Posted by admin
on February 10, 2015
O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem
From the vantage point of Mount of Olives, I see the golden-coloured Dome of the Rock soar above the Old City of Jerusalem — a tight cluster of pale limestone buildings, domes, and towers. Entering into the walled city from a glossy, well-planned outer suburb area — home to all branches of the Israeli government –– I feel that I am in some another time period. Of course there are signs of modern-living, but that makes little difference.
Streets paved with setts run past ancient colonnaded houses with wrought-iron balconies. Below them shops and restaurants sell hot pizza, falafel and shawarma. Soon the streets turn into narrow lanes and alleys of bustling markets full of locals and tourists alike.
An Array of shops sell a range of souvenirs that easily catch a visitor’s eye (or dazzle it) – from exotic artifacts, fine local handicrafts and antiques to religious articles, jewelleries, textiles, rugs, cheap clothing, ceramics, glassware and small keepsakes to take back home to remind you of your visit to the holy city.
I head down some covered markets in the Muslim or Christian quarters. They are so devoid of natural light that lamps from rows of shops light the way. Walking down these vibrant marketplaces while passing by a variety of colorful goods and wares and amid merchant calls, you may just walk past a hidden mosque, a church or some religious sites of importance without even knowing. Your mind is too busy processing the multitude of exotic images pounding on it. Continue reading…
Posted by admin
on January 22, 2015
Singapore by night
As we approached Singapore, passengers on board the SilkAir craned their heads to have a peek at the Lion City’s chic, scintillating skyline.
Having been in the air for nearly five hours negotiating our way through a sea of fluffy clouds, the orange of the setting sun, and then droning over lush green forests and vast flat terrain, the island’s bright lights and glitzy huddle of futuristic skyscrapers seemed like a mirage in the distant horizon. Like a gemstone sharp and finely cut out, the city shimmered in a rainbow of hues.
It was a slightly windy night as the plane encountered some turbulence while gliding over the city just before descent. And as it taxied in on the Changi International’s rain-soaked runway, I felt that, for the first time ever, I had landed in a truly global metropolis. A few minutes ago I had seen large ships and mercantile vessels trudge down the sea from my window-seat. The port is one of the world’s busiest, a Mr Know-all seated beside me had said.
Major airlines from all over the world were either parked in the hangar or taxing down the runway for takeoff. The ultra-modern terminal with its squeaky clean arrival hall was lined with bright duty-free shops, luxury stores, and an array of conveniences such as a free movie theater, an internet lounge, a gym, a swimming pool, foliage gardens and massage tables – all befitting a luxury hotel. Continue reading…
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Our Turkish guide said she moved back to Istanbul after breaking up with her boyfriend
To a friend of mine walking beside her, and I mutely followed their conversation
These three ladies, now ahead of me, walking close together, stopping for shopping, conversing, laughing, window-browsing in the thriving streets of the Grand Bazaar
Blah blah blah blah.. I wanted to start a new life, our guide said, blah blah blah… perhaps also allow him to forget…
The covered market illuminated with yellow lights from rows of shops selling carpets, jewellery; dealers of silk, shoes, Turkish bric-a-brac drinking tea
Stretched and stretched, charming my mind into its groove, transporting me many years back
A sweaty boy accompanying his mother, aunt and cousin sisters during the elaborate festive shopping spree in Ason
Carrying bags of merchandise, foodstuffs, trailing behind the ladied who strut around in evening bazaar bustle Continue reading…