Daily Prompt: Celebration!

I just had to put an explanation mark at the end of celebration! It didn’t look right without it. It feels like a million years since I last celebrated something, or had reason to celebrate. A year of saving/study doesn’t really go hand in hand with wild, out-there celebrations, even my birthday was skipped over. A flurry of meaningless Facebook birthday wishes from people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years was the only thing that separated it from any other day.

So I hit the archives to remind myself what celebrating felt like, and I found these shots. Every year at Christmas there is a street in my city that goes all out with Christmas lights. And I mean, ALL OUT. The street is over a kilometre long and basically every house gets decked out in fluro magic. People flock from all over the city in the week before Christmas to tour the lights, cars clog the area which is patrolled and controlled by police men, that is how big the event has become.

It is a very cool display of community spirit in an age where community spirit is almost non-existent, a blatant and unapologetic outrageous celebration.

_MG_5652 _MG_5656 _MG_5657 _MG_5664_MG_5660 _MG_5673_MG_5668I deliberately left the flash off to capture some of the feeling of the night, everything was in total darkness, lit only by the majestic displays of Christmas lights on the houses. See some more Celebration! at The Daily Post.

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A Word A Week Challenge: Metallic.

I might be a bit late to the party with this one but as the old saying goes, ‘better late than…’ whatever. This is my contribution to Sue’s challenge over at A Word In Your Ear.

Each week she picks a word from the dictionary to challenge us and this week the word is ‘metallic’. So I dug up some photos of some beautiful metal sculptures that I stumbled upon in the Dunedin Botanical Gardens, New Zealand.

_MG_9337The sculptures were life size, incredibly detailed depictions of Peter Pan. They looked completely at home amongst the incredible flowers and manicured lawns of the Botanic Gardens. _MG_9339  Tinkerbell whispering endless secrets to Peter Pan. _MG_9342The Lost Boys were curled up amongst the roots of the tree stump Peter Pan stood upon.  _MG_9344The sculpture was decorated with all sorts of beautiful woodland creatures, such as this little guy. He was no bigger than a matchbox.  _MG_9377To one side of Peter was this gorgeous sculpture of Wendy, Michael and John Darling, flying off to Neverland. _MG_9341I thought this plaque was the perfect surreal touch to the entire masterpiece.

‘Dedicated to the children of today, tomorrow, & the future’

Harold Richmond must have been an incredible man.

Daily Prompt: Nourishment

I thought this was a really interesting prompt from The Daily Post: If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

I’m sure in this age of dieting, food fads, weight loss pills and supplements many people would be putting their hands up to say ‘hell yes!’ But I myself am completely and utterly, unashamedly in love with food.

I love everything about it: growing it, preparing it, cooking it, buying it, paying for it, but mainly, eating it. Going out for dinner is one of my favourite things to do in the world. I adore trying new things that I have never tried before, particularly if it is from another country. There is something so satisfying in preparing, cooking and sharing a meal with people you love. There is something so indulgent in having food prepared and cooked for you.

_MG_5181Scallops with parsnip puree, balsamic reduction, parsley jubes and toasted pinenuts – Hayman Island._MG_5206Oak smoked salmon presented and served tableside by the chef – Hayman Island._MG_5174Let’s not forget the drinks that nourish us: for me, a crisp gin and tonic with lime or cucumber is the most nourishing, refreshing drink of all._MG_5244Half of the pleasure of food comes from its presentation – ‘We eat first with our eyes…’
French martini sorbet served in an ice igloo – Hayman Island.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABaskets of fruit sold on the beach in Koh Samet, Thailand. The most delicious, cheap fruit that money can buy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASeafood extravaganza served at the beach front restaurants in Koh Samet – eaten while sitting on a cushion in the sand. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFruit stalls on the road between Thailand and Cambodia. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeat markets in Siem Riep, Cambodia.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m still not sure exactly what this meat was, I will be the first to admit I was too scared to try it. Has anyone been to Siem Riep, Cambodia and knows what this is?  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFish drying road side in Kampot, Cambodia. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe most delicious and spicy meals that I had in Asia came from this stall in Hua Hin, Thailand. I could buy a bag of rice, a selection of vegetables and a bag of mince for around 30 baht, or around $1 AUD.  IMG_2319I can’t leave coffee out either, it nourishes and sustains me every day. I absolutely love it, and I am utterly addicted to it. We had coffee and schnapps at the Bavarian Bier Café, Manly.

And now my mouth is watering.

Daily Prompt: Vacation

Vacation.

This word is beginning to sound as foreign to me as Latin. I haven’t had a vacation, a proper one, for well over a year. For someone who used to travel overseas or across country at the drop of a hat, it is becoming slightly depressing.

But this is a time to work hard, I know, and so I vacation vicariously through my old photographs. And now The Daily Post has given me the perfect prompt to share some of them, so here are some of my past Vacations.

_MG_5957Sydney – Australia_MG_6130 Sydney – Australia_MG_8076 Lake Rotoroa – New Zealand_MG_8933Wanaka – New Zealand   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhnom Bakheng – Cambodia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWat Bayon – Cambodia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKep – Cambodia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARabbit Island – Cambodia  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHua Hin – Thailand IMG_1049Hayman Island – Queensland OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMelaka – Malaysia  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABatu Ferringhi – Malaysia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALangkowi – Malaysia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALangkowi – Malaysia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMelaka – Malaysia Sth Africa Tour -Kelsie 034Tamboti Tented Camp – South Africa

Sth Africa Tour -Kelsie 070Durbin – South Africa

Daily Prompt: Lost

I get lost in many ways. I get lost reading, writing, gardening, running, listening to music, looking through blogs…

But one of my favourite ways to get lost is taking photographs. Most of my family cannot understand, or stand, for that matter, my habit of taking endless photos. They don’t understand why you would photograph the same sunset forty times, always searching for that shot you haven’t quite captured yet. They get embarrassed going places with me, when I am down on one knee or walking backwards and forth in front of a subject, searching for the elusive angle.

It sometimes causes quite an annoyance, like on the day I took these pictures. I told my boyfriend that I was going for a short walk around Lake Wanaka to take some photos, and I would be back soon. Three hours later, and we had missed our dinner reservations.

I took roughly 250 photos walking around the lake, of all sorts of bits and pieces. I wandered around in my own little dream world, so happy to be in a place of such beauty with a camera in my hand. I had no idea how long I was away for, I was completely lost in the moment.

_MG_8590_MG_8613 _MG_8681_MG_8771 _MG_8812_MG_8552 _MG_8558 _MG_8568 _MG_8770_MG_8540 _MG_8603

Daily Prompt: Ugly

I have been away from the computer for a few days, so this will be a day full of Daily Post Challenges. I initially had no idea what I would show for the prompt UGLY, so much so that I was going to skip it all together. Then I realised I had the perfect photos, from one of the saddest, ugliest places I have ever visited.

These photos were taken at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh. This building was a high school before being transformed into a prison by members of the Khmer Rouge, under Pol Pot’s instruction. It is unknown how many Cambodian’s were tortured and killed in this prison during the Khmer Rouge Genocide, but it is believed to be between     17 000 and 20 000.

Even now, over 30 years later, the building seems to emit sadness and despair from its very walls. It is impossible to speak above a whisper, as I walked through the rooms I felt oppressed by the pain and suffering that had occurred here. I didn’t take very many photos because it felt almost sacrilegious, but these are some of the few I took.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATorture and interrogation rooms where the final 14 victims were found by Vietnamese soldiers OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMakeshift prison cells OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach room was divided into crudely constructed prison cells by the Khmer Rouge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA tiny amount of light was let into each cell through a window in the door.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABarbed wire to prevent escape and suicide attempts.

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Graffiti and messages of love and hope left by visitors to the Genocide Museum.

Weekly photo challenge: The sign says…

As soon as I saw this challenge from The Daily Post I knew exactly what photograph I would choose.

This is one of the best signs I have ever seen, threatening and entertaining in equal parts. I found it completely by accident on the wall of the Pudu Prison, Kuala Lumpar.

This prison was built by the British Colonial Government between 1891-1895. It was used by the Japanese to hold POW during WWII. It was closed down in 1996, briefly used as a museum and occasional holding area for prisoners, before the Malaysian government decided to demolish it.

We visited it in November 2009, before the demolition had begun. Apparently now, only the gate and some external walls remain, but even these will soon be destroyed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADEATH! That’s the mandatory sentence for and dadah (drug) trafficker in Malaysia.

So be Forewarned

I love everything about this sign. The bright colours, the impact of the statement: DEATH! The fact that they have used the Malaysian word for drugs, but translated it for us. The exacting correctness of the English used is endearing, especially the final sentence: So be Forewarned. I also love the pretty font they have used for this grim and ominous threat…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking down an external wall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGraffiti on the prison wall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy camera at the time was a cheap point and shoot, and I took this photo from a long way away in dim light. It is a shame how poor quality it is. However you can make out the warning sign painted onto the left corner of the wall. This photo also shows the roofs of the internal buildings, which have now been destroyed.

I do think it is a shame that this building has been demolished. Of itself it is an interesting and unique prison, with plenty of vivid history. When asked why the prison was not being preserved for heritage reasons, the Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek Hussain replied: “To our opinion, it’s not something to be proud of.” Which is fair enough, I suppose.