Tramping on the North Island

The first week of the New Year, we left Melbourne and hopped across the Tasman Sea to Auckland, New Zealand. We tramped around Auckland finding a nice library, botanical garden, and cat cafe. Our hotel room was tiny so the library was useful to spread out as we researched our next adventure. There were also several historical exhibits about women’s rights including the right to vote and to go tramping. The Wintergardens in Auckland Domain exhibited some tropical plants I had never seen. Barista Cats was well organized and populated with well cared for cats.

 

One day we took a ferry to tramp around Waikeke Island. The banner shows the Auckland quays and central district as we departed.  Wandering over the island on foot, we found picturesque views of the ocean, rock outcroppings on the beach, and trails through native vegetation.

 

Next, we will be tramping around the South Island.

Perth: What’s not to Love

Two weeks in our neighborhood discovering.  Every walk is an adventure.

We stay in a converted brewery that is a 20 min walk to Hyde Park.  Other directions take us to Stuart Street Reserve, Ivy Park, or Russell Square. The free CAT buses are really convenient.  Sometimes we walk out and take a short bus trip home.

 

The streets are filled with interesting art and unique coffee shops.

Here are links to some of our favorites:

Places that we enjoyed twice:

And finally, one of the best natural food stores in the world:

Kakulas Brothers has bulk foods that allow us to purchase just what we need for our limited time at very reasonable prices, better than many popular grocery stores.

What’s not to love?

 

 

 

 

Reincarnated in Şişli

After our time in Mongolia, we continued west for another go round in Istanbul.  This must make seven times we have visited, but the first time to spend time in summer.

Walking the streets and snapping photos of cats put me in a metaphysical mood.  I happened to run across this story about the Dalai Lama:

Skeptic Carl Sagan asked the Dalai Lama what he would do if a fundamental tenet of his religion (reincarnation) were definitively disproved by science. The Dalai Lama answered, “If science can disprove reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism would abandon reincarnation… but it’s going to be mighty hard to disprove reincarnation.”

from The Boundaries of Knowledge in Buddhism, Christianity, and Science”, by Paul David Numrich, p. 13, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ISBN 9783525569870

This idea appeals to me. Some beliefs might be able to be disproved by science, but it will take a long time.  According to advanced geometry, any given angle cannot be trisected (divided into three equal angles) with a straight edge and compass. However, given sufficient time and effort (possibly centuries), a straight edge and compass can trisect any angle to any precision required (±.1 or ±.005 etc), just never exact (± 0.0).

I digress. What I really want to know is this: if reincarnation exists, will I come back as human or animal or some other entity. If so, how do I live an imperfect life just bad enough to come back as a cat in Istanbul, preferably in the Fulya or Cihangir neighborhood.

While I ponder, here are my recent photos of cats all over Istanbul:

 

 

 

 

Kuala Lumpur Ennui

Over the last year, we have stopped over in Kuala Lumpur several times for family events and personal pursuits.  Recently, we have tried to find some less common venues involving city walks.  It is steaming (and when it rains, streaming) in KL and never ending construction forces us into the streets as we approach our quest.

Prime Minister Memorials and the Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery.

We took the free Red GOKL bus from KL Sentral and exiting at Menara DBKL (City Hall Tower).  A walk up Jalan Raja Laut (street) to LRT station Bandaraya arrives at a foot bridge to KTM station Bank Negara. Either of these stations are also good starting points for the walk north up Jalan Dato Onn and circling west to the Memorials for the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, and third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn.  These huge buildings are stuffed with mementos about the accomplishments but shy away from controversy.

Across the road is Bank Negara (National Bank) which has an extensive art gallery and museum with no entry fee.  Bags are not allowed but the information desk has tokens for the lockers.

The works are technically well done but tend to show an idealized village.  Here are few inspirations that bend the rules.

KLCC-Bukit Bintang Walk

A 3-4 km walk I took several times starts at the Avenue K Shopping Mall at the KLCC LRT stop.  This goes underground from Avenue K via (tunnel 1) Suria KLCC Mall to the Convention Center (tunnel 2), then via elevated Walkways (skyway 3) to the Pavilion Shopping Mall.  From there, a tunnel (4) connects under Jalan Bukit Bintang to the Fahrenheit88 Shopping Mall. Exiting on ground floor by Shoopen and walking along Jalan Bukit Bintang about 30 meters arrives at the down escalator (5) into the Lot10 Hutong basement restaurants.  From here, escalators up to second floor of the Lot10 shopping mall access the skywalk (6)  from H&M  or Isetan leading under the monorail over to the Sungei Wang Plaza.  Except for 30 meters, this entire route is protected from sun and rain.

Here’s a map from Google that I annotated with numbered pathways.  Brown lines are underground, Green lines are Skyways.

KLCC-SungeiWang Path

River of Life

Masjid Jamek (the Jamek Mosque) marks the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers where Kuala Lumpur (meaning Muddy confluence) gets its name. These rivers run through the heart of Kuala Lumpur.  A new program plans to beautify the area by cleaning up the rivers and erecting walkways along the banks.  It is quite impressive around the Jamek Mosque in the evening.

Cats and Bikes

To complete this post, Kuala Lumpur has many cats and many oBikes, a station free bicycle sharing system.  Here are a few photos of each. I have an oBike account and use them frequently when public transportation does not have a direct route.


 

 

Catting around Kuching

From Laos, we had a short stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Then, we headed out for a five week exploration of East Malaysia on the island of Borneo.  Even though the states of Sarawak and Sabah are part of Malaysia, on arrival by air from Kuala Lumpur, we were directed through immigration and our passports stamped.

Our first stop was Kuching, the capital of Sarawak.  In bahasa malay (Malay language), Kuching means Cat, so cats are a big theme for the city.  Some historians suggest Kuching comes from Mata Kuching, (cat eye), the name of a longan or lychee like fruit that was found wild along the Sarawak river.

mata-kucing-buah
Courtesy of https://maryrschong.wordpress.com/

The main areas for our exploration were the Orangutan center, Orchid Garden, and Waterfront.

Orangutan Center

Orchid Garden

The banner shows the new foot bridge over the Sarawak river that recently opened. This allowed us to hike over to the Orchid Garden in the Government building area.  Prior to this, a taxi or water taxi would have been required.  There are just hundreds of beautiful orchids and other flowers spread over a huge area.  Here are a few examples that I think show the limitations of my iPhone camera instead of the expansive displays:

 

Waterfront