Saturday, February 17, 2007

Taiji Video Link

A Taiji student of Gek's found this great site with videos showing the various forms.

The 24 form is shown here and the sword form here.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mongolian Fish in Penang?

I promise you, no trickery!!! Opposite our hotel in Penang is a mini-market advertising Mongolian Fish!!! The owners are an English man and his Penang wife who told us that the demand for Mongolian Fish had fallen off recently!!!! Why was there a demand in the first place??? Amazing.

Valentine's Day

The water front and the new bridge between Clifford Pier and the Marina. The old post office in the bottom right of the picture is now a six star Fullerton Hotel.

Building the new bridge has meant moving the Merlion. You can just make out the Merlion in the bottom left hand corner of the first picture. The lion head and fish body of the creature recalls the story of the legendary Sang Nila Utama, who saw a lion while hunting on an island, en route to Malacca. The island eventually became the sea port of Temasek, a precursor to Singapore.

The Marina area. The new theatre complex looking like a durian fruit is on the left of the picture. The Satay Club, a favourite water side hawkers centre from the old days, has been relocated to just the other side of the "Durian" and revamped.......given the Singapore treatment in other words. Being Valentine's day, the whole area was crowded with young love.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Hill

Looking down going up. The Penang Hill Funicular Railway has been operating since 1923. The hill top is 833m above the sea and is noticeably cooler than down on the coast

The day was a little hazy but across the strait is Butterworth. The tall tower on the right is the Komtar, still the tallest building in George Town. To the left of the picture is Gurney drive. The new high rises are very thin, somehow emphasising their heights.

A top the hill is an Indian temple and a Mosque.

And a little wild life. This little fellow changed colour as we watched. He also threaten us with an inflated throat pouch. Cheeky.

We were quietly having a spot of lunch, relaxing, taking in the George Town vista when the restaurateur pointed out that we had company. Above our heads. Well not directly but close enough!!! Pit viper apparently. Nice chap with a triangular head. I think Sarah might recognise them?

Eastern and Oriental Hotel

The Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Penang's Raffles. In fact, it was founded by the same family, the Sarkies in 1885. The hotel has been refurbished and moved up market, although it was pretty far up the market to begin with. At $3,000 plus for the E&O suite it is a little beyond our budget!!!

Lovely location just to the east of the fort.

OK, we did do lunch. At 38 rm plus plus, as they say here, (about 10 Pounds Stirling) it was a snip!!

The lunch consisted of a choice of 4 set main course, with starter and desert buffet. Very, very, very good food. Gek restricted her self to two rounds of starters, a bowl of soup, a fish main course and two visits to the desert table. I thought she did rather well under the circumstances!!


A BEACH. I first came to Penang in 1983. I loved it then and I love it still. Where else on the planet do the immigration officials greet you with a grin and chat, yes chat, to you about how you enjoyed your stay on the island and what "did you think of the food?"

And surprisingly with all the tourists, still some net fishing

A shot from our hotel room on the 11 th floor. The lights near to the waters edge are those of the floating Mosque. Neither it nor the Indian temple around the headland were affected by the 2004 tsunami.

This is Seri Rambai, a bronze Dutch cannon dated 1603 at Fort Cornwallis. The fort was first built as a wooden structure in 1798. An interesting note about the Seri Rambai - some locals believe that this particular canon can have a positive effect on a woman's fertility..........if they lay flowers on it!!!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Taiji Singapore

Sunday morning is the time the Singapore Taiji Association meet for classes.

I was taken by the different sword related sequences. Having completed the 24 step sequence, I have started the 42 step. But this sword thing puts another spin on Taiji completely.

It just looks so elegant yet vicious.

This young lady is really quite gentle but........

Gek had told me that Taiji was a marshal art. I just didn't grasp at the time how marshal!! Although it looks as if these two are in mortal combat, and the young lady is winning, it is only a happy accident with the angle of the shot. Looks amazing even though, no?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

China Town

It is close to the Chinese New Year. It is the year of the pig, and it is a golden year for the Mongolians. The year of the Golden Pig. This only happens every 60 years I think, so it is pretty special. Not sure if the same applies to the Chinese New Year.

Every thing seems to be red.

The instrument does remind me of the horse head stringed instrument for Mongolia. But no throat singing.

But loads of lights and lanterns.


Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.
He is one of my heros. He negociated the acquisition of the Island for the East India company in 1819. Then left Major William Farquhar, to build it. Unfortunately not to Raffle's specifications. Or so the story goes. Seems to depend on who's version of the events you read!

The famous Raffles Hotel. In the early 1980's we used to drink Singapore Slings in this garden. Back then there was a swimming pool in this quad and the hotel had very romantic atmosphere. So many famous people and events from the past haunted the place. No "Guests Only" signs then
Then development happened. Over looked by high rises, and almost unrecognisable in layout.

But still some style remains.

Singapore Revisited

The centre of Singapore. A bit of old and new. The view from Gek's lawyer's office in Simlin Towers.

And the suburbs. The Rapid Transit System has been expanded and this line now goes to Changi Airport. The view is from Harry, Gek's brother, and Sandie's flat.

The Art museum was a convent, I understand. A colonial style building of the type you find in the Straits Settlements. Really very stylish.

This odd group sit in front of the museum/gallery. In the 20 over years since we lived in Singapore, art has surfaced with quite a mixture of styles and media

But the commercial heart of Singapore this still thriving. This is Buikit Tima Plaza which I first visited on my first day in Singapore in Feb 1983. We used to bring the girls here to Strawberry Shortcake, a shop where everything was red and pink and to do with strawberries. Even the smell of the place. Gone now, of course.

The journey UB to Beijing

The flight from UB was cool. Only a hand full of passengers.

And the views of the steppes were amazing. And then they ended abruptly. One minute you a looking at snow and low peaks, the next you are over a plain with no snow. Literally a step down.

We crossed the Great Wall and it was amazingly clearly well defined against the mountains. Sorry about the poor quality of the picture. There was a haze or it might have been just the dirty window!!! It wasn't exactly a new aircraft.

This is Beijing. A city. Much like any other. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the Silk Market where Gek got collared by a very effective sales girl. Let us just say, we came out with more than we went in with and leave it at that!!!