Everyday Adventures: Sidewalks and Galleries

With the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, we have traveled around the city much more. To keep safe, we look for uncrowded city streets and empty indoor venues. Museums are not popular currently, so it has been a dream to view the exhibits at our leisure, talk to the guards. We have better luck on weekdays keeping social distance, especially in popular museums. Galleries are generally good any time. [As always with the new WordPress, right click the images to view the larger version]

The GMBB, Gamuda Mall Bukit Bintang is a mall with event and art exhibit spaces, a creative community mall as their website says. This artist, Phillip Wong, creates sculptures from everyday materials.

Artwork based on culinary experiences SE Asia

In a similar way the Intermark Mall exhibited new fashions using recycled textiles.

The Fahrenheit88 Mall in Tourist/Shopping district has a marvelous gallery on the top level with interesting displays. A bus ride took us to the Kedai KL Mall near the University. It features boutiques featuring local entrepreneurs.

KedaiKL upper floor

As I write this entry at the GMBB, local illustrators invited me for a little bit of Hari Raya treats celebrating end of Ramadan Fasting.

Nasi Lemak wrapped in Banana Leaf

They have an exhibit here until the end of May and Congress coming in September.

The Illustrators

Back on the street, there is new art popping up all over the place.

The sardine curry puff must be delicious
An Indian Temple tucked underneath a major shopping complex

The REXKL is a repurposed cinema as a bookstore with art gallery, restaurants, and music venue.

In the day, the pillion rider watched movies seated where there are now books

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia was really interesting. There were only two or three others the day we visited so the galleries were wide open for photos. Really clear explanation and displays on Arabic writing.

Astrolabes along with books on Chess

In contrast to the Islamic Museum, an early mansion houses the Wei-Ling gallery. Very lively art works along with Exhibit catalogs dating back twenty years.

Experiments on brown wrapping paper

We’ve been to the Ilham Gallery a couple of times. It’s a smaller space in an office buiding. The lighting and area provide a good space to present works with local appeal.

Three paintings by Klang artist, Kok Yew Puah

Artifacts 3: Ballpoint Pen

A few days ago, Daughter went through her bag to get me a pen. Here’s what she found. On the right by the world map it says, “A World of Thanks.”

Dubra and Associates was John Dubra and six friends (including I) who formed a software consulting company around 1994. Here is the pen detail.

With a little exercise and cleaning the point, the little pen wrote again. Even though I probably know how this pen came to be with us in Melbourne, the journey still amazes me.

On the subject, I found a saved scan of one of my early business cards.  The tag line was: “Over 100 years of combined computer networking experience .”


feuerbachstr. 16 june 2001
I was Mr. Bow Tie in those days




A couple of words about Melbourne

We have been in Melbourne for a week.  So many interesting things to see and do at so many different levels.  Instead of posting a handful of photos, this post tries to capture a number of contrasts from two short phrases.

One Shot – Graffiti

Hosler street is famous for exhibiting the products of spray cans. Catching a denizen rather than a tourist walking by was a rarity.

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Latin Scribbles – Marginalia

The State Library of Victoria houses two wonderful exhibits.  In the World of the Book exhibition they show Ptolemy’s master work.  It’s not in Greek.  All of original Greek editions were burned or destroyed.  It’s in Latin that was translated from Arabic by a monk 800 years ago. First, I did not know the works of Ptolemy had been lost for 1500 years.  Second, I am intrigued by all the notes written in the margins like a student’s cribbing.

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So until next time: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut vitae tristique tortor. Duis et risus in lorem laoreet facilisis at eget sem. Nam feugiat malesuada lectus, quis eleifend magna gravida sit amet.

Cairo: Coffee with Cardamon

After Amman, Jordan we continued on to Egypt to see the pyramids.  Booking a hotel for three days in Giza with a view of the pyramids included free airport pickup.   Giza city on the eastern side of the Pyramid Necropolis does not feel like a big city.  With horses and camels in the dusty streets, it felt like we were exploring a little village.  The pyramids are magnificent.  What I enjoyed most about our day exploring them was meeting some school boys aged about ten or eleven.  They climbed 30 or 40 meters on the great pyramid and took photos of each other.  They were headed higher when some official yelled and they decided to come down.

After Giza, we booked a place in the center of Cairo.  It was an easy walk to the Nile and the Egyptian Museum.  September is still hot in Cairo so we spent the whole day in the museum.

I love Egyptian coffee.  It is brewed like Turkish coffee but they roast it with cardamon.  Almost every other block near our Cairo hotel had a coffee roaster. In the evenings, we could find them by the coffee cardamon smell in the air. Unfortunately, the Internet has not evolved yet to allow me to post the aroma.

Answer from previous post:

I don’t know yet.  T E Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia certainly captures the imagination of the 14 year old school boy inside me.  As a traveler, it’s Gertrude Bell who inspires.  Maybe, I will have an idea after reading Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Wallach’s Desert Queen.

Some Egyptian Trivia:

  1. Why was a rope of thirteen knots useful in constructing the corners of the pyramids?
  2. Where was the Rosetta Stone stored by the Ottoman engineers building the Fort of Qaitbey?
  3. We did not eat at the El Hawary Restaurant, but it is an interesting neighborhood.


Thank you notes

I was the worst in writing thank you notes after Christmas.  I still am pretty bad at remembering those who have done me favors.  Today, walking through a bookstore in Sandakan, Sabah (island of Borneo), Malaysia I came across a travel go set.  It reminds me of two gifts I received long ago.


Peter, Thanks for the Boomerang

My oldest brother, Peter, gave me a boomerang. I can’t remember the year but I suppose he was at the University of Minnesota.  I could not wait until a mild day in Spring, I had to try it out right away.  The wind was strong, I wasn’t sure how to hold it.  After a few overhand attempts, I tried a horizontal throw.  Zoom, off it went high up and around it came back from the sky.  That was exciting.  I tried again. Zoom. Up it went, into the wind carried high and slammed back down into the icy snow.  Crack.  I know my brother felt bad that his gift only lasted a few times.  That Spring I read more and ordered another boomerang using the address on the package.  With that, I mastered the overhand throw.  By the time I broke it, I was looking for a larger, more sturdy one.  Over the years, I owned five or six more.  Two were bought from an Aborigine in Australia.  At one point, my boomerangs were returning to my feet every time.  Sometimes I could grab them out of the air. I kept one on my basement desk next to the Lionel train set my mother saved.  Daughter and I practiced some days when we could not fly kites.

edina basement@23dec2003

George, Thanks for the Go Set

The Christmas my brother came back from serving in Viet Nam by way of Japan, he brought me a game of go. In the small town of Windom, there were no books on such an obscure subject.  I only had the small manual that came with the game.  I acquired Go and Go-Moku: The Oriental Board Games by Edward Lasker maybe from a bookstore in Minneapolis.  I have looked through all my saved photos and cannot find one that shows the books I collected on Go. (Half Price books bought the ones from Ishi Press as they are not common in the U.S.) Of saved photos, only one shows a thin tome lying horizontal.  But I did find a photo of the business card for the Takadanobaba Go Club.


The banner shows the three of us.  They let me ride in front of the toboggan (so I wouldn’t fall off).  George behind me steering.  Peter handling braking in the back.

There have been many thoughtful gifts, and I thank you all for your kindness.  I hope to send you a thank you note, but it seems I’m still catching up on fifty years of laziness.


Who’s Counting

This could also be titled, Whose Counting.   At the bottom of this post is my Trip Advisor map which calculates over 100 different countries visited.  Not counted in this list are:

Clicking on the links provides the Wikipedia explanation.

On the other hand, when I started traveling, a number of countries on the list did not exist.  The Baltic countries and the Balkans only became individual countries again in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

This post marks a reflection not only on how we travel but also why I blog.  All places have some touristic value.  Each country competes to win more of the tourist trade.  What is interesting to me is how the day-to-day life works in the places we visit.  The open air market is always a fun visit as a tourist, but negotiating daily food purchases in an unknown language offers subtle insights.

I have experimented with travel tips and tricks posts.  The tone of those seemed too didactic and not much fun.  What I am discovering is that I want this blog to encourage you to have adventures, to try new foods, to find unique experiences.  International travel is an easy way, but not the only way.  Raising a child or visiting grandkids is also an adventure.

If you want to get my take on some of the places I visit, you can see my reviews on Tripadvisor.

There are many amazing memories but only a few photographs.  Sometimes I had no camera. Other times, photos were misplaced in moving. Mostly, they document we were there, but do not capture the emotion.



Here is the Map


Artifacts 2: Rain Jacket

I thought about sharing some of the lessons learned from our travels. One direction on this path involves what we carry. This is a theme I have touched on before.  It is interesting to me to experience how the artifacts both physical and electronic define the modern self and its relationship to its environment. No tips and tricks here except to keep experimenting and be observant.

Our rain jackets are essential for any trip. Beyond keeping dry and warm, they offer freedom to explore even during bad weather.  This has led us to many interesting discoveries and appreciations of the neighborhoods we visit.

My simple jacket folds itself neatly into a zippered pouch which I store in an outside compartment of my bag for easy access (see below). Sometimes, it stays stowed for a month. Here I remember Malta, Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town.  At the other extreme, I wore it every day in Vancouver.




My photos provide more of a documentary experience than an artistic one. Over the past seventeen years, this raincoat became a central theme of my travels and showed up in way too many photos.