Tag Archives: history

‘Forbidden Porcelain’ at the Prinsenhof Museum, Delft

My first experience of Delft was a gloriously sunny Saturday in May, spent walking around the town square; with some serious efforts invested in climbing the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk, the second tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

On my second trip to Delft, I spent the day at the Prinsenhof Museum, browsing through the ‘Forbidden Porcelain: Exclusively for the Emperor’ exhibition.

This exhibition centers around the exquisite porcelain that was made specially for Chinese emperors by the imperial kilns of Jingdezhen, but which was later discarded and destroyed, as it did not meet the high standards expected of royal wares. I was very fortunate to have the company of the museum’s Curator of Decorative Arts, Ms. Suzanne Kluver, who shared her in-depth knowledge of the subject.

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The opening panel of the ‘Forbidden Porcelain: Exclusively for the Emperor’ exhibition

It is the first time that these reassembled porcelain wares, originally made for Chinese emperors, are being seen outside Asia. Several of the artefacts in this exhibition are on loan from the Archaeological Institute, Jingdezhen, China.

In an article for the Jul-Aug’17 issue of PASSAGE, the bimonthly magazine of the Friends of the Museums Singapore, I share about my visit to the Prinsenhof Museum, and briefly explore the centuries-old connection between Chinese porcelain and Delftware.

Please click on the image below to view the PDF of this article.

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(Reproduced with the permission of the Editor.)

So if you happen to be in Delft (or in the vicinity), do consider visiting the ‘Forbidden Porcelain’ exhibition at the Prinsenhof Museum. The exhibition runs until 9th July 3rd September 2017.

Here are some pictures from the Prinsenhof Museum that could not be included in the print article….

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Entrance of the Prinsenhof Museum

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Bullet holes from the 1584 assassination of William I, preserved in a wall of the Prinsenhof

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Sunlight streaming through a window in the basement of the museum

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Loved the look of this window!

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A lamp post adorned with the trademark blue & white delftware designs, on the premises of the museum

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A seat in the Prinsenhof garden embellished with beautiful pieces of delftware

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Delighted in Delft!

To say I’m enamoured by Delft, would be an understatement! Since our move to Amsterdam 3 months ago, I’ve made 2 day trips to Delft, and my fascination for the town has grown exponentially with each visit.

The town’s name is said to have its roots in the word delf (meaning canal), which in turn came from the word delven (meaning digging). The name Delft is probably in reference to the digging of the Oude Delft, the canal around which the town developed in the 12th century.

On my first visit to Delft, I had the pleasure of darling hubby’s company, who of course, wanted to do something adventurous. So we resolutely climbed 376 steps in an ancient, spiral staircase, to reach the top of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) tower, for some spectacular views of the town. Of course, there was lots of huffing and puffing involved, along with several short breaks.

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At a height of almost 109m, the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk is the second tallest church tower in the Netherlands

What made it even more interesting was that the staircase was just about wide enough to accommodate one normal sized person. So the experience of squeezing past people of all sizes going in the opposite direction from you, without losing your footing, was an adventure in itself. Definitely not for the claustrophobic or clumsy, I tell you!

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On the way to the top…

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On the way down…

But the view from the top was well worth the effort!

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View of the Delft Town Hall (the erstwhile Stadhuis) & the Markt (market square) from the tower of the Niewe Kerk

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View of Delft town from the tower of the Nieuwe Kerk

The ‘Father of the Fatherland’, William of Orange is buried in the Nieuwe Kerk. He was a key leader in the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, enabling the formation of the Dutch Republic. In 1584, he was assassinated in his home, now the location of the Prinsenhof Museum. The bullet holes from the assassination are well preserved in the museum.

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The mausoleum of William of Orange, in the Nieuwe Kerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The preserved bullet holes in the wall of the Princenhof Museum, where William of Orange was assassinated in 1584

Nieuwe Kerk may seem a bit of a misnomer today given that its original construction began in 1381! But back in the day, there was already a church in town, St. Bartholomew’s Church, now referred to as the Oude Kerk (Old Church). The Oude Kerk’s 75m tower tilts slightly, earning it the nickname ‘Leaning Tower of Delft’. Famous Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer is buried in the Oude Kerk, though we did not manage to spot his gravestone amidst the several Dutch luminaries buried there.

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View of the Oude Kerk from the Nieuwe Kerk tower. The lean of the Oude Kerk tower is not very apparent from this angle.

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A street image of the Oude Kerk, with the visible lean in the tower

Delft’s historical position as one of the main ports of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) has had an undeniable influence on this quaint town. The Chinese blue & white porcelain imported into Delft by the VOC in the 17th century led to the creation of a local adaptation, now famous worldwide in its own right as ‘Delftware’ or ‘Delft blue’. Many stores around the market square, sell Delftware souveniers, in every conceivable shape and form.

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An artisan paints a souvenier plate in one of the Delftwares stores. When the plate is fired in a kiln, the black paint will change to a bright blue.

On my second visit to Delft, I spent a considerable amount of time at the Prinsenhof Museum, browsing through their permanent collection as well as visiting the ‘Forbidden Porcelain‘ exhibition, which is on till 9th July. More about that and Delftware in a subsequent blog post.

For now, I leave with you with a few more pictures of this absolutely delightful Dutch town….

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My Farewell Tribute to Singapore

After six wonderful years in Singapore, the hubs and I recently moved to Amsterdam. I couldn’t have offered a better farewell tribute to Singapore than this 12-page feature in the Mar’17 issue of Holland Herald, the inflight magazine of KLM airlines.

First published on 21st January 1966, Holland Herald has been around for over half a century and holds the remarkable distinction of being the oldest inflight magazine in the world. There had to be a history angle! 😉

So without further ado, here it is – my article about the city I once called home. Kindly note, that the pictures in the article are not mine.

(Please click on the image below to read the PDF of the article)

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(Reproduced with permission)

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A day in the Minahasa Highlands, North Sulawesi – 2

After a long morning of sightseeing in the Minahasa Highlands and a much needed pit-stop for lunch in Tomohon, we continued with the rest of our tour.

Woloan Village

Our first stop post-lunch was the world famous village of Woloan, which lies a couple of kilometers to the west of Tomohon. Here, skilled carpenters build traditional wooden houses that can easily be knocked down and reassembled at a different location (IKEA customers – sounds familiar, right?!). These sturdy, prefabricated houses are shipped all over the world and the main street of the village is lined with sample houses for customers to choose from. Despite the knock-down design, these houses are earthquake proof. Says something about the superlative design and expert craftsmanship!

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Prefabricated houses of various designs, line the main street of Woloan village

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A close-up of one of the knock-down houses

By this point in the afternoon, I was wishing one of these show houses had a bed, so I could take a quick nap!

Lake Linow

About 3km west of Tomohon, lies the remarkable Lake Linow. The name ‘Linow’ comes from the Minahasa word ‘Lilinowan’, which means ‘the gathering place of water’. This lake is a water filled, volcanic crater that changes colour over the course of the day, from shades of deep green to bright blue tones.

Of course, there is a logical explanation for this phenomenon. Small vents in the ground surface of the lake (both above and below the water level) emit volcanic gases like sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide etc. The minerals in the water, combined with the reflection-refraction of sunlight, cause the lake to change colour. The volcanic gases also give the area a distinct ‘rotten egg’ smell.

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The colour changing waters of Lake Linow. A couple of active steam vents can be seen in the background

Much to my relief, there was a small café by the lake and the caffeine shot was very welcome! 🙂

Watu Pinawatengan

Refreshed by the caffeine infusion, we headed to a site of great cultural significance to the Minahasa people – the irregularly shaped boulder of ‘Watu Pinawatengan’. The name loosely translates to ‘stone of the discussion about sharing’.

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Outside view of the Watu Pinawatengan

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A closer look at the inscribed stone of Watu Pinawatengan

According to some historians, in 670 CE, the various Minahasa tribes met at this stone to discuss the division of the land among them. The hieroglyphs inscribed on the stone are said to reflect this agreement. This lead to the formation of a community of independent states, which in case of an external enemy attack, would unite to defend the land.

Pulutan, Pottery Village

Our final stop for the day was Pulutan village, famous for its pottery artisans and ceramic wares.

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Home of an artisan at Pulutan, the pottery village

Lake Tondano

Lastly, I must mention Lake Tondano, the largest lake in North Sulawesi, also created by volcanic activity. We passed this lake from a distance, on our journey into the Minahasa Highlands, and back.

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View of Lake Tondano from a distance

Once visited by the great British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, during his time in Sulawesi (Jun -Sep 1859); Lake Tondano is today a popular tourist destination, with several seafood restaurants located around the lake.

At the end of this culturally rich day, I was wishing I had a lot more time to appreciate all the details and nuances. I guess, I’ll just have to read about it or may be I could start planning our return to North Sulawesi 😉

Our thanks to the team at Lembeh Resorts for organizing this fabulous day trip 🙂

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A day in the Minahasa Highlands, North Sulawesi – 1

Getting a sense of the history and culture of a place is an important part of all our travels. Sulawesi was no different. So after hubby had had his fill of muck diving in the Lembeh Straits and I was done with birdwatching in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, we planned for a day in the Minahasa highlands.

This hill country, located in the extreme northern-eastern part of Sulawesi island is named after the Minahasa people, an overarching ethnic group from North Sulawesi, with an ancient and multi-layered history. Minahasa means ‘to become one’ in a local Minahasa language and is symbolic of the various tribes that came together in the 17th century, to present a united front before the Dutch colonists.

A short 10-minute ferry ride from our resort on Lembeh Island to the port city of Bitung on the Sulawesi mainland, was followed by a 2-hour circuitous car journey, to get to the historical and cultural sites in the Minahasa region. This region being an upland, has a cool climate and the descriptor ‘mist-covered’ pretty much applies to everything here!

These are the highlights from our day in the Minahasa highlands…..

Waruga, Airmadidi district

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The waruga site in Airmadidi district

From the 9th till the early 19th century, the Minahasa placed their dead in a cubical stone tomb, covered with an engraved stone roof. These were known as waruga and the body was placed inside, in a crouching position. The waruga were always constructed facing north as the Minahasa believed that their ancestors came from that direction. The carvings on these sarcophagi reveal the social status or occupation of the person inside, while the notches on the side indicate how many family members were buried inside.

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The engraving on this waruga shows a woman giving birth, which indicates that she died during labour.

The waruga practice was stopped by the Dutch colonial government in the 1860s, for fear of diseases spreading from the rotting corpses inside. There are well over 100 waruga graves in this location including those of some colonial soldiers/officials entombed in the early 1800s. These tombs are empty, with the remains having been removed a long time ago.

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Waruga depicting a colonial officer/soldier

It definitely felt like we had stepped through a time portal!

Japanese Caves

Following the Japanese occupation of some parts of Sulawesi in January 1942, the Japanese Army constructed a set of interlinked caves, along the road between the villages of Kiawa and Kawangkoan.

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A peek into the caves created by the Japanese Army during WWII

The cave halls were used to store food and ammunition, and tunnels connected them to neighbouring villages. Forced local labour was used in the construction of these caves, with the construction process taking about a year (1943-44). While these caves are a reminder of the brutality faced by the Minahasa people, it is a more peaceful place today, fenced off by local authorities and many swallows have made their nests inside.

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One of the many swallow nests inside the caves

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Signage at the site of the Japanese caves

Mount Mahuwu

The minute you arrive at the car park of Mount Mahawu, you are welcomed by an ear-splitting buzz. The insects here are that noisy! If you have sensitive ears, you’ve been warned.

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Entry point at the base of Mahawu mountain

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One of the gazillion noisy critters at Mount Mahawu!

Mount Mahawu is a volcano that had its last recorded eruption (albeit a small one)  in the late 18th century. So it is pretty safe to walk along the rim of the crater.

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The crater of Mahawu mountain

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The height above sea level at the crater rim

We started with our walk around the rim but the annoyingly shrill insects got the better of us.

Tomohon Market

The Minahasa highlands are a predominantly agricultural region and the market in Tomohon city is a must visit.

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The slopes of Mount Mahawu used for growing vegetables

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The fresh produce section at Tomohon market

We nibbled on some fried snacks while we debated about venturing into the meat market.

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Sweet, fried snacks at the Tomohon market

Pasar Ekstrim (or Extreme Market) as it is known, has the reputation of being one of the grisliest markets in the world, with locals selling forest creatures like pythons, monkeys, mountain rats, among others. Even dogs (which are considered a delicacy here) are available in this market. Definitely not for me!

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The Pasar Ekstrim (Extreme Market) at Tomohon

There was heavy military presence during our time at the market and we were later informed that Indonesian President Joko Widodo would be visiting the next day.

By this time, we were ravenous and stopped for lunch. The restaurant on the outskirts of Tomohon had a spectacular view of Mount Lokon, an active volcano that last erupted as recently as August 2015. While the eruption did not cause any fatalities, the thick volcanic ash had led to flights getting delayed or rescheduled.

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View of the mist-covered Mount Lokon from the restaurant

Our meal became even more interesting at the thought of possibly witnessing some volcanic activity. But no such luck! 😦

As you can well imagine, this was turning out to be a really long day! For more about our post-lunch activities in the Minahasa highlands, click here.

Our thanks to the team at Lembeh Resorts for organizing this fabulous day trip 🙂

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Welcoming the ‘Year of the Monkey’ in Mumbai

‘Chinese’ cuisine has been extremely popular in India over the past few decades. Known as ‘Indian-Chinese’ in the rest of the world, this fusion cuisine originated in the eastern part of India (around Calcutta), thanks to the Chinese that settled in that region. Popularized across the country by a few Chinese-origin, Indian restauranteurs, this delectable cuisine combines the staples of Chinese cooking (like noodles, sauces, cooking techniques etc) with Indian spices and seasonings.

But despite being born and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), until recently, I knew very little about the Chinese who came to British India and made it their home. So I decided to dig a little into this aspect of Indian history.

The earliest Chinese came to Calcutta, the capital of British India, in the late 18th century. The port city of Calcutta was vital in British – China trade. Chinese tea and silk was shipped to Britain via Calcutta. Trade between British India and China multiplied when the British began to export opium from Calcutta to Canton. This led to several Cantonese moving to Calcutta on the ships that sailed between the two cities.

By the 1850s, several Chinese had settled in Bombay, especially in the leafy suburb of Mazagaon, close to the Bombay docks. It is said that till the early 1960s, there was a distinct ‘Chinatown’ in that vicinity. Today, there are about 400 Chinese-origin families living in various parts of Mumbai and they congregate annually at Mumbai’s only Chinese temple – the Kwan Tai Shek temple – to usher in the Lunar New Year.

And thus began my search for Mumbai’s only Chinese temple. The timing couldn’t have been any better. It was the first day of the Lunar New Year (9th February 2016).

After a long wait for a taxi outside Bombay Central train station, I found a cabbie willing to scour the streets of Mazagaon to find the temple. Despite being a local taxi, the cabbie had never heard of a Chinese temple in the neighborhood. We made a few stops for enquiries and were directed by a group of friendly strangers to 12 Nawab Tank Road, where the temple is located.

As soon as we entered the quiet lane, a pair of gold rimmed, bright red, half-doors caught my eye. This had to be the temple! My cabbie was really excited at having located the temple (I’m glad I could brighten up his day!) I thanked him for his enthusiastic company and alighted. The temple, along with the 3-storey, wooden-frame building in which it is located, are both nearly 100 years old.

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On the ground floor of the building is a small shrine dedicated to Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy and compassion. An air of reverence prevails with joss sticks, candles, fruit and flower offerings made to the deity.

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The main shrine, on the top-most floor of the building, was set up in 1919 by a group of Cantonese migrants who worked at the nearby docks for the East India Company.

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Dedicated to General Kwan Tai Kon, this mighty warrior is venerated for being a paragon of justice and a great guide. The room is resplendent in red with gold accents and is decorated with paper lanterns and elaborately embroidered silks.

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As I entered the shrine, an elderly lady (of Chinese origin) had just finished paying her respects. I enquired about the New Year celebrations and she replied (in chaste Hindi!) that nearly 300 people had gathered the night before to usher in the Year of the Monkey and watch the dragon dance.

Well, I had missed all the action but what better way to start the Year of the Monkey than with a visit to Mumbai’s only Chinese temple.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Huat Ah!  🍊 🍊

(Happy New Year! Be prosperous!)  

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‘Treasures of the World’ delight Singapore

An Egyptian mummy from the 2nd century CE, a hand-axe from Tanzania almost a million years old, the enigmatic Lewis Chessmen and over 200 other fascinating artefacts from across the world, are currently on display at the National Museum of Singapore. These are part of the British Museum’s traveling exhibit, Treasures of the World, which is on display for the very first time in South East Asia.

Travel through the centuries as these artefacts tell compelling stories of power, identity, adornment and death and how they were embodied in the various cultures of the world. The exhibition will be on at the National Museum of Singapore until 29th May 2016.

My article for the Jan-Feb’16 issue of PASSAGE (the bi-monthly magazine of the Friends of the Museums Singapore) takes a look at some of the exhibition’s highlights.

Treasures of the World, British Museum - Singapore

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reasures of the World, British Museum - Singapore

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(Reproduced with the permission of the Editor)

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In the land of Barbecue & Rum – Puerto Rico

The drinking world is divided into those that absolutely love piña colada and those that absolutely dislike it! It’s a bit too sweet for my taste but its popularity is undeniable. This delectable mix of white rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice; is after all, the national cocktail of Puerto Rico.

Did you know that nearly 70% of the rum sold in America comes from Puerto Rico? The island prides itself as the ‘rum capital of the world’, with Bacardi being one of the largest rum producers on the island. No surprises then, that Bacardi’s distillery in the town of Cataño is known as the ‘Cathedral of Rum’. Nearby is Casa Bacardi, a museum unlike any other museum you know! It offers exciting tours of the distillery, a heady rum tasting session as well as a mixology class, among other fun activities. http://www.visitcasabacardi.com

At the entrance of the Bacardi Distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico

At the entrance of the Bacardi Distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico

Nothing like starting the day with a spicy rum punch! At the Bacardi Distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico

Nothing like starting the day with a spicy rum punch! At the Bacardi Distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico

During Christopher Columbus’ second voyage to the New World in 1493, he reached the shores of the island we know today as Puerto Rico and named it San Juan Bautista, after St John the Baptist. The capital of the island, founded in 1521, was called Ciudad de Puerto Rico, which translated into English means the ‘rich port city’, alluding to all the gold that was found in its rivers. In a strange twist of history, the capital city came to be later known as San Juan while the entire island was referred to as Puerto Rico.

Statue of Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish) in Plaza de Colon in Old San Juan

Statue of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) at the Plaza de Colón in Old San Juan

The indigenous people of Puerto Rico (and the larger Caribbean region) are the Taino Indians. They were the first people that Christopher Columbus encountered when he arrived in the New World in 1492.

You’d be interested to know that the word ‘barbeque’ comes to us from the Taino people. While this cooking technique has been around since prehistoric times, the Taino used the word barbicu to refer to a wooden rack built above the ground for smoking food. Spanish conquistadors took the word back to Spain and by the 18th century, English speakers were using the word ‘barbecue’ to refer to a late afternoon social gathering where the highlight was the grilling of meat.

In fact, several commonly used English words come to us from the Taino people. Hammock, potato, hurricane, canoe, potato, cassava and maize are just a few examples.

Spain surrendered Puerto Rico to the US in 1898. While it is officially known today as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, it is an unincorporated US territory.

There is so much to experience in Puerto Rico – it’s luscious coffee, the El Yunque National Forest, the Arecibo Observatory (the world’s largest single aperture telescope, featured in the James Bond movie Golden Eye), its stunning beaches (it’s an island after all!), its many underwater treasures. For now, I leave you with these snapshots of Puerto Rico….

Mofongo (a traditional Puerto Rican dish of fried and mashed green plantains) with shrimp

Mofongo (a traditional Puerto Rican dish of fried and mashed green plantains) with shrimp at Raices, a local restaurant

Red snapper ceviche with tostones (fried plantain) at Marmalade, Puerto Rico

Red snapper ceviche with tostones (fried plantain) at Marmalade, a fine dining restaurant in San Juan

Ending the meal with a divine chocolate mousse topped with raspberry ice cream at Marmalade, San Juan

Ending the meal with a divine chocolate mousse topped with raspberry ice cream at Marmalade, San Juan

The Paseo del Morro trail along the 16th century citadel that guarded Old San Juan

The Paseo del Morro trail along the 16th century citadel that guarded Old San Juan

Another view of the Paseo del Morro trail

Another view of the Paseo del Morro trail

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista in Old San Juan - the oldest church in the US (original building dates back to 1540)

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista in Old San Juan – the oldest church in the US (original building dates back to 1540)

The narrow streets of Old San Juan

The narrow streets of Old San Juan

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Postcard from Panama

Everyone’s favourite Panama souvenir? A Panama hat, of course!

Well, if you thought Panama hats came from Panama, it’s time to do some research. In reality, Panama hats have been made in Ecuador since the mid-1600s. In the 19th century, they began to be shipped from Ecuador to the rest of the world, via Panama, thus creating the myth that they were made in Panama. Well, now you know!

The label on the inside of my Panama Hat - still made in Ecuador!

The label on the inside of my Panama hat – still made in Ecuador!

Made from the leaf fibers of the Paja Toquilla (a palm-like plant), a Panama hat at its finest, is said to be able to pass through a wedding ring! And yes, you can buy them in Panama.

Panama City, the capital of Panama, was originally founded in 1519 by the Spanish. After it was attacked and looted by a British buccaneer by the name of Captain Henry Morgan in 1671, a new city was established 2 years later not too far from the original location. This historic town is known today as Casco Viejo (which means ‘old quarter’ in Spanish) and was designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

The quaint streets of Casco Viejo (old quarter)

The quaint streets of Casco Viejo (the Old Quarter)

On a separate note, if you thought the name Captain Henry Morgan sounded familiar, that’s because the world famous Captain Morgan Rum is named after him 🙂

No trip to Panama is complete without a visit to the pride of Panama, the Panama Canal. It is after all, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

A ship approaching the Miraflores locks, Panama Canal

A ship approaching the Miraflores locks, Panama Canal

After much political manoeuvring surrounding the creation and control of the canal (that’s a post for another day!), the Panama Canal opened on 15th Aug 1914. It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nearly 10 years to build (1904-1914) and more than 75,000 workers were involved.

This feat of engineering connects the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, saving ships sailing from New York to San Francisco (and vice versa) nearly 13,000km (8,000 miles) as compared to going all around Cape Horn in Chile, South America. Panama assumed full control of the canal in 1999.

30-40 ships cross the canal every day and a ship takes roughly 8-10 hours to cross the 80km canal. Interestingly, the ship captain isn’t allowed to navigate the canal on his own. A specially trained pilot steers the ship through the canal. The system of ‘locks’ used by the canal is an impressive phenomenon to watch and an engineer’s delight!

A ship getting lifted at the Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal

A ship getting lifted at the Miraflores Locks to enable it to transit the Panama Canal

2010 was a landmark year in the history of the canal as the millionth vessel transited through the waterway.  Ships that use the canal pay a toll based on their size and cargo volume, with large ships paying as much as half a million dollars. Richard Halliburton, the American adventurer holds the record for the smallest toll ever paid when he swam the canal in 1928 – 36cents. There are many jokes about where he could have possibly kept his change 😉

The canal generates nearly $2 billion in annual toll and along with allied industries, is a significant contributor to the Panamanian economy. You can either watch the ships navigate the canal (http://visitcanaldepanama.com/en/) or book an actual boat trip along the canal.

All the buzz around the canal completely overshadows the fact that Panama is home to dense rainforests (the forest cover is almost 50%), which in turn house nearly 1,000 species of birds, more bird species than the US and Canada combined. With 2,500kms of coastline and nearly 1,500 islands, Panama also has a rich and thriving marine life. That calls for another trip to this fascinating country – the only country in the world where the sun rises in the Pacific and sets in the Atlantic.

I leave you with some fun snapshots of Panama….

A food platter with ceviche, carimanola, empanadas and much more @ Diablicos, Panama City

A sampling platter with ceviche, carimanola, empanadas and much more @ Diablicos, Panama City

Local beer, Cerveza 507 @ Diablicos, Panama City

Local beer, Cerveza 507 @ Diablicos, Panama City

A local painting purchased from Casco Viejo, Panama

A local painting purchased from Casco Viejo, Panama

La Catedral Metropolitana (completed in 1796) in Casco Viejo is one of the largest cathedrals in Central America

La Catedral Metropolitana (completed in 1796) in Casco Viejo is one of the largest cathedrals in Central America

The church-school complex of Iglesia de la Compania de Jesús (completed in 1741) , Casco Viejo

The church-school complex of Iglesia de la Compania de Jesús (completed in 1741) , Casco Viejo

Miraflores Locks Control Tower at the Panama Canal

The Miraflores Locks Control Tower at the Panama Canal

 

Hasta la vista amigos! 🙂

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Tracing the footsteps of A. R. Wallace in Singapore

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), the British naturalist and co-propounder of the evolutionary theory of natural selection, arrived in Singapore on 18th April 1854. This was the start of his long, 8-year stay in Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, from the Dairy Farm area alone, Wallace is believed to have collected over 700 species of beetles. Today, a 1km track in the Dairy Farm Nature Park, named the ‘Wallace Trail’, commemorates his time in Singapore.

I explore the Wallace-Singapore connection in my article for the Nov-Dec’15 issue of PASSAGE (the bi-monthly magazine of the Friends of the Museums Singapore).

Wallace Trail, Singapore

(Reproduced with the permission of the Editor.)

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You can read more about the wildlife/natural history of Singapore in the following posts:

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Pasir Ris Park

Birds of Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens

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