Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Caledonia

Postcard of Nouméa, the capital of the New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific located between Australia and Fiji. Nouméa is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the South Pacific with large populations of Europeans, Asians, Polynesians, and local islanders. The islanders have for a long time sought to take back control of the island, and its considerable mineral wealth, from France. Following a period of unrest in the 1970s and 1980s, an agreement was reached to have an independence referendum, which is to be held between 2014 and 2018.

Many thanks to my former student Patrick, who was in New Caledonia for work. 

Stamp issued in 2008 in preparation for the Fourteenth Pacific Games, which were hosted in Nouméa in 2011. The Pacific Games are a sport event much like the Olympics, held once every four years with participation by the countries of the region.

Friday, February 14, 2014


This super disco retro postcard was, without exaggerating, the only one I could find during my holiday there – and even still it took a day of hunting to find it. Looks to be from the mid-1970s judging by the groovy clothes the tourists are wearing. 

Postcard is of Abu Simbel temple in southern Egypt. The temples were originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the thirteenth century BC. However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968 to an artificial hill high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged when Lake Nasser was formed following the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.

The temple complex is part of the "Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae" World Heritage site. In fact, UNESCO was instrumental in moving of the temples to a new site and the safeguarding campaign they spearheaded made the importance of protecting our planet's heritage very clear. It led to the mobilisation of international resources to create the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted in 1972.

Stamps are from the 2002 definitive issue featuring Egyptian Archaeology.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Senegal II

Postcard showing a typical scene in Casamance, the region of southern Senegal mostly separated from the rest of the country by the strip of Gambia. The region has had an ongoing, low-level separatist conflict since the 1980s, stemming partly from the region's unique cultural history and partly from a sense of economic disenfranchisement from the rest of Senegal.

Many thanks to friend Oliver for sending this card while he was on holiday.

Stamp on the left from a 2009 set of four on weavers and weaving. Stamp on the right features a West African fruit, Saba senegalensis, known by a variety of names including mad and saba vine.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


My first card from West African nation, Gambia, with a map showing just how strangely shaped Gambia actually is. The smallest country in mainland Africa is just a narrow strip along the banks of the Gambia River, an Anglophone band-aid completely surrounded by Francophone Senegal. The smaller photos show typical scenes of Gambian life, but I must say I'm a bit perplexed as to the inclusion in the bottom row of the photo of the side of a car. No idea what is particularly Gambian about that.

Many thanks to friend Oliver who was in Gambia over the holidays. 

A somewhat mangled stamp of a riity, a traditional musical instrument made from a gourd cut in half, a tree branch, a few pieces of metal and some nails, with bowstrings made of horsehair. When played, the sound is similar to that of a violin. From a set of 15 on traditional instruments issued in 2010.