Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Postcard of Etosha National Park, one of the oldest protected places in Namibia, established in 1907. The park is 22,270 square kilometres and is centred around the Etosha Pan, a large endorheic salt pan in the Kalahari Basin. It is home to hundreds of species, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros.

Many thanks to friend Casimiro, who was in Namibia for work.

Stamp from 2010 depicts a black-bellied bustard, an common African ground-dwelling bird that lives in grassland areas.

Namibian air mail label.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Postcard from the Town of Luang Prabang World Heritage site showing Wat Xieng Thong (Temple of the Golden City). The temple was built in 1559 and is one of the most important in Laos. It was traditionally the site where Laotian kings were crowned. Many thanks and khawp jai to friend Dani who visited Laos.

Stamp on the left is from a 2005 set of three commemorating Laos' 50th anniversary of  its accession to the United Nations. Stamp on the right is from a 2007 set of three featuring the Boun That Luang festival, a three-day religious festival help at Pha That Luang, the country's most important temple.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Angola II

There didn't seem to be any information given about this card, but I eventually noticed in tiny print in the vertical centre line on the back "Morro, Huíla". "Huíla" is a province in southern Angola and "morro" means "hill" in Portuguese. I don't know if that means they only have one hill of note in Huíla and don't need a more precise name for it, but muito obrigado nonetheless to Ricardo for helping scratch this hard egg to crack off the list.

Stamp from a 1994 set of four featuring traditional ceramics, in this case an earthenware water jug.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Japan II

Postcard of Tokyo's Haneda Airport with Mount Fuji in the background. Tokyo has two airports; Haneda, Tokyo's original airport a short train-ride from the city centre, and Narita, built two hours away in the middle of nowhere when Haneda became too crowded after the growth of air travel in the 1970s. When I lived in Japan, Haneda was the domestic airport and Narita the international one; not a terribly convenient situation if you needed to transfer from one to the other. A new runway and terminal building were added to Haneda in 2010 and international services returned. I flew home to Singapore through Haneda last Christmas and preferred it immensely to somewhat dreary and utilitarian Narita airport. I look forward to using it again in the future.

Stamp from 1997 definitive series, still going strong! The series features Japanese fauna, and pictured here is the Japanese tit, Parus minor, a common songbird found throughout Japan and East Asia.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Postcard of "Donkey cart with enjoyment of the Children". Surely, one of the fugliest postcards in my collection. Out of all of the things one could photograph in Kuwait, a sickly donkey pulling a mobile child-prison past a death trap-slash-funfair can't possibly be very high on the list. Even just some sand dunes or a traffic intersection would be better.

I am nevertheless very grateful to my friend Jennifer who sent this to me while on a long layover in Kuwait Airport. Shukran!

Stamp from 2003 commemorating the 42nd anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom in 1961. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


Postcard from the city of Cotacachi in northern Ecuador. Cotacachi has one of the highest concentrations of indigenous people in the country. Every year in June local people celebrate Inti Raymi, the traditional Inca New Year's festival honouring the sun god Inti.

Thanks and gracias to my Mum for sending this card while on holiday in South America.

Two stamps, both issued in 2010. Stamp on the left is from a set of four on Ecuadorian diversity. It features the "Monument to the Middle of the World" straddling the Equator. Postcard on the right commemorates 50 years of CitiBank in Ecuador.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

China II

Another China postcard from the archives, this time showing the Hall of Supreme Harmony (太和殿) in the Forbidden City in Beijing, part of the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hall was the site of public ceremonies such as enthronements and weddings. It is the largest wooden building in China and was originally built in 1406, although rebuilt following fires several times thereafter.

Stamp on the left is from a 1994 set of six featuring famous scenic places in China. Pictured here is Goddess Peak (神女峰), which is where the goddess Yao Ji is believed to be immortalized in stone, watching over the Yangtze River below. Stamp on the right is from the 1989 definitive series featuring folk architecture. Pictured here are traditional houses from Jiangsu Province in eastern China.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Postcard showing a woman from the Mande minority who live in the hills and forests of eastern Bangladesh. The Mande, or Goro, people speak a Sino-Tibetan language. Many thanks to friends Jennifer and Preetom for sending this to me during their holiday in Bangladesh together! ধন্যবাদ 

Stamp on the left, issued in 2003, features an orangefin labeo, Labeo calbasu, a member of the carp family common to freshwater rivers and lakes in South and Southeast Asia. Stamps on the right are from 2004 to commemorate the Bangladeshi Olympic Committee.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vatican City II

Postcard of the Vatican City's famous Swiss Guards, who have been defending the country for over 500 years. The Swiss Guard is known for its elaborate ceremonial uniforms, pictured here, which hark back to the Guards' Renaissance origins.

Stamp from a 2007 set of four depicting Pope Benedict XVI on his travels around the world, in this case, Germany, and features the famous towers of the Munich Frauenkirche.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I was a bit surprised to notice recently that, although I have piles of postcard from China in my collection, I've never gotten around to putting one up here yet! – A situation now rectified with a favourite showing a group of people doing taichi on a famous stretch of Shanghai riverfront known as the Bund. The skyscrapers of Pudong, on the opposite side of river are in the background. When I first visited Shanghai, none of the skyscrapers existed and the view was mostly of farmers' fields and rice paddies. 

Stamp from current definitive series featuring Chinese birds. Pictured is the yellow-bellied tit – a snicker-inducing name if ever there was one – (Periparus venustulus), a common bird in temperate and subtropical forests.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Card showing Shwedagon Pagoda (ရွှေတိဂုံစေတီတော်) in the Burmese city of Rangoon. The pagoda rises 99 metres and is covered in more than 60 tonnes of gold. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Burma with four Buddha relics enshrined within.

Stamp on the left from the 1974 (!) definitive set featuring ethnic groups in Burma, pictured here a man and woman in traditional Burmese dress. Stamp in the centre from a groovy pop-art-esque 1992 set on musical instruments. Two stamps on the right from a 2010 commemorative set for the 62nd anniversary of Burmese independence showing the national parliament buildings in Naypyidaw.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Postcard from the ancient site of Cyrene, one of the oldest and most important ancient Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times. It was founded in 630 BC, becoming an important centre for philosophy and learning. Cyrene's chief local export through much of its early history was the valuable medicinal herb, silphium, which was in such demand that it was harvested to extinction. This, in conjunction with commercial competition from Carthage and Alexandria, and a series of earthquakes led to the city's decline and abandonment by 400 CE. Many thanks and shukran to friend Shadin who toured Libya on holiday.

Stamp on the right from a set of three about Boy Scouts in Libya. Stamp on the right from a 2001 set of six featuring traditional silver horse harnesses from the Tripoli International Fair.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cayman Islands

Postcard from Hell. This town in the Cayman Islands is thought to be named after the barren limestone rock formations that elicited the reaction, "This is what Hell must look like", when the area was first settled. The area is now a popular tourist spot with Hell-themed souvenirs.

Although the Caribbean is a fairly common winter holiday destination for Canadians, I've actually had quite a difficult time getting Caribbean countries crossed off my list. My many thanks, in this case, to friend Neil for sending this card while in the Cayman Islands for a work project.

Stamp from a 2001 set of three featuring Cayman Brac, the second-largest of the Cayman Islands three main islands. While the other two islands are mostly flat, Cayman Brac features a large limestone escarpment that runs the length of the island that has a number of caves, including Peter's Cave, pictured in this stamp. Also featuring a postmark from Hell.

Friday, June 27, 2014

New World Heritage sites 2014

As this year's World Heritage Committee meeting wraps up in Doha, Qatar, a big congratulations to the 26 new sites and four extensions that were inscribed on the World Heritage list, bringing the total number of Sites to 1007, in 161 countries. The 1000th site is the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and special congratulations to Burma for adding its first site to the list, Pyu Ancient Cities.

This is also the first time a Tentative List site featured on my blog has become a full-fledged site. Special congratulations to Erbil Citadel on its graduation.

There was quite a bit of controversy at this Committee meeting as well. Australia's idiot prime minister, Tony Abbot, wanted to delist a large section the Tasmanian Wilderness site (which had, in fact, been added to the List only the year prior), stating that Australia had "too much locked-up forest". The Committee took just seven minutes to consider the delisting bid, which member nation Portugal called "feeble", before rejecting it out of hand. There was also some consternation about the appropriateness of considering a bid from the United States, given the fact the USA has not paid their UNESCO dues for several years now. The Native American Poverty Point site in Louisiana was nevertheless inscribed in the list.

More information all all the new sites from UNESCO's site here.

Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russian Federation)
Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey (Germany)
Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel)
Decorated cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche (France)
Erbil Citadel (Iraq)
Great Himalayan National Park (India)
Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia)
Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (United States of America)
Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Philippines)
Namhansanseong (South Korea)
Okavango Delta (Botswana)
Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Palestine)
Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (Turkey)
Precolumbian chiefdom settlements with stone spheres of the Diquís (Costa Rica)
Pyu Ancient Cities (Burma)

Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (India)
Shahr-I Sokhta (Iran)
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (Kyrgyzstan, China and Kazakhstan)
Stevns Klint (Denmark)
The Grand Canal (China)
The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato (Italy)
Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites (Japan)
Trang An Landscape Complex (Viet Nam)
Van Nellefabriek (Netherlands)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

French Polynesia

Postcard from the idyllic island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. I've been mesmerised by the allure of French Polynesia for a long time, since elementary school, in fact, when we were given a project about French-speaking countries and I was assigned this faraway paradise of turquoise lagoons and swaying palm trees. I've been hooked ever since! A the card from French Polynesia, however, eluded me for a very long time. It's a very long way from anything, and not many people make it there. I was over the moon when Couchsurfing friends Sacha and Denis requested to stay with me. It was great to talk to them about my ongoing fascination with their homeland, and to politely beg them to send a card for my collection on their return. They very kindly obliged, and a big merci and māuruuru roa to them for this new country to my collection.

Stamp from a yearly series for Chinese New Year, featured here 2013 Year of the Water Snake. Snake is most closely associated with education and research, making 2013 a very special year for scientists and scholars.

Cambodia II

Super cute postcard of kid riding a water buffalo through Cambodia rice paddies. Nice to see a postcard from Cambodia that's not of Angkor Wat for once. – Not that I have anything against Angkor Wat; it's amazing. But it's always nice to see a non-picture-postcard, non-tourist-site side to a country.

A couple of older stamps on this card. On the left, stamp from 1999 set of seven on birds, featuring the European greenfinch, Carduelis chloris. Two stamps on right from 1997 set of four on the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Postcard of the Durbar Festival, an event celebrated in various Nigerian cities to mark the end of Muslim Eid holidays. It begins with prayers, followed by a horseback parade of local leaders and their entourage, accompanied by musicians, and ending at the leader's palace.

Many thanks to friend Oliver, who was in Nigeria for a friend's wedding, for adding this tough country to the collection.

Stamp showing the Argungu Fishing Festival, a yearly fishing tournament that takes place in northwestern Nigeria. The festival began in 1934, to mark of the end of centuries of hostility between two local rulers. Competitors are only allowed to use traditional fishing tools and many prefer to catch fish entirely by hand to demonstrate their prowess. Nigeria released another stamp on the same subject in 1973.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Turks and Caicos Islands

Postcard of a beach on Providenciales, the most populated island in the British territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands, though not the capital, which is diminutive Cockburn Town with just 8,000 residents. The beaches in the Turks and Caicos are regularly voted among the best in the world, and are a popular winter holiday destination for North Americans. Turks and Caicos are also notable in that there has been, over the years, discussions of the territory becoming a part of Canada. When Britain began decolonising the Caribbean, the locals were not in favour of joining an independent Bahamas, which had been Britain's original intention. The islands not feeling they could become independent themselves, idea was therefore floated of giving them to Canada. The Canadian government was not interested in becoming a new colonial power, but the idea still pops up in the media from time to time. – No doubt the notion of owning a slice of palm tree paradise appeals to many in the Great White North!

The island group is on Britain's Tentative List for World Heritage. Many thanks to friend Scott who fled the Canadian cold for the turquoise shores of T&C!

Stamp shows Astraea brevispina, a species of sea snail found in the Caribbean, from a 2007 set of 15 featuring shells and sea snails. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Postcard showing Grodno Regional Drama Theatre in Grodno (Гродна), a historic city in eastern Belarus not far from the borders of Poland and Lithuania.

Permanent rate definitive stamp featuring traditional Belarusian textile designs from a set of two issued in 2012.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Uganda II

Postcard showing mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, a critically endangered subspecies of the eastern gorilla, with populations estimated to be less than 900 individuals. There are two separate populations in Uganda, with both are under threat from habitat loss and human encroachment.

Many thanks to fellow postcard blogger David, of Postcards A World Travelogue for sending this to me during his East African holiday.

Stamp on the left features the shining-blue kingfisher, Alcedo quadribrachys, a common bird in sub-Saharan Africa. The two triangular stamps on the right are from a set of four commemorating 100 yeas of Sikh presence in Uganda. A bit of a strange stamp coming from Uganda, where dictator Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of entire Ugandan-Indian community in 1972. Perhaps trying to make amends?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Multiview postcard showing  various animals common to the Kenyan savanna. Many thanks to fellow postcard blogger David, of Postcards A World Travelogue for sending this to me during his East African holiday.

Stamps from a set of 100 (!!) commemorating Kenya's independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. Stamp on the left features the current President and Deputy President. President Kenyatta is actually being indited for crimes against humanity by in International Criminal Court in the Hague for his alleged role in post-election violence in 2007 where over 1000 people are estimated to have been killed. – Maybe not the best person to put on a stamp, if you ask me. Stamp on the right features a rather less controversial pair, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in 1953.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Multiview card of Chile showing famous sites from around the country. Until now, I'd say that Chile had been the "easiest" country on my Remaining Countries list. I guess that mantle now passes to Panama, or perhaps a Caribbean island frequented by North Americans for winter holidays, such as Aruba or Antigua.

Many thanks to friend Rubén, who was visiting friends in Chile.

Stamp on the left featuring a nativity scene, a Christmas issue from 1995. Stamp on the right from a 2013 set of six commemorating the third anniversary of the rescue of trapped miners in the San José mine in northern Chile.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Postcard of a waterbuck, Kobus ellipsiprymnus, a large antelope found throughout sub-Saharan Africa in Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda. A substantial area of the park was settled in the late 1990s by former refugees returning after the end of the Rwandan Civil War. Due to land shortages, in 1997 the western boundary was moved and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500 km² to its current size to 1,200 km². In 2009, the Rwanda Development Board entered into joint management arrangement of the park and will spend US$10 million to rehabilitate the park, including a planned reintroduction of lions and black rhinos.

Many thanks to David, of Postcards A World Travelogue, for taking time out of his East African adventures to post this card.

A 2010 stamp from a set of 5 featuring paintings.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Postcard showing a beach on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal in Siberia. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean, although it's thought that as recently as the region's exploration by Europeans in the 1850s, the lake did not have an outflow to the ocean at all, and may have, in the distant past, flown into the Nile instead.

Lake Tanganyika is on Burundi's Tentative List of World Heritage, although the lake also borders Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia.

Many thanks to David, of Postcards A World Travelogue, for sending the card during his East African adventures.

Stamp is from a set of 4 issued in 2012 featuring royal drummers and dancers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador II

Postcard of Gros Morne National Park, a world heritage site located on the west coast of Newfoundland. The park was established as a reserve in 1973 and made a national park in 2005. As an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains, the park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth's mantle lie exposed. It is also notable for its glacier-carved fjords, one of which is pictured here.

Definitive, self-adhesive stamp of blue-flag irises from a 2004 series on flowers.

Monday, March 10, 2014


A rather dated postcard of Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW), formerly known as Okęcie International Airport after the name of town where it is located. It is the largest airport in Poland, handling nearly 40% of the country's air traffic, and recently passed the milestone of serving 10 million passengers in one year.

Stamp on the left features the museum and former studio of renowned, classical Polish painter Jan Matejko. Stamp on the right is from a 2005 series of Polish cities, featuring here the Baltic Sea resort of Sopot, once known as "Monte Carlo of the North", attracting Europe's Belle Époque high society.