I’d taught a lesson at ECC last night and didn’t return home until after 10:00 PM. As I walked into the guesthouse lobby, the girl at the desk handed me this attractive envelope covered in stamps:
Now this is the kind of mail I love to see! Inside was postcard #JP-434197 (that’s the Postcrossing ID number; each time an address is requested it is assigned a unique number to write on the postcard which is the only way to register/track the cards). It was postmarked 12 August in Ichinomiya, a city in the northwest part of Aichi Prefecture in central Japan. It took just one week to travel 4,962 km (3,083 miles).
The card pictures Mt. Hiei Drive Way, a toll road which runs along the ridgeline of Mount Hiei and lies between the cities of Kyoto and Otsu. The highest of the two peaks rises 848 meters (2794 feet).
The sender, Koshichi, wrote that the temperature has been around 40 degrees Celsius each day. That’s about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, heat that seemed common when I lived in Kansas and New Mexico but that I would never associate with Japan. It does get that hot a few times each year in Phuket (mid-30’s are more common); the Thais seem to bear it just fine and us expats seem to sweat just a little bit more! Koshichi has a nice photo blog which shows his Postcrossing postcards and the stamps they arrived with.
Arriving to work at PTA this afternoon, I found out that two more of the first batch of cards I sent (all to Russia) had finally arrived – twenty-two days following their mailing on 29 July (I’d also sent myself a postcard at the time; that one took nine days to travel the two kilometers or so from the Phuket Town post office).
The first of these – TH-141630 – featured a photo of “local life” at Rawai Beach here on Phuket. This was the first of our island’s “tourist” beaches as residents would often drive the 17 kilometers from Phuket Town to picnic under Rawai’s massive casuarina trees rather than brave the difficult journey over the hills to the west coast. Sadly, many of these trees have been felled in recent years and the adjacent Sea Gypsy (Chao Le) village is also on the decline, both victims of the current uncontrolled development and corruption.
This postcard travelled 7,484 km (4,650 miles) to Moscow and Olga wrote the following message upon receiving it:
Thank you for the wonderful card!
Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Thailand …
I also love to travel, love Scandinavia! But in Cambodia, Angkor Wat I also want to visit, especially after the charity concert band looked Placebo they played there. Thank you and good luck! Olga. Moscow.”
Last up for today is TH-141633, sent to Saint Petersburg — 8,040 km (4,996 miles) away from Phuket. The card shows a longtail fishing boat (ruea hong lau pla) at Phuket’s Bangtao Beach on the west coast north of Patong. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the area was dotted with tin mines; these now are full of water and have been incorporated into “lakes” for resorts, such as the high-end Laguna complex. This is where the Thai royal family plus business and entertainment heavy-hitters like to stay when they visit the island. Bangtao is one of Phuket’s longest strips of sandy beaches, the northern end still contains the old fishing village and there are a number of Muslim communities in the area of the town called Cherng Talay.
“TaisAthenian” wrote this message upon registering her card:
“Dear Mark, thank you for Card! I agree with you – waves are best partner for lunch!
Have a nice lunches)))”
With three cards now “received”, they have traveled a total of 22,126 km (13,748 miles). There are two more still “traveling” – one to Moscow and the other to Omsk in southwestern Siberia. Hopefully, those will arrive and be registered soon. And, hopefully, I’ll receive a few more cards of my own. Once I do, I’ll request another batch of addresses. Starting off slowly…