Many thanks to Phu Can for sending this gorgeous cover (my first from this lovely country!) and a set of soft-shelled turtles stamps from Vietnam!
Ho Chi Minh City is also known as "World capital of motorbikes". Cool!
The 3 identical stamps on the cover depict a Yule Goblin Stiff-Legs. It is part of a pair of Christmas stamps issued on 6th Dec 2008. Post Iceland always ends the year by issuing its annual traditional Christmas stamps. According to legend 13 Goblins arrive from the mountains before Christmas. The first one, Stiff-legs, arrives on December 12th. The last one, Candle-beggar arrives on Christmas Eve.
The other stamp of the set shows the Christmas cat. The cat is the house pet of the goblins' parents, Gryla and Leppaludi, and anyone who does not receive a new garment for Christmas is said to be taken by the cat.
These stamps were designed by two children who won the Iceland post competition for the best Christmas Stamps.
The round stamps belong to a set of 2 Christmas stamps, issued in 2007. The 45 ISK stamp on the bottom left of cover depicts a ptarmigan. It is part of a pair of Christmas stamps, issued in 2004. The other stamp in this set features a reindeer. Both are symbols of winter and Icelandic Christmas. Next on the cover are 2 stamps (55 ISK) designed by Orn Smari-Gislason for Christmas 2006. They depict mirror images of angels. While the 75 ISK stamp in this set shows multiple images of hearts. It is sad to note that Iceland went ‘bankrupt’ towards the end of last year.
What ‘bankrupt’ means is just that: The country cannot pay back its external debts, and the Icelandic currency, the krona, has become essentially valueless in the rest of the world. That means the country can no longer pay for imports. The future is uncertain, but it seems sure that every Icelander will see a big decline in their standard of living.
This chart clearly defines what happened. (www.theatlantic.com) I think this is only tip of the ice berg, the world is in very tricky water.
The stamp used on this lovely postcard is part of the portrait of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah definitive Series, issued in 2006. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the current Sultan of Brunei. He is also the country's Prime Minister, and is the acting head of Brunei's Defense and Finance Departments. Because of Brunei's oil-wealth, Bolkiah possesses vast personal wealth and is known for living lavishly. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was the world's richest man with a net wealth estimated at $38 billion according to Forbes. Next, we have this lovely postcard sent by Detje from the Netherlands. Thank you very much!
Friesland or Fryslân is a province in the north of the Netherlands consisting of islands and peninsulas interconnected by the dams and bridges. Translated into English, it literally means sea land because that’s basically what it is.
Tourism is an important economic activity for Fryslân. Its sunny beaches make it a popular holiday destination in the summer. In some areas, the population can be two to four times higher during high summer season. Fryslân is also famous for its black and white Friesian cattle and black Friesian horse (shown on this postcard).