Friday, March 30, 2012


Butcher shop window in Nancy, France. Nancy is the capital of the Lorraine region (of quiche fame), and was home to the famous École de Nancy, a group of artists and architects who worked in the Art Nouveau style at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century. Their work made Nancy a centre of art and architecture that rivaled Paris and helped give the city the nickname "Capital of the East". 

Permanent rate Mariane definitive for international mailing. The rest of this definitive series features the same image of France's national symbol in different colours.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

United States of America – Oklahoma

Great herds of bison, as many as 30-60 million, once roamed North America. By 1888, only 541 remained in the U.S. Efforts began to prevent the species from becoming extinct. Today, about 250,000 bison live in the U.S. and large herds can be found in many natural areas, such as the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma. Thanks to David who was visiting.

From a set of stamps at postcard rate featuring Hawaiian shirt, issued this year. Some people have traced the “casual Friday” trend to Hawai’i, where Aloha shirts were first worn to work on Friday as they were more comfortable than a suit and tie in the state's climate.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

South Africa II

The large milkwood tree in Mossel Bay has been used as a kind of post office since 1501. Portuguese sailors returning from a trade mission to India left messages in this tree for the next fleet of Portuguese ships scheduled to pass by en route to India. It has become a tradition for visitors to Mossel Bay to send cards from the Post Office Tree, which is now a national heritage site.

Mail sent from the old post office tree features a special cancellation stamp.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Victoria Falls are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The Zambezi River, which is more than 2km wide at this point, plunges noisily down a series of basalt gorges and raises an iridescent mist that can be seen more than 20km away. The indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, means "the Smoke that Thunders". 

It is a transnational World Heritage site together with Zimbabwe.

A common bird across sub-Saharan Africa, I was surprised to learn that the sacred ibis is extirpated in Egypt where it was venerated and often mummified by Ancient Egyptians as a symbol of the god Thoth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

South Africa

Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the President of South Africa. See here framed by flowering jacaranda trees in early Summer. The first postcard from my Mum's holiday to southern Africa. 

Ouranosaurus, meaning “brave lizard” lived during the early Cretaceous period about 110 million years ago in Africa. At first I thought there was a offset printing mistake with the stamp, as the colours don't line up, but it turns out this dinosaur set was issued in 3D, requiring special glasses to align the colours and bring out the depth of the image.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I've been trying to get a postcard from the Maldives for ages. I was beyond happy when friend Molly announced her holiday plans to the idyllic Maldives. She reports that it is indeed as paradisiacal as all the tourist  brochures make it out to be. My very hearty thanks to Molly, naturally, for this card.

Black-saddled coralgrouper, Plectropomus laevis, is a large reef fish that grows longer than one metre.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


A blast from the past! I found this postcard inside a book a started rereading. It was the last postcard I sent from Japan before moving away. If you look closely, you can even make out the "Terminal 2 Narita Airport" cancellation mark on the stamp. It was quite an emotional move, but of course I found the wherewithal to send a postcard to Mum. :-)

A really quite lovely stamp issued in a series for the 1999 International Letter Writing Week featuring a classical Japanese print of 菊に虻 (Horsefly at Chrysanthemums) from the 1700s.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vatican City

The Baroque Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Plaza) in front of St. Peter's Basilica was laid out in 1656 around an ancient Egyptian obelisk that was already in situ. The layout is such that the Basilica appears nearer as one walks away from it, its breadth shortened while its height extends.

Although this postcard states it is from "Roma", St. Peter's Basilica and it's Piazza are actually located in the Vatican City. The Piazza is a part of the Vatican City UNESCO World Heritage site.

This postcard is extra notable because it was the last one I received before leaving France.

The standard Italian postal rate stamp for sale at tabaccheria around Italy, for all those times when one can't make it to the post office.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Young Swazi during initiation into regiment. The last postcard from my Mum's safari tour of southern Africa.

Fever trees were immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in one of his Just So Stories, "The Elephant's Child", wherein he repeatedly refers to "the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees."