“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”….George Bernard Shaw
If global warming continues and I fervently believe it will, we may have to rely more on the sea to produce our food. The above photograph was taken looking into a shallow rock pool at the plant life below. It would be good to know whether this plant life, which could be a renewable resource, is edible. No! I didn’t try it, I leave that sort of thing to the scientists or the guinea pigs.
As I was walking along the foreshore one day, the tide was coming in and there were a small number of fingerlings swimming. I photographed them and the above photo was the result. The fingerlings were opaque and not being a professional photographer as such, I have no idea how they represent in this photograph as a shade of purple and white.
The above photograph was taken of sea water rushing in and over a shallow crater in the rock I was standing on and I thought at the time that it made an interesting pattern.I should imagine that this pattern, as mixed as it is, would be extremely difficult to replicate in a painting. If nothing else, it makes a good talking point.
I’ve always been fascinated to see the result of light hitting water and the resultant picture it creates and if I was to come back in an hour’s time, the above picture would have changed dramatically, particularly if the weather changes. Perhaps that is why it is called a moment in time.
There is something very peaceful in sitting and watching the tide flow into the shoreline. Watching the play of colours on the surface and listening to the rippling of the water as it flows gently over the rocks.
This photograph is a good example of how you can turn something very simple into an abstract or decorative art piece simply by manipulating the colour. It is not necessary to capture a panorama to make a visual statement. Sometimes, simplicity speaks the loudest.
“But as they say about sharks, it’s not the ones you see that you have to worry about, it’s the ones you don’t see….
One morning recently, I received a phone call from my friend who said “Jimmy, grab your camera and come over here, I have a school of sharks feeding on bait fish just out the front.
Wow! what a sight, I used to kayak in these waters and never sighted a shark, I sometimes felt a bump on the bottom of my kayak, especially in the canals but nothing more. These were Bull sharks and they were swimming and hunting bait fish in knee high water. I was intrigued to watch how the pups (younger sharks) stayed up one end whilst the larger sharks acted like sheep/cattle dogs and herded the school of bait fish and drove them to the waiting hungry pups. They would then fan out and collect the bait fish that had escaped bringing them back together in a tight school before herding them back in the opposite direction to the waiting pups. This went on for more than an hour.
The Bull shark is not indigenous to Australia as a similar species can be found in Zambia and is known as “The Zambi”, also in Lake Nicaragua where it is known as the “Lake Nicaragua shark” and probably a lot of other places. It is quite unusual in that it has the ability to survive in brackish water and therefore can be found quite away upstream in rivers, e.g. in the United States, they have been known to have travelled up the Mississippi River some 1100 km from the ocean.
This shark is stocky in build and grows to a length of 3.4 m in coastal open water but considerably smaller in rivers and estuaries where they are recorded as growing to 2.25 m depending on sex. They have a bluntly rounded snout and small yellow eyes. Their colour ranges from pale to very dark grey with white underbelly.
The big question is…..Are they man-eaters? Well!….. they are extremely aggressive and can justifiably claim to be the world’s most dangerous shark and probably responsible for more deaths than they are credited for, particularly in shallow warm coastal waters, estuaries and rivers. As you can see in the above photographs, these shark are very close to the shore and in knee high water. The larger sharks would have been at least 2 m long. There appears to be a myth out there that sharks only feed at dawn and dusk. I can tell you that these sharks were filling their bellies around 11.30 in the morning, so I for one wouldn’t like to test that theory. On the positive side, there is a lot of water between sharks, so the chances of being attacked is quite minimal.
For more information you may like to follow up with:
“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
A walk on the north side of town, from the Spit Bridge to Manly, Sydney, Australia
Every walk starts with just one tiny footprint. It’s where that footprint takes you that matters.
When I started this walk I wondered who had walked this area before. I don’t mean the manufactured walking trail but the entire area between the Spit Bridge and Manly. Bush walkers perhaps, convicts, early explorers? Actually, I was thinking of the Indigenous people of this land who hunted and gathered food here for thousands of years and we know that they were here and there were many of them. I wonder what they thought as they saw the first sailing vessels coming through the heads. The surprise and wonderment at the garments and uniforms of the first officers and sailors on landing.
Some of the harbour side beaches throw the most spectacular patterns in the water and you can see just how clean and clear the water is which brings me back to thinking about the aboriginal people who lived on these shores and what a life style they must have enjoyed with plentiful fresh water, native animals, birds and an abundance of fish and crustaceons to feast on, a temperate climate with lots of sunshine, life must have been very good.
The above view was our introduction to our walk and we couldn’t have wished for better weather and couldn’t wait to see what we had in front of us.
Our next location was Clortarf where we were greeted by this natural sculpture in sandstone.
Is the above view for real? Is it some mystical bottom dwelling sea creature from the bottom of Sydney Harbour that I have accidentally photographed? or is it an illusion produced by the water passing over a rather large submerged rock? You be the judge!
This is a view across Sydney Harbour looking from Clontarf to South Head at the entrance to Sydney harbour. If you read my post on the walk from Watsons Bay to Bondi Beach, the land depicted in the above photograph is the subject of the article. I may be biased but I think it is quite spectacular. The ferry you can see in the photo, is heading to Manly from Circular Quay and it would be this ferry that you would catch to start the walk from Manly to The Spit.
As we passed through Balgowla Heights I was attracted to the beautiful native flora which goes to show you that there is more to this walk than awesome harbour views.
At the top of this photograph is North Head at the entrance to Sydney harbour. This headland used to be an army installation and out of bounds to the general public, but in recent times it has been turned into Sydney Harbour National Park and can be walked as an extension to the Spit to Manly walk.
When we reached this spot, I knew that we were nearing the end of our walk. Our destination, Manly, is a little to the right of centre in the above photo. It was an enjoyable walk, not too difficult with ample interesting coves and beaches at which to stop and admire the panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. We continued our walk to the ocean side through the pedestrian only Corso ( 5 mins,) where we had an ice cream before catching a ferry back to Circular Quay and a bus to Bondi Beach. All in all an awesome day out.
Distance: 10 km – one way
Walk time: 3-5 hrs. depending on fitness and how many stops you make on the way.
If you are planning on staying in Sydney and intend playing the tourist, I would suggest buying an Opal Card which will cover all public transp
“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature…..Claude Monet.”
“Adapt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m still trying to make up my mind as to whether the Tawnys’ are ugly or exotically beautiful but whatever, they are certainly unusual.
These nocturnal birds which are native to mainland Australia and Tasmania are often mistaken for an owl but are in fact more closely related to the Nightjar. They are stocky and compact with rounded wings and short legs and generally weigh between 157 – 555 grams and measure 34 -53 cm. Their bills are hooked at the tip and topped with distinctive tufts. They have large yellow eyes similar to owls.
Are they dangerous? I have on occasions approached to within 50 cm or so without them showing any concern or aggression whatsoever, relying instead on their extremely good camouflage. I have come across them in parks and private gardens.
The birds mate for life and it is not unusual to see them roosting in pairs on low lying branches or in the fork of a tree.
If you happen to be in Australia, settling in for the night and hear this strange Oom -Oom – Oom grunting, it’s a safe bet that you have a Tawny Frogmouth or two in close proximity.
“What is art monsieur, but nature concentrated”…..Honore de Balzac
Art to me is nature, design to me is art au natural. It is the randomness in the placement of colour and how it is applied. First nation artists tend to depict a similar concept whether by design or intuition, I’m not quite sure. I am not an artist in the true sense but my mind is receptive to design in nature and I try to capture it through photography wherever I travel.
The above collage, is of patterns in different forms of rock. I have found that the best patterns form in sandstone and granite. Some of these images have been captured on sandstone buildings, the Port of Adelaide in South Australia being one location, North Haven also in South Australia, another.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Here we have two more patterns, from two separate locations but this time they are in the form of bark from a tree and can be described as art au natural, the same as the rocks in the collage, which are art au natural as well. The art of nature is all around us whether it be in the city or the country. It is there to be admired but sadly, people walk past it every day and fail to see it for what it is.
Become more aware of your surroundings and you will be amazed at what you will see.
At 6 am in the morning, Burleigh Heads, Qld. is alive with joggers, cyclists, walkers, exercise junkies and of course surfers both amateur and pro. Old men, in not so flash gear and younger ones in colourful T-shirts and board shorts. Females, young of course, flashing the flesh in bright bikinis, shorts and tops. There are the newly arrived with their lilly white skin and those who have been here awhile with their beautiful tans.
On most days you are greeted with the spectacle of board surfers both pro. and practiced amateurs putting on a display riding the breaks.
When I am there, I’m usually up at day break with a hot coffee in hand and watching these guys have fun. What a way to start the day, completely rested and relaxed and looking forward to breakfast which can be had at any number of good restaurants in Burleigh Heads.
The above photograph was taken of the main beach looking north towards Surfers Paradise. This strip of sand runs for as far as one can see and accommodates a number of patrolled beaches and is known as the Gold Coast of Australia. On a hot day in the middle of summer, these beaches are full of people just wanting to bare the body beautiful to the sun, cool down in the surf break or body surf the waves. As well as holiday makers, a lot of Brisbane residents make the day trip as it is just a little over a hundred kilometres.
Of course, it is not all about beaches and surfing, family picnics are popular with locals arriving early in the morning just to reserve a good spot in John Laws park beside the rolling surf and stay for the entire day and sometimes well into the night. For those who like walking, there are plenty of good walks including Burleigh Hill, which is a good heart starter after having a night out. Nights here are pretty much alive as well with a number of good restaurants and bars to keep you entertained and it’s not too far down the road to try your luck at the casino, and for those with a more refined taste, there is a good performing arts centre to catch a live performance. Public transport is good and it is not that difficult to hire a Uber. It’s all….just good.
Christmas is a fabulous time to be at Burleigh Heads, especially when it is full moon. Be warned though, it would be wise to obtain your accommodation early if planning to holiday here at Christmas and don’t forget the bubbly.
This short story/history lesson relates to Bruny Island, located off the south eastern coast of Tasmania. This island is now a favourite tourist destination because of its unique natural beauty as well as being known for it’s diverse range of fresh food from both land and sea.
This story is significant, compelling and symbolic.
There is nothing significant about these two gum trees, except they witnessed the arrival of white men on this land. They did not protest but stored what they saw within their wood and it would still remain hidden today except for a painting of the trees made by a white man, one of the first white men to tread this land, the leading artist from H.M.S. Providence under the command of Captain Bligh which anchored off this point in 1792.
I have copied the script accompanying a photograph of the original painting so that it would be easier to read and give some authenticity to my story.
These trees were not standing tall, they were not significant in their beauty. What is significant is the history that these two trees have witnessed in the past, what they have endured through storm and tempest over the years, standing proud on a windswept coast, a witness to a significant period of Tasmania’s history. I thought at the time “if only we could tap this source of knowledge, how richer we would be”. I also found the experience of photographing the above scene profoundly emotional knowing that it had been painted over two hundred years ago and had changed little in that time, almost as if time had stood still.
The above scene is a photograph of the source of fresh water known as the “watering place” marked on the charts of Captain Tobias Furneaux,( Adventure 1773) and again on Captain James Cook’s charts (Resolution, 1777). It was also referred to as Resolution creek and Resolution River at different times.
At the beginning of this post I stated ” The story is significant, compelling and symbolic.” Readers will put their own interpretation on this statement, but to me it is significant, as it was the first time that white man had put foot on this island. The story may not be compelling to all readers but to those with an appetite for history it probably would be. It is a symbol of man’s need to discover new places, new species, in fact, anything new.
This is just another view of the same beach and shows just how clean and clear the water is, much the same as it was all those years ago.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Bruny Island, take it, you won’t regret it.
Mix all the ingredients except for the dark rum in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice in an ‘Old Fashion’ glass and then carefully float the dark rum on top. Garnish with a Maricino cherry skewered to a pineapple wedge together with a fresh lime wedge.
In a recent trip to Honolulu my wife and I made a 5 pm pilgrimage to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (The Pink Palace), overlooking Waikiki beach each afternoon for no better reason than to savour the famous Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai.
There are a number of stories as to how the Mai Tai was created but I tend to favour the one which says that Victor Bergeron was hired by the hotel’s owners to create a number of exotic cocktails for the hotel’s bars and out of these cocktails, the Mai Tai is the only one remaining today. He supposedly served the cocktails to some of his Tahitian friends who exclaimed “Mai Tai – roa ae” which means “out of this world, the best”. For what it’s worth, I agree.
I apologise that I failed to take a photograph of the Royal Hawaiian at the time. I have however included the above image of Waikiki Beach, which was taken from in front of the hotel’s property and depicts what a lovely location it is to sip a cocktail at the end of a day in Honolulu. I hope this tempts you to take your vacation there.
Quote: ” In Hawaii, we have something called Mo’oponopono, where people come together to resolve crises and restore peace and balance”.….Duane Chapman (Brainy Quote)
Would I recommend a vacation in Honolulu?………………..absolutely!
“The Principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”
Have you ever had a discussion on whether photography is an art form?
I chose to place the above image under the subject heading “ART DECOR” because to me the above photograph is a piece of decorative art similar to that seen in hotel rooms, offices, etc. The question is, am I right?
Personally, I’m confused. I have heard arguments for and against and even though I feel that photography presented in this form, is art, I would like to know what your thoughts are?
“Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilisations without having explored his own labyrinth or dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.”…..Stanislaw Lein – Solaris
Things may not always be as they seem, this is not something from outer space, nor is it a broken piece of a china plate. It is a photograph of the bottom of a rock pool at Mooloolaba Beach in Queensland, Australia taken by the author using his Apple SE iPhone. The colour has been manipulated to enhance the image.
By changing the composition of the image, it shows a little more clearly that the surround is rock and that the subject is merely a play of light penetrating the water revealing a portion of the bottom of the pool.
The Pike Place Market located on the waterfront of Elliott Bay, opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continuously operated markets in the U.S.A.
The fish market in particular was really alive with vendors calling to each other and throwing these massive fish through the air to each other without dropping one.
The quality of the seafood was top notch, so fresh and surprisingly well priced for fresh seafood.
The prices being charged for the cut flower were comparable with what we would pay at markets in Australia.
The Pike market which is open 7 days a week has over 10 million visitors annually.
The quality of the hotels and restaurants around the market are of high quality. My wife and I had lunch across the road from the main market and found the quality good and the price was within the reach of most people.
If I was contemplating settling in the US, Seattle would certainly be on my short list.
“The concept of randomness and coincidence will be obsolete when people can finally define a formulation of patterned interaction between all things within the universe.”…..Toba Beta (Betelgeuse Incident)
The above photograph is not technically brilliant but the blending of the colours makes it beautiful and was taken by a simple digital camera. Think about it, how many times have you gazed into a pond or tidal area and thought “hmm! that is something very special”. I just added one further step , having trained my mind to spot natural patterns and took a digital image of it.
Next time you are out and about, have your camera with you and see if you can spot a natural pattern and then take a snap of it. A favourite site is a rock pool by the sea which constantly has waves crashing over it. It can be the home of a microcosm of life under that water which in itself can lead to a number of different images.
“Courtesy gives it’s owner a passport round the world. It transmutes aliens into trusting friends…..James Thomas Fields.
“Who stuffed that white owl?
No one spoke in the shop, The barber was busy, and he couldn’t stop; The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading The “Daily,” the “Herald,” the “Post,” little heeding The young man who blurted out such a blunt question; Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion; And the barber kept on shaving.
“Don’t you see, Mr. Brown,” Cried the youth, with a frown, “How wrong the whole thing is, How preposterous each wing is, How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck is — In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck ‘t is! I make no apology; I’ve learned owl-eology.
I’ve passed days and nights in a hundred collections, And cannot be blinded to any deflections Arising from unskilful fingers that fail To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail. Mister Brown! Mr. Brown! Do take that bird down, Or you’ll soon be the laughingstock all over town!” And the barber kept on shaving.
“I’ve studied owls, And other night-fowls, And I tell you What I know to be true; An owl cannot roost With his limbs so unloosed; No owl in this world Ever had his claws curled, Ever had his legs slanted, Ever had his bill canted, Ever had his neck screwed Into that attitude. He cant do it, because ‘Tis against all bird-laws.
Anatomy teaches, Ornithology preaches, An owl has a toe That can’t turn out so! I’ve made the white owl my study for years, And to see such a job almost moves me to tears! Mr. Brown, I’m amazed You should be so gone crazed As to put up a bird In that posture absurd! To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness; The man who stuffed him don’t half know his business!” And the barber kept shaving.
“Examine those eyes I’m filled with surprise Taxidermists should pass Off on you such poor glass; So unnatural they seem They’d make Audubon scream, And John Burroughs laugh To encounter such chaff. Do take that bird down; Have him stuffed again, Brown!” And the barber kept on shaving!
“With some sawdust and bark I could stuff in the dark An owl better than that. I could make an old hat Look more like an owl Than that horrid fowl, Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather. In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”
Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch, The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch, Walked around, and regarded his fault-finding critic (Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic, And then fairly hooted, as if he should say: “Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway: Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray. I’m an owl; you’re another. Sir Critic, good day!” And the barber kept on shaving.
James Thomas Fields was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a sea captain and died before Fields was three. At the age of 14, Fields took a job at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. Afterwards, he wrote for the newspapers, and in 1835, he read an anniversary poem entitled Commerce before the Boston Mercantile Library Association.
Fields wrote the following poems: The Lucky Horseshoe; The Lover’s Peril; Patient Mercy Jones; The Captain’s Daughter; Common Sense; With Wordsworth at Rydal.
As with the first poem posted, I was brought up with this poem, only this time it was recited by my father.
“If we make a fly-on-the-wall review of our history and connect the significant scenarios from our memory, we can develop a comprehensive pattern of our identity that throws a whirl of light on the secreted framework of our life. (“Labyrinth of the mind”)” ― Erik Pevernagie
“Like the turtle’s shell, the sense of self serves as a shield against stimulation and as a burden which limits mobility into possibly dangerous areas. The turtle rarely has to think about what’s on the other side of his shell; whatever it is, it can’t hurt him, can’t even touch him. So, too, adults insist on the shell of a consistent self for themselves and their children and appreciate turtles for friends; they wish to be protected from being hurt or touched or confused or having to think. If a man can rely on consistency, he can afford not to notice people after the first few times. But I imagined a world in which each individual might be about to play the lover, the benefactor, the sponger, the attacker, the friend: and once known as one of the next day he might yet be anything. Would we pay attention to this person? Would life be boring? Would life be livable? I saw then clearly for the first time that the fear of failure keeps us huddled in the cave of self – a group of behavior patterns we have mastered and have no intention of risking failure by abandoning.”
Every photographer has his/her niche in life, mine is recognising natural patterns. Yesterday, I was having breakfast when I noticed the plant on the table in front of me. Now that plant has been in that position on the table for a number of weeks and yes, I had noticed the pattern on it’s leaves but yesterday, the sun must have been in the right position as it really exposed the colours and the pattern as I’d not seen it before and of course I couldn’t help but capture the image.
If you did nothing else but photograph each awesome sunrise and sunset you would feel fulfilled, and more so if it is in a new location.
Enjoy every day as it comes and try to make the most of it, for better or for worse there is a lesson to be learn’t. Try to be enthusiastic and remember the greatest gift given to all of us is laughter. Do something to make a colleague or friend laugh and you will have a good day.
” When the crow says an intelligent thing, chickens may laugh at it. This is the laughing of the sand castles at the powerful waves…..Mehmet Murat Ildan
Three Black Crows…
Three black crows sat on a tree,
They were as black, as black as crows could be.
Faark, Faark, Faark.
Said one black crow unto the others
“Where shall we dine today my brothers?”
Faark, Faark, Faark
“On yonder hill’s an old grey mare.
I think we might as well dine there”.
Faark, Faark, Faark.
They perched upon her high backbone,
And picked her eyes out one by one.
Said the second black crow unto the other,
“Isn’t she a tough old bugger”
Faark, Faark, Faark.
Up come a squatter with his gun,
And shot them all excepting one.
Now that one black crow got such a fright,
He turned from black right into white.
That is why you’ll often see
A white crow perched upon the tree.
I first heard “Three Black Crows” recited back in the 1950’s . A family friend by the name of Billy Monteith, an old ringer/drover from North Queensland, used to recite it, and I never forgot it. Every time I see or hear a crow and there’re a lot around here, I think of old Billy and his ballad.
“If there is one thing that defines Alaska apart from it’s wilderness, it is it’s magnificent glaciers.“…..JPB
To think that this awesome structure is in constant motion, and has been so for a long, long time with the leading section dying and falling into the sea forming small icebergs,
Hearing and seeing a glacier calve (a large piece of ice breaking away from the leading edge) is an experience I will never forget. There was this almighty roar and as I spun around, I witnessed this large chunk of ice slide into the water and I was lucky enough to capture the above image.
The above image depicts how the ice collects soil and rock and other debris as it slides down the mountain on it’s journey to the sea. One can just imagine that as the ice melts on contact with the water it could reveal the skeletons, tools and weapons of a bygone era. The seabed of the inside passage could make an ideal place to explore, if it hasn’t already been done.
This final image is of the leading edge of an Alaskan Glacier. It would make a fitting ingredient to an exotic cocktail at the Royal Hawaiian, in Honolulu.
I used an Apple SE phone and a Canon G Series camera, both ancient in modern terms but sufficed.
My wife and I travelled the Inside Passage between British Columbia and Alaska on the Crown Princesshttps://www.princess.com
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”Marcus Garvey
There’s something spooky about looking at ancient trees. One wonders what they have observed over their life span – what sort of animal or human species passed these same trees, say 500 years ago and if human, what did they experience?
The Weindorfers Forest Walk –
leaves from Waldheim chalet and takes an easy grade through a forest of King Billy pines, celery-top pines and myrtles. The walk takes about 20 minutes at a gentle pace. Take a little extra time and view the displays in the chalet to catch a brief look at the life of the Weindorfers. For more information: https://www.parks.tas.gov.au/file.aspx?id=34557
Tasmania, is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. It is an ancient land with ancient trees and history galore. Like New Zealand, it is an artist and Photographer’s playground. It is awe! awe! awe! awesome! and to think this is all on a small island at the bottom of Australia and unlike Australia, you can see a lot in a week. My wife and I took an organised tour with Discover Australia – and it was well worth it, the driver/guides were full of interesting information and only too happy to divulge it. For further information open link http://www.discoveraustralia.com.au/
I’ll be writing more about Tasmania at a later date.
“Painting is self discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”….Jackson Pollock
My wife and I were at the recently opened Howard Smith Wharves, in Brisbane, Qld. (An entertainment precinct) when we came across these pieces of Street Art. Unfortunately, we arrived a little late as contractors were loading a number of pieces onto the back of a truck. What a pity as I would have loved to have viewed and captured more. These people are so talented.
Street art is visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues. It can also be called Independent Public Art, Post-Graffiti, and Neo-Graffiti.……Wikipedia.
Wouldn’t it be marvellous if our councils could follow Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast’s lead and erect suitable structures in our parks and public spaces for street artists to show off their talent. It could be by invitation only and reasonable art prizes could be offered to entice the best. Perhaps, “Archibald on the Green” Any open space/parks rather than in an art gallery.
It may be political and it may be humorous, but if it makes you think then it is all worth while.
The above photograph so represents what Singapore is, or should I say used to be. The fishing villages, the boats, the canals, the humidity, colonial buildings mixed in with shop houses and an eclectic mish mash of nationalities going about their daily business.
I spent a lot of time in Singapore in the late 60’s and early 70’s when it went from a post war colonial outpost to a vibrant city. It was fascinating, alive with the remnants of all of Asia cocooned together on this tiny island. I loved every moment I had there, the Chinese Puppet Opera, Change alley, the smell of durians in season and Bugis Street. Water skiing from Mosquito Island off Pongal Point followed by a feast of cracked crab with chilli sauce and eased down with an icy cold Tiger beer. There are so many memories here and all of them good.
There was this story floating around the traps about the famous comedian Bob Hope who was passing through Singapore. As the flight steward opened the door of the aircraft, a waft of sickly sweet humid air entered the cabin. Bob Hope was heard to exclaim to his aide, “My God, what is that smell?”, the aide replied “I don’t know Bob, but it smells like shit!” to which Bob countered ” You’re right, but what have they done to it!” In those days they didn’t have the luxury of an air-conditioned air-bridge joining the fuselage of the aircraft to the terminal, passengers had to descend a set of steps wheeled up to the aircraft and then walk across the tarmac to the terminal and their first taste of Singapore was commonly called the smell of the Orient.
Back in 1967, when I was in my early 20’s, I used to stay at the old colonial Cathay Hotel. Whilst consuming a cold beer in the bar as a new chum to Singapore, it felt as though I was living out a scene from a Somerset Maugham or Ernest Hemingway novel. As I said before, it was the 1960’s and the room was full of business people, military and naval personnel, civilian aircrew, tourists, expats. and locals, people from all walks of life really and this was what made it so fascinating. Unfortunately, All that is left of this grand old dame now is the facade fronting another shopping mall.
Living in this modern metropolis of Singapore is probably great for the locals and I don’t begrudge them one little bit, but for me, I’d rather have the colourful, post war ‘Singas’ with all of it’s smells and sounds any day, and I am happy that I had the fortune of spending some time there and still have the memories of what it was like.
Well, that was then and this is now.
And, as we herald in the modern era, the new city of Singapore is brightly lit at night with a mix of colonial and modern architecture and chock full of honey, just for the taking. As busy as a hive of bees.
It is a modern city and therefore you would expect to see good modern architecture and you have it, lots of it, mixed in with the old British colonial and Asian shop-houses. It has an air of urgency about it and at the same time, the locals look perfectly relaxed.
Ten minutes drive outside the CBD and it is as if you are in a different world, one with vertical living next to an array of restaurants and bars, with a similarity to the old Singapore.
This is getting out of control as I could go on and on but I won’t, ending this post here.