was known as Gerasa, whose Greco-Roman ruins stay preserved to this day to witness its splendour. Jerash is considered to be one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. Walking among the ruins was magical! No wonder its on the Unesco WHS's tentative list :)
This postcard was sent on the 24th of November, 2008.