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

Storefronts of Penang

Malaysia has re-implemented the Movement Control Order meaning we stay at home except for necessities of food and medicine. Rather than complain, we will consider it as being exiled for the Good of the Realm version two. This time we have been banished to the island of Penang off the coast of Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca. Within the city boundaries of Georgetown the authorities allow us time to exercise maintaining a two meter distance from the other inmates.

Georgetown and environs on the island offer many interesting sights for our exercise walks. There are Religious Temples for Hindu, Islam, Buddhist and Christian, colonial offices and mansions, street art on winding streets, open markets, seafront jetties, and interesting local cuisine available for take away.

One thing I grapple with is understanding how the needs of a modern city can work with the traditional neighborhoods and historical venues. One area where I see this working well is in the renovation of the shophouses in Georgetown. Some of these date back over a hundred years to the time of Sun Yat Sen (Father of modern China) residing in Penang. Most, however, were built in the 1950’s during the reconstruction after World War Two.

Here is a selection of photos that capture the old and the new. I particularly like the traditional buildings that are painted with modern color schemes. Another thing I like is the refurbishing of walkways using traditional patterns on a single long stretch without steps or ridges.

Vamos chicos, es primavera (C’mon kids, its Spring)

Malaga is on the Spanish Costa del Sol (Sunny Coast). Our plan was to have a warm Spring. For the first five weeks since arriving in March, the high temperature every day has been below average of 20ºC (68ºF) with rain every other day. Only last week did we manage to break into the twenties.

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This week finally looks like some nice spring weather with sunny days. Just in time. The kids have been inside for six weeks during the Covid-19 State of Emergency. Starting yesterday, they can go out for an hour a day with a parent. Parks and Playgrounds are still closed but their voices enliven the street as they make their way to Plaza de la Constitucion. Here are some I captured from our window. The pillion rider took the lower right one from the street showing the convenience store clerk making a delivery and children farther down the street.

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For us, every 2 or 3 days, we take a walk to the convenience store or the covered market with an occasional detour to a bakery or a pharmacy. A tea shop was open on the corner so I treated myself to a pack of Lapsong Souchong Tea. It brings back memories of afternoon tea with my mother during my college breaks. My WordPress posts are up to date and so are my photo albums. Every evening at 8 PM we gather at our window to applaud the health care workers, the police, the street cleaners.

A Month in Malaga (Coronavirus Version)

We continue exiled in Malaga, Spain for the good of the realm. As we are mostly confined to the apartment, we have found daily excursions rewarding. Here are the photos of Balcony Beach, Mount Escalera, The Warped Woods trail. Translations are in the captions.

Traversing the Warped Woods Trail without making a sound requires some bouldering skills that I picked up when Daughter was doing rock climbing.

Staying home in Malaga

I prefer #yomequedoencasa / “I stay home” to the imperative form #quedateencasa / “Stay home.” Everything is closed except grocery stores and pharmacies. Take away restaurants and hair salons were allowed to continue but none in our area open their doors. We schedule our outings with care trying to limit our time out and avoid lines as the number of shoppers per store is limited.

It was a little exciting getting from Algeciras to Malaga. We had previously purchased bus tickets but there were regulations prohibiting travel for most citizens over 60 on public transport. To avoid questions, I shaved my beard and wore a cap to cover all my grey hair.

Our little outings to different mini markets take us through the streets of the old town. Photos of the empty streets of Lagunillas and Ejido neighborhoods are taken quickly. Picasso was born up the street from us. With the museums closed, we are happy with the street art.

 

Connecting Points on the Map

We have been exiled for the good of the realm in Malaga, Spain. Our journey of exile began in Ceuta on the continent of Africa. Then, by ferry, to Gibraltar, a territory of the British Empire. Finally, to Algeciras, Spain before arriving in Malaga. This is not chronological, but it makes a better story.

Ceuta is a city on a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. The western border of the city is the country of Morocco. It is part of Spain and uses the Euro. The famous rock of Gibraltar still belongs to the United Kingdom  as a British Overseas Territory. Algeciras is the main city near the southern most point of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the birth place of the famous guitarist, Paco de Lucia.

These photos capture some impressions as the Convid-19 epidemic began to take hold.

 

Black Sea Pilgrim

We arrived in Bucharest Romania after our stopover in Rome.  This story begins a few weeks later with a visit to Constanta on the Black Sea (Marea Neagră RO, Чёрное мо́рe RU). In four weeks we traveled a crescent by train and by bus back to the Black Sea.  The city headings in this post link to their Wikipedia Entries. There were so many amazing and unique experiences.  The best I can do is to provide a few things that I found wonderful and a few photos to capture the taste of the adventure.

Constanța, Romania

Constanta founded 2600 years ago.  The roman poet, Ovid was exiled here by emperor Augutus.

Bucharest, Romania

We arrived an hour late into Bucharest.  After other delays on the metro subway, we were home after four hours.  Our daily outings were among the old, the communist, and the new. Last year, I read Olivia Manning’s Balkan Trilogy.  As it deals with the expatriate experience in Bucharest during the outbreak of World War II, reading the descriptions again made a strong impact.

Brașov, Romania

Brasov marks the border between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. The city center has a strong German atmosphere. Invited by Hungarian Kings, German colonists called the Transylvanian Saxons came to the city in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Bran, Romania

Less than an hour bus ride from Brasov, this castle was the favorite of the Dowager Queen Marie of Romania. She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. More importantly, she held ideas about equality and helping others way ahead of her time.

Iași, Romania

I booked tickets for the seven hour bus ride online.  We waited in the petrol kiosk (gas station) wondering whether this really was the spot and how much delay there might be.  The minibus arrived and knew about our reservation, very smoothly.  In Iasi, we encountered the Romanian poet and journalist, Mihai Eminescu, again. We had gone by his villa in Bucharest. He reflected his times and the Nationalism of the age. Time to reread Hannah Arendt.

Chișinău, Moldova

We took a taxi to the Iasi bus depot.  An unmarked van had a paper in the window for Chisinau.  We bought tickets from the driver.  Did I mention it was a bumpy ride? Did I tell you that my iPhone walking app registered 12 km just from bouncing in the back.  Pushkin was exiled in Chisinau instead of Siberia.  Works he conceived here became the classics defining Russian Literature.  He also could get himself  into trouble supporting the Greek revolutionaries and wandering around with Gypsies.  We toured his house and talked with a high school student, Alexander, who helped translating.

Odessa, Ukraine

Pushkin was exiled here too, along with many others. We arrived after a six and a half hour bus ride.  Isaac Babel called Odessa the “Star of Exile.”  It is also famous for the Potemkin Staircase featured in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin.  For me, it was the fulfillment of a dream I had 45 years ago: the port, the people, the music, the beach, the sun.

The Final Swim, the Route and the Danube flowing into the Black Sea

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BlackSeaJourney

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