Postcard Perfect 043: Colombia’s Cartagena, the Heart of the Caribbean

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I’m having a bit of a dilemma right now, whether to sell my yoga stuff as I do not practice yoga anymore. Gathering dust in our storeroom is this nice yoga mat that I acquired two years ago from a garage sale. It still looks pristine and with the yoga mat bag in similar condition, both could still pass as new. Any takers?

Not to bore you with my domestic blabbers now, here is my first post postcard from Colombia:

Colombia’s Cartagena: Corazon del Caribe. The Heart of the Caribbean.
Also known as Cartagena de Indias. Cartagena of the West Indies.
Colombia’s Cartagena, a beach resort city located on the northern coast of the country, is one of the most fascinating port cities in the world. How many people you know have been to Cartagena? *No one, hehehe* Many travelers are probably put off going there considering Colombia’s history of drugs and drugs-related violence and mayhem. However, a lot of people find it’s beauty is too irresistible and are unfazed about it’s negative image. These privileged few who visit Cartagena came back with positive ravings about the place. The beaches are spectacular and the city is oozing with romanticism, culture and history.
Cartagena was named after Spain’s Cartagena and was an important Spanish colony in the region. The city’s colonial architecture, massive churches and charming plazas, a maze of cobbled alleyways make it great for sightseeing. No wonder it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You know what…? I can do away with all the schmaltziness of many, many Valentine’s Day in exchange for a trip to Cartagena! *wink*

Muchisimas gracias a mi querido amigo, Luis, por el envío de esta postal preciosa.

Postcard Perfect 031: Colourful macaws

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From Asia, we go to the beautiful South American continent… to the exotic country of Brazil.

 A pair of colourful macaws, from Brazil’s Amazon forest. (Postcard ID:  BR-162091)
Undeniably, Brazil has one of the most breath-taking biodiversity. I have to admit, I’m afraid of birds. I’m particularly terrified of their talons and humonguos, sharp beaks. Nevertheless, I admire their beauty, like these macaws on the postcard – the blue-and-yellow macaw (foreground), and the scarlet macaw (background). Macaws are large, colourful birds. They live in the thick, undisturbed rainforest of Brazil and feed on fruits, nuts, flowers, and nectars. 
These days, macaws are threatened because of massive deforestation. They are also being taken from their natural habitat to be sold illegally as pets. I believe these beautiful creatures should be left in the wild and not be taken as pets. 

Sunday Stamps 033: My South American stamps…

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… came from Venezuela, the exotic beautiful home country of my dearest friend, Luisito. He never fails to surprise me, sending me postcards (take note, it’s plural!hahaha) while on holiday.
Anyhoo, here are the stamps from Venezuela. They are commemorative stamps in honor of the Bicentenario de la Independencia Republica de Bolivaria de Venezuela (Bicentennial of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela):
Estas tres están entre los firmantes del Acta de Independencia de Venezuela (These three are among the signatories of Venezuela’s Act of Independence).  From left to right: Lino de Clemente, Archbishop Ramón Ignacio Méndez, and Bishop José Vicente de Unda.

Click here for more info on the declaration of the Independence of Venezuela.

The English text of the Act of Independence is here. Just an additional info, the Russian Post issued a commemorative stamp in 2011 congratulating the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the 200th Anniversary of Independence.

 I remember the day one of his envelopes came at the same time as Christmas presents from family arrived, including the small box of item I purchased online from a bulk shea butter seller overseas. What a haul for one day!
Muchas gracias, mi querido, Luisito. The stamps you used gave me a brief history of your beloved Venezuela. Our countries have so much similarities in history and struggle for independence, among others. My forefathers, too, fought for our freedom from Spain.

Postcard Perfect 026: Museu do Ipiranga

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Ahhhh… São Paulo!  The sizzling São Paulo.
It is the largest city not only in Brazil but also in the western and southern hemispheres and home to the world’s 8th largest population. São Paulo is the business and industrial heart of the country and most popular for its large helicopter fleet and multitude of skyscrapers!

But away from the bustling and maddening metropolitan area is the Museu do Ipiranga (also known as Museu do Paulista), the oldest museum in São Paulo and an oasis of green that  provides a totally different feel.

Sao Paulo Museu do Ipiranga

             BR – 87759
Postmark 21 DEC 2009
Centro Commerciale, Barueri
The museum grounds has lush, well-manicured gardens, a spectacular fountain, and  a museum building with a Neo-classical architectural style. It was constructed in the 19th century right exactly where Brazil’s independence was declared by Don Pedro I of Portugal. The front lawn looks spectacular indeed and the ground is wide and beautiful. It reminds me of a venue for equestrian competitions that I used to watch on TV. I can imagine strong horses and their snappy riders in crisp uniform and matching helmets. But I digress.

The museum displays Brazil’s history through its vast collections of  documents, furniture, and historically important pieces of art, especially from the Brazilian Empire era.

Postcard Perfect 010: Enticing Estonia

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Today’s postcard is from…

 

… Estonia.

It was once a part of the Soviet Union, today, it is a member of the European Union and is officially known as the Republic of Estonia. It is the least populous member of the EU as well. Located on the Baltic region of Northern Europe, it is surrounded by its neigbouring countries of Finland, Sweden, Russia, and Latvia.

Its capital Talinn, is also its largest city. It is one of the few remaining walled cities of Europe and attracts visitors every year.

Its official language is Estonian which are quite similar to the Finns as Estonians are closely related to the Finns.

The country side and the islands, as you can see in the postcard, have breath-taking views and offers unique ethnic characteristics.

The stamps used were fantastic!

The one on the right is a definitive stamp issued in 1993 depicting friendship and love – oh, I am swooning! How cute is that to have stamps devoted to love and friendship? This particular issue was identical to the design simultaneously issued by the Finnish Postal Service. The Finns and the Estonians descend from the same forebears, and they have a close linquistic affinity.With just the narrow Gulf of Finland separating Estonia and Finland, there have always been lively contacts between the two nations.

The second stamp used, on the right, is a joint-issue with Chile. Incidentally, I love joint-issues and flag-on-stamps so this stamp is a double-whammer for me! Estonia and Chile, countries situated in different parts of the world, both have connections with Antarctica, a continent lying at a great distance from Estonia but relatively close to Chile. According to Eesti Postal Service:

In 1819-21 Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, a Russian seafarer born in Estonia, became the first seafarer to circumnavigate the southern continent, coming to within 20 miles of its land mass. Since 1957 until quite recently Estonian scientists and logistic personnel have taken part in international research of Antractica. In 1995 the Estonian research vessel Livonia visited the southern continent. One of the two stamps features the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri). Standing 90 – 120 cm high and with a mass of 20 kilograms, it is the biggest of the 17 species of penguins known to science. The emperor penguin nests in the coldest period of the Antarctic winter in colds of -60ºC. The male bird hatches the only egg for 62-64 days.

So there you go…
P.S. I love the new Postcard Perfect badge. It’s a product of MommyWilla’s creative mind and skills. You’re awesome!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sent by Tarcisio
Dated 11 Dec 2008

A busy business district of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil and South America, second only to Sao Paolo, and the third largest metropolitan area in South America, behind Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. Rio de Janeiro is famous for its natural settings, its Carnival celebrations, samba and other music, and hotel-lined tourist beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

I am imagining Rio de Janeiro as similar to New York City — big and diverse — but only surrounded by beautiful beaches. Rio is a city with more than 12million people all squeezed into a strip of narrow land.

And, standing on top of the Corcovado mountain, is the new world wonder, 120 ft. tall statue of Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, and overlooking the city of Rio Janeiro.

Unfortunately, the Cambodian Post Office staff ruined, again, an otherwise beautiful set of stamps.