Monday, February 20, 2012

Art and things around the house.

Below is an assortment of items scattered throughout our apartment in Alex. Several of the pieces were impulse buys and/or happy accidents while others were for the sole purpose of souvenirs.

This oil painting of Swan Lake(?) was found at Souq Goma (Friday Market). I couldn't stop thinking about it the rest of the day and was happy that I took down the man's phone number. I had Tony (our school's receptionist) call to see if it was still available. I didn't try to bargain; $30 for an original painting in a custom frame is a no-brainer. It was delivered via taxi. 
No idea what Ferro China Baroni is, but I wasn't going to pass this $15 three-foot plus hand painted gem. I drew quite a bit of attention carrying it around; one man came up to me grabbed my hand pulled me towards him and tried to kiss me on the cheek, then asked for an Egyptian Pound afterwards.   
We would have-could have had a bottle of Chamucos Tequila but TSA agents got into our suitcase before we did. The bottle survived but its' contents were spilled over Ana's clothes. At least the poster given to us in Ensenada made it over the pond.
The paint-by-numbers Jesus done by my mom moves with us. 
The relief tin Flamenco dancer and clapping Bedouin figures came from the antique district in Alex.  
Author Michelle Serros and former partner Dean bought this cushion cover for us while we were in Cairo.  
A fez wearing cop busting a TV stealing robber cushion cover-also via Cairo.
Communist soldiers attacking Hmong people cushion cover. 
Batik with sequins from a Christmas Bazaar in Cairo. 
Wedding scene stitching from Cairo.
Our friend Els (aka 100%) pulled this piece off her Champaign and Kava bar in Ghent for us to bring back to Egypt.
Knick-knacks on top of the bookcase. Fulla (Muslim Barbie), Frida and Diego candle, a Zapatista, our wedding cake topper, La Virgen x 2, clay Oum Kalthoum figure (famous Egyptian singer), and a clay female figure making bread.    
Wall hanging from Laos, a story about capturing a tiger. 
Detail of the wall hanging.
Muslim woman smoking sheesha/narghile/hookah with Lebanon postcard background. Found in the Armenian neighborhood Bourj Hammoud in Beirut. 
From Pickell, he thought we'd like this drawing and we do. 
Ana's cousin Mayuko Zuniga is an up and coming artist from Tijuana. During our evacuation back to the states due to the Egyptian uprising we happened to be there when Mayuko had her first solo exhibition. I fell in love with this piece and she was nice enough for let us buy it. 
Ana and I went to the Russian Center in Alex for an art opening and concert. I don't recall the name of the artist but he made intense horse paintings. He brought along scarves of his paintings to sell.  
Pinball playing at bars is a favorite mommy pastime in Essaouira, Morocco. I like that the pencil lines are visible. 
Another wall hanging from a Christmas Bazaar. This one depicts life in upper Egypt. 
The Matryoshka doll comes courtesy of our school's musical genius Dr. Greg. He picked this up for Ana the last time he went conducting in Moscow. The other doll comes from Siwa oasis.
San Diego artist Chikle and I did a little art swapping over the summer.  

During our first year in Alex there was an art gallery situated in the alley next to the bar Cap D'or. The space was tiny; ten people would be pushing it. I attended one opening dedicated to the current political situation in Egypt, which was a conflict with Algeria over recent soccer violence between the two countries.   

Found this old photo at the Friday Market. Most of the men are sporting the toothbrush (Hitler) moustache.
A couple of ink drawings.

The next vintage illustrations are by famous Prague artist Josef Lada.  
"As one art critic once said, the paintings of Josef Lada accompany Czechs from cradle to grave."

Hungarian humor. The artist had many nice illustrations to choose from, we choose something a little on the lighter side. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chiang Mai Thailand

In retrospect we could have done a better job in exploring all that Chiang Mai had to offer. We just didn't go for the gusto; no elephant rides, no silk village tours, no jungle adventures. Somehow we were content with hanging out inside the walls of the old city getting massages and wondering from Wat to Wat (monastery Buddhist temple). We'll do a better job next time, I promise.    

A nice little gem.
Where do all the unsold pirated straight to DVD movies go? The Tha Phae Gate has giant sculptures made from the likes of Garth Brooks and Godfather 3.  

The night market was a hit-I'm sure every American blows a gasket when experiencing one for the first time. Imagine a swap meet on steroids and out of control.  
Ana was pooped so I had to experience Thai Boxing on my own. The spectacle was definitely catered for tourists. Betting was allowed and encouraged. Ringside seats were available if you're itching to be showered by another man's sweat.

The chubby guy didn't have a chance. Were the fights legit? I'm not sure. Halfway through the evening, there was a free-for-all round. 

Tattoos on fighters were common.

We couldn't pass up the insect museum, it is the life's work of the couple running it. 

This should have been our new painting.

One Wat had some unusual lawn decorations.

Donald Duck eating a bowl of noodles with chopsticks is exactly what I thinking when walking into a Buddhist temple. 

Ana found a yoga studio and I found a terracotta garden or buddha heads.

There was a more upscale area away from backpackers near the university worth exporing.