Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hello to new blog readers!

I've noticed lots of traffic on my blog of late, likely because I just posted a bunch of new cards :) Readers, I'd like you to know that this blog houses much more than New Zealand cards, which seem to take up the first several pages since my sister now lives there and since I've visited twice.

If you take time to explore beyond the most recent postings, you'll find many postcard treasures, including a few of my favorites:

1. Finnish handcrafted dishware

2. A funny-faced fountain in Italy

3. Busy street scene in Hong Kong

4. Women dancing in Iran

5. Official card from the People's Republic of China for the 2008 Olympics


Monday, July 19, 2010

Whoa -- this new photo scanner is awesome!

Since I've stuck out my postcard hobby for many years now, and since I'm so tired of the L-O-N-G, complicated process of putting each card into a flatbed scanner, scanning it, cropping it, and then navigating over and over again to the right folder to save it, I finally gave in and purchased this Epson Workforce Pro Scanner.

It's awesome! I scanned 45 postcards in about five minutes--a HUGE improvement! Now, we can scan in those albums of old photos we've been holding onto, plus our own photos as well. And I can easily scan in all of my postcards -- I usually just pick the best because it's such a long, tiresome process!

If you're looking for a good scanner, this one is so far proving to be an awesome investment. If you're reading this many months after the fact and are curious about its performance since, send me a note. I'll let you know how it's measured and held up over time!

White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

"A volcanic island about 60km off the Bay of Plenty coast, White Island was once the site of an unsuccessful sulphur and gypsum mining experiment. This island is now an official sanctuary, harbouring many varieties of native birds in its pohutukawa forest." The card does not mention, but this is New Zealand's only active marine volcano! You can actually take a tour out to the volcano, during which you must wear hardhats and masks and ride aboard an inflatable dinghy to get there! We considered it, but only briefly, as my foot problem would likely have made it difficult to make the trek.


McDonald's, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

My son Matthew received this card at the counter in a mall in New Zealand. We later saw "Ronald" dancing and singing in the mall for lots of smaller children :)

Bubbling Mud

Bubbling Mud, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Saw lots of these in Rotorua!

Kuirau Park, Rotorua

Kuirau Park, Rotorua, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This is a public park in Rotorua with lots of bubbling pools and mudholes, showing you that the area is truly alive geothermally! It also has a geothermal footbath for all, as well as a really cool playground for kids big and small! My kids thought it was one of the highlights of their trip!

Geothermal Bathhouse, Rotorua

Geothermal Bathhouse, Rotorua, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

What? We thought this was the visitor's center so we never stopped in because we had already stopped in a smaller one! The back of the card says, "Built in 1908 in Rotorua's Government Gardens as a spa and health centre, this magnificent tudor building now houses the Rotorua Museum of Art and History." Maybe this wasn't the building we saw after all.... :)

Lake Ngakoro at Wai-O-Tapu

Lake Ngakoro at Wai-O-Tapu, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"Fast flowing water spills this green lake with steaming ground on its eastern shore." This is at Wai-o-Tapu, just outside Rotorua. It is billed as a "Thermal Wonderland" and it really is just that! Fantastic!

Champagne Pool, Rotorua, New Zealand

"Aerial view of the Champagne Pool, Artists Palette and Sinter Terraces at Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland." This truly was amazing to see in person! I am so glad we went!

The Skyline Rotorua

The Skyline Rotorua, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

You are seeing the lift that returns luge riders to the top of the hill after exciting luge rides down. We rode the luge, although my daughter did not like it as it was VERY rough riding and hard on the hands. My boys and husband loved it though and rode several times! From the back: "A view from the top with Lake Rotorua in the distance. The Skyline is a hugely popular gondola ride with a restaurant at the top and other amusements, such as the Luge ride. The lift closest is bringing people back from the bottom of the Luge."

Rotorua at Night

Rotorua at Night, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

(Doesn't really look like night to me, but that's what the card says!) You can see all the steam rising from various places around the city though, showing how active this area is. And yes, it smells like sulfur in many places!

Skyline Skyrides

Skyline Skyrides, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

The gondola rides high above Rotorua on Mt. Ngongotaha overlooking Lake Rotorua

The Luge, Rotorua

The Luge, Rotorua, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

1 km long Luge Track -- they actually have three tracks. All riders must first ride the "scenic" track, which is the longest and easiest. After navigating that, then you can move on to the intermediate and advanced tracks, which my sons and husband tell me are much faster, much more treacherous and much shorter! Glad I didn't ride those -- the scenic track was hard enough for me! :)

Maori Warrior by Lindauer

Maori Warrior by Lindauer, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This is Maori Warrior Renata Kawepo Tama-K-Hikarangi as painted by Gottfried Lindauer (1839-1926). I think my sister got this for me because the warrior's name was Renata! :)

Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Alas, although we were within eye's view of Mt. Maunganui, we did not make it over to the Mount itself during our stay in Papamoa. From the back: "With apartment blocks and cafes springing up along the length of Mt. Maunganui's Ocean Beach, this area is becoming one of New Zealand's most sought after recreational/residential localities and a magnet for holidaymakers." You've got that right--it's beautiful! I've actually look at real estate in the area myself! :)

Cambridge, New Zealand

Cambridge, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"This charming town on the Waikato River has a distinctly English flavour with its old churches, stately trees and a village green." This is also where we stopped for lunch during our drive to the holiday home in Papamoa -- we actually stopped at that redish building in the upper right cutout! It housed a gift shop on the lower floor and a cafe on the upper floor. We had sausage rolls, mince pies and other New Zealand treats :) We also suspect that Nettie got sick from her meal here! Oops!

Pohutukawa Tree, New Zealand

Pohutukawa Tree, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I fell in love with one artist's representation of the Pohutukawa flowers, although I did not buy the piece -- maybe next time! From the back: "Growing profusely around the North Island's north-eastern coastline, the pohutukawa presents a blaze of colour during the Christmas period when its rich, red blooms are usually at the showiest. It is sometimes called the New Zealand Christmas tree."

Waikato, New Zealand

Waikato, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

New Zealand's agricultural heartland, which we drove through on our way to and from Papamoa. "The lush, undulating plains of Waikato district have the distinction of being amongst some of the world's richest farmland."

Top left: Dairying near Matamata (the site of the first English settlement in 1865)
Top right: Horticultural blocks, Cambridge
Bottom left: Agricultural field days, Mystery Creek
Bottom right: Stud farm, Cambridge

Piha Beach, New Zealand

Piha Beach, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I saw this bottom view with my own two eyes--although it was during my last visit to New Zealand in 2009. This trip, we visited Muriwai Beach, although I found the Piha card on this trip and not a Muriwai Beach card! I suppose I'll find that one next time :)

Camels grazing in Qatar

Camels grazing in Qatar, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Can you believe this card is from Qatar? Yes, my sister went there, as well, and picked up this very cool art card!

The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar

Another card from Maria's trip to Qatar -- this represents one of the prizes of my collection since Qatar is not an easy country from which laptop travelers like me can get cards! I love the city view in the background as well, showing how contemporary Doha is, at least architecturally!

Hotwater Beach, Coromandel, New Zealand

This card and the NZ cards that follow come from my sister Maria -- thanks! :) According to Maria, this is where New Zealanders come for holiday! From the back of this card: "Named after hot springs which seep through the beach. Visitors can scoop out their own hot pools in the sand to relax in." Would love to visit here one summer!

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel, New Zealand

"The Cathedral, a gigantic arched cavern which gives an air of grandeur to the whole of the beach, is about 20m wide by about 10m high and was formed by sea action."

Whitianga, New Zealand

Whitianga, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Another lovely view on the Coromandel Peninsula.

New Zealand map card

New Zealand map card, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Had I purchased this card, I would only have been able to tick two of the boxes: Auckland and Rotorua! Obviously there is much more of NZ left for me to see! :)

Map Card of New Zealand

Map Card of New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This interesting and beautiful card shows the topography of New Zealand, including the large lake on the North Island, which I think is Lake Taupo, about an hour south of Rotorua.

Auckland map card

Auckland map card, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This neat card shows lots of the sights in the Auckland area! Very neat!

Funny New Zealand map card

Funny New Zealand map card, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I had to do a double-take when I saw this funny card, which shows Australia and Tasmania together as New Zealand's "West Island." From the back: "A little known fact about New Zealanders -- their ability to keep things in their proper perspective."

Aotearoa New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I love how the word Aoetearoa rolls off your tongue: Ah - o - tay - ah - row - ah. This is the Maori word for "New Zealand," meaning Land of the Long White Cloud.

New Zealand Greenstone

New Zealand Greenstone, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I still have yet to find the right piece of pounamu, or greenstone, jewelry for me ... although I did pick up an inexpensive non-Jade piece symbolizing "eternity" like the middle piece shown here. From the back: "New Zealand is famous for its greenstone, mainly found on specific rivers in the South Islands. The carvings have become iconic treasures and souvenirs."

Devonport, New Zealand

Devonport, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

We were not able to make it to Devonport during my last trip, although it was on the agenda. From the card: "Devonport ferry terminal and wharf complex provides a regular ferry service across the Waitemata Harbour to Auckland City."

Devonport, New Zealand

Devonport, New Zealand, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"Not only is Devonport the home to many international standard shops, restaurants and beautiful waterfront parks, it also holds the secret of New Zealand's Naval Heritage in the Navy Museum. Only minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, Devonport also offers spectacular views from its extinct volcano Mt. Victoria."

"Feed your mind in the U.S."

"Feed your mind in the U.S.", originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Thanks to Maria for this very cool series of three cards put out by the Graduate School at the University of Auckland! This card, representing the U.S., shows a DONUT, which shows what the designers think of us in the States :) From the back of the cards: "Add the world to your degree. Immerse yourself in another culture. Attend lectures on the other side of the world. Have an adventure of a lifetime! The 360-degree Auckland Abroad student exchange programme gives you the opportunity to complete part of your University of Auckland degree overseas. With over 80 partner universities in 24 countries, there are 360 degrees of exciting possibilities. Where will you go? www.auckland.ac.nz/360"

"Savour a slice of Europe"

"Savour a slice of Europe", originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Two of three cards in the series! So the U.S. is a donut, while Eurpoe is salami! :)

"Do the rounds in Japan"

"Do the rounds in Japan", originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Third of three cards in the series: the U.S. is represented by a donut, Europe by salami, and Japan by sushi!

Book cover reproduction

Book cover reproduction, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Also from Maria -- very cool -- many thanks! :) This novel first came out in 1964!

Book cover repro 2

Book cover repro 2, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Another cover reproduction, this time for a book published in 1946!

Art in the Airport

Art in the Airport, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

"A rotating art exhibit program spotlighting Western North Carolina artists at Asheville Regional Airport." Picked this up while at the A'ville airport--and viewed the exhibit there, too! :)


Newspapers, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

I picked this neat card up at the Orlando International Airport during a recent visit to Florida. I love the world-wide perspectives this card represents!

The Orwell Estuary

The Orwell Estuary, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Pin Mill near Ipswich in Suffolk, England, where an old penpal lives. She sent this card to tell me she's moved and to say it would be nice to hear from me again! I think I shall send a card in return! :)

Upper Yosemite Falls

Upper Yosemite Falls, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

This card comes courtesy of someone who found me on SendSomething.net!

JR, Little League, 2010

JR, Little League, 2010, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Although JR looks great, this is pretty lousy photography with that ugly fence in the background.


LAX, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

Los Angeles International Airport -- you're looking at the Encounter restaurant, which is just outside the Air New Zealand terminal.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall, originally uploaded by CarolinaRen.

We did not see this building in person -- I picked up the card because I LOVE artistic architecture like this! :)