Reminiscing Sundays

For this fine Sunday, here’s a set of postcards that takes me back to our summer in Seattle and the Pacific North West with my husband’s sister and her family. It was a hot but splendid summer spent exploring lavender farms and driving through scenic mountains wreathed in mist and past pretty passes, making our way into old American towns with typical diners and rail engines, chugging on iced teas and beer, guzzling wine like water after setting our mouths on fire with the hottest chilli sauce we have ever dug into, meeting good looking Native American boys in Canadian towns with hair that reached their waist (at that point I had a pixie hairdo so it made me miss my mane a fair bit), tucking into hot, hot, hot chicken wings with our niece and nephew gunning us on to compete for a level-7 challenge (this remains on our bucket list with them) which is supposed to send you screaming into town. You get the picture. We had a ball. That sentence could have gone on and on and yet it remains the longest sentence I have ever written. Happy browsing, folks.

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Vintage Sundays

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Tsukwani, a Kwakwala-speaking woman from the North West Coast, paints a hat with family crests. Her regalia, the nose rings, cedar bark cape and silver bracelets,   reveals that she is of noble lineage. Photographed by Edward S. Curtis in 1914.
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The Beaver Family dressed in a combination of indigenous and European clothes and accessories. They are from the Stoney Nation who lived near the Canadian Rock Mountains. Photographed by Mary Schaffer in 1907.
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Postcard from Berlin. It is a half of a Trabant. ‘The terrible car’ was made between 1964 and 1990 in East Germany. A tragi-comic photo with an atmosphere of decay and dereliction around the half-car.
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Hole in the wall at the Reichstag from 1990. 

 

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Che Guevara, 1963. “I have a wish. It as a fear as well – that in my end will be my beginning,” he had said.

And because we all love Audrey  – I have not met a single person in my life who has not gushed at the mention of the beauty – here are a trio of postcards I bought during my travels. I love collecting tinseltown memorabilia too.

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Funny Face 
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Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire

Nuggets from Funny Face:

[Dick kisses Jo]

Jo Stockton: Why did you do that?

Dick Avery: Empathy. I put myself in your place and I felt that you wanted to be kissed.

Jo Stockton: I’m afraid you put yourself in the WRONG place. I have no desire to be kissed, by you or anyone else.

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Roman Holiday

Princess Ann: Have I been here all night, alone?

Joe Bradley: If you don’t count me, yes.

Princess Ann: So I’ve spent the night here – with you?

Joe Bradley: Well now, I-I don’t know that I’d use those words exactly, but uh, from a certain angle, yes.

Princess Ann: [beaming with a smile] How do you do?

Joe Bradley: How do you do?

With those wonderful Audrey snippets, I shall sign and sigh off.

 

On the Sand Dunes of Sam

Chiselled by the winds stand the sand dunes of Sam. They are an overwhelming sight. All those sandy yellow waves and nothing thereafter for miles. It is a sight that can make you feel like a speck in an ocean of sand. Once in a while, a row of camels can be spotted, swaying their lazy behinds and walking off into the horizon with human loads on their humps.

I have sat on a camel twice now. Two occasions when I somehow clung on to the camel as it decided to make rude noises and threaten to throw me off its back. I would not blame it on hindsight. We humans are rather annoying in our attempt to get onto the back of every four-legged creature we can get our hands on.

I have made my peace with it. No more camel rides for this human is in the offing any time soon, unless I am thrown into the deserts of Arabia with no option but to get on to the back of one or perish. We all have keen survival instincts at the end of the day.

Now, the deserts always remind me of my wee days when my father drove my mother and me through the deserts of Salalah. When once I laid my eyes upon the strange sight of an upturned camel. I have never stopped wondering since if that is how camels pass on to nothingness or onto the next realm, if there is one that is. If you do know the answer to this, I would be grateful for the assuaging of this strange and stupid query that has always been a part of my growing up years.

On another note, have you ever seen the branding of a camel? It is not a pretty affair. Those poor mammals have no option but be branded. They are held down by the heavily moustachioed Rajasthani men, their feet often bare, their bright turbans always snagging the eye with vivacious colours that contrast sharply with the white of their kurta-and-dhoti attire, and how can one miss those significantly sized gold earrings dangling off their ear lobes – they were certainly bigger than mine. The poker glows red hot, held upon a rough fire pit made on the sand, and then when it looks decidedly hot enough, bam it is stamped onto the body of the protesting camel.

To say that it is merely disturbing is not doing your feelings justice. I remember the intense vehemence that swept over me and with it the violent urge to inflict that very branding exercise upon those men who were busy with their regular activity. But you realise then that you are but just an onlooker with no power. So you turn your eyes away with immense sadness in your heart and the thought running in your head that it is just the way it is. After all, not everything in life is the way it should be, is it?

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Yet there is something mystical about the desert. The golden beauty of your surroundings, the spectacular sunset and the massive white disc of the moon that rises after. It reminds you of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s words in The Little Prince: “One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”

 

Weekend Vintage Browsings

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Amalia Rodrigues, the iconic Portuguese fadista, in a Lisbon tavern from the 1960s. Postcard from Lisbon.
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How can one not have a postcard from Rome that has Peck and Hepburn on the Spanish Steps?
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Translated, The Leopard, an epic film from 1963. A postcard from beautiful Firenze, Italy.
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Everyone wants chocolate and pastries from the Viennese institution called Demel. They are bloody good! Postcard from Vienna, Austria.
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A small wine region on the Oregon-Washington border, Walla Walla makes some of the best Syrahs in the US.
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From the Pembrokeshire Coast in West Wales, Britain.

Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday, folks! I am chilling at home after a busy weekend of V&A browsing and catching up with friends in London. And of course, nothing feels happier than raking up travel memories with these pretty postcards that were stashed into a tin box. You cannot neglect them for long.

Vintage Travel Memories

A few summers ago in the Cornish seaside town of Tintagel I bought my first metal tin sign. I have been hooked since. Every place that we travel to I keep my eyes peeled for retro postcards and tin plaques. Postcards are the poor man’s option. They cost a fraction of metal tin signs which can be priced high depending upon where you find yourself. Mostly, because you cannot buy just one.

This weekend while rummaging through a box, I came upon a bunch of postcards that I got during our various travels in Europe and England. I should not probably try and put a number to them because there are hundreds of them. Some day they shall go up on the wall of a library in our future nest. I have plans for them. A bit of daydreaming feels good. Rather on the lines of creating hygge in the mind, that Danish word for eking out pleasure from the ordinary, everyday things in life. It is one of the nicest concepts to come out of the end of last year, don’t you think? Winter seems more alive with it. Anyway, I shall leave you to enjoy Saturday with these few.

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What happens when you chase bulls

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I shall post a few every weekend because why not bring some vintage loving into our lives. As the Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith put it, ‘I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines’.