The Sea Gypsies of Mabul Island, Borneo, Malaysia

bajau people, mabul island, borneo, malaysia

Stepping off the boat at Mabul island in Borneo, Malaysia, there is a long jetty that runs to the shore, a jetty that divides two worlds. On one side, there is a beautiful, rugged and almost deserted strip of beach bordered by palm trees, hiding the simple, yet comfortable huts of a scuba diving resort behind it. In stark contrast, the other side is strewn with ramshackle stilt houses, wooden boats and innumerable children, a higgledy-piggledy village that is home to the Bajau people. Read More…

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Niki de Saint Phalle Sculptures on Park Avenue

Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures in new york city

Basketball Player / Michael Jordan

A few weeks ago, I was riding my bike down Park Avenue when I saw the sculpture of a very colourful, bulbous lady in the middle of the avenue. It was of course one of Niki de Saint Phalle’s famous ‘Nanas’ and part of an outdoor exhibit of the artist’s work, commemorating the 10th anniversary of her death.

I have been familiar with Niki de Saint Phalle’s voluptuous sculptures for a while. In Luxembourg, where I grew up, La Temperance (based on the tarot card Temperance) presides over one of the city’s central squares, brightening the place up on a dreary day. We commonly refer to her as ‘the fat lady’. My favorite, however, is the massive Schutzengel (Guardian Angel) who hangs serenely from the ceiling of Zurich train station, protecting the travellers as they pass through the city. Read More…

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I Survived A Bermuda Motorbike – an Island Adventure

bermuda

The rocky southern shores of Bermuda.

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

I wasn’t aware of Ariel or any other spirits singing in my ear during my trip to Bermuda. My experiences were mostly limited to the visual. However, Shakespeare’s portrayal of a magical and beautiful remote island in The Tempest, said to be based on the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture on Bermuda in 1609, is certainly not far-fetched. I, for one, was enchanted. Read More…

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Things to Do in Denver When You’re Alive

Denver The Mile High City

The statue "Dancers" by Jonathon Borofsky at the Denver Performing Arts Center, aka "Giant Naked Aliens"

Things to Do in Denver When You’re Alive

On my way to a conference in Keystone Colorado, I had the chance to spend a day in the Mile High City of Denver. Knowing nothing about the city, other than it was close to the Rocky Mountains, I asked the hotel receptionist what there was to do in Denver. “Nothing” was his curt reply. Seeing my nonplussed look, he recommended a visit to the REI Flagship store, an outdoors shop, located over the river at the end of Downtown’s 16th Street Pedestrian Mall. Was this all Denver had to offer? Not entirely convinced and with expectations low, I set off in the direction of the river. Read More…

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A Magical Saturday Morning in New York City

snowy new york city - upper east side

barking dog, a neighborhood restaurant in the upper east side, nyc.

Winter finally arrives in NYC as snow falls across the city.

Yesterday morning, New Yorkers woke up to a layer of sparkling white covering the city’s streets: the first snow of 2012 had arrived! When it snows in New York, the city slows down and, as we saw last year, is sometimes even brought to a standstill. Not wanting to miss the magical atmosphere of the city under snow, I bundled up and left the apartment by 8 30 am. Even better, it was still snowing! Read More…

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Coney Island on a Winter’s Day

The “People’s Playground” at its best: Coney Island on a winter’s day

I realize that bitterly cold weather doesn’t usually entice people to make an outing to the beach but I felt the urge to wrap up warm and take a long, contemplative walk somewhere desolate. Having just returned from Europe, I didn’t want to go too far afield, which is how I ended up making a day trip to New York’s Coney Island. Read More…

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“Hello Mister!” – Kids in Indonesia

kids of indonesia

“Hellooo, Mister!” is the usual greeting called out to tourists by kids on the streets of Java in Indonesia. I was slightly put out at first, questioning my femininity in the comfortable, baggy boy shorts I had bought for travelling, but soon realized that the title is intended for males and females alike! Away from the streets, in the mountain areas of Sulawesi, yells of “Belanda” echo over the rice terraces. A former Dutch colony, Belanda is the Indonesian word for The Netherlands and was a term used for the Dutch colonists. Nowadays, children in rural regions, who often have no television and are less accustomed to tourists, still use it to call out to any Western foreigner they see. Read More…

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Tribe NYC, A Group of Young Artists Living in the Good Ol’ Days

tribe nyc photos bushwick brooklyn new york

A week ago, we came across Elijah and Manoah hanging out in Union Square, one of their regular meeting spots. With their 80′s retro clothes and high top hairstyles, they immediately stood out from the crowd and Guney had to take their pictures. Elijah and Manoah told us they belong to a group of like-minded individuals known as Tribe NYC, the members of which are recognizable by their retro fashion sense. Read More…

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