I just finished writing four postcards to fellow Postcrossing users. Amazingly enough, these are my first cards of 2014! My last batch – mailed on 12 December 2013 – broke records for slowness with one card to Russia taking 56 days to reach it’s destination. These are the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st postcards I’ve written since rejoining Postcrossing at the end of last July. I’m not exactly a heavy user!
Two of these cards will travel to Europe – Arnsberg, Germany (9, 345 km away) and Lappeenranta, Finland (a distance of 8,183 km). Lappeenranta lies on the shores of Lake Saimaa in south-eastern Finland, about 19 kilometers from the Russian border and has a number of historic sites as well as being a tourist destination for both summer and winter sports. Completely encircled by forest, Arnsberg was first mentioned in Carolingian records way back in 789. Situated in the Ruhr River valley of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was completely destroyed in 1769 during the Seven Years’ War and received heavy bombing during the Second World War.
My sole Asian card will travel 2,321 kilometers to Guangzhou, China – the huge (14 million population) capital of Guangdong Province about 120 km from Hong Kong. First known as Panyu, it became the capital of the Nanyue Kingdom in 206 BC. It was soon considered the most important port in the south of China, a designation it retains to this day. Most Westerners know the city as Canton, a Romanization provided by Portuguese traders when they arrived in the seventeenth century. By the way, stamp and postcard collecting are hugely popular throughout China.
Finally, my fourth card is destined for the U.S. of A. I’d never heard of Grand Island before but it’s the largest island in the Niagara River, not far from Niagara Falls in upstate New York. It’s an amazing 14,362 kilometers from Phuket! The island was inhabited by the Attawandaron tribe when French explorers arrived in the sixteenth century. Following the French and Indian War, the island became part of the British colony. It was purchased by New York State in the early part of the nineteenth century. They paid the Iroquois Nation $1000 at the time and make an annual payment of $500 to this day, paid every June.
I always enjoy finding out about the cities my cards travel to and arrive from! History is a large part of why I enjoy stamp collecting and I really don’t remember which came first: was I interested in stamps first or history first?
I’m often disappointed in the choice of postcards available in the shops near my home. They invariably feature scenes of Phuket and other nearby tourist destinations. While these are nice and show off my lovely home, it can sometimes be difficult to fulfill requests for specific kinds of cards. For example, the Finish member’s profile on Postcrossing states that she most enjoys postcards picturing churches, Bibles, angels, and crosses. None of those are to be found on cards sold in a Buddhist country! I decided to send her a scene of undersea coral as divers often describe it as a religious experience.
The German likes cards showing wild animals. I couldn’t find anything but elephants (all obviously domesticated) but at least the pair on this card were acting “wild” (and “black humor” was another of her interests):
Easier done was the Chinese woman’s request for scenes of my city. It’s a bit of an old view of Phuket Town’s iconic Phang Nga-Phuket Roads intersection featuring the old police station on the left and Thailand’s first foreign-owned bank (currently under restoration as a cultural museum) on the right. Two indicators of the age of this photo are the old-style tuk tuk and the numerous communications cables (these have all since been buried underground). And look at how white the clock tower is!
The final postcard traveling to America fulfills a request for “tourist or unique postcards with interesting stamps.” Laem Promthep is the southern-most point of Phuket and a wonderful spot from which to view the sunset. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike.
The cape was portrayed on two stamps a few years ago. Although the postcard rate for international destinations is 15 baht, I decided to affix both stamps for the complete (and more “interesting” view):
The three other postcards received other stamps in the same series, picturing Ao Rai Le in Krabi, Koh Panyi in Phang Nga, and Koh Hong (also in Krabi).
As an aside, my old scanner – purchased soon after I moved here – recently died. I hope to buy a new around Christmastime so I don’t have to try and take photos of these cards and stamps. Scanning is so much easier and better!
I’ll update this blog when the cards arrive at their destinations. I hope they make it much quicker than 56 days!