Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Pensacola Saturday, January 19th

This was a busy and fun Saturday, starting off with a productive and satisfying meeting for AdventureMan, followed by a chat in my office, during which he drifted off and snoozed for an hour while I culled my iPhoto program. Then we headed for the Fill a Bowl for Manna event, where you pay your $30 entry, pick a hand crafted bowl and proceed to eat soups from a great variety of generous Pensacola supporters. Such a wonderful variety of soups, and also – such a great support from the Pensacola community:

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The lines were long, even if you had tickets in advance, but everyone was patient and good humored about waiting their turn.

From soup, we headed downtown to visit the African Art collection on display at the Pensacola Art Museum. First, we had to dodge all the colorful walkers in the Mardi Gras Run, Walk, DRAG with Color, people colored green, gold, and/or purple like the folk in the festival in India, then we had to find a parking place, dodging the police and fire people busy cleaning the streets from the chalk. The water was running green!

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The African Art exhibit was a collection from a family who had lived in Western Africa and brought back fabulous pieces. Truly, the detail and artistry we were able to see close-up just blew us away:

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These were so different from the other masks presented, clearly a different tribal group, different aesthetics. I called them the zombie masks for their very grey, formless, chaotic nature, and the black circle eyes:

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The textiles on the walls were not identified, but we immediately recognized this sizzling textile as identical to a bedspread we had on our bed at the Grumeti Camp when we were there on the Following the Great Migration trip we took with CC Africa, now called And Beyond:

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(This is not in the Pensacola Art Museum; this is our bed in the Grumeti Camp, where you can see the bedcover folded at the end; same amazing cloth:)

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Late lunch at our favorite go-to local deli, the East Hill Market, and home – a very satisfying day altogether.

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January 19, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Mardi Gras, Pensacola, Public Art, Social Issues, Tanzania, Travel | , | 2 Comments

Epiphany and The Star of the East at Christ Church in Pensacola

“Pay attention!” AdventureMan nudged me, hard. I was trying to find the Star of the East that Father Neal Goldsborough had just pointed out on our Christ Church dome, but I couldn’t find it. And I WAS listening, I was paying attention, I just also wanted to see the star, the special star on our dome, signifying the star that the wise men followed to find the child Christ.

I see a lot of other heads swiveled to look up, searching the dome for that special star. It’s one of my favorite feasts of the year, Epiphany; I can hear those camels grumbling and sputtering as they clop across the hard roads, I can feel the bite of the cold in the deserts (yes, in the winter deserts can be bone-freezing cold), and I can imagine the wise man consulting as to exactly where that star is leading.

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Later after the service, a kind Christ Church parishoner shows us where the star is – painted with more gold, shining brightly just over the horizon in the dome of Christ Church. It is beautiful, subtle, and it makes me happy to know that one star is special.

In this photo, you can see the hanging lamp that obscured my view of the star during the sermon, and you can see a slightly brighter star in the center of the lower dome:

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A little closer, and the star shines even more brightly:

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January 6, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, color, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Pensacola, Photos, Public Art | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria Wants Looted Art Works Back

From AOL/Huffpost

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the governmental body in Nigeria that regulates the nation’s museum systems, is demanding the return of 32 artifacts recently acquired by the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. Consisting of various bronze and ivory sculptures looted during the Benin Massacre of 1897, the Director-General of the commission, Yusuf Abdallah Usman, states that the pieces were illegally taken by the British Expedition as spoils of war.

The MFA in Boston acquired the pieces last month as a gift from New York banker and collector Robert Owen Lehman, who purchased the Benin pieces in the 1950s and 1970s. But the pieces were originally looted by British soldiers in the late 1890s, following the Benin massacre of 1897. In a statement made by Usman, the commission stated: “Without mincing words, these artworks are heirlooms of the great people of the Benin Kingdom and Nigeria generally. They form part of the history of the people. The gap created by this senseless exploitation is causing our people, untold anguish, discomfort and disillusionment.”

According to Huffington Post blogger and Princeton art history professorChika Okeke-Agulu, the laws governing cultural heritage in the United States are lenient toward museums holding works like those from the Benin Court. Commenting on the ethical imperatives associated with the looted art acquisitions, he has stated that “calls for the resolution of the problem caused by British looters of Benin royal art collection will not go away — especially now that Nigerian/world-citizen voices have learned to harness the popular power of the Internet to demand action.”

July 21, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cultural, Heritage, Political Issues, Public Art | | 1 Comment

Maria’s Mermaid

We like Maria’s; we like the variety of seafoods they carry, and we like that the fish is fresh. We often see the fishermen parked with their boats next to Maria’s, hauling out this morning’s catch.

AdventureMan runs into Maria for tonight’s dinner and I notice their mermaid. I think the artist must have had a lot of fun painting this Mermaid, who is not your Starbucks Mermaid:

And doesn’t strike you as sad that this perky little mermaid would be offering up her half-brothers and half-sisters for eating?

Maria’s Fresh Seafood Market
621 East Cervantes Street Pensacola, FL 32501
(850) 432-4999

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cooking, Humor, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Public Art, Shopping | | Leave a comment

Atlanta, and the New F Terminal

Our travel companions and we agreed, it is always better to have a little extra time for connections going, to insure that we give luggage enough time to be transferred, and for us to make transfers, etc. We make room for things that could go wrong, and we thank God if they don’t. Truth be told, we always kind of expect something to go a little wrong, and schedule in a little extra time to handle it.

I was glad we had a little extra time departing on this trip because coming through Atlanta just a couple weeks before, I had heard rumblings of a new international departures terminal. I’ve come in through Atlanta so many times, I know the routine, but now . . . it might be different! When we arrive in Atlanta, we end up in terminal E, and it is just a short walk (or train ride, but we all enjoy the walk knowing there is a very long flight in front of us) to terminal F. It is not a long walk, but a very empty walk, reminds me of coming into Dubai when they had just opened new parts of the arrivals terminal, and it had some long and ghostly walks.

As you arrive in the new terminal F, you see a grand crystal chandelier sparkling in the sunshine:

The terminal is large, and clean, the kind of clean when a place hasn’t been open very long and doesn’t have those grungy cracks and corners, clean clean clean 🙂

On our way to our gate, gate 6, we pass gate 4 where passengers are loading for Amsterdam, and one of our companions runs into an aunt and uncle on their way to Europe for a few weeks. Isn’t life grand? What are the chances? They had hoped to connect, but Atlanta is a big airport and they knew their chances were slim, and then – there they were, face to face! Their gate right next to ours!

We sat at the charging terminal so as to get all charged up for the long flight ahead. Due to tailwinds, the flight that is 17 hours coming from Johannesburg to Atlanta is only around 15 hours going Atlanta – Johannesburg. Still – 15 hours is longer than the grueling 14 hours from Dubai to Atlanta, and a long time to be in one aircraft, let alone one seat.

We take turns going to pick up something to eat. There is a small food court upstairs, including a Starbucks, and we choose PeiWei, where there are a lot of customers. They don’t have the wrap I want, but they have a good stir fry, so we order and get one of those lighting-up-things that buzzes when your order is ready. We always watch for where the flight crews are ordering; they go through these places often and know where to good value for the money is. The flight crews were at PeiWei.

We take our to-go boxes back to the charging station and our companions go, ending up also at Pei Wei. We were all relatively happy (it’s still airport food) and none of us got sick.

The flight was long. We had prayed for travel mercies, and I spotted three empty seats on the flight, one between AdventureMan and me, one between our companions, and one in front of us. Thanks be to God, I am thankful for a little extra space and the ability to get out and walk from time to time.

When we arrive in Johannesburg, our luggage all arrives with us, we don’t need a visa because we are US citizens, we are met by the concierge service from our hotel, the Westcliff, and put into a large car for transfer. I cannot imagine an easier way to transit Johannesburg.

June 16, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Public Art, Travel | Leave a comment

World Press Best Photo of the Year

I love this photo. It has the essence of true art; it is immediate and compelling, and pulls you in. Or at least it pulls me in. It reminds me of the Pieta (see end of article)

From the Huffington Post on AOL News:

New York Times photographer Samuel Aranda was announced the winner of the iconic World Press Photo competition on Friday.

The 55th annual jury of the World Press Photo contest selected Aranda’s photograph of a woman consoling an injured male relative in Yemen as 2011’s photo of the year. The woman is covered almost entirely by her burqa, by exception of small parts of her face and arms that seem to sneak out from beneath her robes. Aranda took the photograph in a Sanaa mosque that was being used as a hospital by demonstrators protesting against Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Times’ Lens blog described the winning photograph as having the “feel of a Renaissance painting.” Mr. Aranda told the Times that it was one of the first shots he took during his two months on assignment in Yemen. “The woman is not just crying. It was something more. You can feel that the woman is really strong,” Aranda said of the female subject in his photograph.

The World Press Photo competition is one of the most famous competitions for photojournalists in the world. The award-winning photographs are made into a traveling exhibition, which visits more than 45 countries over the course of the year. Click over to the World Press Photo website to view all the winners and exhibit schedule.

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Photos, Public Art | 5 Comments

First Flash Mob in Doha, Qatar

Thank you, my friend Hayfa, for sending this flash mob from City Center Mall; very nice;

But this one dates from May 2011, and I love the energy!

And one more, this time at Villagio! Wooo HOOOO, Qatar!

I’m eager to see one done at the Souk al Waqif!

I think Qatar’s National Day is December 18th, and the Qataris know how to party. It would be lovely to see a Qatari flash mob.

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Public Art, Qatar | Leave a comment

Monday Night Blues at Five Sisters Blues Cafe in Pensacola

We kept wanting to go to Five Sisters Blues Cafe – everyone tells us it is a really fun place with great food – but it takes us a while to find it. I’m printing the Google map for you; it is at the corner of Belmont and DeVilliers. Not that hard to find if you know Pensacola, but we are still learning Pensacola.

Five Sisters exterior:

“Where’ve you been?” our waitress, Lisa, asked as we were seated. We must have looked goofy, we’ve never been there before, so we said, “this is our first time” and she laughed and said “I know that! I haven’t seen you before! We’ve been open a year! Where’ve you been?”

We just laughed, she had really caught us off guard. The place was packed, on a Wednesday afternoon, people all around us eating giant salads, plates heaped with fried chicken, everything we saw coming out to the tables looked delicious. Lisa brought us iced-tea, and I lost my heart, look, REAL mint in the tea, just like home . . .

We were overwhelmed. There is a lot going on in the restaurant, people laughing, art works on the walls, a new menu to peruse and we don’t know what we want. We finally decide to share the sampler platter with two fried green tomatoes, 4 crab cakes and 4 shrimp, which came with three very tasty sauces – WOW. Wowed right off the top:

AdventureMan even said, in wonder “This crab cake really tastes like crab with a C!” and it was. You know, the other kind, that calls itself crab, but is really flavored Alaskan pollock, and not crab at all? This was real crab, and it tasted crabby. Yummm.

AdventureMan had a vegetable platter. Now this is Southern cooking at it’s best, so don’t expect ‘vegetable’ to be Vegan. Even Mac and Cheese qualifies as a vegetable, and beans usually have some pork to flavor them, etc. He said the entire plate was delicious.

I tried something I had never had before, catish over grits. I never thought I liked grits until our daughter-in-laws stepmother (I know, I know, it sounds complicated, and it is another thing we have in common with people all over the world; we all have complicated relationships) made Smoked Gouda Grits one night with her Barbecued Shrimp and a whole new world opened up to me. Wooo HOOO. Anyway, I didn’t eat all the grits; the catfish was filling, but this dish knocked my socks off and I don’t think I could duplicate it, so I’m just going to have to go back to Five Sisters every time I get a craving for it:

If we are what we eat, we are becoming very Southern. 🙂

Lisa, the waitress, was a lot of fun, helpful in making recommendations, quick when we asked for anything, and she told us about an upcoming special jazz night that we really needed to attend. OK. That sounded like fun.

Lisa was right. It was really fun. We walked in, early, and every table was taken. There was a Jazz Society of Pensacola membership table at the entrance, and the lady just laughed and said “Look! There are lots of chairs empty, just go to a table and ask if you can join them.”

Hmm. We’re actually used to that, living in Germany all those years, but I didn’t know you could do that here. 🙂 We ended up at a table with another couple, and as we chatted, we had a really good time with them. They were so gracious and welcoming to people they had never met and who aren’t even members (yet) of the Jazz Society. We laughed a lot. He told us that they didn’t have a lot of rules, but that when things got lively, no oxygen machines were allowed on the dance floor because they might explode, LLOOLLL!

This place was ROCKIN’. People were dancing between the tables, people from young to old, just having a great time listening to some very very good music. Within an hour, there were no empty seats at all, some people were standing, and others were eating out on the covered patio. It was raining (rain in Pensacola during a drought is a good thing) and the evening was called Monday Night Blues. How cool is that? The atmosphere was perfect.

Of course we had dinner. AdventureMan had BBQ on Red Beans and Rice and I had the Shrimp Basket. No Mom, I did not eat the French Fries.

I did eat ONE of the hushpuppies. I could not resist. 😉

Five Sisters Blues Cafe is just a really fun place, immaculately clean, great food and great service. We can’t wait to go back again.

July 16, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Florida, Food, Germany, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Public Art, Weather | 7 Comments

Concert Series at St. Paul’s Catholic Church

We had a delightful evening last night at St. Paul’s Catholic Church as several young people presented an evening of Baroque music. It started at seven, while the sky was still full of light, and you could see all the beauty of the renovation. Even though the renovation has been finished for months, it still smells new, and they must have use cedar extensively; it smells wonderful. The stained glass windows are beautiful with the end-of-day light streaming through. St. Paul’s windows are very Catholic; I especially liked the Mary-Queen-of-Heaven window, and the angels flanking the central altar.

As the light outside dwindled and darkened, the church’s interior lighting came more to notice, subtle and enhancing. The performing group also used candles, which contributed to a more intimate feeling in a very large church.

The music was lively, and played with passion and accuracy. Bach, Vivaldi, Rameau – it sparkled with life. They finished up with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto Number 3 in G Major, and left us all on a music high.

What I really liked, at this concert in a church not my own, is that the players are unashamedly evangelizing, but they keep it light and subtle. There was a really good crowd, as the announcer mentioned, not something that can be counted on in Pensacola on a hot summer evening. The performers participate regularly in the weekly Catholic masses, and gave a plug, but it wasn’t hard core, it was more presentation of an opportunity, a drawing in. I admire their technique, and their devotion. We enjoyed the venue, and the atmosphere, and the sincerity.

We will be going back for further concerts; they are planning one for July and one for August. They advertise frequently and well, in the Pensacola News Journal, which was how we heard about it. There was no charge for the concert, but a donation basket was available at the entry to the concert. 🙂

July 1, 2011 Posted by | Beauty, Community, Cultural, Living Conditions, Music, Pensacola, Public Art, Spiritual | 3 Comments

Kuwait Dream Come True

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So much has happened, and I’ve been so blessed. I’ve been able to meet up with friends, one on one and in groups, and when we sit and talk, it’s as if I had never left. We pick up right where we left off. With my friends, there is no need to make polite conversation; we talk about what is important in our hearts. I have been able to see every single friend, and I will see them again before I leave. That is one dream come true.

The second dream came true last night. I have told you AdventureMan is very, very busy. He is so busy that many times he doesn’t come home until very late at night; there are meetings all day, and into the night, when the offices in the US are open and functioning. Last night, however, he took a break. It was mere hours, but it was enough.’

He took me to Mubarakiyya, for dinner, and to see the lights. Happy Valentines Day to me! He knows exactly the way into my heart. 🙂

We took friends, people who had never been there before. We have to be careful; there are people who don’t ‘get’ Mubarakiyya, who prefer new and modern and sanitary. Not me. Give me that strong, hot tea with heaters on the table, and charcoal burners, and the din of children running around, and that grilled chicken and lamb and the shrimp (rubiyan) that Desert Girl told us about a long time ago in her blog. Our friends totally got it, and we all sat there, just soaking in the magic of Mubarakiyya.

We shopped a little, and took lots of photos of the lights. I have always felt so much joy at the joint Independence / Liberation holiday, at the celebration part, not the obnoxious-kids-with-foam-part, but I am convinced that most Kuwaitis celebrate with family and picnics and going to the beach or chalets, not the madness-on-the-Corniche.

AdventureMan is SO smart. He found a perfect parking place, across from the Sief Palace, where I could try to photograph the lights on the clock tower. My photos are not perfect; I didn’t have a tripod, but oh, I had so much fun, and I love the concept and execution.

My Kuwait friends – take your children downtown to see the lights. You can park in the parking lot and watch the lights change. The lights this year, all over downtown Kuwait, and en route there, are fabulous.

These patterns change like a kaleidoscope. It is most amazing. Go. Take your sweetheart, your valentine. Take your kids. This is fun, and free, and the weather is perfect.

Here is the parking lot where you can watch the show:

Update: Thank you, Danderma! I feel so foolish; I never saw that slideshow option, and think how many times I have been on the gallery page with all my photos, LLOOOLLL! You taught this old dog a new trick. 🙂

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Blogging, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Public Art | 4 Comments