We went to Fortescue the last time we were here, so Pippa organised a walk to Cape Hauy. The walk passes up and down through heath and woodland before coming to the dolerite columns and cliffs that plunge into the sea at Cape Hauy. And a picnic at the top provided Damian another opportunity to try and grill Pippa about what she put in the quinoa salad.
A long tail (as they call the local style of boat) ferried us across for snorkelling around the incredible shaped island. We’d been gazing at it for days from the beach in front of our hotel. As a national park, you can’t stay there but it’s well visited.
On entering the water Louise spots a Lionfish straight off, Damian a leopard shark. We also saw many Sea Anemones, with their collars in various states of closure, and all sorts of other fish. We visited several choice spots around the island. Damian got good at diving down and holding his breath (thanks JdP for the free-diving practice). We swam past Viking Cave, where Sparrow’s nests are harvested twice yearly for use in Chinese bird’s nest soup and a significant part of the local economy.
We by-passed a surreal sight: don’t bother with The Beach, or fictionalised Maya Bay. There were hundreds of people and too many boats from nearby Phuket. The damage was evident on the seafloor where we tried to dive nearby, the speedboats churning up the sand, destroying the coral.
Not to end on a depressing note: last stop turtles. Well turtle (singular), spotted by Ellie, our gang of snorkelers in turn alerted nearby scuba divers. The poor thing really got a lot of attention while it fed on the bottom, but it didn’t seem to mind at all.
Th Nimmanhemin (Opposite Soi 13) Western Chaing Mai.jpg, originally uploaded by mxccuba.
In Bangkok we went to Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho with its Reclining Buddha. In Chaing Mai we’ve been to so many. Wat Phra Singh, Wat Phan Tao with its amazing weathered teak buildings (and Monk Laundry, previously pictured), Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Mahawan, Wat Chaimongkhon and now Wat Phra That Dui Suthep (pictured) with the most delicate details of all (and where we learnt Jackfruit grows directly from the trunks of trees).
Feeding, more feeding, bathing, only to roll around in the mud pit, protecting their skin from the sun, more feeding and elephant hugs.
It never occurred to me that riding elephants is a thing to do in Thailand. Damian explained this while we were making plans, but because they’re mistreated we should go to a refuge. Instead we’d be feeding, bathing and learning about elephants. Fine. I didn’t give it much thought. When people asked us about our plans, we’d laugh about going to Chaing Mai to give some elephants a bath.
I was trepidatious at first. With good reason, they’re big and wild. But we warmed to each other. Our guide Noi kept prompting us, “don’t worry they’re vegetarian”. Like Damian, they eat a lot and we spent much of the day feeding them. Elephants spend 18 hours a day eating up to 10% of their body weight. The Elephant Nature Park (ENP) has an elephant kitchen where trucks piled high with bananas, watermelon and pumpkins are continually delivered to keep up with the appetites of their 34 elephants.
We met many of the elephants, including Hope and Jokia amongst others, but mostly hung out with two particular elephants: Medo and her protector Mae Lanna. They’re inseparable friends; it’s an elephant thing. They form these tight, supportive bonds, often where one or both have an injury or disability. Both of our new elephant friends have had rough lives, as most do at ENP. Medo has a very unusual gait as she has broken hips from forced breeding and Mae Lanna is mostly blind. Now they live without mistreatment in a caring, loving environment.
Our day was punctuated by a lot of picture taking. After having washed and cooled down with the elephants, really the highlight, there were more photos. I was standing between the elephants and they started to lean in. One’s trunk was encircling my waist and I had a cartoon image of being picked up and thrown. But Noi was insisting, “no, no, no, don’t move! It’s an elephant hug! This is very special, it rarely happens”. For Damian: we got lots of photos of and with the elephants all day long but this, the most memorable experience, went unrecorded, Louise was the recipient of an elephant hug!
We happened to spend a sunset at Wat Chedi Luang. We’d just been next door at the teak temple Wat Phan Tao. This temple was really different which seems to be a thing in Chiang Mai, successive rulers built temples in their own style to assert their power. It makes for lots of varied styles which is interesting and they are all Buddhist of course.
The ruinous chedi isn’t visible from the street. Like a number of structures in Chaing Mai it has awesome exposed brickwork, such as the old city walls and the entrance to Wat Chaimongkhon. The light on the terracotta coloured form was one of Damian’s favourite things (he must have been missing TRI). Well that and the elephant buttresses.
Dating from 1441, it’s believed to be one of the tallest structures in ancient Chaing Mai. The famed Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha), now held in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew, once sat in the eastern niche here in 1475. Stories say the chedi was damaged by either a 16th-century earthquake or by the cannon fire of King Taksin in 1775 during the recapture of Chiang Mai from the Burmese.
In the early 1990s Unesco and the Japanese government financed an incomplete restoration of the chedi. The effect is somewhat controversial and easily spotted. Namely, four of the five elephants are cement restorations. Only one, on the far right, without ears and trunk, is the original brick and stucco.
We took the overnight train to Chaing Mai. Checked-in, borrowed bikes and rode into the old city for a pre-scheduled Thai vegetarian cooking class. We spent the afternoon in an unassuming shop house, being guided through the preparation of a dozen dishes by Duan of Mai Kaidee. It was fast and furious.
Firstly, we prepared the vegetables we’d be using throughout. Then Peanut Sauce, Pumpkin Hummus and Pumpkin Soup, which were all sampled with crackers. Next Tom Yum, Tom Yum with chilli jam, another with a little coconut milk and Tom Kha Soup. The completion of each course would be met with Duan announcing, “It’s easy right”, while we sampled. Masaman and Green Curry. Then Phad Thai and Fried Vegetables with Cashew Nuts: “It’s easy right” and more sampling. Our bellies quickly reaching full capacity. Thai cold Spring Rolls, Green Papaya Salad. It was really amazing just how quickly each could be whipped up: “It’s easy right”, more sampling. Lastly, Mango and Banana with Sticky Rice. Our bellies were full; we couldn’t eat anymore. They packed up this food for us and sent us home, with ourdinner in tow.
“It’s easy right”.
Notoriously difficult to grow, the Queen of Fruit is linked to an unsubstantiated story traced to a 1930 publication by ‘fruit explorer’ David Fairchild, about Queen Victoria offering a reward to anyone who could deliver her the fresh fruit.
Like many tropical fruit tress, the mangosteen has its uses in folk medicine. The bark and skin are used to treat upset stomachs, while in Indonesia it is used to control high fever.
We like it a lot.
Library, originally uploaded by cubamxc.
We’ve now moved my library and it’s reassuring to have all my books in just one location. Even though it’s going to be quite a while away, I’m looking forward to replacing the bookshelves and having a designed library. So, we’ve been searching for, but only looking at some incredibly boring books documenting personal libraries, often the same libraries again and again. Who would have thought that a subject so interesting to us could produce such dull books? Turns out we might already own the only remotely interesting book relating to the subject, Unpacking My Library: Architect and Their Books, which is more about the titles, rather than the design.
Have a wonderful weekend: bittersweet reading list, originally uploaded by mxccuba.
Have seen this post at Unhappy Hipsters today and am relating. In the midst of finishing mopno brief asap; exhibition texts and editing an interview; initiating discussion re ari research group; trying to resolve some storage solutions for the new apartment and business relating to the apartment; not to mention that looming pile of journals and books, almost as high as a pile of ironing, my least favourite chore, which I haven’t done in almost a year; what am I thinking being preoccupied with blog stuff. Seriously. Not a good start to the weekend; but maybe I can turn it around.
Anna’s in town. And judging by the super cute and excited interview on Ari’s blog, she’s been missed. Case in point, after sharing dinner at our favourite Indonesian restaurant, Anna noticed a unique tyre on my car. No, after almost twelve months, I had not noticed/realised this until out just now.
Chaser’s Royal Wedding coverage, originally uploaded by mxccuba.
￼I’ve managed to be totally oblivious to the Royal Wedding, but have noticed this from the
“For a monarchy to be issuing decrees about how the media should cover
them seems quite out of keeping with modern democratic times… but I
suppose that’s exactly what the monarchy is,” he said.
“It’s traditional for the condemned to appeal to the monarch for a stay of
execution, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
“Unfortunately it’s also traditional for people who appeal for clemency to
The Chaser’s Chris Taylor says it is an “honour” to be taken off air by the
The Chaser later responded with a light-hearted letter addressed to “the
Australian Head of State”, requesting a “stay of execution for our
Image from carpark, originally uploaded by mxccuba.
After seven + years we’re moving. I’m looking forward to everything. Especially not having to deal with the crappy 80s vertical blinds that flap about and break in the afternoon breeze, being able to easily open the front door, and just one door, but I’m going to miss jogging through New Farm Park.
Flood limbo, originally uploaded by mxccuba.
It’s been a big week and an anxious wait by the Brisbane River. After the Tuesday rush there wasn’t much else to do Wednesday but literally wait and see, walk the streets, observe and trade info. In my flood- affected street we’re lucky it didn’t reach 5.5, but for others, a lot of others, 4.5 was too high.
Elizabeth Willing, Gingerbread architecture (Santos) (2009). Commissioned by Damian Eckersely., originally uploaded by mxccuba.
￼￼I wasn’t there. But with a little help, Damian recently commissioned a gingerbread Santos building by Elizabeth Willing for the Donovan Hill Christmas lunch, to be held onsite. Willing’s works explore the material and sensual aspects of food, particularly sweets. Earlier this year, as part of Fresh Cut 2010 at the IMA, she exhibited a William Morris wallpaper pattern reinterpreted with lollies and rendered another gallery wall stucco-style in royal icing a la honey jumbles, which you could just bite off the wall. As part of another project, Willing has proposed a gingerbread SLQ, which I of course mentioned to Damian, and just in time to commission something for Christmas.
Emergency Theory, September 23 2010
I’m not in the area very often, but I’ve really enjoyed going to this gallery. I remember the first time, as part of speed dating (2007), driving up and being impressed that this was a regional gallery with funds. I love its setting and that there are windows and continual opportunities to look out into the surrounding setting. I especially love being able to see cows from the gallery. Partly, because it reminds me of being able to see cows through the Buren at the Beyeler Foundation (2001).
What I really like about this gallery is that it absolutely embodies a sense of its community. It’s palpable. It nicely manages and accommodates a range simultaneously: traditional and conservative, stand-out contemporary practices, as well as local artists and I even like the kid’s exhibition in the gallery hallway. There are some gems. Even the vacant and hopeless wait staff in the rather nice gallery café, are memorable.
Last time I was impressed by the contemporary exhibition featuring principal artists (maybe Strange Cargo or a MCA show, I can’t remember) and this time it’s Time travel: reimagining the past, including works by Julie Bartholomew (NIKE Dynasty series, 2008, porcelain and photographic decals, pictured bottom), Penny Byrne (ceramics, pictured top), Alasdair MacIntyre, Mel Robson, Robyn Stacey and Anne Zahalka.
Worth a special mention are the Christine Willcocks. Utilising an engraving by H. Penkwell, based on the now lost painting by John Alexander Gilfillan, Captain Cook Taking Possession of New South Wales 1770 (1850s), which she happened upon in a Murwillumbah thrift shop. Noting that the Gilfillan version was previously a focus of nearby Gordon Bennett (Possession Island, 1991). The subsequent Penkwell engraving depicts a small group of Aboriginals, whereas in the other versions this bas been omitted and Willcocks re-inserts them.
Also similar to the Frye, Rachel overhead some officious statements regarding Danie Mellor’s triptych (New World, New Order, 2009, pictured in the background) – something about liking the use of the glitter pen. The exhibition is accompanied by a super light and glossy brochure, but for some reason it hasn’t been listed on their website, making it difficult to source details (the Willcocks label was kindly provided by staff, thankyou). What a lovely, dear gallery.