Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

Return to the carnival

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One of my recurring themes – not something I realised about myself until the last few years, mostly from this blog.

The carnival is one of my slightly ‘unhealed’ childhood pains. As in, it was never of the intensity to cause me real harm, I always knew it didn’t really matter. But the carnival, or in my case specifically, The Schoharie County Sunshine Fair, held in Cobleskill, my nearest big smoke, was an annual torment. It held so much promise – the rides, the game booths, the people I might see… But at this stage of the game, I’ve got to be honest – everybody else was doing whatever it was they were supposed to be doing and seemed to be having a really good time of it.

Except me. I was watching. I was watching and waiting and observing and trying to figure out who was doing what and why – and HOW did they know what they were supposed to do? I NEVER knew what I was supposed to do. And I longed to… so much. I wandered around the fair alone – my siblings had run off with friends. My friends seemed to have OTHER friends that they had fun with… Leaving me wandering around, looking at everything and everyone, trying to figure them out, telling myself the story of their lives… Kind of odd, I guess, but it was fun in its own kind of way.

And come to think of it, I’m still doing that. Only now – I do it with a camera in front of my face – and that actually makes me one of the cool people. At last. Never would have figured that was coming.

These photos were taken at Balloons Over Waikato, the hot air balloon festival held in Hamilton, New Zealand every year. Amazing how something that felt so down-home back in my Dorloo Days, translates without a hitch to the other side of the world… BOWNight-3

This photo really needs a carnie. Like this one from the Gypsy Fair a couple of years ago. or part 2 which is here. BOWNight-18-2

Nausea inducing rides. I wish I could have figured out why everyone else thought they were so much fun. I really wanted to love them and ride and scream and throw my hair around… Except… they made me sick to my stomachBOWNight-16-2BOWNight-4


But I loved fair food – fried dough, cotton candy, snow cones, French fries in a paper cup…BOWNight-5


The gravity defying Round-Up… BOWNight-20-3 copy

I love carnivals and fairs and rides… the sights and sounds and smells and ways of losing myself in a sea of other people I don’t know – watching them and telling myself their life stories. Or telling you mine…

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09/04/2014 at 1:10 am

Footprint in the sand

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I love how footprints in the sand have an optical illusion quality – obviously they are imprints in the sand from someone walking – but I always do a double take because I am sure they are sculpted atop the sand.

And of course footprints have so many magical, inspirational aspects – where we are going, where we have been, are we leading or following.

I don’t think I ever saw the child who made this print – and yet, I have something of theirs. And now so do you.

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28/08/2011 at 11:30 pm

Are you brave enough for Smith Street?

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I love Singapore. I’ve actually lost track of how many times I’ve been there, because whenever I go travelling in Asia or Europe, I make sure I have a couple of days stopover on the way or returning home.  There’s a camera shop in Chinatown run by an Indian named Roy – we always stop in and demand he convinces us to buy something we really don’t need. And there are a couple of ladies who give the most amazing foot massages in the world for about $10 for an hour-long massage. They feel a bit sorry for us because all we have are daughters, but we don’t mind. We’ve been to the night zoo and photographed the Merlion from every possible angle, and really done everything there is to do. But we keep going back. And we will keep going back because we can’t resist the call of Smith Street after dark!

During the day, Smith Street is your typical Chinatown market, not a lot different than Toronto or New York or San Francisco. Street vendors and tiny storefronts sell designer fakes or knock-offs, pirate music and DVD vendors annoy the heck out of you, and the selection of Hello Kitty paraphernalia will blow your mind!

But once the sun goes down everything changes. Kiosks that have been locked up tight all day unfold, revealing woks and fryers, freezers, delicacies of every kind, prepared by mad genius chefs who can work miracles in mad heat. The street is lined with tables that fill up so quickly, humans of every ethnicity drawn by the wondrous aromas to the promise of food like they have never had before. And I have never, ever been disappointed. My favourite – chili crabs – possibly the messiest dish on any planet, but spicy sweet and utterly divine. The second night it’s Peking Duck. I was so disappointed in Beijing – it could not meet the standard of Smith Street.

I’m thinking about going again in September – there’s some very cheap tickets going right now…

Note – the guzhen is the tradition Chinese stringed instrument used in every Chinese style anything. You’d know it as soon as you heard it.

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29/07/2011 at 1:16 am

Corny Planet Nelson

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Was it only yesterday I said I liked outer space and liked putting things there in Photoshop – but they often looked dumb? OK – this is a reach, but I like this one!

Apparently Nelson’s is huge in Malaysia and has been expanding world-wide, now with over 800 franchises in Australasia, Europe, Africa and North America and growing… how I missed it until I was strolling in 35 degree heat (105F) outside a mall in Kuala Lumpur is rather a mystery. But then, everything about this all-natural fast-food joint was a mystery. The locals loved it – I mean – who can resist corn in cup???

Check out their website just to hear their promotional ditty!

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17/07/2011 at 1:28 am

Upon Reflection

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18/06/2011 at 12:26 am

Frosty Flowers

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09/06/2011 at 11:00 pm

Home Sweet Home

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On our unexpectedly long walk to Bukit Nanas (the jungle in the city where I found the family of Silver Leaf monkeys) we came upon this crumbling street of flats which still bore an ornate plaque dated 1931 and the initials oEs. I am sure that when I was a little girl, this was an elegant flat and a coveted address.

I am always astonished at how the tropics act as a super-aging agent – all that heat and humidity and creeping fauna hankering to reclaim what humans have purloined from the rainforest. The Colosseum in Rome is in better shape than this!

But after photographing beautiful things, I think some of us find our heads turned by the fading, the decrepit, the lingering remnants of days not quite significant to us to be remembered.

This is the courtyard of what would once have been a very fine flat. Abandoned. Actually, it occurred to me that someone is living here still. There’s the power cables overhead, but I notice the front tyre of that motor bike is not flat. The licence plate is not decayed… I wonder what their flat looks like behind the chains and padlock. Hmmm, best to leave that to my imagination…

Written by Titirangi Storyteller

22/05/2011 at 12:52 am

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