Tag Archives: travel

52 Portrait Project – 4/52

Faces of Petra is the theme of this week’s portrait project. Even with the stunning view surrounding us when we were in Petra, the locals had their way to make their presence truly felt. I’m talking about the trading locals who filled the area in front of the Treasury, who were there in throngs, with their various items to sell and animals for hire. We’ve got a wide selection of items to buy from them; silver bracelets, necklaces, (claimed to be) authentic old/antic coins, scarfs and postcards. The four-legged variety mode of transportation was also available there. You can choose between camels, donkeys, mules, horses, or, if riding on layers of blankets on top of moving animals is not for you, you can opt to sit like a true tourist princess in one of horse carriages.

Most of the sellers were the local Bedouin from Petra. Back in the 70s and early 80s some of people from the Bedouin tribe actually lived in the caves and resided amongst the rocky ruins around. Not anymore though, as these days no one is allowed to live inside Petra for better preservation of the area, so now the Bedouins are there only during opening hours to conduct their business.

Back to the portraits now. Here’s Salomon. He’s a young teenage boy with kind eyes, high energy and very little English. We started our ‘relationship’ with a misunderstanding over a price of silver bracelets (he wanted to sell by the grams, while I bargained based on the number of items). We ended up spending most of our day there with him (and his borrowed donkeys), because he turned out being very helpful, though not so informative as a guide. Kind eyes can go a long way, I guess.

the donkey charmer, petra - jordan


These were the postcard selling girls. These girls were very friendly, playful and giggly. I gave them a Polaroid as a souvenir. They looked so happy.

postcard sellers, petra - jordan


These old men were working together in front of Treasury. They dressed as period soldiers/guards, and then went to approach tourists who wanted to take photographs together for some small tips. These two looked tired and a bit sad. After receiving some tips and lots of thanks from us they went off, back to work. On to the next group.

old soldier 1, petra - jordan

old soldier 2, petra - jordan

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52 Portrait Project – 2/52

This week I have a couple of portraits of some Jordanian handicraft workers I met last December. A day before Christmas  we took a tour to visit baptism site, Mount Nebo, and a mosaic town of Madaba. Just a few kilometres outside Madaba we stopped at the big Jordan River Foundation outlet that carries a huge collection of mosaic and other handicrafts. We were allowed to go to the back to see how the mosaic and other arts/handicraft objects were made. That was how I got to meet these lovely ladies.

Jordanian Women at handicraft work


They were sitting side by side behind a long working table; painting, drawing, working, laughing and chatting, and having a good jolly time at work. We came to the room and peeked behind their shoulders to see their work, while the sales assistant/lady guide was explaining us the whole process.

I asked them, via our english speaking guide, whether it was okay to take photos while they were working. The ladies were super friendly and allowed me to take photos. Then I remember that I brought my new toy with me (a Polaroid camera I got for early Christmas), and then started taking pictures of them using the Polaroid camera. I told them that they could keep all the photos I took with the Polaroid camera. They suddenly got very excited, and I started to see more twinkling in everybody’s eyes. The photo above was taken after I took the Polaroid shots. It was so much fun to see them giggling, waving the Polaroid photo, and comparing their photos with each other. There was a lot of laughter and playfulness in that workshop that day, despite our disruption to their work.

checking out polaroid photos


This 52 project is all about people portraits, but I think it would be unfair to the ladies if I did not show you some of their work that day.

ps: for more info about Jordan River Foundation, click here

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Kampong Glam part 2

The next destination after I was done with visiting the Sultan Mosque was to check out Haji Lane. After passing the many textile shops who were already in business since 1950s, entering Haji Lane would take you to another time and place completely. The tiny streets were filled with arrays of hip shops, offering coolest stuff made by local designers and entrepreneurs; from clothes, shoes, accessories and cute knick knacks. The tiny colourful independent stores with eclectic designs reminded me of stores that line-up in Melbourne alleyways. Haji lane even had its own graffiti on many of its walls, which made the resemblance to Melbourne even stronger. This resemblance stopped as soon as you left the Haji lane. It was very peculiar.

Haji Lane, Singapore

I realised I had no method nor strategy in the way I explore the area of Kampong Glam, so I ended up sometimes going to the same lane again and again, but from a different direction. At times I found myself just circled around the same corner, because I was too busy shooting away and was not aware where I was going. The following is a series of photographs I shot in Bussorah Street and surroundings (included Baghdad and Kandahar St). The architecture of most of the buildings in Kampong Glam is from their original design (back from 1822) that has been restored, and now painted in vibrant colours.

I think you need more than just one day to explore the whole area. You can use one day just to browse and see what is offered, and spend the next day to actually explore the speciality shops (and do some targeted shopping), going inside the art galleries,  make your own perfumes, and enjoy scrumptious food at restaurants that really interest you.

See you next time, Kampong Glam!

Intersection - Haji Lane, Singapore


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  • Rachel Yeoh22/11/2013 - 12:43 pm

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! So glad that I happened to stumble across your blog. Thanks for sharing such lovely posts. XxReplyCancel

    • [ayu]22/11/2013 - 4:53 pm

      I love it when people ‘stumble’ across my blog and like what they see. Thanks Rachel! xReplyCancel

      • Rachel Yeoh23/11/2013 - 2:46 am

        It’s my pleasure! Keep it up 🙂 xx ReplyCancel

  • […] See you in part 2. […]ReplyCancel

Kampong Glam part 1

My plan that day was to visit the major landmark in the area, the Sultan Mosque, and explore the surrounding area of Kampong Glam. It was another sensory overload kind of experience, that I never get tired of in Singapore. I got off my taxi one lane away from the mosque, and I passed many traditional business, selling carpets, textiles, and the widest selection of colourful cushion covers I’ve ever seen.

Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque) on Muscat Street is one of the most important mosque in Singapore. The mosque is open for visitors, so I went in. Like the  Buddhist temple I visited recently, the mosque has a conservative dress code. If you are not dressed appropriately you need to wear some kind of  cloak if you want to enter, and cloaks are available free of charge. Ok. I had to wear a cloak to enter that day. And, no, we are not going to talk about communal cloak again. I feel itchy just to think about it…

I believe this was my first time in a mosque, despite being born, grew up, and lived in Indonesia the first decades of my life. It was quiet inside the mosque, I was not there in any of the time of praying, and it was not a Friday. I enjoyed looking around, noticing all the intricate details, and feeling how airy it was inside. The visit to the Buddhist temple was still fresh in my mind, so it was interesting to see symbols and colours that were influenced by a totally different cultures and religious. They were so different, and yet equally powerful.

Here are images of the building and its surrounding.


The look from inside the mosque:

Inside Masjid Sultan, Singapore

Half a block away from the mosque would take you to the Malay Heritage Centre. The centre was a total contrast to its surrounding. From the colourful shops, the loud noise, and variety of smell I passed, suddenly it was ‘quiet’.  There was a big (clean and new-ish) yellow building in front of me, surrounded by a neatly mowed lawn and very well-trimmed trees, not a branch went astray, all around. It all looked almost sterile compare to the surrounding area. I did not remember the reason why now, but I decided not to go in the centre and continued on walking.

See you in part 2.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

We continued our roaming along the alleys of Chinatown in Singapore, then we stumbled upon this gorgeous building, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. There is almost always an outer gate around temples such as this one, which blocks the inner square right in front of the temple from the street outside. There was a lot of things to absorb as soon as I passed through the gate; the predominantly red colours everywhere just hit you straight in the eyes, the thick smell of the incense burning, and the constant sound of people’s chanting from inside the temple. After a couple of minutes to process everything in,  I began to focus on little things, and started to wander around the temple.

buddha tooth relic temple, singapore

buddha tooth relic temple, singapore


Before you entered the temple, I was asked to put on a robe to cover myself (I was wearing shorts and no-sleeve top) for show of respect in the house of worship. I forgot that most temples in Asia that open for public usually require this, I did not bring my own sarong + cardigan with me, so I took the one they provided there for free, while trying to be cool and not thinking about the fact that hundreds of sweaty people had worn the robe before me.

There were people praying inside, lead by one person standing near the altar. I wanted to take pictures but I decided not to out of respect. I focused instead on the details (non-people praying details) inside the temples. If you could see incense burning outside, the inside was all about burning candles. There were rows upon rows of these pretty little bowls with flowers around them inside the temple.


Here are other details that caught my eyes as I walked slowly back outside.

buddha tooth relic temple 4, singapore


buddha tooth relic temple - door, singapore

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is definitely worth seeing when you are in Singapore. There’s something about listening to all the chanting while I was looking around the temple. I did not get one single word, but I found it very calming and it almost made me forget the feeling of having imaginary insects crawling on my arms from the communal robe.

I felt quite peaceful as I left the temple.

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  • […] the most important mosque in Singapore. The mosque is open for visitors, so I went in. Like the  Buddhist temple I visited recently, the mosque has a conservative dress code. If you are not dressed appropriately […]ReplyCancel