Welcome to my postcards blog!

Direct swaps are welcome! I like postcards of lighthouses, waterfalls, historic architecture, science and scientists, schools and universities, or any other subject featuring your area. I hope you put date, location, weather and temperature on the card and affix multiple different stamps on it. Let me know what your preferences are, and I'll try my best to contribute to your collection.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Giving and Receiving

I started writing this blog post several months ago and became very discouraged when I knew my parents in China couldn't access blogspot. Well, everything has two sides -- maybe I feel more free to write down something I keep from family. Here I present my first post in 2011 and the new year resolution.

This is an advertisement card I got from S., who also sent me the Amsterdam Central Station card. The photo was part of the fashion campaign of a German department store, Peek & Cloppenburg. Besides the beauty of Amsterdam, a city on water, shown on the card, my attention was draw by the pretty and elegant Chinese model, Bonnie Chen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paradise 天堂乐土

Ever since I realized that some of my readers might be very young, I decided not to write anything negative/pessimistic as I did in some of my personal blog. I feel the responsibility that teenagers should be presented a world as beautiful as depicted in postcards. Here, after a few days of delay, for this blog entry, I pick up two cards of Tahquamenon Falls I bought during the trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula last weekend. I think the cards are beautiful although the trip was not. I just don't have the mood to write on the many gorgeous cards I have received recently. Sorry.

Tahquamenon Falls consist of Upper and Lower Falls on the Tahquamenon River. The Upper Falls are earlier to access and more spectacular in all seasons. It's hard to miss the Upper Falls on the trail due to their notably loud sound. After all, they are one of the top waterfalls, if not the second, only after the Niagara Falls, east of the Mississippi River in US. The amber color of the water is neither rust nor muddiness as seen at Hukou Waterfall on Yellow River in China, but caused by "tannin leached from the cedar, spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river". The extensive amounts of foam, which can be even seen in winter, are considered as the "trademark" of the Tahquamenon Falls.

The town where the Tahquamenon Falls are located is called Paradise. What a unique and blessing name! What an opportunity to send postcards with "Paradise" postmarks! I brought with me a dozen of postcards I was supposed to send to fellow postcrossers and bought tens of postcards over Mackinac Bridge, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls State Park. But I didn't mail any. It's probably the first trip I didn't send any postcards, not even to myself. Paradise is too beautiful to be a destination for new graduate students from China during fall break. May the young lives lost on their way to Paradise rest in peace.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Please Vote: Poll of Michigan Map Cards

I have noticed that many postcard collectors like map cards. Me, too, which could be predicted from my childhood favorite toy: a plastic map puzzle. So far, I have had seven versions of Michigan map postcards, and I am eager to know which one of them my readers/swappers/fellow postcrossers like the most and why.


Please VOTE in the following poll and feel free to comment on why you like the design of that map card. There will be a giveaway of the above map cards to at least three people whose comments inspire me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Central Stations 中央车站

Almost all metropolitan cities have a central railway station, which building has likely become a famous landmark in the city. I have been to the central stations in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago and Pittsburgh. In my opinion, the central stations are the heritage from the industrial revolution or the indicator of the rapid growth of a city in a new era. Of course, Detroit is an exception. Michigan Central Station was abandoned and threatened to be demolished. This National Historic Place has witnessed the bloom and decline of the Michigan's auto-based economy. No wonder it is so hard to find Michigan Central postcard nowadays.

Fortunately, I have had cards of two famous central stations in the world: Japan's Tokyo and the Netherlands' Amsterdam Central Stations -- they even have something in common. The Amsterdam Centraal was opened in 1889, while the Tokyo Station in 1914. It was rumored that the latter was fashioned after the former one. Although there's little evidence to support the rumor, it's obvious that the two grand brick-buildings do look alike. To me, it's more amazing to see two buildings half world apart independently developed this resemblance. The great minds of the architects did think alike. Some says the two buildings are of Renaissance revival style. But I can't find the reference. I am always confused with the classifications of architecture styles.

Tokyo Station 东京站
Amsterdam Centraal 阿姆斯特丹中央车站
(Notes to myself: Amsterdam Centraal is twinned with Liverpool Street Station in London, UK. I'd like to pair them up in my postcard collection. I'll try to buy other central station's cards from US and even China, regardless of classic or modern architecture styles.)



Sunday, September 26, 2010


Soon after I figured out what "tag" means at postcrossing forum, I wanted to participated in "request a color" tag, meaning: sending a postcard in the color someone asks for and requesting a color for the card someone sends to me. So I requested purple, my favorite color. In my opinion, purple is somehow an awkward color in that it looks pleasant/attractive/meaningful to me but not a lot of stuff, including clothes and postcards, looks aesthetically "right" in purple. For example, a purple down coat would make me look like an eggplant with two legs, then I have a collection of purple accessories only to accentuate my favorite color in my outfit. I was wondering what kind of purple card I was going to get.

Then it arrived this beautiful sunset view card of Brisbane, Australia. How creative C. is in finding purple in our everyday life! She also tells me she loves to ride on the City Cats, the high speed ferry service, across the Brisbane River.

In the "purple" tag, I sent a Simpsons card. In return, L. tagged me back with this gorgeous card that shows the only object I possibly imagine on a purple card - lavender! L. says she wants to visit France one day to see those amazing lavender fields in person. Me, too! Or anywhere similar to Provence to bring me sunshine, aroma, and peace of mind.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goals or No Goals?

I am very glad that my family in China is going to support me in collecting postcards! Mom and Dad are going to Shanghai Expo next month, so I asked Mom for a postcard. Mom showed her interest in my newly regained hobby and provided "indirect verbal evidence" to show I have been postcard enthusiast for many years: they have many cards I sent from the places I had been to. (Ha, when talking about my family, I am always sarcastic as the only one who does nothing to do with law.) My brother will take his family to Hongkong and Macao during the National Day long weekend. He asked me about my goals in collecting postcards, and hence he would know what cards to send.

Hmm, goals... I really don't want to set serious goals for this pleasant hobby, which is supposed to be a gateway to freshness and relaxation out of stress at work or study. However, I do know what are NOT my goals. I definitely don't aim to set Guinness World Record on receiving postcards from the most countries. I never expect unrealistically to collect a full set of postcards out of the ever-increasing list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I only want to broaden my horizons on the world (or even the outer space, :)), to be able to learn from the card, and to feel or connect with the person who writes on the card.

Here is an example on what I can learn extensively from a postcard.

This lovely lighthouse card was from L. in the Philippines. I'll have a lighthouse blog entry in the future. What I would like to incluse here is the geography I have learned from this card.

Basco is the second largest island among Batanes Islands. Neither geographic name yet sounds familiar to me.Then a little search on the position of the islands on google map shows that Batanes, which is the northernmost of the Philippines, lie in Luzon Strait between the major islands of Taiwan and Luzon. This zoom-out gives me a clear image of the waters that connect South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. What really amazes me is the names of the channels that constitute Luzon Strait: Bashi Channel and Balintang Channel! They remind me of the weather forecast on cyclone/typhoon warnings that I heard so often when I was in China: with the background music of the Weather Forecast on TV, the meteorologist says that the tropical cyclone has traveled to Bashi Channel and Balintang Channel and that it is predicted to land on ... So familiar, so familiar! I know I sound very geeky. But who doesn't have some memory that long lives, especially when it relates to the dream job you wanted when you were a kid? Now my two-year old nephew's favorite TV channel is Weather, too!

(Notes to myself: There are two islands in Luzon Strait: the Batanes and the Babuyan, from north to south, respectively. There are three channels that constitute Luzon Strait: Bashi, Balintang and Babuyan, which are divided in Luzon Strait by the Batanes Islands and the Babuyan Islands between the major islands of Taiwan and Luzon, from north to south, respectively. Bashi Channel is of the most importance in military and communication in that the water is deep enough for shipping (no wonder there are lighthouses in Basco!) and many underwater cables pass through.)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

First cards

On early morning last Thursday, I was certainly not lightened with the dream I had the other night, nor the task I assigned to myself on that day was pleasant. I was still in bed and wished I could delay the start of the day when I checked my phone for schedules. Then suddenly my day became so shiny that I got up quickly and started working with the enthusiasm I should have always had. What happened? I received a message from the first receiver of my official postcard on postcrossing -- he just registered my card! Luis from Spain said he liked my card and that was his first, too.

Bringing happiness to others makes me happy, too. I think Xiaoyu believes this.

Xiaoyu is my good friend here at Michigan. On her way to vacation in Las Vegas on Labor Day weekend, I texted her for a postcard. And last Friday, I received this very first postcard since I regained the interest in postcard collecting. Imagine how happy and appreciative I was!

This cards showcases MGM Grand Las Vegas, a hotel casino (of course, it's in Sin City and the Entertainment Capital of the World), which is the second largest hotel in the world, only behind the Venetian, also in Vegas. MGM's mascot, Leo the Lion, can be seen in the lower middle part of the card. An interesting story about Leo is: when MGM first opened, the main entrance was inside of a giant Leo, which scared away Chinese gamblers because Feng Shui belief indicated this was a bad luck. I would believe many Asian visitors, especially those from Hongkong, went gambling there. But was it because of the Feng Shui that MGM changed the main entrance? Maybe. I never believe any superstitions. But I would feel weird to walk into the mouth of a beast. Who wants to be swallowed by a predator anyways?

There is a MGM Grand signature attraction that is not shown in this card: the glass-sided lion habitat. I'll definitely check that out next time I visit Vegas. Hope the lion keeper who got injured recently will recover soon and presents us with amazing but safe display. So Vegas is on my trip plan now although it's not the type of destination I long for? I think so and I trust the recommendations by no less than ten people in the last two years, including Xiaoyu.