Triple Delight: Sent to Indonesia, Russia, & Singapore

Two new Postcrossing draws this time, plus a private send!

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The Boca packaging goes to my postcard pal in Bekasi Utara, Indonesia, who likes food package postcards.  For her album, she requests that the cards be cut to 10 x 15 centimeters.  I entered that into my “translate into United States-lish,” and found that she is asking for 4 x 6 -inch cards.  On the back, I told her how we had just marked my favorite holiday: Spring Forward, or the onset of Daylight Savings Time.  I wait throughout the winter, not just for spring, but for the return of the evening sun.  I am delighted!

I’m also delighted to be assigned a Postcrossing card to Singapore, which is where I am sending that rabbit card (the recipient loves rabbits, so I was happy to have this card to send her).  I really enjoyed the time I spent in her country a few years back: warm weather, tropical beauty, and delicious food!  I hope to return sooner, rather than later.  The Postcrosser said she enjoyed quotes/sayings from the senders’ countries, so I shared with her one of my favorite quotations:

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”   — Groucho Marx

One final delight is the profile of the Postcrosser from Zhukovskiy, Russia I was assigned.  She should get a prize: in nearly 20 lines of profile, she doesn’t say one single word about postcards!  The profile is all profile: she likes kayaking, traveling, Japanese literature…  Now, she’s been on the site less than 2 full months, so she is probably still naive like I was.   Since she is a kayaker, I sent her a card depicting some beautiful marine mammals, any of which one might see during a kayak ride off  the California coast.

 

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Wet & Dry (but not in that order): Received from Russia & the United States

It’s another chunk of cardboard!

I love these swap-bot trades, where any cardboard can be turned into a postcard.  This big chunk from Saint Paul, Minnesota–I don’t know what it’s fashioned from, exactly–it’s apparently the box for a towel made of non-woven fabric.

The sender writes:

“What are you reading lately?  I am working my way thru John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee series, and also John Sandford.  Yesterday I started Guns, Germs and Steel.  It’s long, and I’m hoping it’s not too dry.”

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The ocean postcard comes from a Postcrosser in Moscow, Russia, who writes:

“Greetings from Russia with the wishes of good luck, joy, happiness.  I like to travel the world, taking pictures of sights.  I like painting, especially the marine pictures.  The postcard–Black Sea–Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky, picture.  Your photos are super!!!  You’re professional!!!

“‘We all have time to expend on what is essential to our nature.’ –Thornton Wilder”

Stamps & postmarks:

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What Does One Say to the Person Who Says NOTHING? Received from Germany

From a Postcrosser in Berlin, Germany, a Postcrosser who calls himself a writer, one who shares his work on stage; a Postcrosser who has been using the site for over 5 years, and has sent out nearly 6,000 postcards:

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“Best wishes from Berlin in Germany.  Happy Postcrossing.”

I would call that message lazy, but it’s just not.  Sloppy, sure, but lazy?  NO.  There was the strategic intent to write as little as possible, by using the strategy of turning the card at an angle.  Upright orientation?  Plenty of room to squeeze in an extra sentence or five.  Sideways orientation?  Possibly, arguably, room for even MORE writing!  THIS fella, though–he put great effort into fitting NOTHING into his card!

I must assume he is in Postcrossing only to amass the largest collection of postcards possible, and in no way to accrue inspiration for his writing, let alone his life & spirit in general.  Well, maybe he is in it to acquire inspiration–but not to spread any.

I, as a person who did NOT join Postcrossing in order to collect postcards, am left without inspiration of any kind.

Well, I suppose there was the inspiration to pound out this rant.

The Stamp that was Torn, & the Stamp that Never Existed: Received from Chile, Netherlands, Poland, & Russia

There’s a photo of the cards’ fronts down below, but let’s start with the stamps (or lack thereof), because I think this batch of postcards has a couple of interesting stories to tell.  First, look at the section of card at the very top, a card I received from a Postcrosser in Poznań, Poland:

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Did you see what you didn’t see?  I didn’t even notice what I didn’t notice at first, and then I noticed it: there was no stamp!  There’s space where a stamp might’ve been, but all of my holding up to a light & staring showed no signs of stamp glue, and then I realized there was no postmark, either.  I couldn’t figure it out, so in my registration message, I let the sender know:

“Hi…, thank you for the beautiful mooncake postcard! I only just noticed that there is no stamp–or postmark! Very interesting, & puzzling–but I’m sure glad it made it to me. Thanks again!”

Soon enough, I received this response from her:

“Hi! Sorry that there wasn’t any stamp on the card. I didn’t send it via Poczta Polska – the national Polish post office but a website (napiszkartke.pl) which sends all the postcards from Germany. As they send a lot of them, they don’t get stamps – I think it would take a lot of time to put them on every postcard. I hadn’t known it before I sent the cards – it’s the first time I’ve ever used the website. Sorry once more, I hope you understand.”

Well, she didn’t need to apologize.  Anyhow, I just visited that site, and from what I can tell, trying to decipher Google’s poor autotranslation, is that you may type in a message to be written by someone at the company on one of their cards, or you can send your cards to them, to be remailed to the recipients.  I think my correspondent did the latter.  What do you think of all of this?  Received a card from a mailing service?  Used a service to send a card?  In any case, here was her message to me on the card:

“…I’m 20 years old.  I live in Poland where I study Danish and English at university.  I wanted to send you a card with a beach as you love them but unfortunately I’d run out of them.  So I decided to choose a card showing Chinese food.  I hope you like it!”

I do.

Okay, one more stamp story, a very, very sad one.  Look back up to the image, right below the missing stamp & to the right is a colorful shred of a stamp.  The card (which shows London’s Tower Bridge on the front) came via a swap-bot “I’ve been here” trade, from a sender in La Sirena, Chile.  I was very excited, because 1) I think this is my first card from Chile; and 2) I could see a Condorito stamp peeking out from behind a postal service sticker that had been slapped on the card. In taking Spanish courses & trying to improve my language skills, I’ve purchased several copies of this comic book.  I was excited to be about to get to see this character again!  I carefully peeled at the postal sticker, and–it absolutely took the stamp along with it.  Dagnab!  Why does a country’s postal service go to the effort to design & sell special stamps, if the people receiving the mail will never get to enjoy those stamps?  Depressing.  Well, here’s what I should have seen.

Oof, I nearly forgot to read the back of the card to you!  The sender writes:

“Last year…I did an Eurotrip.  My cousin took me to eat crepes, and it was so cool to see how they prepared them.  I took so many pictures that a guy was making fun of me, because I was ‘so tourist.'”

I am “so tourist,” myself!

Okay, those were my stamp stories.  Moving on, the card with a cartoon cat on the back as well as the front came from a Postcrosser in Tosno, Russia, by way of a “USA to Any Country” tag trade in the forums.  It actually does have a big, colorful, delicious food stamp.  The sender tells me:

“…I watched a film in which the main character moved to a coastal city.  I always wonder how people live in coastal cities…what is their life like?  I mean cities with warm climates like in California…”

Since her climate, a couple hours away from the Baltic Sea, is, as she puts it, “rather cold,” she’d probably want to slap me if I told her I am cold here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Finally, from Groningen, Netherlands, via Postcrossing, comes the card that says, “Retro lekker hip.”  The sender’s message:

“Happy Postcrossing from Groningen!  A stunning (as I say it myself) city in the north of the Netherlands.  The text on the card says something like: ‘Retro: delicious/fantastic etc. hot/hip/modern.”

I have no idea what is going on.

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Gel Pens on a Deep, Bright-Red Background: Received from China, Germany, Netherlands, & the U.S.

A handful of various cards I received & scanned some time ago, but have forgotten to post…

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That card made from a cereal box comes from a swap-bot member in Hamburg, Germany, thanks to my beloved chunk-of-cardboard trade for postcards made from chunks of cardboard.  The sender writes that this is from one of his favorite cereals:

“It’s called ‘Toppas’ and is made by Kellogg’s.  Do they have it in the U.S. as well or is it a German/European thing?  It’s similar to UK Shredded Wheat Bitesize but filled with chocolate.” 

I wonder whether he went in for the free bowl with built-in straw.

That squirrel-and-sprinkles card is another “chunk.”  The sender is somewhere near Zwijendrecht, Netherlands, and tells me:

“This is very small pieces of chocolate that you can put on your slice of bread.  Not only eaten by children.  On the back side of the package there are some puzzles.”

In my thank you message to her, I said that I see products like this in the European aisle of my local Asian supermarkets.  She was shocked–shocked–that toast sprinkles are not a “thing” here in the states.  I will say as many times as I’ve seen these things at the 99 Ranch 99, I have never been tempted to try them.

The mountains are more swap-bot, this time for a trade entitled, “I wish I was where?”  The scene is Mount Katahdin in Maine, and the swapper lives somewhere in Maine.  She writes:

“This is one of my favorite places in the whole world!  …I have climbed Mt. Katahdin 6 times.  We are planning a hike this summer!”

Candied cherries.  Yes, it’s a chunk, but we are on to Postcrossing Forums now, for a Food Package Postcard tag trade.  The sender lives in Xiamen,China.  Props to the postal workers across the word who managed to get this to me, because she wrote & addressed it with colored gel pens on a deep, bright-red background, and I am straining my eyes like crazy to read it!  Here’s what she says about the package itself:

“This is chocolate from Ukraine because our technical instruct is from Ukraine.  This is a gift from him.  Hope you like it.”

Finally, from Beijing, China, comes this batch’s only regular Postcrossing card.  I have no idea what’s going on, because no English description, and the sender only writes, “Hello, Greetings from Beijing China,” with the date and his name.  I assumed he was a brand-new user, until I saw on his profile that he has been Postcrossing for about 4 years, and has sent out 785 postcards.  In case you have never read my opinions about this kind of thing here before, I will stick to the tl/dr version for now: I AM NOT IMPRESSED.

Lots of nice things to see down in the stamp zone:

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FOOOOOD! Received from Belarus, China, & the U.S.

I tend to receive a lot of food-related cards.  Here are three of the most recent!

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That big, happy burger card was fashioned from the cover of a pad of stickers, and it comes from a swap-bot member in Trenton, New Jersey as part of a chunk of cardboard recycled content postcard trade.  When you look at the other photo, you’ll see one of the stickers.  The sender of this card tells me, “my husband & I have a large toy museum in storage until we can find a suitable, affordable location!”  I can’t wait to see that!

The other two cards are regular Postcrossing incomings.  The babka is from Minsk, Belarus, and the sender tells me:

“People say that Belarussians are very calm and hospitable.  We like guests.  That’s why we have our own cuisine.  Our most famous dish draniki, but this one may be even more tasty.  Hope you can cook it.”

And now for something I really like!  From Hefei, China comes that wonderful assortment of xiaolong bao, soup, and more.  The card’s sender tells me:

“I’m a food enthusiast.  Do you know one food that a stick of sugar-coated haws?  It is very delicious.  Next Monday is our Lantern Festival.  I will enjoy sweet dumplings.”

I have never had sugar-coated haws, have you?  I’ve certainly had draniki, and made it it many times myself (though I know it by a different name).  What’s your favorite food from today’s post?  I’m calling XLB!

Stamps, stickers, & postmarks:

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Let Me Say Something at This Point: Sent to Italy & Poland

I logged into Postcrossing, & I clicked twice more on “send a postcard!”

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The “Building a House” card goes to someone in Zagajnik, Poland (about 5,779 miles away from me) who says that she enjoys reading (as well as writing, traveling, & spending time with her friends).  Now, just about a handful of cards remain in my big box o’ book-cover postcards which were just about all I was working with when I began Postcrossing about a year and a half ago.

Let me say something at this point: since this recipient didn’t state any preferences as to what card she might like to receive, I took a little tour through my stash, and reached hopefully for THE DISAPPOINTASSORTMENT.  I went through every single remaining card–and there are a ton left–twice, and didn’t come close to finding something nice to send, but I did, even firmer than before, decide I hate the disappointassortment.  Sooo many cards I would just feel bad about sending someone.  That was just a really bad purchase, and that’s that.

Back to more pleasant topics: the other postcard going out today on a trip of 6,023 miles, to fair Verona, Italy.  The Postcrosser is a school secretary who says collecting & swapping postcards is her main hobby.  She’s been on the site for more than 3 years, and in that time has sent out more than 350 postcards. Her interests for topics included interesting places from our country, castles, and fairies, so I thought a scene from Children’s Fairyland, the original fairy tale theme park, would be just the thing!

I just came up with more rant about the disappointassortment, but I’ll save it.  I would love to hear about your bad purchases, though, so please share.

Castle/Snoopy: Sent to China & Japan

Two on their way in Postcrossing Forum tags:

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The Hearst Castle card is off in a “USA-Asia” trade to a Postcrosser in Wuhan, China, who says she is interested in postcards depicting famous places from their senders’ countries.

The other card goes out in the rarely-clicked-upon Snoopy/Peanuts tag trade, and it’s headed to a recipient in Tokyo, Japan, who says she loves Snoopy so much, she’s got a stuffed Snoopy that’s been with her for over 20 years, and she is looking to amass a collection of Snoopy postcards from all over the world.  Well, I made that card as Snoopy-stuffed as I could.  Between the front of the card & the back (see below), I count 11 images of Snoopy!  Hope she likes it.  She also tagged me in the thread, so I should be getting (another) cool Snoopy card from Japan at some point!

Stamps, stickers, & washi tape:

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California Coastal Madness: Sent to Canada & Belarus

I clicked on “Send a Postcard” on Postcrossing two more times!

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The Hearst Castle card goes to Minsk, Belarus, and the tiger below Morro Rock goes to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The two locales depicted in these postcards are a mere 35 minutes apart, along the Central California Coast.  Hearst Castle, the project of millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst (with super architect Julia Morgan’s artistry), hosted many movie stars of the 1920s-40s.  Now, it’s a state park offering several different tours–and I have been on them many times.  Hearst even had a personal zoo up there in the hills above the San Simeon coast, and though he is long gone, if you are driving along the Pacific Coast Highway near the site, you may very well see herds of zebras grazing in the hills, not far from cattle!

Zebras San Simeon 2012

Meanwhile, down south on the coast in Morro Bay, you will likely see otters, sea lions, & seals–but tigers are a rare sight.  This one reached the sand bar by kayak, and was floated back out again.  “Take only photos, leave only footprints,” after all.

Please Help Me Identify This Fruit! 3 from Indonesia

Wow–3 cards from Indonesia this week, and 2 of them in one day!

One is via regular Postcrossing card, another a Postcrossing Forum USA-Asia tag, and a third is a direct send that originated through the forums.

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Let’s start with that fruit, though, okay?  It came from my new postcard pal in Bekasi (near Jakarta), and she says of the fruit, “we call it buah tinah here.  I don’t know its name in English or in Latin. That fruit is small and very sweet.”

I had very bad luck in my web searches trying to find this fruit, or a photo of it.  I tried several different variations on the name & where it grows, and at one point I ended up with an entire search field full of photos of figs.  CAN YOU HELP ME?  Do YOU know what this is?  I’d really like to know more, and see photos of the inside.

Clearly I need to go to Indonesia so I can try it.

On to the map card.  It’s the regular Postcrossing draw, and it came from an English teacher in Jakarta, who says, “I encourage my students to join Postcrossing so they can practice their English.  I’m hoping to visit USA one day and have a road trip visiting my friends living there.”

Students practicing their English–what a coincidence:  the third card, also from Jakarta, comes from a 15-year-old (who, by the way, has just about the neatest printing I’ve ever seen in my time postcarding) who tells me, “I’m new to Postcrossing and I’m enjoying this activity so much.  This activity of course will help me improve my English skill.”

This made me wonder whether he is a student of the teacher who wrote to me.  In e-correspondence, he said he is not.

He also, on his card, wrote about the hotel depicted: “Preanger Hotel is a luxury hotel for high-class people.  The luxury renowned since Dutch-East Indies colonial era and is still hold its status as the most luxury hotel of its era.” 

I might tell him that “rich” does not equal “high class.”

Stamps, postmarks, & washi tape: three cards from the same country, 7 stamps total–and every single one of them is different!  I love every single one of these stamps.  Isn’t scanning great?  It means we can see all the great detail here, enlarged for ease of viewing.

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I love mynah birds.