Monday, November 11, 2013

Deltiology - Postcard love

The magic of postcards. Who can deny it? The multifaceted benefits of this art,  and yes,  it is certainly an art, are oh so many.

When you're travelling,  or just in your usual habitat,  what other best way to:

1) send a quick "hello,  I am thinking of you" to loved ones

2) tell people where you are and maybe even send one to yourself,  as a souvenir!

3) explore a new city and get a feel for a country or town by dropping in to a post office and having a chat with the postal employees.

4) remember the awesomeness of the fact a small little card can travel great distances in a couple of days. Physically I mean. Not electronically,  in an instant -  that my handwriting with my very own fingerprints on it can pass from hand to hand and finally end up in the hands of loved one :-)

5) show the love. Others have said it is romantic too, how true!

So,  don't be shy. Embrace it. Tell people you are thinking of them.

A quick wiki search tells me the colourful history and origins of the postcard,  plus there are two kinds. The ones that you stick a stamp on (postcard),  and the others that come with the stamp printed on already (postal cards). Also,  there are plenty of sites nowadays that allow designing our own postcards using our own pictures,  which I intend to try one of these days.

*Deltiology -  the study and collecting of postcards
Stoked to find this patiently sitting in the mailbox for me, finally! Love xoxo

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Train Excursions in Sri Lanka

Train travels,  who can resist them? It is the most magical way to travel,  provided you have a lot of time to do it. I won't lie,  I'm pretty crazy about them.

I recently took a little trip from Colombo, to Ella - down to Bandarawela (bus) and then to Nuwaraeliya.
Having heard about Expo Rail. I was curious about it. As most last minute planning ends up being, well,last minute, observation tickets were out.

Expo Rail in a nutshell is a privately owned rail carriage (attached to the normal train - NOT a train by itself) and can easily be booked online. I spent Sri Lankan Rupees 4500/- for two people from Colombo Fort to Ella (One way). It also included breakfast (pastries), Lunch (Sri Lankan rice and the choice of vegetarian - soya rice with carrot and yellow rice, or chicken and the same yellow rice and carrot). Tea/ coffee was provided, along with water bottles and tea time also included a little snack with a sri lankan version of a tiny muffin and egg pastry sort of thing, they were both quite nice). Bathrooms are quite nice and clean. The stewards speak English (for the out of town tourist) and are quite friendly. 

I've shared a couple of pictures below for the potential traveler, considering a trip - while the ticket is far more expensive than the regular carriage ticket (Observation is SLR 500/-), it is not a bad idea to check out. It is not the authentic train experience, there are no wadey and fruit sellers walking in. It is overall very comfortable, quiet and kinda like being on a plane with breath taking views.

A google search to private trains in Sri Lanka also showed Rajadamri (I hope I got this right, will verify later) also has a private rail carriage, which you can also purchase online. It seems cheaper. A girl I met while waiting for the train told me she paid SLR 800/- from Colombo to Kandy. Second class tickets are also cheap, can be busy - but recently renovated/ upgraded I think, so not really that bad either.

The train to Badulla on a Tuesday morning was about 30 mins late. 
This is what the Expo Rail carriage looks like from the outside.
The breakfast was provided by Paan Paan, and was nice
This was the lunch - soya on the left and chicken on the right. Honestly they both tasted the same
The view somewhere along the way
Tea time - they provided hot coffee/ tea and water bottles as well. It was nice with the air condition cold
Rail tracks - Ella, Ella Rock in the background! 
Second class tickets from Bandarawela to Nanu Oya - so very comfortable and 90/- each
I am also excited to learn Expo Rail (or the normal train really) travels to Trinco and Kilinochchi (in 5 hours!) as well and wish I could make a trip sometime. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Snail Mail, a sign of love.

Before e-mail and whatsapp came along, there was snail mail. It wasn't instant or easy to do. It required planning and  time and well, patience. It took a considerable amount of effort to go to the post office. Wait in line. Why, it was even expensive.

But no one can deny that it was special.

Judging from a conversation I just had with one of my most oldest bestest friend, we both agreed that snail mail IS still very very special. The fact that we share this same sentiment, inspired this blogpost and the resolution to make more of an effort to send out snail mail. Funny we use all sorts of instant messengers to communicate to each other that, in fact Snail Mail was still alive and we have to do something about it. We've both made resolutions to do it as often as possible, and this is hoping that you do, too.

I realize that, it's one of those things. My friend suggested we were perhaps the only two people who still considered snail mail to be special. I disagreed. I believe it's not any different to most other things in life - where people love receiving them, but very rarely go out of the way to send them. What makes us different, perhaps, is the fact we may actually receive some satisfaction and joy in sending them, as much as we love receiving them. What do they say about that joy of giving...well what better example than a visit to the post office!

Either way, we cannot let snail mail become extinct. Already when the postal services are struggling to survive in most countries, it is a time we really can actively participate in reviving the art of letter writing and post card sending. I read the telegram was, i'm not sure how to put it exactly, pulled out of business/ killed? a couple of weeks ago...How sad. It sort of gave me a sense of impending doom. Not that I ever used it, and I can really see how that might have happened, functionally telegrams can be insignificant.

Snail mail though...if for nothing else, for the symbol of love and care and thoughtfulness it stands for, I do hope we continue to use it, and share it. Because in this day and age of instant gratification and consumerism, it's becoming pretty hard to show love. And snail mail, will always be a sign of just that to me, a sign of love.

A project to save the postal service in the US was called Snail Mail My Email - check it out.