Local Heart, Global Soul

November 25, 2012

It’s Cold and It’s Dark, But It’s Home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this last post of our New Zealand travels, we are coming in to land at Schipol Airport outside Amsterdam.

It’s just before 6.00 a.m. on a January winter’s day and it’s dark outside. I try and take photos of the lights beneath us as we come in to land, and end up with more arty streaks of light that are more abstract art than realistic photos.

At least at this time of the morning it doesn’t take so long to get though the airport.

It’s a long way from gate to the baggage claims and exit but there’s a wheelchair waiting on hand for me and we decline assistance in being wheeled, Himself does that whilst I take our hand baggage on my lap.

We have some excellent neighbours who like many city Dutch people, can drive but don’t own a car so we have a long standing arrangement: they run us to and from the airport in our car and in return they get the use of our car when we are away on holiday.

There is a very good train service to The Hague but if I’m really honest, there’s nothing like stepping off a 14 hour flight and having someone waiting at the airport to help us get home quickly and smoothly.

The only thing is, we loose the wheelchair at the exit and the car is parked miles away in one of the massive car parks  so I wait outside in the arrivals hall which is the shortest walk away, whilst the rest of the family quick march to the car and then come and pick me up.

The announcement from the captain of the aircraft just before we land warned us that it’s -4 Centigrade (28 Fahrenheit)  outside, a short sharp shock compared with the tropical temperatures we left behind last night.

As I wait, I take a photo of the second control tower I’ve seen in a less than a day, the moon is out along side it, cars are covered in thick  frost and my breath makes little clouds in front of me. Luckily the car arrives after just a few minutes and soon we are sitting inside with the heater on full blast joining the early morning traffic on the motorway home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 24, 2012

Is It Really Any Of My Business?…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterdays post I mentioned that Himself and I have a surprise that we hadn’t told the kids about:  it’s the news that we’ve accumulated enough Frequent Flyer miles with Singapore Airlines to be able to get a free upgrade of our tickets and fly Business Class on the last leg of our journey home.

It’s probably wasted on the kids since this is a night flight and they probably will sleep most of the way, but on the other hand it’s also nice to have them stretched out in their own seats and not draped  heavily over Himself and I, which is their usual mode of sleeping in the cramped seats in Economy.

I could totally get used to flying Business Class… alas my bank balance has other ideas and so we were strategic when we planned this into the trip. We figured that since two of our flights were 14 hours each and two were 10,  that it would be wise to  use this perk on the longest of the flights. Also starting out the trip in luxury and then reverting back to squeezing our long Dutch legs into Economy thereafter would be painful both physically and psychologically so the longest leg on the way home was the wisest choice.

Little Mr. fell asleep as soon as the plane had climbed to cruising level and his seat could be reclined, and soon passengers all around us were doing the same.  It’s a pity I didn’t take a photo of the seats in the reclined position, the back rest slides downwards and there’s a leg rest that rises up so yes, you can stretch out far further than can ever be possible in Economy, but that said these recline to a level that is still far from flat so you find yourself attempting to sleep on a downwards slope.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The kids fit perfectly into the space, they can stretch out fully if they want so they curl up and sleep,  but I could use being a little shorter as my feet fit awkwardly under the seat in front.  This is partly due to the fact that I’m limited in positions that my sore foot is comfortable in, and partly because the ideal position for sleeping in one of these seats seems to be on your side, whereas I usually find sleeping on my stomach most comfortable.

I opt for a half-doze but that’s not terribly successful because one of  the middle aircraft seats in our row was occupied by a stout gentleman who made himself comfortable, fell sleep and  promptly began snoring very very loudly. I ask the flight attendant if it’s possible to get ear plugs but they didn’t have any.

It also seems like they are unwilling to wake the man in question to let him know that he’s keeping other people awake.

Himself is so tired that he manages to sleep regardless of the din so eventually I give up and drown out the noise by putting on the headphones and watching a few movies. Later Kiwi Daughter stirs just in time for a meal, I’m not sure if I should call it dinner or breakfast but it’s  a good step up from the usual aircraft fare.

There are kid treats as well as fresh fruit to enjoy after her main course which is nice because both of us have Special meals due to allergy issues and I’ve noticed that if a child has a Special meal than all the sweet “treats” and snacks have been removed, much to her extreme disappointment.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So far this trip all of her flight meals have looked more like adult meals than kid ones so Kiwi Daughter hasn’t found any of them particularly appetising until now.

The gent in the centre row continues to snore loudly for most of the flight home, so I watch movies rather than frustrate myself trying to unsuccessfully sleep though the noise. The flight attendant raises her hands apologetically, it seems that it’s luck of the draw, you pay Business Class prices to be able to sleep, and therefore you get to sleep on,  apparently even if that means keeping your fellow passengers awake.

If I had paid this ticket out of my own pocket and needed to sleep on the flight, say for an important meeting  after landing then I probably would have gone and woken the man and politely told him that his snoring was disturbing other  passengers but since Himself and the kids were sleeping soundly I let it go as not to make any disturbance. Truth is,  I don’t know if it would be my business to wake up this passenger or not?

In spite of the snoring gent, this is still a very comfortable way to travel, but to be honest if  this was a ticket I’d have to pay for myself and if I were to add to up the cost of a family of four flying Business Class to New Zealand and back then my conscience would be heavy.

That kind of cash could easily feed the more than one hundred kids at the Kiribati School for the Disabled  with one warm meal a day for more than a year ….so whilst this is a lovely one-time perk,  flying Business is too serious a business for my conscience.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 11, 2012

Are These The “Now” Photos, Or The Future “Then” Photos?

Filed under: MALAYSIA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are about to leave Melaka, but first let’s take a look around the rest of the town. I like taking “general” photos like this because it shows the real character of a place where locals live and work and the “normal” places as opposed to the touristic haunts.

Also it’s always true that every town and city is in a constant state of evolution, buildings come and go, fashion changes, so in a strange way I also want to leave a record of what it looks like in 2012 so that if one day I return  in the future I can compare the “then”and “now”.

And who knows?  Maybe even one day one of my children or grandchildren or great grandchildren will also enjoy travelling to far flung places around the world,  wouldn’t it be fabulous if they were also bloggers who documented their travels?

Wouldn’t it be cool if they found these places and took their own “now” photos and compared them to mine? (sigh) OK Kiwidutch, get real,  this scenario probably won”t ever happen…  and while you’re at it just admit that you just like taking photos of ordinary things, ordinary places, constantly, all the time. Yes, as usual let’s just enjoy taking a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 7, 2012

Even the Church has Changed it’s Stripes… But is Not Separated From This World…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are leafing through the pages of my travel diary as I document our travel adventures of December 2011 and January 2012. At the moment we are taking a side trip to Melaka Malaysia, as part of an almost week long stopover in Singapore on our way back home to the Netherlands.

Dutch Square in Melaka has me captivated… it’s wall-to-wall tropical heat but here I am, mesmerised by beautiful buildings, culture and a heap of history… what’s not to like?

The latest building to capture my attention is the Melaka Christ Church. Painted in the same pink/red as the Stadthuys on one side and the Youth Museum and Art Gallery on the other, this previously Dutch Reformed church has been through it’s share of changes because  it’s now an Anglican church.

I love going inside all historical buildings,  and love churches too, but sadly we just don’t have time to see and experience all that Melaka has to offer in one short day trip, especially one that involves six hours of coach travel.

From Wikipedia I learn:

The church is built in Dutch Colonial architecture style and is laid out in a simple rectangle of 82 feet (25 m) by 42 feet (13 m). The ceiling rises to 40 feet (12 m) and is spanned by wooden beams, each carved from a single tree.

The roof is covered with Dutch tiles and the walls were raised using Dutch bricks built on local laterite blocks then coated with Chinese plaster. The floors of the church are paved with granite blocks originally used as ballast for merchant ships.

The Dutch conquest of Malacca from the Portuguese Empire in 1641 saw the proscription of Roman Catholicism and the conversion of existing churches to Dutch Reformed use. The old St. Paul’s Church at the summit of St. Paul Hill was renamed the Bovenkerk (High Church) and used as the main parish church of the Dutch community.

In 1741, in commemoration of the centenary of the capture of Malacca from the Portuguese, the Dutch burgher community decided to build a new church to replace the aging Bovenkerk. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The foundation stone was laid by the Malacca born Captain of the Malacca Burghers, Abraham de Wind, on behalf of his father, Claas de Wind, a prominent Burgher who had been the Secunde (Deputy Governor) of Malacca.

The church was completed 12 years later in 1753 and replaced the Bovenkerk as the primary Dutch Reformed Church in Dutch Malacca. 

With the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, possession of Malacca was transferred to the British East India Company and in 1838, the church was re-consecrated with the rites of the Church of England by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Wilson, the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and renamed Christ Church.

Originally painted white, the church and the neighbouring Stadthuys building was painted red in 1911 and this distinctive colour scheme has remained the hallmark of Malacca’s Dutch-era buildings since. The original Dutch windows were reduced and ornamented after the British takeover of Malacca and the porch and vestry were built only in the mid-19th century.

The floors of the church also incorporate various tombstones with Portuguese and Armenian inscriptions used as paving blocks. Memorial plaques in Dutch, Armenian and English also adorn the interior of the church. Some Armenian inscriptions provide an interesting panorama of life in the Dutch period:

“Greetings, you who are reading this tablet of my tomb in which I now sleep. Give me the news, the freedom of my countrymen, for them I did much weep. If there arose among them one good guardian to govern and keep. Vainly I expected the world to see a good shepherd came to look after the scattered sheep.”

“I, Jacob, grandson of Shamier, an Armenian of a respectable family whose name I keep, was born in Persia near Inefa, where my parents now forever sleep. Fortune brought me to distant Malacca, which my remains in bondage to keep. Separated from the world on 7th July 1774 A.D. at the age of twenty-nine, my mortal remains were deposited in this spot of the ground which I purchased.” 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The church bell is inscribed with the date 1698 suggesting that it was used for another purpose prior to the completion of the church.
The church’s collection of Kerk Boek (Church Book), Resolutie Boek (Resolution Book), Rapporten (Reports) as well as the Doop Boek (Baptism Register) going back to the earliest Dutch times in Malacca have survived through the centuries. These antiquated documents are now being kept at the National Archives of Malaysia.

Silver altar vessels dating back to the early Dutch period are also in the possession of the church but are kept in storage and rarely taken out for display. The altar Bible has a cover made of brass inscribed with the passage from John 1:1 in Dutch.

I love the serenity in the prose that describes Jacob’s date of death:  “separated from the world on… ” .. and I was struck by the fact that he was only twenty-nine years of age. Life back then was apparently tough, … and short.

These days we have creature comforts Jacob could not have even dreamt about, medications not the least of them. We travel with speed and comfort, we can exchange information around the world at speeds almost beyond our own comprehension, we are well educated and we enjoy long life expectancy. I wonder what Jacob would make of us all if he could come back and see us today?

One thing is for sure… Melaka then was probably as much  a cross-roads, meeting point and place of vibrancy then as it is today. And in that, Jacob, who sleeps eternally in his little purchased spot in the church, would have felt very much at home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Church,_Malacca

November 6, 2012

One Building Has Worn Multiple Hats, Another, the Result of a Dying Wish…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Situated near the Stadthuys entrance of the square stands a clock tower painted in a matching shade of pink/red as the Youth Museum & Art Gallery, Church and Stadthuys… our guide tells us it was built by a son over a century ago to fulfill his father’s last request. I did some research on the internet because I had totally forgotten the names our guide gave us at the time and discovered the following information: (website link at the bottom of this post if you are interested in reading more)

More commonly known as Red Clock Tower, the Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower stands tall at the center of the Dutch Square. While it was named after Chinese billionaire Tan Beng Swee, it was actually his son, Tan Jiak Kim, who had this built in 1886 to fulfill his father’s promise.

Tan Beng Swee was a rich Chinese man who lived in Malacca and was known for his philanthropy. He donated the land where the city’s Chinese cemetery now lies and the bridge just beside the tower.

For almost a century, the clock installed on top of the tower was from England. In 1982, however, it was replaced by a Seiko clock, which was not received well by the older residents of the city and caused an outrage because many of them still remember the suffering they experienced when Japan occupied the city decades ago.”

When I first photographed the clock tower  from the bridge I was under the impression that it supports a radio mast… luckily this isn’t this case, the mast being a far larger construction situated behind the Stadthuys, and my position on the bridge just producing an unfortunate angle.

Once I walked a bit further it was clear that the two were separate and that the clock tower was rather a sweet little building. In case you are wondering if  it’s Melaka’s version of Pisa, it’s me on a lean, not the tower. I was juggling crutches, camera and a water bottle and the further I walked the more I ended up leaning on at one of the crutches when I stopped since it was rather tiring keeping up. Nevermind, you get the idea of the surroundings at least.

I’m not quite sure if requesting my kids to build a clock tower would be an item that features anywhere on a list of my dying wishes… but hey, each to his own, and Dutch Square is certainly a prettier place for it, so maybe Tan Beng Swee was onto something.

There’s another former administrative building on Dutch Square too, it stands on the opposite side of the Christ Church to the Stadthuys and was built in 1784. In 1826 it became the Malacca Free School and then roughly one hundred years later a second story was added to it and it took on a new function as a post office, before finally becoming the  Malaysia Youth Museum & Art Gallery.

The  Youth Museum is located on the ground floor and the Art Gallery is housed on the upper floor and displays artworks from both local Melakan artists and from artists from around Malaysia.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.thepoortraveler.net/2012/05/tan-beng-swee-clock-tower-queen-victoria-fountain-dutch-square-malacca-malaysia/

November 4, 2012

A Surprise That Almost Takes the Wind Out of Our Sails…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After we passed on foot under the gaze of the fearsome dragon that confronted us then we entered the city, we then had to cross a river and a bridge to complete the short distance to Dutch Square.

Now we have a chance to check out something that made Himself and I burst out laughing as we got a fleeting glance of it  from the coach on the way into town, actually we should have been at least a little prepared for what we had seen: First, Dutch Square isn’t called Dutch Square for nothing… The Dutch were in control of Melaka from 1641  until 1825  so it was fairly certain that there would probably be influences of some sort left behind.

Secondly, on this trip to New Zealand we have had an uncanny habit of stumbling across things with an almost kitch-more-Dutch-than-the-Dutch flavour, everything from bakeries to a very decent sized windmill in the small New Zealand town of Foxton.

So when Himself and I sat in the coach and suddenly saw a very Dutch looking windmill by the side of the road we burst out laughing.  It sits between the busy road and the river and is nestled into an ornamental garden.

Immediately it’s clear that it’s a complete tourist magnet, in fact getting photos of it is harder than I imagined,  if you stand on the pavement next to it you can’t get much of it in the photo:  if you stand as far back as you can on the pavement  it’s not much better: you are perilously close to the traffic and people keep walking in front of you, if you stand on the other side of the road you can get it into your photo but along with supplemental extras that consist of  trishaws, cars and motorcycles going past on the busy road, not to mention the almost constant stream of tourists having their portraits taken in front of it.

I waited patiently for multiple couples taking the obligatory “her-with-windmill” and then changing places to photograph  “him-with-windmill” and if there was a friend in tow, and possible extra “him-plus-her-with-windmill”, then there were larger family groups, parents taking photos of their kids by it and even what looked like an entire tour party group shot.

Himself and the kids had gone off with Velveteen to search out a joke rubber cow as a gift for her Mother at the nearby Market by the Stadhuijs (Town Hall). Velveteen’s family have a wonderful tradition of doing joke gifts for Birthdays and her Mother already has (and loves) the joke rubber chicken ! (yes, they found what they were looking for too!)

Since I’m walking slower and stopping to take photos, they have gone ahead and I’ll meet up with them a short while.

This certainly doesn’t look anything like a working windmill, it’s too small to mill flour (yes they do have mills this small in the Netherlands, usually found in farmers fields next to a canal and they are just very basic water pumps) but the Dutch ones this size are generally far more plain than this one so I suspect that this one is not so old and is here as a tourist attraction to complete the  Dutch Square’s  “Dutch flavour”.

It seems ironic that we Dutchies when we go abroad still can’t escape the windmills, not even in the Southern Hemisphere or in Asia… oh well, we’ll just have a laugh and not let it take the wind out of our sails.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The river from the bridge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 3, 2012

Go On… Take Me For a Spin!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are looking around Melaka in Malaysia as a side trip to our extended stopover in Singapore as we head back to the Netherlands from New Zealand.

I’m delighted to see colourful trishaws coming down the main street at regular intervals and as we make our way up the street they start to appear in even greater abundance.

Since many of them are so heavily decorated that they would put a Rio Carnival float to shame, they are hard to miss… but I find them fascinating and love the colours and floral additions.

Since I’ve been doing my fair share of walking on my crutches today, that later after we had seen a few of the sights we decided that this mode of transport would be an ideal way to get back to the bus which our guide tells us is now parked back at the Equatorial Hotel where we had lunch earlier. We also have a strict time limit  to get back the the bus by, so walking back isn’t going to be quick enough for me anyway.

She also tells us the amount that it should cost to get back there,  just in case a driver charges “tourist prices” instead of the correct fare.

I’m interested to gather a little more information about the tradition of trishaws so here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport; it is also known by a variety of other names such as bike taxi, velotaxi, pedicab, bikecab, cyclo, becak, trisikad, or trishaw or, simply, rickshaw which also refers to auto rickshaws, and the, now uncommon, rickshaws pulled by a person on foot.

Cycle rickshaws are human-powered, a type of tricycle designed to carry passengers in addition to the driver. They are often used on a for hire basis. Cycle rickshaws are widely used in major cities around the world, but most commonly in cities of South, Southeast and East Asia.

In Malaysia, pedestrian-pulled rickshaws were gradually replaced by cycle rickshaws (beca in Malay). Cycle rickshaws were ubiquitous up to the 1970s in cities. Since then, rapid urbanization has increased demand for more efficient public transport, resulting in dwindling cycle rickshaw numbers.

Today, cycle rickshaws are operated mostly as a tourist attraction, with small numbers operating in Malacca, Penang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

I love how different some of the styles are, from neat and beautifully arranged rows of plastic and synthetic flowers to the throw-it-all-together method in a more tacky fashion, all of these trishaws have a charm of their own.  One even sports batman wings…  and guess what?  To my children’s delight I was destined to be the lucky member of our tour party who turned up back at the bus in a trishaw decorated with a giant spider on top of the umbrella complete with  Barbie dolls clutched in some of the feet!   …eek!  but at least riding in that  one meant I didn’t have to gaze at it all the way back!

(Note: the Dutch word for “spider” is “spin”… so I do suppose that in this city with it’s Dutch historical influences,  you could  say I was  “going for a spin” in this  particular trishaw with no trace of irony whatsoever!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_rickshaw

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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My favourite: one occasion when OTT looks amazing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 29, 2012

The Narrow Streets Widen…

Filed under: MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are winding our way through narrow streets in Melaka in Malaysia, some of the streets are so narrow we are in danger of collecting street decorations, laundry and any other item pointing streetwards on the wing mirrors of the coach, but our driver shows his skill and we manage to negotiate the way without collecting any additional ornamentation.

After brushing past a few longer stemmed plants we suddenly find ourselves in wider streets and can see more than just building material flashing past our windows.

Our guide gives us some history about Melaka  (a.k.a. Malacca) such as the fact that the city centre has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2008 and that the area has had it’s fair share of invaders, colonisers and rulers who included over the centuries the Thai,Vietnamese, Portuguese, Dutch, British as well as other influences for shorter periods of time in between. This was mostly because Melaka was an excellent all weather port in a very strategic position at the narrowest point of the Malacca Straights.  We also learn that the head of state in Melaka is a Governor rather than a Sultan (as in other areas of Malaysia) Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 28, 2012

Eek! There’s a Dragon in The Street!!!

Filed under: MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Traditional,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a page out of my travel diary, of our trip to New Zealand and back, via Singapore and Malaysia in December 2011- January 2012.

We’ve just had lunch in the Melaka Equatorial Hotel, Malaysia and are now on the bus into the centre of town.

We are here just a few weeks before Chinese New Year so there are decorations galore and the entire town looked very festive.

It’s with some surprise that we round a corner and are confronted with a huge decorative dragon suspended in the middle of the street: by chance I did get a photo out of the front of the bus window, but I was seated too far back for the photo to be properly sharp.

I’ll include it in the photo series anyway so that you can get an idea of how it looked like to get a “face full” of dragon out of the front window.  Later we walked back past the dragon so I got photographs from ground level too. The dragon takes over the entire space around the roundabout and the tail weaves around itself, a very impressive piece of construction and engineering as well as decorative detail.

The roundabout itself is a fountain, with fish in the middle, which I also manage to get photos of .

What a wonderful introduction to the city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 23, 2012

Louver Windows and the Connection to Ditches…

Filed under: LIFE,MALAYSIA,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is probably another post where you think I’m bonkers. (Actually I’m sometimes surprised you don’t think that of all of my posts LOL).

My parents lived for a while in the Solomon Islands and when I first went to visit them I was surprised to see what appeared to be a dry moat around their house, complete with a small bridge by the front door.

It looked  like a rather lethal affair too,  and uncovered open pit about one meter deep and about half a meter wide and with the addition of a little barbed wire might have been passed off as a miniature  World War One trench.

Then I noticed something funny with their roof… there was a deep overhang on the roof, so the eaves were very pronounced.  My Mother laughed… “You’ll  ‘get it” later” she said, and Yes, as soon as it rained I surely did.

Tropical rain doesn’t rain cats and dogs, it rains swimming pools and this not-so-little moat was their overflow drain for rain water. And over-flow it did… until I saw it fill and over flow within fifteen minutes or so,  I never could have imagined that so much water could pour out of the sky and flood the earth at once.

My parents  had a rainwater tank for their water supply, it was massive: big enough that my Father could climb inside to scrub the inside walls several times a year, and one day just after he’s scrubbed it,  it started to rain very heavily so he put the diversion pipe on, (from the roof to the tank) filled it completely during the downpour, then took the diversion pipe away, totally emptied the tank  and then with the tank now rinsed but the pipe back and filled it completely again from the water coming off the roof… all  in the same downpour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He said he got soaked to the skin doing it, but  that wasn’t a bother because it was still roughly 36 C (98.6 F) anyway.

On the long side of the house that usually caught the small breezes they installed a row of floor to ceiling louver windows .

These ran for some meters along the hallway and with insect netting on the outside, gave a good airflow in the house in the typically hot and humid climate.

You could close one or two meters of louver windows at a time by pulling down on long handles at various  points along the hallway and I discovered just how heavy tropical rain can be one day when the skies opened and we were all outside.

I was fastest to sprint inside and try and get all the windows closed… but the driving rain was almost horizontal and so much rain was coming in whilst I was trying to close them that in spite of my haste I was standing in ankle deep puddles of flood water on the floor.

In the kitchen more windows were open and the entire kitchen floor was flooded and the stove top was full of water. There was actually so much water on the stove that the elements were drowning in water and we didn’t dare use them until the electrics dried out for fear of electrocuting ourselves.

It’s therefore with some nostalgia that I spy large rainwater ditches by the side of the road in Malaysia, memories of the Solomons come back in an instant and I’m reminded that whilst we are enjoying a lovely sunny day today, it’s green and lush around here for a very good reason.

I suppose that during a decent cloudburst here or a tropic storm that there must be small rivers of water flowing in these drains.  We didn’t see it today, but in my minds eye I’m transported back to the day when I was standing up to my ankles in water inside my parents hallway in floods caused by a tropical rainstorm.

Yes, I am bonkers.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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