Local Heart, Global Soul

October 24, 2014

The Mediterranean Biome… Spicy Gets My Kids Attention, Until…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first of the  “Biomes” we decide to visit at Cornwell’s Eden Project is called the Mediterranean Biome.

This is where a warm dry climate can be made within the dome so that plants from places like California, Australia and South Africa can be grown and displayed.

The shapes and colours of the plants are amazing, there are Greek  olive trees here, and lots of information boards, but in amongst everything there are also many statues dotted around, and the paths take you though many levels and landscapes where there are interesting interactive for the kids to enjoy too.

Our children liked the strangest of things, one like a spiky plant, the other a colourful one, both loved a hut made of grasses where you could peep out though little windows … in fact there was a constant stream of kids waiting to go inside and thus a constant stream of little faces in all of the windows. Our kids also had a giggle at the real front piece of motorcycle positioned so that it looked like it was attached to the rest of the bike shown in a large photographic billboard…a rather ingenious use of some handlebars and a front wheel. We learn that everything here in the Eden Project is sourced in as environmentally friendly manner as possible: as much of the material as possible is from the local area, all of the wood is either local or reclaimed or both.

Run-off rain water is collected from the biomes for use within the Project and they have a “reduce, recycle, reuse” policy so there is not a Styrofoam cup in sight. We make our way around and for unusually for our children who have non-spicy tastes, one of the biggest hits were the chilli peppers and the signs depicting their heat as measured on the Schoville Scale… then of course came the shrieks as they discovered the sculpture spider lurking close by…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 10, 2012

Legs in The Photos and The Cops are Close by as We Discover Enduring Beauty…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As we leave  Melaka’s Dutch Square in our trishaws, we pass by some interesting buildings…  the first stands across the intersection from the Stadthuys and looks very oriental, and I am not sure but it may be the Information Centre (and there’s that strange road sign with the red spots on it again…  does anyone have any clues what it might mean?)

Alongside of the building I think is the information centre stands a police van… Little Mr. as if on clue is suddenly totally animated in his excitement that I need to urgently take photos before our drivers peddle us out of sight, then he spots the Police station nearby and more squeals ensue so yes, it is at his behest that these photos are on this page.

I spy a very tall tower in the distance… mobile phone mast maybe? and then there are the market stalls, and more interesting buildings as we follow other trishaws down the street.

Opposite more pink/red buildings I spy some parked up train carriages and a small aeroplane, and just around the corner from the first pink/red building is another one that according to the sign on the front is the “Museum of Enduring Beauty” (whatever that might be).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A stone’s throw further along is another building that is partly in the pink/red colour scheme but sports a white ground floor, there’s a sign that reads “Melaka Stamp Museum” and an information board outside that reads:

This building was the former Melaka State Museum, also known as the “Sekolah Gambar”. It was originally used as the residence for Dutch dignitaries living in Melaka. On 19th  March 1954, G.E. Wisdom the Resident Commissioner of Melaka converted this building to a museum. However in 1982, the museum was moved to the Stadthuys.

Now this building houses the Melaka Stamp Museum.and the Department of Museums and Antiquity has gazetted the building as an ancient monument according to Section 15 of the Antiquities Act 168/1976.”

Then we pass Bastion House which is the home of  the Malay and Islamic World Museum,  before the road curves somewhat and the Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan with it’s bright yellow domes comes into view.  It opened in 1985 as a memorial to commemorate the service and sacrifice of all those involved in achieving the countries independence after almost four hundred and fifty years of colonial rule.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Inside are exhibits that pertain to historical events and outside are parked two small tanks which had been used in crisis times as well as cars used in the 1957 Independence day celebrations.

The Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan building was formerly the Malacca Club,  was built in 1911 and is a combination of local and British architectural styles.

Then we see the  Porta de Santiago,  which is a small gate house that’s the only surviving remnant of the  “A Famosa”, a Portuguese fortress that once stood here. Wikipedia tells me:

In 1511, a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. His forces attacked and defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albuquerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea.

Albuquerque believed that Malacca would become an important port linking Portugal to the Spice Route in China. At this time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India in order to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to China and returning home to Portugal. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held an ammunition storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers’ quarters. Most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Malacca’s population expanded it outgrew the original fort and extensions were added around 1586.

The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch drove the Portuguese out of Malacca. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo “ANNO 1670” inscribed on the gate’s arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.

The fortress changed hands again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon’s expansionist France. The English were wary of maintaining the fortification and ordered its destruction in 1806.

The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who happened to visit Malacca in 1810. Because of his passion for history, this small gate was spared from destruction.

With a sigh these sights slip past us as our trishaw driver delivers us back  to the Equatorial Hotel and our waiting coach… so much to see so little time…

postscript: Yes I know there is a pair of Barbie doll legs dangling down into the top of one of the photos, truth is that I have many more photos with the Barbie doll legs in them because every time I wanted a wider angle view there was no escaping them.

The photos sans plastic appendages were all taken zoomed in… and in the end I didn’t mind the legs too much, it was a nice distraction from the fact that I was travelling in a trishaw that had a giant spider on the roof (I hate spiders) ..at least by sitting underneath it I didn’t have to look at it. At least I’m in good company because French author Guy de Maupassant used to sit and eat his lunch under Tour Eiffel for the same reason.

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My favourite: one occasion when OTT looks amazing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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