Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Home Away From Home

Wednesday 13th June, 2012; 01:14
Location: Davie's Flat, Melaka Malaysia
Why: My Melakan Digs and a Novel Concept.

Nothing like a friend sending me an FB message asking why I haven't posted a blog lately. As it turns out, somehow, my posts were not visible on my wall **shakes fists** Thanks AC for bringing it to my attention! I hope you enjoy my shelf and I'm so happy it has a new home.

Speaking of which, when I decided to stay in Melaka for a while, I wanted a place to call my own. So I put the word out on the streets of Chinatown. I happened to mention this to the owner of a cafe I frequented. And it just so happened that Michelle (owner) had a flat above her antique shop on Jonker Walk that she could rent to me.

Ask and ye shall receive.

When the day came to get my keys, anticipation and excitement washed over me. I had the entire 2nd floor of the building to myself, though most of it, I didn't need for living. The building was built in 1938 and is part of Unesco. Actually, the whole of Chinatown in Melaka is a Unesco site.

My humble digs above P & M Antique House on Jonker Walk, Chinatown's main street:

As you can see from the above picture, my actual living space faces the street where I get good sunlight. This part of Chinatown is really lively, albeit a bit touristy. Sometimes, I get annoyed with the giant tour buses that idle outside the street while all the Japanese tourists are swarming around trigger happy with their cameras. Being sandwiched between two karaoke bars (next door on the left and two doors down on the right), there is always a Chinese song playing in the background, sometimes with a good singer, most times with a bad. I've gotten so used to it that it's now background noise.

When I first saw this space, it was bland but spacious and had potential:

The rest of the top floor includes a long hallway that is filled with 5 rooms on the left. It's a good set up for a guesthouse:

Towards the end of the long hallway lies the kitchen and bathrooms. I have a squat toilet room, shower room and the luxury of a western toilet room. The best part - they're all al fresco while still being completely private. The kitchen is lacklustre and after nagging my landlord to put in a proper hot plate to no avail, I am perfectly content hunting for food on the streets. In fact, my day is not complete without a bowl of curry laksa or roti canai, food I couldn't make at home anyway.

I found a wonderful deal on scarves one day while cruising around Dataran Pahlawan, Melaka's mega mall. These scarves would make great curtains and also souvenirs for family back home. I purchased 10 for RM50, approximately $16CAD.

The colourful scarves brighten the flat while giving it an artsy hippie feel:

Fortunately, except for purchasing my bed, all the furniture was found inside the other rooms, including the massage bed you see on the left in the above picture. Of course, I had to add a touch of hippie tie dye.

Besides a brand new bed, I also splurged on a cotton sateen, 728 thread count bedsheet set. I found a fantastic deal at Makhota Parade, Melaka's other mega mall. On sale, it was RM215 (aprx $71CAD) and was by far the biggest luxury item I've afforded myself in my travels but also the best deal. Back home, bedsheets with this high thread count would cost several hundred dollars easily.

Sleeping on 728 thread count sheets feels divine and makes me feel a little more grown up:

One thing I loved about my flat was the pale yellow walls - a blank canvas for me to create! I found some inspiration at Anna's favourite cafe during my hop over to Chiang Mai in April. So I sketched out a rough drawing and got to work.

Starting at the base:

And working my way up...

Smiling all the while...

And smiling because the Cute Dutch guy was playing muse to my creativity!

Ah, boys...they are never far from my heart and mind. And bed? Haha, wouldn't you lovely readers like to know!

Back to the wall canvas. Satisfied with the tree part, I added some leaves:

Okay, it's 02:30 and a really, really awful rendition of Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Close My Eyes is being belted out by someone downstairs at the karaoke bar. Gawd.

A few days later, I came back to finish off this little project after fussing over the bird silhouettes. Et voila!

This is what I see every morning when I wake up. And with plenty of room for my yoga mat, my practice has become a daily routine. Routine. There's a novel concept. After traveling for so long, it is actually quite nice having a routine. Melaka's Chinatown is ideal for easy living, making friends and eating well. Life is good.

Sometimes, I have to pinch myself that I am still out here doing this wandering thang. I have surpassed my goal of 'Travel for one whole year' and looking forward to the next part of this nomadic lifestyle. Please come back for more anecdotes of moments abroad. I promise to make sure my posts are visible on my wall.

As I close to turn in for the day, the bad singing has stopped....nope, it's back again. Hmmm, where did I put those earplugs.....

Monday, 4 June 2012

Eat My Pixie Dust!

Monday, 4th June 2012; 15:47
Location: Jalan Jalan 2 Guesthouse, Melaka Malaysia
Why: Pixies Inspired by Josie R-M's haircut.

It's been a while since I've posted any of my draw-rings. When my friend Josie R-M recently got the cutest pixie haircut that side of Vancouver, I was inspired. Thank you Josie for posting your beautiful face on FB!

So I've been spending the past little while hiding in cafes hatching out these little creatures. Also, I've been hiding from the fogging going on in Chinatown. It's high season for dengue and the mozzies must be destroyed!

Temple Street getting fogged for dengue mosquitoes:

Remember when I geeked out to the pens between preparing lesson plans in Chiang Mai? Well, suffice to say, I totally geeked out to them this time around.

The first of the series. Testing out how the green and purple inks work together and getting used to the body proportion of a pixie:

Then, I sketched out a background et voila!

Based on the first attempt, I penciled the skeleton for the second pixie:

 Adding background and the outline:

Pixie Number Two in living colour and preferring the shape of her wings from the first attempt:

In between erasing pencil lines and fussing over what coloured pen to use, I indulged in things of this nature. Pfft, it's not like I enjoyed it or anything....

Sugar giddy on one of these concoctions, I would get back to the sketchpad and continue on. Ohhh, the cute German I met two days ago just walked by. With no shirt on. Excuse me while I go make some small talk with him.

Okay, let's focus here......

This pixie gets a different collar and tulip-ish kind of flowers:

I hadn't use my orange pen much so with the third pixie, I decided to test it out. I gave her red hair but was not so happy with the shape of her face or her facial expression. Oh well, this is all practice shtuff anyway.

I took a short break from this series when Cecilia conveniently showed up at Jalan Jalan GH one Friday evening. And then I met that young Swedish guy who had just spent 5 months in India, 2 months in China and had the sexiest tattoos on his arms. Let's just say.... we had a great time together. Oh my.

Right, so Cecilia and I heard through the grapevine there was a celebration at the local Sikh temple commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of a prominent guru. Free vegetarian food was available for the whole weekend so of course, we had to check it out. In the temple, we had to cover our heads to show respect. The food was quite good.

Feeling and looking very ethnic:

Okay, let's finish off this Pixies series shall we. For my last pixie (for now) I decided she would be swooping down in to the grass. Just because.

Falling or flying down? Not sure yet:

Some nice, green grass for Pixie Number Four to land on:

I'm pixied out for now. Time to move on to another obsession. Preferably not boys....hmmm who am I kidding! Anyway, I've been feeling guilty that I haven't opened my watercolour set that I purchased in Chiang Mai....but....I think I need to find out how old that German is...