Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas - USA

Location : Gulf of Mexico

Wish you all a very happy christmas and new Year!

This is a very beautiful stamp issued by the USPS on christmas and I am
actually trying to collect stamps based on paintings of great painters.
Especially Van Gogh. Let me know if you guys have any to spare.

Mansoor Ji - Thanks for commenting. I would love to send you a couple of
Paquebot mails. But as I don't have internet, I can't go on your blog to
check your mailing id. Drop your address in the comments and I will get the
notification. Sadly, US post is very bad in Paquebot mails and I have had so
many mails that were either rejected or not stamped at all. But hopefully
you should get a nice Paquebot from Mexico.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays

Location : Gulf Of mexico

Well the winter holidays are finally here, though we'll be lucky to even get
an anchorage over here so that we can relax a bit. Still, I hope you all
have a great and safe holiday.

Best Wishes!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Letters to Santa

Location : Off Houston

The fog set in again yesterday and it just might mean another extra day out
here at the anchorage. But the Telly is working here, so not much to
complain. The season to be merry seems to have set in on the Americans, and
crazy sales ads are the only things that seem to be on.

The whole nation seems to be firmly in the grip of the Christmas season,
though nobody seems to be sure of what role Christ had to play in the whole
event. I think this has firmly become an Santa event, with gifts becoming
the main focus. The last time I was in Macy's in Beaumont, TX, they had a
table set up for kids to write postcards to Santa.

I loved the concept. The Kids could write postcards to Santa, and mail them
right there in the Macy post-box. macy promised to donate 1 dollar for every
card that was dropped in their box up to a million dollars. Apart from the
fact of the donation of money, I love the concept of mails being written to
Santa. I need connection to the net to get more figures / fact on this, but
the USPS actually has a process for dealing with Santa mails that land up in
its post-boxes. If you register with the USPS, you can even get the Santa
mail delivered to you so that you can take action on mails that you want.
And be the defacto Santa.

I think its also a neat way to get children to write atleast a couple of
postcards a year. :)

I picked up a couple of cards myself and maybe I'll post one myself. I just
don't know how much postage its going to take to the Northpole!

Friday, December 11, 2009

USA - Gary Cooper

Location : Off Houston

The US government usually releases stamps in a series. This stamp is from
its "Legends of Hollywood" series and is actually the 15th in the series.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of Gary Cooper, and though I have heard of the
movie, "High Noon" I haven't seen it or his other Oscar winning movie the
"Sergeant York". But I am a fan of the Western Genere. Where Cowboys whip
out guns on dusty streets and shoot down dastardly outlaws. Unless the hero
himself is an outlaw and shoots down the Dastardly sheriff. And then rides
off with the damsal in the sunset.

But that apart, I wanted to put up this stamp to show the great manner in
which USPS promotes understanding of the subject. Gary Cooper died in 1961
and its unlikely that even American Kids have much idea about who the chap
was. Writing a short note about him in the sides, adds so much value to the
collector. India releases so many "Personality stamps" every year. There
seems to be absolutely no reasoning behind the choice of people selected.
Unless a FDC is released on the person, there is no written info provided to
tell you anything about the concerned person.

If the Indian post put in just a little more imagination and inserted a
couple of lines about the achievements of the person or subject, wouldn't
that be great. After all, one assumes that if a person deserves to be on a
stamp, he must have done atleast enough to merit a couple of lines!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mexico - 100 yrs of aviation

Location : Gulf of Mexico

If I am not mistaken, the first flight by the Wright brothers was made in
1909. As a result countries around the world have released stamps to
comemorate the 100 years of aviation.

I had already acquired the sheet released by India during my vacation, so
was pleasently surprised to find the Mexican sheet still on sale.

This was an added bonus because I also collect stamps of Airplanes /

Incase you guys have your own country's stamps on this subject, it would be
great to exchange them.

PS : Cheers All! Thanks for the many comments.

Mansoor ji: Do let me know which subjects you collect on and I can buy an
extra set for you.

Lefung : The twon where I go to in Mexico has a very small post office and
they didn't have the polar stamps on sale. But I will send you a postcard
from the place the next time I visit. Let me know if you need any other
stamps that I put up here.

Gulfman : Thanks for the wishes. Good luck to you too.

Gulf coast lighthouses

It is always a pleasure when your hobby intersects with your job. So I
though it an amazing coincidence when I found this sheet of the "Gulf Coast
lighthouses in the USPS store - especially when I am going to be on the US
Gulf coast for the next few months.

The lighthouses shown here are the (from L to R) - Matagorda Island - Texas
, Sabine pass- Louisiana , Biloxi - Mississippi , Sand Island - Alabama and
Fort Jefferson - Florida. As you can see, they pretty much seem to have
picked one light house from each state on the Gulf coast. I had not
known till last year that there was also a state called Mississippi.

As luck would have it, the very next port we went over to was Beaumont, TX,
which we had to go over the Sabine River. Which ofcourse mandated that we
pass within hailing distance of our Lighthouse No 2. The description behind
the stamp described the lighthouse as follows:

"Erected on soft, marshy ground in Louisiana, Sabine pass light house
features eight buttresses that stabilize the heavy brick structure and give
it a distinct missile like shape. Completed in 1856, the light house was
deactivated in 1952 and is currently closed to public. "

I do like the American method or giving a slight detail behind the stamp. It
is an example that should be followed more by the other countries.

I just had my Iphone to take the picture with, but there certainly was no
brilliant Mississippi sunset in the background or Herons prancing around in
the foreground as in the stamp sheet.

The pilot claimed that someone from Houston had bought the lighthouse for
18,000 dollars. When asked why, he said that he had never owned a light
house before. As per the pilot, " In Texas, that's as good a reason as any."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back on ship - The Simpsons

Location : Mexico

I know its been a log time since I blogged, but I am back on my ship and so
I am back to blogging about my stamps as well. It was a great vacation and I
had the funnest of times at home with family. Thanks to all of you who
wished me well and thanks again to all of you who came back to this blog to
see if any thing was still being written.

I joined the ship in New Orleans USA and even though I couldn't make it to
the main post office, I did manage to get to one of the smaller ones and got
a handful of current stamps. Since I am a fond collecter of cartoon and
comics stamps, I was glad to get the "simpsons stamps" which have been out
for some time, but I didn't have them as I have not been exchanging for some
time now.

Its sad that the USPS came out with just five stamps of these characters as
it would have been neat to have a miniature sheet of these guys.

Lets hope that I can get more regular with my postings. Also if you people
want some stamps from this part of the world ( US - Mexico), please do let
me know in the comments section.

PS: If anyone is reading this in France (Eric?), please let me have the
miniature of the Astrix Stamps that was released recently. Let me know what
you need.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Girl Child - Hooray!

Hi all. I have great news. I am now a father! We were blessed with a baby girl in the middle of this month. It is a most amazing feeling and a bit scary as we are first time parents.

Because of these, my philatelic persuits have been put on hold for the near future. But I will ofcourse be checking up on what you guys keep putting out there.

Hope you all have a wonderful year ahead and wish great health to you and your families.


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Indian Coast Guard

I had gone to the main post office (GPO) after a long time and found that two people were smashing down entire walls inside the Philatelic section. It seems that renovations were going on. Its always good that the postal department is sprucing up the Philatelic section, but the poor lady who sits at the desk has now been shifter to a small cubbyhole that has to be accessed by a window! A very uncomfortable perch for the poor lady, so I didn't bother her too much and came away with a few miniatures.

This is the miniature on the Indian Coast Guard. Working in the Merchant Navy and having traded on the Indian Coast for more than ten years, I must commend the Coast Guard for doing an amazing job when faced with such a mamoth task with so few resources.

The miniature is neat, but I like miniatures which have the stamps as a part of a bigger picture, which are not present here. The units on display in this sheet are the Dornier Aircraft, Chetak helicopter, Samar Class patrol craft and the Air Cushion Vessel.

To the coastguard I am personally obligated because of an incident which happened on one of my ships after I had signed off from it. One of the chaps fell in the water while rigging the pilot ladder. Unfortunately this fellow was so overweight that the rest of the complement couldn't pick him up. They had a situation where this fellow was happily floating in the water with life buoys and secured nicely with two heaving lines , but try as that might, they couldn't pick up this fellow weighing about 200 Kgs. Finally they launched the lifeboat, which they couldn't pick up due to the waves picking up. So now they had eight men who needed rescuing. I knew most of the men involved and we had a good laugh over it later. But I'm sure it must have been a sticky issue for the Captain to put in his report at that time.

Please have a look at the excellent resources below

Resources :

India Coast Guard Website
Coast Guard on Wikipedia
Coast Guard on Bharat Rakshak

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Giripeth Post office - Nagpur

As I have put up in the title bar, I have a weakness of taking my pictures with post offices or post boxes. I got an opportunity to do it yesterday and I wasn't going to pass up on it. The Giripeth post office in Nagpur has a very rustic look to it, like it might have existed in this state for more then 50 years. And it really might have had. My wife is form the locality and she claims to have seen the post office in the same state since memory serves her. That would put the age of the post office anywhere from five years to twentyfive - depending on who is telling my wifes age!

The Post box outside actually looks like it had fallen in one of the stronger monsoon winds and is now firmly propped up in place with a cement base. But nothing much seems to be holding up the building, with its beautiful tiled roof and wooden latticed front. It is really hot in Nagpur, with temperatures reaching up to 47 Deg C yesterday. But because of the construction of these older houses, it was rather pleasant inside the structure.

The well and the Post office in the background

Another neat part about the post office is that it has an serviceable well of its own! Most houses built in this region had a well if their own dug because there was no piped water, but today, you either have bore well dug or even if you dig it at a side or behind your house. This post office was evidently built during a time and place, where the well was a focal point of the house and was considered important enough to accord a place right in front.

Sadly there were no records or information available in the post office about when it was established. The post master, a helpful man in his forties did chat with me for a bit. This post office doee not really handle the home delivery of the letters for the locality. That is taken care of by the post office at Shankar nagar - A heartless three storied buliding, and the area North of the road is taken care of by the GPO.

The General Post office is an nice building from the British era and you can find it towards the north east of map down below, also I had posted about it a long time back here.

If you have been following my regular blog, you'll know that I am working on Geotagging these days and the map below is from another result of a new application called "Here I am".

I was also able to glean the information that the land is not governments and is leased from the "society" and now it seems that they want it back. Since its the government, we can at least be assured that they will take another five to ten years to vacate the building, but it will be a real tragedy to lose such a quaint post office in the middle of the city.

View Larger Map

The map with the Post office location (GPO on top right)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The india post

Just because I haven't been very active over the last few months, doesn't mean that the lethargy has spread to India Post. The chaps out there have been keeping themselves well occupied. I wanted to check up something on their website and found that due to an oversight, I had not put up the India websitte in my links of world postal websites. I rectified that error and just to make it more easire, you can find the link to India post main webpage here.

I forgot to put this here before but on 23rd sep last year, India post changed their corporate logo to the one given up here. The original one was the one given on the right.

Honestly I'm not sure why, but I liked the older one better. I think its just a matter of getting used to it.

Dinesh wrote a nice article on it here, if you are interested.

Also other changes to have come up are that india post has stopped sea mail parcle service from 1st jan. Its a sad thing as I am associated with the sea myself, but I guess in todays world, it was something inevitable.

Also for delivery outside india, India post has entered a jloint venture with the Duetsche post to form something called WorldNet Express . We'll just have to wait for user feedback and about how much more expensive this service might be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Abe Lincoln - Wish list and Part 2

As i got online in the night, I did dig up information on the Lincoln stamps that Jean and Claude had sent me in the last post. On the USPS site, I was able to dig up the stamps in concern and these are most delicious. The stamps have been released in a set of four , each pertraying the multifacted nature of this great man, ie, as a Rail splitter, a lawyer, a politician and finally a president. The stamps that Jean and claude sent me were of Lincoln as a president and a lawyer.

It really was a pity to see the collection being sold for 17 USD, and if that wasn't enough, I also found that the USPS had released another beautiful framed collection on Lincoln which sells for USD 50.

As we can see, it not only has the first day cover of the bicentinial, but also has other items such as the Lincoln penny, and what seems to be an anti-slavery stamp. An amazin g thing to get your hands on as all my kind readers will agree.

One slight ammendment to the last post. It is 200 years to the year when lincoln was born. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ab Lincoln

I came back from a vacation to find only one post waiting for me. It
was a little sad, but I haven't been able to give much time to
philately these days and of just isn't fair to you people to keep
sending me stamps without anything back from me.
Todays letter was from jean and Claude Linossi from NC, Usa. And they
were very kind. They had actually taken the pain to go through the
blog and sent me stamps which I like, such as on military, cartoons
and even postage. Very considerate and appreciated.
But the best stamps that i liked was the pair on president Lincoln
that they put up on the cover. I doubt that they knew this, but I am a
fan and it came as a pleasent surprise to see that the USPS has come
out with a stamp on him .

It really shouldn't have been a surprise as it is his birth centinary
this year. When I was last in the US around feb, I bought a copy of a
special issue on lincoln that the Times had brought out on the man.
So thanks for the stamps jean and Claude. Will try to send across
something soon.

PS:  Regret the atrocious picture of the President, nut am posting this from the iphone and the picture quality of its camera does leave a bit to be desired when taking macro pictures. One of the pictures is of the bearded man whereas the other one was the clean shaven Lincoln. Apparently a school girl had written to Lincoln to keep a beard. :)

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I do apologize to anyone who has noticed the lack of posting on my
blog. But I am home these days , and as
You all might have guessed from the above picture, our priorities have
been undergoing some dramatic changes.

Cheers all!!