Toons & Travelogues: Sent to China, Malaysia, Spain, & the U.S.

First, a couple of Postcrossing Forum sends!  I saw the Tom & Jerry card in the favorites of a ‘crosser in Madrid, Spain, so off this goes.


The Giant Pacific Octopus card went off in a Marine Life & Sea Creatures tag, to a recipient in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

postcard a Pismo Beach butterflies

Butterflies!  There are a lot of monarch butterfly groves along the California coast, resting places where these guys stop on their winter trip to Mexico.  The one in Pismo Beach is my favorite, because it’s super-concentrated: a lot of butterflies, quite close–and docents there to provide binoculars & telescopes!  Check it out.  This one headed out in a regular Postcrossing draw, and will end up with a high schooler in Quzhou, Zhejiang, China.  She really wanted to know good places to visit, so I told her to seek out butterfly groves.

Speaking of beautiful places to visit in California, we have these two scenes from the northern coast:


The cards went out to Lacey, Washington & DeFuniak Springs, Florida, for a swap-bot “The Book I’m Reading Right Now” trade.  The book I’m reading right now:

Saving a sexier island-neil cover (Final).indd

Saving a Sexier Island, by Neil Humphreys.  It kept me busy on a couple of long flights lately!  Actually, I have since misplaced the book.  One sure way to find it: buy a new copy!  Speaking of losing nice things, in this book, Humphreys–English born & raised, but living in Singapore for many years now–explores some of the overlooked & threatened treasures in his adoptive home, and humorously sings their praises.  I recommend his series of “sexy island” books, I’ve learned a lot & laughed a lot!

Okay, check out those backsides now!





Books take you places. So do buses & boats! Received from England, Hong Kong and Malaysia

An interesting one in here–a bus-in-bag!  Read on.


The “create your own story” card was sent to me from just outside Manchester, England, for a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade.  The sender tells me she is “currently engrossed in the ‘Star-Crossed‘ series by Rachel Higginson…fabulous book and very well written. Full of action and emotion.”

The big red bus (“Chinese zodiac bus-Year of the Pig 2007”) was from a Postcrossing Forum “Hong Kong to the World” tag (I sent a card to HK, and then someone from HK sent a card to me). What is very interesting is that this card came to me in a neat plastic bag.  I flipped it over, expecting somehow to see the stamp & postmark on top of the bag, but, no–it was all on the card, inside the bag!  I had to ask what that was all about, so I contacted the sender:

“I’m very interested in the plastic bag: do you mail it in the bag, & someone at the post office takes it out to cancel the stamp? Or perhaps you take it to the post office personally to be hand-canceled before you bag it? I need to know!”

The sender responded:

“I just finished all and put the postcard in the bag,HK postman are very friendly dont canceled my bag ,but I try do it in China not successiful ,only HK can ,ha ha !!”

Have you ever received a card in a bag–or sent one?  I am still pretty fascinated!

The Thailand card, depicting the floating market in Rajburi (“a trading place for small sampans with fruits and vegetable from outlaying area,” according to the caption) came to me from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, part of a swap-bot “not my country” postcard exchange.  The sender says she recently made her second visit to Bangkok:

“I’ve always liked the atmosphere and the people there. The stuff and food are cheap, there are just too many things to offer.  The weather is really humid, though.”

Stamps & stuff; I really like the Malaysian stamps, and the Snoopy tape on the Hong Kong card.


Received from Canada and the United States

Three different swap-bot trades:


The dolphin card was sent to me from someone in North Carolina in a “read in March” exchange, and she tells me her best recent read was The Martian by Andy Weir:

“I knew nothing else about the book going into it, other than it’s very popular.  It was so good, I ended up staying up all night listening to it because I couldn’t turn it off.  It was fantastic!”

Makes me want to check it out!

The scene from Finding Nemo was sent from a swapper in Ontario, Canada. It was part of a book lovers’ swap, but I cannot share her list of favorite books with you, as the washi tape affixing it to the postcard tore off the text.  It did spare the message underneath telling me in part that she lives near the Great Lakes, a beautiful area but with long winters–but she loves winter.

Those frogs, with their disgusting habits, made their way to me from someplace in the United States, from a retired nurse!  I see on her profile that her favorite-ever author is Dr. Seuss, but this was a “creatures great and small trade” rather than one focused on reading.  In lieu of a message, she leaves me with this unattributed quote:

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Received from the United States

Both of these are from swap-bot trades…


The stamps are for a homemade “stampcard” trade (mine is here), and this comes to me from Oregon.  My very favorite is the guava!  The sender tells me, “I’ve never been outside of the United States, but I get a little thrill with each international letter I get.”

The bookshelves came my way from Alabama, part of a “book read in March” swap.  The sender recommends Submerged by Dani Pettrey: “This is the 1st in the Alaskan Courage series & is a nice balance of inspiration, fiction, & romantic suspense also including some historical info re: Russia & Alaska.  I will read more in this series.”

Sent to the United States

Two going out in a swap-bot “read in March” trade.


I told both recipients about a book I finished in March: Return to a Sexy Island, by Neil Humphreys.  I described that book earlier, in a previous post.

“The Puffin Puzzle Book” card is on its way to Cary, North Carolina.  My big box ‘o children’s book cover postcards, as I call it, is not all that far from used up.  When I started on swap-bot and Postcrossing just 8 months ago, they were all I had!  Don’t believe me?  Just head to the beginning of my blog.  When the cards were still numerous, I was able to find some component of each cover to match most users’ wish lists.  For today, a book cover postcard is a natural choice for a book-themed trade.

The Jetoy kitty on the toilet card is bound for Oregon City, Oregon.  I’m still dealing with the odd vertical orientation of these Jetoy cards, as I described earlier–I told this card’s recipient I hope the post office machine doesn’t cancel her address!

Do you send Jetoy cards, or any other oddly-oriented cards?  Do you go with the flow, as dictated by the card’s printer–or do you somehow force it into standard post office-dictated format?  I’m really considering doing some flipping on future sends, plus a slapping-on of an address overlay to overcome this situation.  When these first 3 cards I’ve sent reach their destinations–IF these first 3 cards I’ve sent reach their destinations–I will breathe a bit easier.

Sent to Israel and the United States

I bought a small load of Jetoy cards a month or so ago; today, I sent out my first two, as a part of a swap-bot trade.


I like the hula-hula cat best.

These cards are have a different layout than cards here in the U.S.: the orientation is vertical, with a place for the stamp on the left-hand side.  I’m afraid the post office will have a fit!  I would ignore this design, but for the fact that doing so would result in dark vertical lines through my writing.

This was a “book lovers” trade, in which one option was to list the last five books we read.  Here are mine (not necessarily in order):

1) Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi

2) Desert Exile, by Yoshiko Uchida

3) Coyote, by Linda Barnes

4) The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang

5) Return to a Sexy Island, by Neil Humphries

Oceanside, California is the destination of the top card, to a swap-botter who says she is a huge reader, and even remembers being a small child reading side-by-side with her mother (each with her own book) on the family couch.

The coconut kitty under the palm is headed for Ramat Gan, Israel, to a trader I have been matched with several times.  Her list of favorite books includes two each by Neil Gaiman and Jane Austen.

I got a little more interesting than usual with the stamps:

2015-04-10 07.05.56 2015-04-10 07.06.12


Received from Russia & the United States

A pair of cards worth reading!


The reading dog is a Postcrossing arrival from Novosibirsk, Russia.  This sender thrills me not just by sending a fun card, but actually squeezing in a long, friendly note of substance on the back!

“…I’m from the heart of Siberia–city of Novosibirsk.  I’m pretty interested in your hobbies–they are curious and funny. 🙂  I love reading and I already put the book you mentioned into my ‘must read’ books list.  I also love exotic food, especially Chinese and Indian since I spent one year in China, can say I know a lot about its cuisine. I’ve chosen this funny reading dog for you.  Enjoy it!…”

On the topic of reading, the second card, the card depicting Sikandra, near Agra, is from a swap-bot member in Virginia.  The trade topic had to do with what we read in February, and she recommended Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck:

“It had me spellbound, an insight to a harsh land and people trying to survive it in 1717 Swedish Lapland.  It felt so real.  One of my favorites so far this year.”

Received from Belarus, Finland, Indonesia, Netherlands, and the United States

Whoa–came home yesterday to find a mailbox loaded with SIX postcards!


When it comes to high-quality postcards, there is just no beating a kitty on the toilet.

The huge snowy postcard comes to me from Finland, via Postcrossing.  The sender tells me,

“Last weekend I visited in Koli National Park.  There is a small hotel and spa.  It was amazing experience to go into a pool (with warm water) outside, temperature was about -10C, dark sky with stars over us, trees covered with snow and so quiet around.  Next morning I saw the most beautiful sunrise through hotel window.  If you ever come to Finland, this could be something you’d like to see.”

I told her that if I ever get to visit Finland, I hope it will be during the warm season!  She lost me at -10C.

The “Smile” card is also a Postcrossing arrival, this one from Netherlands.  The sender tells me that she, her husband, and their three boys like to ride on their old Italian motorcycles.

Kitty on the toilet!  That one came to me from Bekasi, Indonesia, and I was expecting it.  It was a direct trade through Postcrossing Forums–my very first–which I mentioned earlier.  This is a great card on both sides!  Just look at this fun art, the wonderful handwriting, and the tasty food recommendations:


I love foods from Malaysia & Singapore, and many of those have Indonesian roots, so of course I look forward to the opportunity to visit Indonesia sometime.  In the meantime, I think I will try making some of those dishes at home.

The card with the food on front–more Postcrossing–is from Minsk, Belarus.  The sender tells me,

“I like to read books and learn languages.  We have no sea in our country and every summer we try to go to the seaside.”

I was just at the sea yesterday–and my dog was IN it.  Bath day today!

More on reading: the book-cover postcard came my way from Portland, Oregon, part of a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade:

“I’m currently reading What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe.  He’s a blogger for the comic  It’s a fun read, especially when I only have a few minutes.”

Finally–more reading-related stuff–it’s the Free Comic Book Day postcard!  Not from Postcrossing or swap-bot, but directly from my local comic book retailer in Milpitas, California!  Free Comic Book Day is awesome.  It’s a day when you get free comic books.  Have you ever taken part? This year it falls on Saturday, May 2.  Don’t miss out!

Stamps!  I think that tree stamp from Finland may be just about my favorite postage stamp ever.

Received from Poland, Russia, Taiwan, and the United States

A big, accumulated batch, received through both Postcrossing and swap-bot.  Working clock-wise from the top left:


I think I like the doors the best, how about you?

The first card came to me from Russia, having traveled 5,978 miles in 35 days to get to me.  The sender tells me this painting is the work of Alexander Yurkov, who painted using materials such as “withered fallen leaves and grass.”  What an interesting experience it would be to try doing that!

Next comes a swap-bot “read in February” trade, postmarked from Hartford, Connecticut.  The sender read a book called Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles into the Darkness, by Neil Swidey.  What a mouthful.  My correspondent tells me that the book “is a riveting read, despite being filed under ‘Sewage Disposal Plants > Accidents > Massachusetts’ at the library.”  Hmm!

The Taiwan postcard is from Taiwan.  It took 16 days to travel 6,465 miles to reach me, and is from an 11-year-old girl who says she likes to eat watermelon.  I do, too!  I do wonder if perhaps there should be a “Postcrossing Junior” to make sure that young people, who do deserve to participate in what can be a fun & educational hobby, are safe from any possible creeps out there.

Finally come the doors.  It was a 13-day trip over 5,846 miles to get to me from Warsaw, Poland.  On her profile, this Postcrosser tells the world,

“I work as a tourleader all around the world…usually, you can find me in Asia, a place I like most of all.”

Yes, I am pretty darned jealous right about now!  On the postcard, she tells me, “I love to eat and visit places through their cuisine.  And I also love Asian food!”

Some stamps…


Sent to Belarus and the United States


The book cover–from my dwindling box-full-‘o’-book-cover-postcards–is part of a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade, and goes to Morrilton, Arkansas.  The card’s recipient is a teacher who says she would love to be able to make a living reading.  She belongs to a book group, and I assume is one of those book-club people who actually reads the book!  She leans toward Stephen King & fantasy books, and if there’s any genre she dislikes, it would be self-help.  Yeah, those are a waste of paper & brain space!

I’m telling my swap partner about the book I am just wrapping up, Return to a Sexy Island: Notes from a New Singapore by Neil Humphreys.  Humphreys is a Brit who lived for several years in Singapore, and wrote witty accounts of the culture shock awaiting an outsider settling into life in that island nation.  When I visited Singapore some time ago, I bought an omnibus edition of his three books full of island ruminations, and I really enjoyed his writings–and perhaps despite his best efforts, learned something from them!  Humphreys and his family moved to Australia for a time, but in this new book, he is back in Singapore, exploring anew & sharing his thoughts on the country’s “sexy” changes.  I want to read more of his writing, Singapore-related or not–and now I have learned he has just published a new book, a crime thriller called Marina Bay Sins!  A very funny title, by the way, and I am so there.

The card on the right goes to Kobrin, Belarus, to a Postcrosser who says she loves traveling, crafts and photography.  She suggested people look to her favorites to help decide what postcard to send her.  I looked & saw several animal cards, and so I decided to send her one of my favorite animals, the sea otter.  By the way, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a live Sea Otter Cam, and the sound turns on whenever they do a public feeding.  I watched for a time yesterday, and after the afternoon feeding I saw one of the four resident otters settle into a wheelbarrow full of ice!