Dating back to the 16th century, Phuket has a fascinating history in tin mining, mined by Sea Gypsies, Indians, Malays, Eurasians, Chinese and Siamese. By the 18th century, most of the mining was done by Hokkien Chinese, who were mainly responsible in building the old part of Phuket City.
Two different styles of building stand out: the Sino-Portuguese style shop-house,
And the Sino Colonial style, mansion buildings.
I strolled through tiny shops filled with coins, old post cards, photos, rocks and crafts,
as well as herb and spice stores, overflowing with the thick aroma of cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. I watched the owner carefully measure out herbs to help a customers stomach troubles.
Walls were lined with well worn drawers, a bounty of treasures and potions to cure what ails you – each neatly label with red ink.
I could spend hours sorting and smelling and admiring all that surrounded.
Kewpie Dolls became popular in Germany in 1912, and when I was a little girl in South Africa I had one of my own. I preferred playing in the dirt with cars or climbing trees and building forts, but I did love my Kewpie doll. I found a store with several, as well as old tin wind up toys and hundreds of comic books and match box cars.
As I meandered past collections of belts for sale,
beautiful soaps, dried flowers and lotions,
and ancient brass work decorating stores with hand woven textiles,
the delicious smell of freshly baked bread, caramelized banana and breakfast roti filled the air.
I turned a corner and came across a small packed cafe where the smell was coming from.
Bowls of roti dough sat ready to be rolled and cooked, and hot roti’s were quickly prepared for customers to devour. Sold filled with egg, sausage, bananas and cinnamon sugar, with a slight drizzle of condensed milk over the top. On that same street, walls of alley ways were brightly painted with art work.
Colors carefully picked as creative ideas became reality on walls.
Some buildings with cracked paint and exposed brick were decorated in artists expressions.
I wondered who held the cans and paint brushes, and what their stories are…
when their artistic journeys began, and how far they’d come in reaching their goals.
I love graffiti. Perhaps one day I will take color to a wall or a car on a train track…
I love finding the quiet spaces – places unfrequented.
My mind wanders, creative thought flows through me and my wild imagination takes over.
I tell myself to write it all down, but soon something else catches my eye and I am taken away to another fascinating place.
I am completely drawn in by patterns,
texture and color.
And all I want to do is make a quilt, knit a sweater, draw a picture and take photographs.
I love this place. I love the simplicity, the history and the present. I love the traditions and the smiles.