Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"To Those Who We Used to Love"

Mirabella Postcards
Postcard UA-574176 arrived today from Ukraine after traveling for 110 days. It is interesting because, according to the sender, the card was from a set named "Postcards for those who we used to love". So, if you were to send a postcard to an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, what kind of card are you going to pick and what will you write on the card?

The author of the card is on Facebook:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Dreamers (2003)

The Dreamers (2003)
I am sending this movie advertising card US-2334372 that I got in 2004 to France. Coincidentally, "the Dreamers" was an American movie about a Californian student Matthew in Paris developing a friendship with a twin French brother Theo and sister Isabelle, with the 1968 Paris student riots "May Revolution" in the background.

The movie has a MPAA Rating of NC-17. You can purchase a copy of DVD from Amazon. Both Jake Gyllenhaal and Leonardo DiCaprio were initially considered for the role of Matthew but both turned it down because Jack's was concerned about the explicit nature of the nude scenes and Leonardo was in pre-production with "the Aviator".

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

MISR Image
Fifty five years ago on this day, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958. It paved the way for NASA to formally start to operate on Oct. 1, 1958. 

This postcard shows a colorful image, from one of the many missions since NASA opened its door for business, of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Beaufort Sea. It was acquired by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer's downward-viewing camera on August 16, 2000. 

The swirling patterns on the Beaufort Sea are small ice floes driven by turbulent water patterns. The Refuge has many arctic and subarctic ecosystems, including coastal lagoons, barrier islands, arctic tundra, and mountainous terrain. has an information piece on "NASA at 55: the Birthing of a Space Agency" by Amy Shira Teitel.

You can learn more about the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer Project at JPL's MISR Project Homepage.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From the Top of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji
Summer is the travel time. A PostCrosser friend traveling to Japan sent me this postcard of Mount Fuji. Located on Honshu Island, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m or 12,388 ft and an active stratovolcano that last erupted on December 16, 1707. It can be seen as far as Tokyo from 100 km away on a clear day.

What was special about this postcard? It was actually mailed from the seasonal FujiSan-Cho Post Office on top of the Mount Fuji. The post office opens 6:00 am to 2:00 pm from July 10 to August 20 every year since 1906.  
Mount Fuji was added to the UNESCO's World Heritage Site on June 22nd, 2013. Notably, the mountain was selected as a “cultural” heritage site rather than a “natural” heritage site. As noted in the declaration, Mount Fuji has “inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries”. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wish You Were There from Hawaii

Memories of Kauai
A postcard of the Salt Pond Beach Park arrived today from a friend of mine traveling in Hawaii. The Salt Pond Beach Park is located on the leeward side of Kauai. Kauai, or any other Hawaii island, is like a ship that has leeward and windward sides. The leeward sides refer to the west and south sides that are usually hot and dry; and the windward sides (the east and north sides) are relatively cooler and wetter. Salt Pond Beach Park has a naturally made, shallow swimming pond behind a curling finger of rocks. The center and western edge of the beach is popular with bodyboarders and bodysurfers. The flat ground to the east of the beach was the last location to produce sea salt in Hawaii.

Friday, July 26, 2013

City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

Vieux Luxembourg
I received my first postcard from Luxembourg today. Postcard LU-17397 shows the old quarters and forts of the City of Luxembourg. The city lies at the heart of Western Europe, located 213 km or 132 mi from Brussels, 372 km or 231 mi from Paris, 209 km or 130 mi from Cologne. Due to the city's strategic location, Luxembourg was one of Europe's greatest fortified sites from 1600's to 1800's during the European power transition from the Holy Roman Emperors, the House of Burgundy, the Habsburgs, the French and Spanish kings, and finally to the Prussians. "City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications" was declared a UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1994.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

World War II B-25J Mitchell "Executive Sweet"

Executive Sweet
Traveling postcard US-2323208 to japan shows the North American B-25J Mitchell 430801 "Executive Sweet", built in Kansas City in 1945, performing at Aviation Nation, Nellis Air Force Base in 2010.

Executive Sweet served the World War II as a crew trainer. It was converted into USAF VB-25J, a VIP transport in 1948. It was upgraded in 1954 and designated as VB-25N by Hayes Aircraft, Inc. After military service at the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas, it was sold as surplus and became a crop sprayer. Next, it was acquired by Hollywood's Filmways Studios in 1968, and used in the movie "Catch-22". The aircraft was placed on sale after completion of the movie production in 1970, It was purchased by Ed Schnepf in 1972 and was restored to a wartime J model. In 1982, the restored bomber was donated to the American Aeronautical Foundation Museum at Camarillo, California.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

Sukhothai, Thailand
Postcard TH-109558 from Thailand, received one year ago on July 24, 2012, shows the Sukhothai Historical Park, 13 km west of the new city of Sukhothai in Northern Thailand. The park has 193 ruins of Sukhothai, the ancient capital city of the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns" along with the historic parks in Kamphaeng Phet and Si Satchanalai on December 12, 1991,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NASA's Earth Observing System in 41 Years

Useful Pursuit of Shadows
Fourty one years ago on July 23, 1972, Landsat 1, the first satellite of the NASA's Earth Observing program, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Modified from the Nimbus 4 meteorological satellite, the near-polar orbiting satellite had been used as a stabilized, Earth-oriented platform for obtaining ground information for agricultural and forestry resources inventory, geologic survey and cartography, mineral resources exploration, hydrology and water resources studies, and environmental monitoring.

NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) has since grown into a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. Its current fleet includes Landsat 7, Landsat 8 and CloutSat.
Image by Jenny Mottar, NASA Headquarters
The postcard shows a painting, titled "Useful Pursuit of Shadows" by Graeme Stephens in 2003, that illustrates the CloudSat taking 3D radar images of clouds from Earth orbit. CloudSat was launched in April 2006 to measure how much liquid water and ice are in the clouds, at what altitudes, and how the clouds to reflect and absorb the Sun's energy.

CloudSat is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA 91109. However, a Google search would turn up its address as: La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. A blog of LA Times explained why.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy
Postcard US-2325230 received today shows one of 20 stamps released by USPS in 2009, featuring 1950's hit television shows. The retro-style stamps, featuring black-and-white images from the shows "Dragnet," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Honeymooners," "I Love Lucy," "Lassie," "The Lone Ranger," "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Perry Mason", were designed by Carl Herrman, an artist from Las Vegas, Nevada.

On the postcard, it shows Lucy and Ethel worked in a chocolate factory. They lost their battle with a chocolate assembly line as the machine was going too fast.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Annisquam Lighthouse in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Annisquam Lighthouse in Gloucester, MA
I received a postcard PL-732364 from Poland a few days ago. Interestingly, it features the historic Annisquam Lighthouse on Wigwam Point in Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA.

The original lighthouse was a 12 m or 40 ft  wooden tower built in 1801. It was replaced by an octagonal wooden tower of the same height in 1851. The current cylindrical brick lighthouse was built in 1897.

The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It is still an active aid to navigation. However, there is no public access. Visitors may view the lighthouse across the Annisquam River from Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester; or from a commercial cruise.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe
In comparison with Lake Baikal, Russia discussed yesterday, Lake Tahoe, located along the border between California and Nevada in the United States, is also a large freshwater lake. At a surface elevation of 1,897 m or 6,225 ft, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. With a depth of  501 m or 1,645 ft, it's the second-deepest lake in the United States. The deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake in Oregon at 593 m or 1,945 ft; and the deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia at 1,642 m or 5,387 ft.

Lake Tahoe is ranked as the 26th by volume in the world at 151 cu km while Lake Baikal is the largest with a volume of 23,600 cu km. Lake Tahoe was formed about 2 million years ago. It is relatively young, compared to Lake Baikal's age at 25 million years.

Although Lake Tahoe is known for its great clarity, the clarity of the lake had been decreasing historically, with the rate of decrease slowing. Furthermore, the lake's clarity has increased from 2011 to 2013. We hope this trend will hold.

Postcard US-2193280 showing Lake Tahoe was received on April 25, 2013.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lake Baikal, Russia

Lake Baikal, Russia
The postcard RU-1836095 received yesterday shows Lake Baikal, a rift lake, in Siberia, Russia. Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world. It is also the deepest (1,642 m or 5,387 ft); the clearest;  and the oldest (25 million years) of all lakes.

Lake Baikal area is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, with 2/3 of those being unique to the region. It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Map of Fiji

Map of the Republic of Fiji
I was assigned a PostCrossing recipient who wish to receive a map of Fiji that is available at Therefore I went ahead to place an order and sent it to Poland as US-2312780. I hope he wouldn't mind it was not mailed from Fiji. Internet commerce allows us to obtain goods that we have to travel there to buy in the past. In the case of postcards, I am sure it's a blessing or a curse. Anyway, I bought it because I like it myself, and it's unlikely I would travel there or get a postcard from Fiji soon. There are only seven PostCrossing users in Fiji.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy 58th Birthday: Disneyland!

The Art of Disney: Imagination Stamped Postal Cards
Disneyland at Anaheim, California first opened on July 17, 1955.  it was built on a 160-acre orange orchard costing $17 million. The original park included Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Over the years, more attractions have been added. Now it grows into two parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. The newest attraction was the Cars Land opened last year with a massive mountain range in the Disney California Adventure Park, inspired by the 2006 Disney-Pixar film "Cars". The admission to Disneyland in 1955 was US$ 1.00. A 1-day one park ticket in 2013 is US$ 92.00.

The postcard US-2032235, sent to Poland and featuring Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie, was from "the Art of Disney: Imagination Stamped Postal Cards" with 27-cent pre-printed stamps. Those stamps are identical to the 42 stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service at Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California, on August 7, 2008.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My First Postcard from Latvia

Discover Latvia
I just recently received my first postcard LV-110886 from Latvia. It shows Latvia's location in the Baltic region of Northern Europe with its national flag. It is surrounded by Estonia to the north; by Russia to the east; by Belarus to the southeast; and by Lithuania to the south. Sweden is located to its west across the Baltic sea. It has 2.07 million people and an area of 64,589 sq km (24,938 sq mi), making it one of the least populous and least densely populated countries of the European Union. The capital of Latvia is Riga.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gangnam Style

One year ago, South Korean K-pop musician Psy released his 18th single "Gangnam Style" (강남스타일) on July 15, 2012 and debuted at number one on South Korea's Gaon Chart. It gained popularity as it became the first Youtube video to surpass a billion viewings on December 21, 2012 and many different individuals and groups made cover videos or parodies and dance mobs attracted thousands of participants around the world. By July 15, 2013, "Gangnam Style" has been viewed over 1,742,800,200 times on YouTube.

The traveling postcard US-2246671 to China shows Santa Claus was dancing to the "Gangnam Style" at the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas on December 1, 2012.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bastille Day

Wooden Postcard from France
I decided to use the postcard FR-237816 to commemorate Bastille Day, the French National Day. The wooden postcard carved with a cute rabbit was received on October 16, 2012 after traveling for 10 days from France.

The French National Day, called La Fête Nationale or Le quatorze juillet in France, is celebrated on July 14 every year. The date was coincidentally with the date when the storming of the Bastille happened. However, July 14 was instead chosen to commemorate the 1790 Fête de la Fédération.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lighthouse in the Summer

Lighthouse in the Summer
The lighthouse shown on this postcard is currently on their summer 2013 display at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas. The 26-foot (8- meter) tall lighthouse with red-and-white stripes has a rotating light. It is surrounded by colorful dancing kites and thousands of fresh flowers.
New England Coastal Lighthouses Forever Stamps
Also today on July 13, 2013, the U.S. Postal Service has issued five new forever stamps celebrating New England Coastal Lighthouses. It features Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Portsmouth Harbor, New Castle, New Hampshire; Point Judith, Narragansett, Rhode Island; New London Harbor, New London, Connecticut; and Boston Harbor, Boston, Massachusetts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lavender Field in Provence, France

Today came a postcard FR-299464 from France. It shows a lavish Lavender field in Provence. Lavender is a genus of about 40 species of flowering plants in the mint family of Lamiaceae. It can be found in southern Europe, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, and southwest Asia. There are a lot Lavender fields in the South of France.

Lavender is grown mainly to produce Lavender oil in culinary and medical uses. There is even a color named after the shade of its flowers. The color transpires romantic feelings that mix love, sadness and hope. I had read several fictions using Lavender fields as backdrops.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Planetary Nebula NGC 7027

Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 by Hubble Telescope
Postcard US-2306802 came today from North Carolina. It shows an image of Planetary Nebula NGC 7027  by Hubble Telescope.

NGC 7027 is one of the visually brightest planetary nebulae, and by far the most extensively studied one. It's very young, only 600 years old; very dense, and unusually small, measuring only 0.2 by 0.1 light-years -- the typical size for a planetary nebula is 1 by 1 light-years.It is located around 3,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. You can learn more about the Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mount Charleston Fire

Baby Coyote 
I bought my postcard to Finland, US-2219302, at the Mount Charleston's Visitor Center on April 28, 2013.  The snow capped the mountain, 37.8 miles or 60 kilometers from my home, is a getaway for ski in the winter and for hiking and camping in the spring, summer and fall. It is also a good place to see plants and animals.

However, the mountain has been on fire for the past 10 days since it was started by thunder strikes on July 1, 2010. The fire is not expected to be under control until July 19.
Mount Charleston Fire Map on July 10, 2013
The smoke from the fire can be seen from my home. The wildfire burned down six structures for the first time   Tuesday night on July 9, 2013. People in the nearby communities are already under evacuation order. Hope those wild animals will have good instinct to escape as well.
Smoke from Mount Charleston Fire on July 9, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from U.N.

A PostCrosser friend traveled to New York City and tried to send me a postcard from the United Nations stamps and post office. However, when I received the card today, the card was sent through a US post office with a USPS stamp. It turns out that a guided tour ticket for visitors is now required to enter the UN Headquarters Visitor Center where the stamps and post office is located starting June 2013. A ticket costs 16 US Dollars; however the tour tickets are NOT sold on the spot.

Another notice from the United Nations Postal Administration says: "As part of the renovation project for the General Assembly Building at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the UNPA Stamp Shop has been relocated to a temporary Visitor's Centre in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library on the south end of the campus. Due to security limitations, visitors are not allowed into the Centre without prior notice of arrival. To schedule a visit to the UNPA Stamp Shop, please call 212-963-7698 or 1-800-234-8672 for access instructions. The updated UNPA Stamp Shop will reopen to unannounced visitors in the Fall of 2014." Send me an email if you have successfully scheduled a visit without paying the guided tour. I will update the information here.

You can still forward your prepared mails to the United Nations Headquarters to be released in the mail streams there by following the steps mentioned in a previous post.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Space Shuttle's Last Launch

Last Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis
It was the end of an era today two years ago when Space Shuttle Atlantis launched for the last time on July 8, 2011. The mission STS-135 marked the 135th and the final mission of the American Space Shuttle Program. Overall, it was the 33rd flight of Atlantis; 37th shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS); 110th post-Challenger disaster shuttle mission; 22nd post-Columbia disaster shuttle mission, and the 100th daytime launch.

I had seen several launches when I lived in Florida, I decided that I had to be there during the final launch. So, I flew in to Tampa from Las Vegas on July 7, 2012 and drove to Cape Canaveral the next morning. A young family in the crowd told me that they were from Oklahoma and also came just for the event.

The postcard was sent to Finland as US-1740602. Thanks to TouchNote's Challenge in May 2013, I got a copy for myself free.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Greetings from Minsk

I love the recently received postcard BY-927451 from Belarus. It shows a part of city Minsk called
Troitskoye Predmestye (Trinity Suburb) in vivid colors. In spite of the name of Suburb, it is Minsk's old town, located in the center of Minsk and was a cultural and economic center about 100 years ago. On the left bottom of the postcard, it says:" Greetings from Minsk" in native Belarusian language.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kızıl Kule, the Red Tower

Yesterday, the post was about the "Red Village", Červená Lhota State Castle in Czech Republic. Today, I received a postcard TR-144061 from Turkey, featuring the battlement of the Kizil Kule ("Red Tower"). The Kızıl Kule a historical tower and symbol of the city in Alanya, Turkey, built in 1226.

Similar to the Červená Lhota State Castle, its name was also derived from the red color bricks used in the construction. The tower is a octagonal structure with 108 ft or 33 m height and 41 ft or 12.5 m width,  It has been used in the design of the city flag of Alanya, and on the back of a Turkish lira banknotes.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Červená Lhota State Castle in Czech Republic

zámku Červená Lhota
I received a postcard CZ-297722 from Czech Republic today. It shows the Renaissance styled Cervena Lhota State Castle that is surrounded by the Deštná Creek with its castle lake. The castle is located on a rock that forms a dam to the creek. It has a square courtyard closed by four wings. An entrance tower locks access road leading through a stone bridge.

Červená Lhota means "Red Village", and the name was changed from the original Nová Lhota ("New Village") in the early 17th century when it obtained a new red brick roof.  The facade of the castle got the same color later. It's a popular tourist destination and filming spot for several movies and television series.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The 4th of July and Thomas Jefferson Memorial

I received a postcard US-2282865 a few days before the Independence Day, 2013, the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It features the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, directly south to the White House, in Washington DC.

Thomas Jefferson, one of the American Founding Fathers, was the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Jefferson believed that each man has "certain inalienable rights". He defines the right of "liberty" by saying, "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others...". A proper government, for Jefferson, is one that not only prohibits individuals in society from infringing on the liberty of other individuals, but also restrains itself from diminishing individual liberty.

Coincidentally, Thomas Jefferson died the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on July 4, 1826

The U.S. Postal Service issued 100 million se-tenant Cherry Blossom Centennial Forever stamps (with one scene across two stamps) on March 24, 2012 showing cherry trees in full-bloom around the Tidal Basin. The Washington Monument on the left and the Jefferson Memorial on the right form the backdrop for the stamps.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

California Volunteers Monument

California Volunteers Monument
My traveling postcard US-2293204 to Russia shows California Volunteers, Spanish-American War Memorial, located at the intersection of Dolores Street and Market Street in San Francisco, CA, USA.

Created by Douglas Tilden in 1903, the monument features Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, riding a Pegasus. It is dedicated to the Californians who fought the Spanish-American War in the Philippines.

The coordinates of the monuments are: 37°46'7"N 122°25'36"W. The photo was taken on June 23, 2012. You can purchase a copy of the postcard at or see what's around the monument at Traveling Luck.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Landscape of Guilin, China

Gaotian, Guilin, China
I received a postcard TW-902006 from Taiwan today. Interestingly, the postcard was of Gaotian, Guilin in China. Guiling, one of China's most popular tourist destinations, has has long been famous for its unique landscape of Karst topography.

The sender has sent another card of Guilin TW-881402 to Belarus with an interesting description: "Red Maple Leaves in Scholar's Waiter Hill'. Upon a little search, I found another card with a similar title from Kun Liu's Postcard Collection. However, I haven't figured out what the "Scholar's Waiter Hill" is. If you happen to know, send me an email. I will post update here when I find out more.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Balancing Men by Cirque du Soleil

Balancing Men
I bought this postcard at a Cirque du Soleil show gift shop. It noted: "Balancing Men: the powerful, yet fluid, movements of the Hand-to-Hand act mesmerize audiences with their fusion of strength and grace". However, we were reminded of the real risk in those unreal acts by the recent accidents.

Last week was a bad week for the Cirque du Soleil shows. First, a cast member was injured at Mandalay Bay during “Michael Jackson One” preview on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The aerial artist was performing the “Stranger in Moscow” routine when he slipped off the slack rope and fell to the stage. Next, on Saturday, June 29, 2013 inside the MGM Grand, performer Sarah Guyard-Guillot in "Ka" died after a 50 feet fall near the end of its 9:30 pm show. Future performances of "Ka" are canceled until further notice.

I went to see "Ka" early last year and Sarah was mostly likely in the show since she had been an original cast member from 2006. I will remember the excitement and determination Sarah and other artists brought to me by taking the risk and turning those seemly impossible acts into reality.