Sunday Stamps: Words and numbers

sundaystampbutton
Hello, friends. I’m coming back to Sunday Stamps again after a loooong period of hiatus. I hope old friends and new ones will find their way back here 🙂

Sunday Stamps from Moldova

From Poşta Moldovei, this was a 2009 commemorative-stamp issued on the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe. It was affixed to the very first postcard from Moldova that’s in my collection. Moldova is one of the countries that are considered “hard-to-get” by postcards and stamp collectors. I happened to meet a Moldovan in one of the conferences I attended way back and quickly became friends before the event ended. Happy to say we still keep in touch up to this day 🙂

Sunday Stamps 070: From the River of Woe to the River of Fun

sundaystampbutton

I was down again with flu for the second time this year. I think my immune system is getting weak – and I only have myself to blame for it. I haven’t been physically active much of this year so I guess that’s why my health is so messed up.

On to this week’s Sunday Stamps. I missed several weeks already – sorry Viridian – and I don’t want to miss some more so here’s my entry for the theme, water.

In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.
In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron  is one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.

Looking at the image on the stamp, there is a beautiful serenity about this mythical river.

However, rivers are more than just what they are. Rivers, in Greek mythology, separate the underworld  (Hades) and the land of the living in most part by five primary rivers: Styx, Lethe, Cocytus, Phlegethon, and Acheron.

The River Acheron (Ἀχέρων) is located in the Epirus (Ήπειρος) region of Northwest Greece.  It is a wide, swampy body of water.A large number of poets and writers of the ancient Greek tradition referred to Acheron as the river whose name was inextricably linked with the transition of the society of dead souls. 

Acheron is the first river that Dante and Virgil must cross in Dante’s Inferno, and it divides the truly suffering souls from the neutral ones. Acheron translates as the “River of Woe” where, in Greek mythology, Charon, the boatman, ferried the newly dead souls (those that can pay him, anyway) across into Hades. This brought to mind a scene from the movie Troy where the Greek soldiers placed coins on the eyes of their dead. It is a practice by the ancient Greeks with the belief that the coins will be used to pay Charon so they could cross the river.

Mythological references aside, the Acheron river attracts many local and foreign tourists because of its sheer beauty and flowing water. It has now evolved – from the supernatural  place where souls travel to their final destination in the underworld to that of the popular natural attraction, with its beautiful springs, hiking trails, and placid waters ideal for many water sports. Which is why in June 2012, the above commemorative stamp was issued (in a series of six; click here to see all stamps) to promote outdoor activities under the theme, Touring Greece.

I want to thank my very good friend, Macel, for sending me the postcard during their holiday in Skiathos. The postcard will be posted soon, promise ;).

Postcard Friendship Friday 078: The reclining Buddha in Bago, Myanmar

Post card friday pffhtml

My entry this week is from Myanmar, my first one from our ASEAN neighbour.
The largest Buddha statue in Myanmar is found in Shwethalyaung pagod in Bago, Myanmar. pagoda

According to Wikipedia:

The Shwethalyaung Buddha is a reclining Buddha in the west side of Bago (Pegu), Burma (Myanmar). The Buddha, which has a length of 55 m (180 ft) and a height of 16 m (52 ft), is the second largest Buddha in the world, after the 74 m reclining Buddha in Dawei (Tavoy). The Buddha is believed to have been built in 994, during the reign of Mon King Migadepa. It was lost in 1757 when Pegu was pillaged. During British colonial rule, in 1880, the Shwethalyaung Buddha was rediscovered under a cover of jungle growth. Restoration began in 1881, and Buddha’s mosaic pillows (on its left side) were added in 1930.
Although I live in Phnom Penh where Rangoon, the capital of Burma, is a short plane-ride away, I have never ever set foot there yet. Perhaps with the recent opening up of the country, my dream of visiting Myanmar will finally be realised in the coming months. 
It is difficult to find someone from Myanmar to arrange postcard swaps with. So I have to thank my good friend, Lee Hock Peng, for sending me this postcard. I’m so grateful for friends like him, albeit virtual, who never forget to include me in their “mailing list” every time they go on a trip.

Mabalos.
Godspeed, Lee.

Sunday Stamp 061: Al Idrisi and his map of the medieval world

stampbuttonb[5]

It’s time for this week’s Sunday Stamp so I set aside my online search for Tysabri reviews so I could concentrate on my entry which is of special interest to me. I have to admit I had a tough time finding suitable stamps but I did manage to find one that I surprisingly liked after doing a bit of research. The theme is stamps that leave you wondering: what is this stamp trying to show? What does it commemorate, etc.?
So this stamp made me scratch my head in bewilderment. Do you see what I mean? What is the design? I thought the dark parts of the stamp look like black ants on a red (clay) surface. And what or who is Al Isidri?

A quick search from Mr. Gugel gave me a wealth of information about this stamp. The picture on the stamp is actually a world map that Al Idrisi made during the medieval ages. That excited me. You know how I love maps.
Al Idrisi was an Arab cartographer and geographer in the Middle Ages whose contributions led to the enrichment of the maritime history of the Indian Ocean and the world. He created the Tabula Rogeriana, The Map of Roger (in Latin), considered to be the most accurate map of the world in the medieval times, which was commissioned by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily.  His great works included a planisphere, or a circular world map,  made of pure silver; a world map consisting of 70 sections formed by dividing the Earth north of the Equator into 7 climatic zones of equal width, each of which was subdivided into 10 equal parts by lines of longitude; and a compendium of geographical information, intended as accompaniment to the planisphere, which was completed in 15 years. The map portrayed on the stamp above is a part in the latter body of work. South is at the top of the map, and, with the map turned upside down (as is customary with the Arabs), the Mediterranean Sea, Europe, Asia, and Africa are easily identified. The Arabian peninsula is in the center of the map (Source:danstopicals.com/alidrisi.htm). 

Al Idrisi was a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. He was born  Abu Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abdallah Ibn Ildris al-Qurtubi al-Hasani in 1099 in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco and studied in Cordoba, Spain. He is also a doctor, a pharmacologist, and a connoisseur of Latin and Greek. In 2006, the Correos de España issued the above stamp as a tribute to him.

The postmarks only messed the stamp so, for comparison purposes, here’s a clean copy of the stamp:

Stamp nicked from Correos de España site.

I tried to look at the stamp upside down but I got more confused, lol. Tell me what you see. This is one example of stamp that definitely made me say… hmmmm, I didn’t know that.



Postcard Friendship Friday 075: Santiago de Compostela

Post card friday pffhtml

Guess what I got from the Post Office today?!? A beautiful postcard direct from Santiago de Compostela! This is a souvenir from one of my dear blogger-friends, Sheila over at A Postcard A Day, who was on holiday there with her husband a couple of months ago. Muchas gracias mi querida amiga. This surely cheered me up as I am experiencing a postcard drought of sorts these days.

The magnificent Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Many thanks, Sheila!

Santiago de Compostela is a World Heritage Site and a world-renowned pilgrimage town in the northern part of Spain where, legend has it, the remains of the apostle James is buried. Sitting at the heart of this city is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As you can see in the postcard above, it is a very impressive structure bearing the Romanesque-Baroque style of architecture. 

The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known as the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James. Every year, hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over Europe and around the world arrive in the city through the different pilgrimage points in Europe. Sheila described atmosphere there vividly as wonderful with an amazing spread of diverse people – school groups, visitors, cyclists, and the pilgrims.
In 2004, my then-single husband embarked on cycling tour that included the camino pilgrimage. The camino part of his tour he said was the best cycling trip he has ever done. He camped along the route or stayed at refugios or hostels if there are available. He also said that it’s a trip that is truly life-changing. 

Postcard Perfect 050: Dragon-head of Thang Long

Postcard Perfect New

Eversince our host at Postcard Perfect announced the new schedule for this meme, I had only posted two, including today’s entry. I’m ashamed to say that in both instances I posted late *cringe* After the Wimbledon, I joined my husband in the veranda garden, pulling out weeds and sweeping dead leaves. Luckily we do not have a lawn, becase we live in an apartment, so I don’t have to worry too much about grass.  Otherwise, I would really demand a push reel mower to make my life easier, lol.

 No more excuses though. Time for the postcard… here’s one showing an important artifact, and still intact, that was discovered in the relic site at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A well-preserved terracotta dragon head (Ly dynasty, 11th-12th century) is one of the hundreds of  artifacts excavated at the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

The central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, which has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage, covers about 18,000m2, consisting of the archaeological site at No. 18, Hoang Dieu Street and the area of the old Hanoi Citadel. –      Discover Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi, Indochinapioneer.com

This postcard, although showing a Vietnamese relic, was sent to me by my friend Cheerful, aka, the Postcrossing Mom, who is now based in Thailand. She seldom updates her postcard blog now due to  her mommy duties but, I assure you, she is still a very active postcrosser. You can find her blog link on my blog list, on the right sidebar. Khap khun kaa, Che.

Sunday Stamp 059: Fairies on Greek postage stamps

stampbuttonb[5]

Wimbledon is finally over. Although the result did not favour my favourite players, the staying-up late at nights is over and I can now go back to my normal routine, hah. 
Gee, I want to go for some much needed R and R but holidays are still two months away. I am already dreaming of the refreshing seabreeze, fresh seafoods, and the comfy log bed of my favourite lodge in the southern coast of the country. Well, that is really worth looking forward to! 
 On to the stamp, here’s one of my favourites, from Greece:

“The Fairies”, one of the five-set of stamps issued in 2008 under the “Fairy Tales” series.
In December 2008, the Hellenic Post released its Fairy Tales series stamp issue consisting of five whimsically-designed stamps each featuring five popular children’s fairy tales.
The five stamps from this series are: The Fairies (above), The Mermaid and Alexander the Great, Little Red Riding Hood, The Girls with Matches,  and Arion with the Lyra.
Don’t you just love it when characters in folk tales, myths or legends grace the postage stamps? I do! They remind me of all the fairy tales I loved back in the old days 🙂

Postcard Friendship Friday 073: Jerusalem, the Holy Land

Post card friday pffhtml

After more than three long weeks of being offline, I’m slowly getting back into the blogging groove again. Is it just me, but, those three weeks fell like eternity without the Internet.

As my comeback entry to Postcard Friendship Friday, I’m featuring this:
 

Jerusalem is a spiritual centre, holy to three religious faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I’m waiting for my chance to get a glimpse, with my own two eyes, of what’s inside this ancient walled city.

Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel (not recognised internationally), is the oldest, most significant, and holiest of all holy cities/lands in the world.

Although with a long, troubled history, the little girl in me knows Jerusalem as the land of Jesus, a land that I read only about  in the Holy Bible… and to visit and see it in person must  be an unbelievable experience!

In no other single place can you find such a concentration of sites sacred to not just one, but three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This compact ancient city, surrounded by a 465-year old wall, and home to one that is among the holiest of Jewish sites, never fails to amaze visitors with the extraordinary religious history contained – and very much alive – within. – About.com Guide to Israel

It’s a dream of mine to visit Israel in the future, Jerusalem especially. I was raised a Catholic and, although I’m not really a church-goer or religious, I have this fascination towards places of historical significance.

דאנק איר, מיריאַם.

Thank you, Miriam.

Postcard Friendship Friday 067: Taylor Swift birthday card

Post card friday pffhtml

I received this birthday card yesterday from a very good friend, Conell. The card, along with other sweet stuff, arrived two days shy of my actual birthday 🙂 Sooo lucky to have generous friends who go out of their way to make my day special!

This is a Taylor Swift designed/inspired card. Taylor Swift? I did not know that the singing sensation has a greeting card line at American Greetings. But why not? The girl has the talent to tell a story through her songs so … might as well take advantage of that, this time she’s expressing her story/creativity via greeting cards.
I love the card – it looks like it’s handmade. Let me rephrase that – the card was made to look like it’s handmade 🙂 It’s sweet, fun, vibrant  and glittery, pretty much like Taylor Smith, if I may say so. Indeed, this card would leave you  “awestruck”, if there’s such a word.
Please don’t pelt me with coins and stones but a funny thought crossed my mind while writing this – the image of a drunken Kanye West brazenly stepping into the picture to say that Beyonce is more deserving to have her own greeting cards more than Taylor Smith. I know, sounds crazy but just saying, lol.
Madamo guid nga salamat, Conn!

Sweet stuff

A delightful surprise was waiting for me at the Post Office this morning!!!

Miss Igorota is carefully reading the notes on the parcel and smiled at me. The goodies came from Conniechiwa (Writings on the Wall)!

The packet’s filled with stuff that I really love! Without further prodding from me, Miss Iggy helped me in opening the packet. Excited much?!?

A scrapbooking kit by Mary Engelbreit. No more #noynoying anymore. There’s scrapping to do!
There’s a cuuute birthday card (I wonder whose is it for, hmmm 😛), a lovely, lovely scrapbooking kit from Mary Engelbreit, a huge world map from NatGeo, and a pack of chocolates (soon to be in my tummy, lol), too!!

Conn, you are very thoughtful and I’m humbled by your generosity. Madamo guid nga salamat! You surely know how to spoil a girl on her special day ^.^