Sir John Brembridge was financial secretary of Hongkong 1981-86


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  CORNERS OF HONG KONG  
Francisco Mattos

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The first road built in Kowloon was in 1904 by governor Sir Matthew Nathan. Beginning harborside at Tsim Sar Tsui, the boulevard ran just over two miles north to Sum Sui Po and Boundary St, where the New Territories begin.

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HK residents can travel to the por­tu­guese port by ferryboat, hydrofoil or amhibian plane; the former takes an hour, the others are faster. In 20th-c. Macao, the only means for its res­i­dence to catch an airplane was first travel to HK. Both ways, the trav­el­er crosses the Pearl river delta while skirt­ing the South China sea.

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A commercial venture next to Ma Tau Gok went bust when entrepreneurs Mr Kai and Mr Tak could not develop the land they had reclaimed from Kowloon Bay. This prompted the HK gov­ern­ment to purchase the waterfront prop­er­ty and, in 1912, build an airfield.  |- -|  Decommissioned in 1998, Kai Tak Airport will no longer offer ar­riv­ing airplanes a careening welcome onto a harbor runway when pilots need to per­form demanding and exacting man­eu­vers each and every time. (Photo by Christian Hanuise)

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The english bridge connects the isle of Shameen (left) w/ Canton on the right. There is also a french bridge. A sand­bar in the Pearl river was re­claimed and built upon by british and french merchants wanting residences in town.

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The 1958 cha-cha-cha champions of HK Bruce Lee and his dance partner. A dance craze emanating from Cuba in the early 1950s, swept HK youth into dance classes to learn how to execute two consecutive quick steps.

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When the british government con­duct­ed the first census, Sek Pei Wan (Aber­deen) had zero population; at the time it was just a pirate’s cove. Graced w/ a tiny yet excellent harbor. Tanka (boat people) eventually made it a home­port, an important one among many dotted along the coastline.




  ANTONIO AGOSTINHO 

| Motorist

 | |  After the Sec­ond World War, Hong Kong took pains to re­build its trans­por­ta­tion infra­struc­ture. Roads were widened and new routes were cre­ated.

(Motorist)  | |  An integrated trans­por­ta­on sys­tem came in­to play, w/ sin­gle and dou­deck­er bus ser­vice. A tram­way run­ning the length of H.K. island on the har­bor side and a sec­ond one just for the Peak. Two pas­sen­ger fer­ry routes be­tween H.K. and Kow­loon and one ferry route dedi­cated to vehicles.

(Motorist)  | |  User-friendly driv­ing calmed grate­ful trucks, taxis and pri­vate cars, heed­ing traf­fic cops and easy-to-spot stop signs and sig­nals.

(Motorist)  | |  Tony got his driv­er’s license when he was 35 years old. The war had end­ed seven years ago, and hav­ing to drive on bald tires be­came a thing of the past.

(Motorist)  | |  Tony’s first and only car was a Sim­ca, a Fiat built in France, and he drove it to work every day. He took his wife gro­cery shop­ing and his fam­ily on reg­ular Sun­day drives to every nook and cran­ny of H.K., Kow­loon and the New Terri­tories that was ac­ces­si­ble by car.

(1910 Queens Road)



| Heir

(birth-certificate)

 | |  Baby Tony was bap­tized a week later in the Cath­o­lic Cathe­dral. Two days af­ter that he re­ceived reg­is­tra­tion papers stating that he was a Hong Kong citi­zen. He went to school at 9 and grad­u­ated in 1932. (Jose)  | |  Tony’s father José was born on Feb­ru­ary 21 1892 in the parish of Fre­gue­sia de São Lou­ren­ço, Macau, to Filo­mena Rus­sur­reição da Sil­va Oli­vei­ra (b.1864) and Pedro de Al­can­ta­ra de Oli­vei­ra Mat­tos (b.1864). He was 21 when he mar­ried Cris­ta­li­na Cris­ti­a­na Col­laço, at that time a minor, at the Cathe­dral in Can­ton. Their first child Ma­ria Lu­cia was born, and five years later my fath­er. They had five more: Regi­na, Vic­tor, Tere­sa, Ade­li­na, and Glo­ria Cris­ti­na. José sup­port­ed his fam­i­ly as a clerk w/ the Asiatic Pet­ro­leum Co., a joint ven­ture of Roy­al Dutch and Shell Oil in China.

Ocean Liner
(1960-happy-valley)
• (excerpt) “The Por­tu­guese in Hong Kong” by Cyril Neves 2003
❛❛  When the British Fleet the Brit­sh Fleet dropped an­chor and raised the flag at Pos­ses­sion Point [in H.K.] on a January morn­ing in 1841, the first peo­ple ashore were cler­i­cal staff from the Brit­ish trad­ing com­pa­nies in Macau. Ever since, the Por­tu­guese have wov­en a rich and splen­did thread through the his­tory of Hong Kong. ... Every­one knew what a Por­tu­guese was, but af­ter cen­turies in Afri­ca, In­ies, Goa, Japan and China, it was some­times dif­fi­cult to ex­plain. Inter­mar­riage over the gen­er­a­tions had blurred the lines. ... There were no Por­tu­guese who were not Cath­o­lics. ...





| Graduate

(visa)

Manila poster
• (excerpt) “China Cycle” by Richard P. Dobson 1946
❛❛ I filled in forms and col­lect­ed the nec­es­sa­ry vi­sa in a hur­ry, and by the fo­llow­ing dawn was at Kai Tak aero­drome em­bark­ing in a Pan-Amer­i­can Clip­per.The Clip­per was a mighty ma­chine. I re­clined in a bunk, and they brought me tea, then sand­wiches, then beer. When I arose there were light re­feresh­ments and buf­fet lunch in the lounge, so the pas­sen­gers were kept happy un­til after about five hours the dis­tant blue sparkle of the sea gave way to the viv­id green of for­est and jun­gle and soon we hissed smooth­ly in to the naval an­chor­age at Cavite. ... Every­thing was ex­pen­sive. Manila is one of the most costly places to live in that I know --





| Adult

(gendarme-collage)

| |  Tony was liv­ing at 51E Wynd­ham Street in 1936 when he found a job w/ the Hong­kong Elec­tric Com­a­ny to work in its show­rooms. Sal­a­ry was HK$60 per month and hours were week­days 7 to 5 + Sat­ur­days 7 to 1.

|  When the Second World War reached Asia, Tony and his fam­i­ly left British HK for neu­tral ­Macau. He and his broth­er be­came gen­darmes -- armed guards on patrol. He left ser­vice w/ a tattoo.

(map and border) |  One of Tony’s duties was to stand watch at the bor­der w/ China. Daily he watched as peo­ple fled from bul­lets and bayo­nets. One day he caught the eye of some­one, who must have also locked eyes w/ him be­cause they most cer­tain­ly be­gan a love affair.




| Witness

(portuguese-map)

(macau-postcard)
• (excerpt) “Birdless Summer” by Han Suyin 1938
❛❛  The offensive of the Japanese against Canton started on October 12 1938; on the 21st Canton was taken, even though there were 200 Chinese troops there. On the order of Chiang Kaishek there was no resistance, they were withdrawn. The Japanese attacked both by land and sea, 30 warships sailed up the Bocca Tigris, 20,000 men landed. 43,000 Canton Volunteers put down their names to fight for their city, but the officials were fleeing, no one would give them weapons. The bridge which spanned the Pearl River and the city was bombed; on the afternoon of the 21st, Japanese motorized units entered Canton. By this action Japan placed her military power in position for a thrust, three years later, upon the British colony of Hong Kong.
(bachelor)

| |  During the war, Tony read history and learned about the world by collecting stamps.





(War 1)
• (excerpt) “Tales of Hong Kong” by Gene Gleason 1967
❛❛  Two Japanese divisions invaded [HK] from China on December 8 1941, conquered the New Territories and Kowloon in ten days, and crossed to the north side of HK Island at several points btw. Lei Yue Mun Pass and North Point. Outnumbered and w/out air cover, the British, Canadian and Indian defence forces took their main stand at Wong Nei Chong Gap to prevent the Japanese from driving south to cut the island defences in half. The Japanese defeated the ­defenders decisively at the Gap and pushed forward to complete the cuf-off at Repulse Bay.

(War 2)
• (excerpt) “Fragrant Harbour: A Short History of Hong Kong” by G.B. Endacott and A. Hinton 1968
❛❛  For nearly four years [HK] remained under Japanese military occupation. British civilians were interned at Stanley in the St. Steph­en’s College and Prison area. Under war conditions the Japanese were unable to feed a large population in HK or to maintain health and other public services, so a large number of people returned to the mainland and the population shrank to some 600,000. The war ended in August 1945, and on August 30 1945, British warships entered the harbour and accepted the surrender of the Japanese garrison of 21,000 men. The British once again took control of the government.





| Partisan

(woke)

 | |  In his late twenties Tony was pay­ing at­ten­tion to the buzz on a free An­go­la. He was care­less and for his trou­bles a let­ter ar­rived from the Brit­ish Con­su­late in Macau:

13th January, 1945. Sir, I feel I must draw to your at­ten­tion that cer­tain of your as­so­ci­a­tions may in future draw the un­fav­our­able atten­tion of Brit­ish Autho­rities. I feel I need spec­ify no fur­ther since you will be able to know to what I refer. I sug­gest that for your own good you sev­er these as­so­ci­a­tions as soon as pos­si­ble. I am, Sir, Your obe­di­ent ser­vant, (H.B.M. Consul.)

 | |  A quick search of Tony’s room did not find a pamphlet and a map that he had hidden well.
(map-angola)



| Spouse


 | |  In 1943, police guard Tony mar­ried do­mes­tic Pat­sy at St An­thony in Macau, ac­cord­ing to and con­form­ing to the Rite of Saint Moth­er Church Cath­o­lic Apos­tolic Ro­man. He signed but she did not, “be­cause she could not write.” (groom)

 | |  Tony took a photo of his first-born and cap­tioned it on the back: rooftop-foto
(Patsy 31 y.o.)  | |  Tony’s wife was born on July 7 1918 in Nam-Hoi, Canton. When war reached her village she left w/ two sisters for the coast and never saw her family again. (4 & 6 sisters)  | |  The eldest, Say Yee Ma (no.4), would open a tucks shop and die in Hong Kong, the youngest, Luk Yee (no.6) would return to China to live. Patsy, the middle sister, went to America.
(johnston rd)



| Husband

(passport)

 | |  His 1946 passport (no. 241) listed Tony as a British sub­ject by birth. Five feet nine inches, dark brown eyes and hair. (driver-license) (Simca)  | |  By 1958 Tony was a father to five children. He sent a postcard to his eld­est, liv­ing then in Manila: (botanic-garden)



| Electrician (jumbo)

 | |  After the war, he was re­hired by the Hong Kong Elec­tric Co. and by 1957 was made a sec­ond assis­tant engi­neer. It took eight more years to be­come a test­ing assis­tant and is­sued a War De­part­ment Pass. (war pass)


|  Petitioner

 | |  By 1966, the Cultural Rev­o­lu­tion had spilled over to Hong Kong. Red Guards marched to Gov­ern­ment House for re­dress­ing of past behavior. (riot police)  | |  Tony had gone through one war w/ Patsy they did not want to again, not w/ a family. He sought to immigrate and wrote to his mother and older sister in America. (stamp-purple-queen)  | |  On May 6 1969, Tony handed in his res­­na­tion and was grant­ed ear­ly retire­ment so that he could take up res­i­dence in the United States.




| Emigré

 | |  In 1969, Tony brought Patsy and their three youngest aboard the President Cleveland, docked in HK. After a stopover in Yokohama, they arrived in Honolulu on June 13, where he declared his intention to immigrate w/ his family to the United States of America. (Honolulu)
 | |  Patsy passed away suddenly in 1973 from cancer. Widowed, Tony filled out a statement of facts for a petition to become a naturalized citizen. He was 56. (GGP photo)


| Widower

 | |  Tony worked in a mail­room in San Fran­cis­co, hap­py to be among stamps. Then his work per­for­mance suf­fered, and in 1980 he was let go. After de­duc­tions, his last pay­check came to 301.74. (mail-clerk)  | |  Lost in thought, Tony is com­fort­ed by his mother. (son)  | |  Falling into des­pon­den­cy, Tony moved to the Ten­der­loin, sign­ing in as “Antonio O. Mat­tos” and tak­ing Room 303 at the Marl­ton Manor. (driver-license)


| Paterfamilias

(grandpa)

 | |  Tony was 67 when he passed away. Thirty-seven peo­ple went to his funeral, incl. sib­lings Adele and Vic­tor, and all his chil­dren. He liked to go night fish­ing by him­self, and was a mem­ber of the Hong Kong Phila­tel­ic Soci­ety (POB 446) from 1950 until he left his home­town. (love-stamp)


PHONE BOOK of AN­TO­NIO AGOS­TINHO de OLI­VEI­RA MAT­TOS

All Tony’s chil­dren get list­ed (incl. their old ad­dreses, em­ploy­ers, room­mates), his sis­ters and their fam­i­lies, his ex sis­ter-in-law in To­ron­to, and his mother.

Tony joined UMA Inc and stayed in con­tact w/ his HK friends, incl. the Alva­reses, Browns, Car­nei­ros, Car­val­hos, Col­laços, Gregorios, Ri­bei­ros, Rochas, Rozas, Sil­vas, and Xa­viers. He had many Chi­nese friends back home, new ones in Amer­i­ca; there are at least eight New York ad­dresses.

His primary physi­cian was Dr Ger­ald Roberts and the secre­tary’s name was Marilyn. How to con­tact Medi­care, Medi-Cal, Neigh­bor­hood Legal Assis­tance, Mt Zion Hos­pi­tal, and the Radi­a­tion On­co­lo­gy Tumor In­st­itute.

SF’s Arrow Stamp Co. and Sun­rise Stamp Co. Library hours. Bus info. Where to get bait. Two bank ac­counts. Near­by res­tau­rants serv­ing Chi­nese, Indian, Indo­ne­sian, satay, fish-&-chip. Japa­nese words dai­jo­bu, gohan, ichi ban, ofura, sashimi and what they mean.




  OBIT   Francisco Mattos

93 | Regina Maria de Oliveira Mattos DaSilva
Regina Maria DaSilva

|-  2.28.1921 – 11.28.2013  -|  My father’s youngest sister. She ran the concession stand on the Peak, and took the Peak Tram to work everyday, after crossing the harbour by ferry from Kowloon side.



69 | Benjamin Leung Gok Wing
Benjamin Leung Gok Wing

|-  2.7.1944 – 9.4.2013  -|  Ben vis­it­ed Hong Kong at the be­gin­ning of 2013. What he must have thought about his home­town he is not aorund to tell me, but I know it’s the first vacation he’s had in a while.  |  It was there that Ben met my sister Sylvia, when they were both young and working in the same office. At that time my sister was learning to drive a stick-shift car and for hours and hours after dinner she would be out tak­ing driving lessons w/ an instructor to god knows where.  |  Ben would also go off on his own as a young man, but where he went you can always find on a map: a local swimming pool, or the near­by basket­ball court. He left these pursuits behind when he came to San Francisco, and eventually took up gar­den­ing: on 44th Avenue, and later out on Bay Farm Is­land. Both had sandy soil, hard to take care of.  |  On Bay Farm he had a wis­te­ria in ground next to a loquat tree in a pot. Ben was fear­less and grew every­thing. And those that took to his care, he made green.



87 | Renee Lym Robertson
Renee Lym Robertson

|-  8.4.1928 – 1.4.2015  -|  ❝I bowed 3 times at the casket of Renée Lym Rob­ert­son. Auntie Renée died at the age of 87 in her stunning Nob Hill apart­ment. She was the daughter of Art Lym, the founder and head of the Chi­nese Air Force under the Nationalist govern­ment. She was born in Shanghai and fled to Hong Kong in 1949 as a ref­u­gee after the Communist Rev­ol­u­tion. She was a noted beauty in her day and was a fixture in the in­ter­na­tion­al Hong Kong society that centered on the Peninsula Hotel; where she caught the eye of Clark Gable and became his girlfriend and lover. I will miss her beauty, her style, those jungle red nails and lips, the jade and dia­monds, her stories and her wicked wit and wisdom. Auntie Renée was my Auntie Mame.❞ – Wylie Wong



76 | Pamela Rita de Oliveira Mattos Zauberer

Pamela Rita Zauberer

❝Great cook, talented at crochet, creative, child-like, excruciatingly honest, tenacious, compassionate and sensitive; my mother was all these things.❞
— Jasmine

|-  5.2.1940 – 5.3.2016  -|  Pam led a glamorous life as a 1960s airline stewardessfor Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, where she was born and raised. At work she would be pulled into photo shoots when film and tele­vision stars flew in.

|  Chosen to represent the airline, she participated in fashion shows, ad cam­paigns, and public relations as the face of flight. She traveled around the world, accruing trinkets from all cul­tures and a lifelong admiration of all cuisines. She traveled to all the airports in Asia, and in her suitcase out would pop magazines from everywhere else.

|  After landing in America, she struck out to be on her own and moved to New York, abandoning us all here in Cali­for­nia. She dated the house photographer at Mad magazine, and lived a stone’s throw from Maxwell’s Plum, a “…flam­boy­ant restaurant and singles bar that, more than any place of its kind, sym­bol­ized two social revolutions of the 1960s — sex and food,” located at 64th and First Avenue in Manhattan. Her walk up had a bathtub in the kitchen, sharing a hot faucet w/ the sink.

|  While helping a friend help sell at her friend's street-fair booth, Pam met many folks, including a man who im­mediately of­fered some helpful ad­vice. Pam shot back and challenged him to come around to the other side and man­age the booth himself, since he “...clear­ly knew what to do.” Laszlo dis­appeared and came back w/ two hot dogs and a lem­on­ade, walked around the booth, and sat down next to her; two weeks later they were married.

|  Laszlo Zauberer, native of Hungary, was driving a cab in NYC when he met Pam on his one day off. An ac­com­plished painter of diverse subjects, and the love of her life, they remained in­sep­arable for the next 40 years.

|  After the birth of their daughter, Pam and Laszlo made the move to upstate New York. Never one to shy away from conflict, her generosity, thoughts and sometimes vengeance were doled out as she saw fit to those who crossed her path. Whether it was redeeming a rain­check at a grocery store or haggling over an item at a yard sale, her sense of fair­ness and authority got her into heat­ed debates.

|  On the night of May 3 2016, Pamela Rita de Oliveira Mattos Zauberer passed away at home and in her bed w/ Laszlo and Jasmine by her side. In true stoic fashion, she had no complaints of pain. She had just celebrated her birthday the day before, and ate carrot cake, her fav­or­ite. She was 76 years old.



33 | George Choy
George Choy

|-  2.6.1960 – 9.10.1993  -|  George was rocking a mohawk, so I took a pix, to remember our Passage through a rather brief moment in time. He now has one of the many plaques lining Castro Street.











-¦  June 2021  ¦-


  EPICENTER OF 1906 EARTHQUAKE 

Defenestration

Defenestration Building 2013
Defenestration tossing out of a window was a site-sepcific installation on two outside walls of a shuttered building in San Francisco, created by artist Brian Goggin with the help of volunteers. Knowing the dilapidated structure would face the wrecking ball sometime in the future, City Hall went ahead and commissioned Googin to bring into existence anthropomorphic furniture in the process of escaping the Hugo Hotel by jumping out of windows and ambling down on whichever legs the furniture maker gave them. This time-specific public art then spent sixteen years thrilling passersby until the building was torn down in 2014.

The Huge Hotel, corner of Sixth and Howard, was built as a four-storey rooming house, but deemed unsafe after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The opening day crowd in 1997 were greeted by a massive spider web made of robes tied to various parts of the building. Already a few pieces of furniture, chair, sidetable, lamp, are marching down the walls. The first to actually jump out of the windows was an acrobat, soon joined by a posse, all dressed in super-costumes, all climbing on the web and doing circus things for half an hour. Then one by one, they would ease out of windows more furniture: sofa, coffee tables, mirrored armoire, bed, ottoman, bathtub, stool, bench, a grandfather clock. More lamps, which at night were switched, cleverly illuminating this surreal spectacle 24 seven.

After weathering the years, the furniture were removed in spring 2014, crated to go to an art gallery. They had all been bought already by an art collector, but a week later the blue sofa jumping off the roof was still there, too fragile to be dismantled. The bathtub too, halfway leaning out against a window sill, was still hanging on.

The ground floor of the Hugo Hotel was a an old-world storefront with high ceilings, and slender pillars spaced across the space. From floor to ceiling, everything in this grocery store was handmade using wood products. There were large bins storing potatoes and onions. Carrying basic bodega items, there was only rudimentary refrigeration, but the hours of operation were generous.


 GREEN GODDESS  



As his official resi­dence was under con­struc­tion, on a large parcel some 500 feet above Hong Kong harbor, gov­er­nor John and Lady Bow­ring be­gan to put­ter around in their back­yard, a steep slope crest­ing straight up to the Peak. And what they accom­plished, and passed on, has now be­come the Hong Kong Zoo­log­i­cal and Botan­i­cal Gardens (兵 頭 花 園). A living lab­o­ra­to­ry, won in war, seeded by transplants who were as­signed by the british gov­ern­ment to ad­min­is­ter -- or more like be marooned -- on this bar­ren rock, a stone’s throw off the South China coast.  ||  Chil­dren from a by­gone age took to the young sci­ence of bot­any and re-imagined Eden. These studious obser­vers of nature re­solved to quan­ti­fy history from the first day on­wards, to quest and as­sign names, to design knowl­edge for mass con­sump­tion -- basic emi­nent vic­tor­ian pursuits.  || 










In 1871, beginning its man­i­cured exis­tence as the back­yard garden to a gov­er­nor and his wife, a now public botanic garden has long ago tamed the un­friend­ly slope that it rests on, a slope which keeps rising. Teams of land­scape engineers, masons and laborers intro­duced native plants to their tropical and sub-tropical selves. Ban­yans tucked to­geth­er create back­drops. The only india rubber tree for many miles around lives here. Into the pam­pered soil went palm trees from near and far. Fern for­ests sheltered an under­growth world.













The original garden had shady boul­e­vards and ex­ten­sive flowerbeds. There was an aviary and a green house filled w/ orchids, bromeliads, ferns and climb­ers. The main fea­ture was a fifty-feet wide circular pond w/ a water feature on a foun­tain terrace. Home to water lilies, the lip of the pond was raised just so to allow for sitting.






British botanist Charles Ford was the first super­in­ten­dent of gardens, and he began the doc­u­men­ta­tion of local flora and fauna.  -|- two whole gingsengs on a botan­i­cal drawing  -|- water color of chinese clove w/ two branches  -|- a sprig of the dawn red­wood  -|- cutting of chinese elm on a plate  -|- framed draw­ing of a flow­er­ing chinese lantern






This public garden was deemed safe enough that, late into the evening, cou­ples took to strolling be­tween gas-lit walkways and holding hands in the shadows, serene in or­dered nature. Scents from the orange-jassa­mine, white jade orchid tree, mock lime and sweet os­man­thus, mingle w/ the heady kwai-fah and swirl the air. This open air conservatory soon turned into a paradise for adams want­ing some­where to take their eager Eves.















The animal house was first in­tro­duced in 1876, and though its inmates have rotated through the usual clas­si­fi­ca­tions over the years, it wasn’t until 1976 that be­lea­guered beasts were given new digs and more humane treatment by staff. Reptiles and mam­mals finally had sep­arate qua­rters. The bird cage was moved to an­oth­er part alto­ge­ther. Today 900 species live side by side and learn how to get along in a very crowded city.





- Jules Verne was invited in 1865 to help document the life aquatic in the harbor. The author alto­geth­er spent six months re­searching this water world, pick­ing up the local tongue, talk­ing to folks who would know. Dis­gard­ing the bulk as a con­coc­tion, little made it into Verne’s final man­u­script, yet he de­cid­ed to send the cuts to a friend working at a mag­a­zine. In the June 15 1884 issue of L'Algerie are the rejected notes of Jules Verne, ac­com­pa­nied by illus­tra­tions from Alphonse de Neu­ville, Édouard Riou, and George Chinnery.

  WHAT HE SAID  W.H. Auden quote: ...Ten thousand miles from home and What's-Her-Name. A bugle on this late Victorian hill puts out the soldier's lights; off-stage, a war thuds like the slamming of a distant door ...  

  PSYCHEDELIC  PARK 

Built in 1932 as a vertical landscape to enhance the property of a Hong Kong tycoon’s mansion, the Tiger Balm Gardens of Aw Boon Haw is an over-the-top folly.








On the steepest hill­side im­ag­i­na­ble, in­hos­pit­able to real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, Aw Boon Haw en­vis­ioned a human-size de­pic­tion of a moral Chi­nese uni­verse. The land was his, and he lived w/ his fam­i­ly next door. The gar­den was a grand re­treat con­tain­ing sculpt­ed scen­a­rios from dao­ist prac­tices, w/ dol­lops of bud­dhist mind­ful­ness swirl­ing by myth­ol­o­gies of plaster-of-paris and con­fucian paint. At the apex of this min­i­a­ture cos­mol­o­gy perches a seven-storey pago­da, and steps lead­ing to the top.



A visitor to this psy­che­del­ic park can count on be­ing ambused by dei­ties and de­mons; also, phoe­nix, uni­corn, gorilla, kan­ga­roo, oth­ers. His­tor­i­cal tableaux seem­ing­ly trot out: Jour­ney to the west; fairy scat­ter­ing flow­ers on Bud­dha; others.



Staircases mul­ti­ply and are pas­sage­ways be­tween locales -- these altitude ad­just­ments then melt any sense of bear­ing. Natural ledges and spurs were leveraged for bridges, lookout points, nooks. Vistas start to appear then van­ish; shortcuts and forks ac­crue. Des­ti­na­tions take on laby­rin­thean lengths. This garden of steep and nar­row steps en­hances mys­ti­cal states of as­cen­sion and de­scen­sion. The cloud caves of heaven above, below the stock­ades of hell. Both are bound to make your ac­quain­tance.

The garden is built from sev­er­al ap­pli­ca­tions of plaster-of-paris shaped w/ chick­en wire in wet cement. Cement stair­cases were created from buildouts and brac­kets en­hance existing rock. Covered w/ paint, the Tiger Balm Gardens became in­car­nate – fin­ished forms found only dreams. The gardens are from the im­ag­i­na­tion of Mr Aw Boon Haw; there were no plan draw­ings. Con­coct­ed by master crafts­men Kwek Hoon Sua and Kwek Choon Sua, bros from Swatow, abetted w/ a crew of workers.

      |█ █|  The first steps to the garden already beguile.

  UNIVERSITY TOWN  Coimbra


⇞  CITY OF STUDENTS

Coimbra, a city in northern Portu­gal, is the see of a bishop, the cap­ital of a prov­ince, and a cen­ter of learn­ing. In 2013, UNESCO des­ig­nat­ed the Uni­ver­sity of Coim­bra as a Uni­ver­sity Town Recip­i­ent for its World Heri­tage Sites, “… an inte­grated uni­ver­sity city, w/ a spe­cif­ic urban typol­ogy, as well as its own cere­monial and cul­tural tradi­tions.” The prop­er­ty con­sists of two areas: a hill­top com­plex of build­ings, Uni­er­sity Hill, and a series of scat­tered struc­tures which all played a part in the uni­versity’s history.


There is a 12th century Augus­tin­ian monas­tery which was the first school, and the orig­i­nal library.

The Inquisition swept into Por­tugal in 1567, and Coim­bra was one of the three local centers tasked to con­duct it. Out­last­ing these stric­tures, the uni­versity bounced back, w/ strength­ened statutes, a re­orga­nized sylla­bus of stud­ies, great­er em­pha­sis on edu­cation in the ver­nac­u­lar, and the re-estab­lish­ment of free­om of re­search. The old castle on the hill­top was final­ly pulled down to make way for new build­ings.

A seal was then struck, a praxe, con­sis­ting of a spoon (sym­bol of punish­ment), scis­sors (sym­bol of un­ruli­ness), and a stick (symbol of self-defense).


University of Coimbra

University of Coimbra

Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra is the second oldest continuous institution of higher learning in Europe (the University of Paris is older), and the first university town in the world. In this northern Portuguese city, a world treasure become sited inside a national treasure, the school moved into a former royal palace on the summit of the hill, and grew to become a gathering spot for academics, writers, artists, who nick­named this the Lusitanian Athens, ‘Lusa Atenas’.



⇞   CAMPUS

An early champion of the new science of circumnavigation, an observatory was built to make spatial sense of the stars.

Investitures and major events take place in the ‘Sala Grande dos Actos,‘ below portraits of kings and queens. A cathedral, already there when the university arrived, was gifted by Jesuits. The throne room is now used for PhD candidate examinations, and nothing else.

The four rooms of the ‘Museu de Arte Sacra’ contain, among holy habits and chalices, books of early sacred music. There is a museum of natural history. A colonnaded walkway by the grand patio was added in the 18th century, the ‘Via Latina.’ The campus chapel, ‘Capela de Sao Miguel’, means that no student need run downhill to another one.

A Botanical Garden blossomed in 1772, that delightful Victorian experiment of Eden on earth, sprouting wherever colonialism circled.


There are five faculties (‘theologia’, ‘direito’, ‘medicina’, ‘mathematica’, ‘philosophia’) w/ disciplines in judicial and European court systems, interdisciplinary nuclear science, and the arts. (The university had begun by teaching law, rhetoric, mathematics, theology, medicine, grammar and Greek.) The teaching staff consisits of some 70 professors and lecturers. Semester is from autumn to the start of summer, when two months of exams take place. The ordinary degree resulting in the title ‘licenciado’ lasts five years. The degree of ‘doutor’ takes another year and another examination. Medical students study eight years.

The university has a digital repositorium inside a tech park involved in research and incubation. There is a repository for the project April 25, documenting the toppling of a dictatorship. Auxiliaries of the city-wide university system take on citizen practices such as sports, theater, and botany and preservation; there are several kindergartens and nurseries under its wing.




⇞   LIBRARY

When the university outgrew the original city library, a second one was built in the 18th century, on University Hill, the ‘Biblioteca Joanina’, the oldest university library in continuous use in the world, and housed in three large and resplendent Baroque rooms w/ painted ceilings.


The first room has a light green palette, the second a darker green, and the third room has a “… shade like that of orange Niger leather”; rich in gilt and exotic wood, lined w/ 300,000 volumes in galleries runing around the walls, incl. arguably the most valuable collection of Bibles in the world.

There are unpublished manuscripts of Domenico Scarlatti, thought lost but rediscovered in the 20th century, because they were incorrectly catalogued. By the front door, a passageway can take one down to the river, the ‘Palacios Confusos’, by a series of steps posing as alleys, past houses of different styles and years.




⇞   STUDENT BODY

The student body numbers about 25,000, and the dress code is a black Prince Albert coat, worn w/ black trousers, black cape batina, black dress tie; generally students go bareheaded. A military hospital happens to be located nearby, because.


Freshmen may not be on the street after the bell has rung at 6pm, on penalty of being shaved bald, if caught. Another form of punishment is to measure the long bridge over the Modego w/ a match, and it must be done w/ meticulous accuracy.

Even a good and sinless freshman must be prepared to run errands whenever required to do so by a sophomore or junior, but he may be “protected,” and the errand countermanded, by a friendly senior (‘quartanista’).

In turn a sophomore and a junior are known as a semi-harlot (‘mejo prostituo / prostituta’) and a total harlot (‘total prostituo / prostituta’) respectively.

These ‘estudantes’ make up about a third of the town’s inhabitants. Their graduation ceremonies take place in May. It’s then that a localized form of ‘fado’ is sung, by male students only, and only on the steps of the old cathedral when 10pm comes around, w/ lyrics more intellectual and romantic than the genre asks for, love songs tuned to the passions and sentiments of the students, who perfume the air w/ their lamentations until dawn.





⇞   STUDENT REPUBLICS

In the mid-1950s there were eleven “republics” or student organizations, active in the university.


One of them is ‘Pra-kys-tao‘ (Here We Are), a fraternity of ten students for the mutual benefit of themselves and their always-slender budgets, and to satisfy wants such as traditional evenings of wine and shrimps in town. Membership was open, upon unanimous favorable vote, to students of any race, color, religion or political creed except, during that period, communism. In the most pratical way, the student who had been a member longest is automatically president. Using a rotation system, two students, followed by two more then two more, serve as executive officers for fifteen days.

They run the republic and must explain and justify all outlays of money, and a debate on this topic may be opened at any time, all decisions being made by majority vote, and to be taken at the dinner table. Freshmen may not vote on money matters but on anything else.

This particular republic had only 13 electric light bulbs for 15 rooms, incl. the dining room, kitchen and hallway. Pin-up girls papered over every wallspace, the harem of the eye (‘Harem do Olho’). One wall had graffiti: “Artillery Exported to Pra-kys-tao for the Protection of the Marshall Plan.”

Certain campus traditions take place to mark the academic seasons, involving parades through the city, each rife w/ its own occult rituals. The noisy Latada - Festa das Latas (celebration of end of class), and the older Queima das Fitas (burning of the ribbons), which goes on for eight days, involving light blue ribbons for the Sciences, dark blue for Letters, yellow for Medicine and purple for Pharmacy.




⇞  CITY OF CULTURE

The original footprint of Coimbra has spilled downhil, and locals distinguish between the older Upper Town and the Lower Town.


The area bordering the Modego River is Cicade Baixa, downtown, where commerce happens amid Romanesque, early Baroque, Rococco, and Gothic structures, sporting Moorish shadows and sucumbing to the nautical notions of the Manueline style.

A Portuguese queen is buried downtown, in a silver tomb housed in the convent of ‘Santa Ciara-a-Nova’. The Fountain of Life, waiting for you since the 14th century, is behind this church.
Unto the 1920s Coimbra was all but inaccessible by road to travellers, not to mention damp beds and dangerous foods. Sacheverell Sitwell visited in the 1950s:

“… At Coimbra not only has there been wanton and appalling destruction of what was old and beautiful, but new University buildings have been erected which are really shaming in their blatant ugliness. The sculptures, particularly, are of an insulting hideousness.

Not that there is anything in the least Portuguese about these abominable buildings of Coimbra. But it is sad, too, because, Coimbra being the university town of Portugal, so many Portuguese retain memories of Coimbra and an affection for it all through their lives, and those memories will now forever more be tinged and coloured by the ugly buildings. There is no possible excuse for hideousness upon this scale; but it might, at least, be practised elsewhere and not in Coimbra.”


⇞ LUIS DE CAMõES

  The Lusiads Arguably the most famous student of the University of Coimbra is Luis de Camões, who (might have been) born in Coimbra in 1524 but known to have passed age 56 in Lisbon. His fame is partly based on supreme mastery of the Portuguese language and is its lyric poet, and his most famous work is a tour de force recounting the tragedy of Indes de Castro of Spain and her love Prince Pedro of Portugal, and her murder by jealous courtiers. She was killed by a fountain in the Garden of Tears (‘Quinta das Lagrimas’) in the convent of Santa Clara; where pond lilies are have been known to flower red.

A stone slab by the fountain bears the following verse by Luís Vaz de Camões (Lusiads, Ill, 135), here in a translation by Lord Byron:

Mondego’s Daughter-Nymphs the death obscure Wept many a year, with wails of woe exceeding; And for long memory changed to fountain pure, The floods of grief their eyes were ever feeding; The name they gave it, which doth still endure, Revived Ignez, whose murdered love lies bleeding. See yon fresh fountain flowing ‘mid the flowers, Tears are its water, and its name ‘Amores.’




⇞  MANUELINE STYLE

Flush w/ wealth from the Spice Trade, Portugal experienced a brief period where money became as abundant as sea water, and lavished it on an indigenous artform.


The discoveries brought back by the sea voyages Pedro Alvares Cabral and Vasco da Gama aroused the already composite Portuguese style, toying w/ Flemish, Italian and Late Gothic elements. The newly rich gathered the bounties of the sea trade and repurposed them an architectural vocabulary in churches, monasteries, palaces and castles, and a maritime motif applied to furniture, sculpture and painting. The style was given a name in 1842 by the Viscount Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, in his description of the Jeronimos Monastery. The characteristics of this Manueline style, named for King Manuel I (1495-1521), resulted in ornate portals, bevelled crenellations, conical pinnacles, and eight-sided capitals.

There were semicircular arches on doors and windows, columns of carved rope, and a wanton disregard for symmetry. There were symbols of Christianity and latter-day Templars, botanical flourishes, artifacts found on ships, all garlanded by Islamic filigree work and Moorish traceries.




⇞  AEMINIUM





▶ SOURCES:  [1] California and the Portuguese by Celestino Soares, SPN Books Lisbon 1939.  [2] Eyewitness Travel Guides: Portugal w/ Madeira & the Azores, DK Publishing Inc London 1997.  [3] The Finest Castles in Portugal, text Julio Gil, photographs Augusto Cabrita, Verbo 1996.  [4] A History of Spain and Portugal in two volumes, by Stanley G. Payne, The University of Wisconsin Press 1973.  [5] The Nagel Travel Guide Series : Portugal, Nagel Publishers Geneva 1956.  [6] A New History of Portugal 2nd Edition by H.V. Livermore, Cambridge University Press London 1976.  [7] Portugal and Madeira by Sacheverell Sitwell, William Clowes and Sons London 1954.  [8] Portugal the Pathfinder: Journeys from the Medieval toward the Modern World 1300-ca.1600, edited by George D. Winius, The Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies Ltd, The University of Wisconsin Press 1995.  [9] Port and the Douro by Richard Mayson, Faber and Faber London 1999.  [10] Portuguese Concise Dictionary 2nd edition, Harper Collins 2001.  [11] Spain and Protugal, Handbook for Travellers by Karl Bedacker, fourth edition. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, publisher. London: George Allen & Unwini Ltd., New York: Chas. Scribner’s Sons. 1913.  [12] A Traveller's History of Portugal by Ian C. Robertson, line drawings by John Hoste, Interlink Books New York 2002.  [13] World Food by Lynelle Scott-Aitken and Clara Vitorino, Lonely Planet 2002.

▶ CREDITS  Culled from reporting by Tim Pozzi,the University of Coimbra website, the Internet, and guide books. Photographers incl., among others, Francisco Antunes.

▶ STREET NAMES [ 14 ] Some Coimbra street names include: Rua Anthero de Quental, Alameda do Jardin Bot, Estrada da Beira, Rua do Loureira, Couraca dos Apostolos, Rua das Padeiras, Rua das Solas, Rua da Moeda, Rua da Louca, Rua do Corvo, Rua do Joao Cabreira, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Mont’arroio, Rua do Corpo de Deus, Rua do Borralho, Rua dos Estudos, Rua Lourenco d’Almcida, Rua Venancio Rodriguez, Rua Garrett, Rua do Thomar, Rua de Alex Herculano, Rua Ferreira Borges, Rua do Visconde da Luz, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Castro Mattoso, Rua de Oliveira Mattos.


  TEA TIME 






The Teapot

That morning I heard water being poured into a teapot. The sound was an ordinary, daily, cluffy sound. But all at once, I knew you loved me. An unheard-of-thing, love audible in water falling.

Robert Bly b.1926

One Lump or Two

The must-dos for brewing a proper pot of tea, and how a constitutional drinking game, made palatable w/ sugar and milk, calmed a nation’s nerves.




  Cream or Lemon   A stead­fast­ness in dutiful habiting is a core definition of British­ness in all mat­ters related to tea, and in 2013 was due for a review: ❝ … the official six-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is offi­cial­ly “un­der re­view”. But don’t panic. It is stan­dard pro­ce­dure for the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­sti­tu­tion (BSI) to do a “sys­te­ma­tic peri­odic review” of each of its many spec­i­fi­ca­tions which, piece­meal, define nearly every­thing British.
 |- -|  Belying stereo­types of peremp­tory rigid­i­ty in any­one or any­thing that offi­cial­ly tells the pop­u­lace what’s what, the BSI is nice about what it does”. Brit­ish Stan­dards are volun­tary in that there is no obli­ga­tion to ap­ply them or com­ply with them, it says. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ve­nience of those who wish to use them”. That sen­ti­ment ap­pears in the 44-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion, copies of which are avail­able free of charge.❞


In 2013, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens gave an account of George Orwell mak­ing tea:

Just after World War II, during a period of acute food ration­ing in Eng­land, George Or­well wrote an article on the mak­ing of a decent cup of tea that insist­ed on the ob­serv­ing of eleven dif­fer­ent “golden” rules. Some of these (al­ways use In­dian or Ceylon­ese—i.e., Sri Lankan—tea; make tea only in small quan­ti­ties; avoid silver­ware pots) may be con­sid­ered optional or out­moded. But the essen­tial ones are easily com­mit­ted to mem­ory, and they are sim­ple to put into practice.

If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (I would add that you should do the same thing even if you are on­ly using a cup or a mug.) Stir the tea be­fore let­ting it steep. But this above all: “ [O]ne should take the tea­pot to the ket­tle, and not the oth­er way about. The water should be ac­tual­ly boil­ing at the mo­ment of im­pact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours.”
This isn’t hard to do, even if you are us­ing elec­tric­i­ty rather than gas, once you have brought all the mak­ings to the same scene of oper­a­tions right next to the ket­tle. It’s not quite over yet. If you use milk, use the least creamy type or the tea will ac­quire a sick­ly taste.

George Orwell

And do not put the milk in the cup first – fam­i­ly feuds have last­ed gen­era­tions over this – be­cause you will al­most cer­tain­ly put in too much. Add it later, and be very care­ful when you pour.

Finally, a decent cylin­dri­cal mug will pre­serve the need­ful heat and fla­vor for long­er than will a shal­low and wide-mouthed – how of­ten those attri­butes seem to go to­geth­er – tea­cup.

Orwell thought that sugar overwhelmed the taste, but brown sugar or honey are, I believe, permissible and sometimes necessary.

  Manchester, Eng­land – No­vem­ber 13 2015

Middleton officer Andy Rich­ard­son: “Just dealt w/ a 95 year old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do?”

He and a fellow offi­cer end­ed up go­ing over to the cou­ple’s house and shar­ing a cup of tea over a 30 minute visit, and later tweet­ed about the call.

“We’ve got to look after peo­ple as well. It’s not just fight­ing crime, it’s pro­tect­ing peo­ple in what­ever sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves.”

Fred Thomp­son, the elder­ly man who made the call: “You feel some­body cares and oh that does mat­ter … sim­ple things they talk about, noth­ing very spe­cial but they showed that they cared by be­ing there and talk­ing to you.”


Francisco Mattos


In the 1935 movie Ruggles of Red Gap, Charles Laugh­ton is a brit­ish but­ler trans­plant­ed to Amer­i­ca, where he in­structs the town spin­ster on the im­por­tance of mak­ing tea prop­er­ly:

She: (look­ing at water) It’s hot! ... He: Can I be of any as­sis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (Picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour in­to tea­pot.) Oh no. Al­ways bring pot to the ket­tle, never bring the ket­tle to the pot.
Charles Laughton Well lis­ten –I’ve been mak­ing tea for long­er than I can re­mem­ber– Don’t let’s get into dif­fi­cul­ties about this. But you must lis­ten to an Eng­lish­man about tea. When mak­ing tea, al­ways bring the pot to the kettle and nev­er the kettle to the pot. Oh, your knowl­edge is sur­pris­ing. ...
Don’t see why you should say sur­pris­ing. The best cooks have al­ways been men. I my­self have pro­nounced views on the prep­a­ra­tions and ser­vings of food. Have you? ... Oh yes. You know some­thing nice that would go w/ tea? ... Eh yes, yes. The in­gre­di­ents are quite sim­ple. Do you have a lit­tle flour? Oh would you? ... Flour, but­ter, milk and salt. Oh you seem so at home in the kitch­en. ... Ah it would be diffi­cult to de­scribe the in­tense satis­fac­tion that I’ve al­ways de­rived from cook­ing.


In 1997, Morrissey was asked in a sit-down interview: Do you ever get sick of drinking tea? Given the moment, the former singer for The Smiths ex­pound­ed on how this custom is prac­tised in his home: ... I absolutely never get sick of drinking tea. It’s a psychological thing really, it’s just very composing and makes me relax. It’s just so much a part of your culture. ... ‘Oh yes yes, I’m very avid, I have to have at least four pots a day. For those of us who don’t know how to make a pot of tea, what do you do?
Morrissey Well I would do that without even thinking about it. ... Right and also you have to use real milk you can’t use the UHT fake stuff, you have to use proper milk. ... Well you really have to put the milk in first which many people don’t. Put the milk in with the water, before you boil the water? ... No, you’re con­fused al­ready no, you put the milk in be­fore you pour the water in or the tea, which­ever.
Okay, so what about the actual brew­ing of the tea? ... The brewing of the tea, it’s very important that you heat the pot before you put the water in, if you use a pot. I know most people who just throw a teabag into a cup but in England of course you have to make a pot of tea and you have to heat the pot first w/ hot water and then put the teabags in – I can’t believe I’m saying this – and then put the hot water in and then just throw it all over yourself, rush to Out Patients and write a really good song.





Francisco Mattos


❝The popularity of tea in Eng­land ... was due to a Por­tu­guese infante, Queen Cath­erine, whose pre­di­lec­tion for that bev­erage ren­dered it fash­ion­able. In an ode to her, Waller sings: The best of queens and best of herbs we owe  /  To that bold nation who the way did show  /  To the fair region where the sun doth rise,  /  Whose rich pro­duc­tions we so just­ly prize.
Historic Macao by C. A. Montalto de Jesus 1984. Oxford University Press.

  ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE RECIPIENT 

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient Al-Zubarah, Qatar

Buried under sand for hundreds of years, slowly being dug up going on years now, is Qatar’s largest archaeological dig, and a very fine example, preserved, of a merchant town c.1800s. This site is the ruined coastal port famous for its walls and known as Al-Zubarah. Founded by merchants in the late 1700s, this settlement had thrived as a pearl-fishery industry and also as a trading post — it is centrally positioned on the main sea route in the Persian Gulf.

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient In 1811 there was a successful siege and what remained was abandoned and eventually was covered by sand. The property Al Zubarah Archaeological Site which comprises the 2013 UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fortified town, built w/ traditional Arab technqiues, that faces a harbor, w/ an original sea wall (exists still in part). A second, inner wall came later. The original fort still stands, there is another fort, two more walls, and a canal to the sea.
The largest domestic structure dug up gives a sense of the wealth enjoyed by the town’s richest, and why so coveted by its attackers: Nine inter-connected courtyards inside a building complex, surrounded by a high wall and having corner defense towers. Water fountain features are to be found, incl. ponds where a game played by children, called turtles-&-pearls, takes place underwater. Using a pet turtle, each player attempts to shoot a colored pearl into a row of different-colored pearls, w/ an aim of hitting out another pearl of the same color, all the while not disturbing the rest. 2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient


 UNESCO ::: 2013 SACRED SPACE RECIPIENT 

Mount Fuji

Blessed by superb symmetry, taking on its shape five thousand years ago, locus for ascetic buddhism of the shinto blend, standing alone in the center of the country, source of artistic inspiration since the 11th century, Mount Fuji’s conic silhouette has been copied by Japanese potters down through history and in due course has left blueprints on mid-century kitchen gadget design, chockful with its ergonomic effortlessness and sensuous surfaces. The designation by UNESCO of this mountain as the 2013 World Heritage Site Sacred Space Recipient consists of 25 properties including the mountain itself, shinto shrines, five lakes, and a haunted forest.

Shinto has been practised in Japan since at least the 7th century, and its cosmos is populated by a kami (diety) living in every imaginable natural formation unto a blade of grass. Mount Fuji’s kami is the Princess Konohana-sakuya, the shinto embodiment of nature, and you will know of her presence by the sight of cherry blossoms on the way up a very attractive mountain. The fujiko school of shinto adds a soul and believes the mountain to be a being. While all this bonding is going on, the buddhists sit back and regard the mountain as a gateway to another world. The crater is ringed w/ eight peaks and a walk all around takes a couple of hours, could this be what the buddhists had in mind?

The area around Fujisan-konohana-sakuahime (“Fuji causing the blossom to brightly bloom”) also contains other mystical marvels. Five lakes, the Fuji-goko, ring the mountain. The northwest quadrant is a 14-square mile pine forest, the Aoki-ga-hara-jukai (Sea of Trees), which can be alarmingly dark during the day, forming a half moon around the base. This forest is home to goblins, demons, ghosts, and has been a destination suicide spot for many years.

It has come to pass and for as long as anyone can remember, there is and always has been a choice of only four trails leading pilgrims to the summit. All things here being of a magical quality, these four paths might very well allude to the Four Elements in a cosmic setting: rarefied Air at the summit, plentiful fresh Water within reach, Earth in its proudest seasonal garbs are all visited by the fire goddess Fuchi once a year, taking off her buddhist beads for a powwow w/ the princess. This takes place end of summer at a trail stop in the village of Yoshida, rife w/ rustic rumors insisting on a peculiar religiousity shared by fire festivals everywhere including the most famous, Burning Man,
although it must be noted that the Yoshida Fire Festival is done and over with in a night and the following day, involving ceremonies to conclude the climbing season.

Sunrise as seen at the summit by all-night climbers has its own dedicated name, goraiko, as in “my goraiko was obscured by clouds with rain blotting out the horizon.” For the fortunate ones, though, words like "awesome" and "bright red" and "a figure" readily roll off their tongues when recalling the alpine sight of the sun peeking over a watery horizon, the shedding of darkness around the self, the wonderment that immortals are hovering nearby, a palpable sense of alignment with gravity again, maybe even new eyes for the descent. It has been likened to something we all know happens regularly and “see” but not see; kind of shinto. It is one of Japan’s three Holy Mountains, together with Mount Haku and Mount Tate, and is on the island of Honshu.

Fuji is an active and relatively young volcano 62 miles south-west of Tokyo. It sits on a “triple junction” radiating techtonically down to the Filipino Plate, west to the Eurasian Plate, and east towards the North American Plate, the Okhotsk. It has erupted 21 times, the last was on October 26, 1707 (an 8.4), and destroyed 72 houses and three buddhist temples. It was powerful enough to blow a scoop out at the tip, becoming an actual new crater on the eastern flank. On February 4, 2013, a metereological ticker tape came through the wires:

The volcano remains calm. However, an increased number of small quakes near and under Mt Fuji are visible on our latest data plot of nearby earthquakes (within 30 km radius). While all of these are very small and the number is certainly not alarming, the volcano remains interesting to watch….


|  MT FUJI NOTES: [1] Four views of Mt. Fuji. [2] The Princess Konohana-sakuya is patiently gazing around wondering what is taking so long for her date Fuchi forever to arrive. [3] (top left) The Sea of Trees. [4] Four photographs taken from the summit at sunrise – a goraiko; anime of a sun goddess by Jayne Aw. [5] Mt Fuji in fact and fiction. | Fujisan (富士山). Names of the five lakes: Kawaguchi, Motosu, Sai, Shoji, Yamanaka. The four trails are Yoshidaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, Fujinomiya. Photos by Brian Chu, Daisaku Ikeda + screen captures.





 CORNERS OF H.K. Francisco Mattos

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The first road built in Kowloon was in 1904 by governor Sir Matthew Nathan. Beginning harborside at Tsim Sar Tsui, the boulevard ran just over two miles north to Sum Sui Po and Boundary St, where the New Territories begin.

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HK residents can travel to the portuguese port by ferryboat, hydrofoil or amhibian plane; the former takes an hour, the others are faster. In 20th-c. Macao, the only means for its residence to catch an airplane was first travel to HK. Both ways, the traveler crosses the Pearl river delta while skirting the South China sea.

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A commercial venture next to Ma Tau Gok went bust when entrepreneurs Mr Kai and Mr Tak could not develop the land they had reclaimed from Kowloon Bay. This prompted the HK government to purchase the waterfront property and, in 1912, build an airfield.  |- -|  Decommissioned in 1998, Kai Tak Airport will no longer offer arriving airplanes a careening welcome onto a harbor runway when pilots need to perform demanding and exacting maneuvers each and every time. (Photo by Christian Hanuise)

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The english bridge connects the isle of Shameen (left) w/ Canton on the right. There is also a french bridge. A sandbar in the Pearl river was reclaimed and built upon by british and french merchants wanting residences in town.

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The 1958 cha-cha-cha champions of HK Bruce Lee and his dance partner. A dance craze emanating from Cuba in the early 1950s, swept HK youth into dance classes to learn how to execute two consecutive quick steps.

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When the british government conducted the first census, Sek Pei Wan (Aberdeen) had zero population; at the time it was just a pirate’s cove. Graced w/ a tiny yet excellent harbor. Tanka (boat people) eventually made it a homeport, an important one among many dotted along the coastline.



  OBIT  Francisco Mattos

76 | Pamela Rita de Oliveira Mattos Zauberer Pamela Rita Zauberer

|-  5.2.1940 – 5.3.2016

❝Great cook, talented at crochet, creative, child-like, excruciatingly honest, tenacious, compassionate and sensitive; my mother was all these things.❞
— Jasmine
Pam led a glamorous life as a 1960s airline stewardessfor Cathay Pacific Airways, based in Hong Kong, where she was born and raised. At work she would be pulled into photo shoots when film and tele­vision stars flew in.

|  Chosen to represent the airline, she participated in fashion shows, ad cam­paigns, and public relations as the face of flight. She traveled around the world, accruing trinkets from all cul­tures and a lifelong admiration of all cuisines. She traveled to all the airports in Asia, and in her suitcase out would pop magazines from everywhere else.

|  After landing in America, she struck out to be on her own and moved to New York, abandoning us all here in Cali­for­nia. She dated the house photographer at Mad magazine, and lived a stone’s throw from Maxwell’s Plum, a “…flam­boy­ant restaurant and singles bar that, more than any place of its kind, sym­bol­ized two social revolutions of the 1960s — sex and food,” located at 64th and First Avenue in Manhattan. Her walk up had a bathtub in the kitchen, sharing a hot faucet w/ the sink.

|  While helping a friend help sell at her friend's street-fair booth, Pam met many folks, including a man who im­mediately of­fered some helpful ad­vice. Pam shot back and challenged him to come around to the other side and man­age the booth himself, since he “...clear­ly knew what to do.” Laszlo dis­appeared and came back w/ two hot dogs and a lem­on­ade, walked around the booth, and sat down next to her; two weeks later they were married.

|  Laszlo Zauberer, native of Hungary, was driving a cab in NYC when he met Pam on his one day off. An ac­com­plished painter of diverse subjects, and the love of her life, they remained in­sep­arable for the next 40 years.

|  After the birth of their daughter, Pam and Laszlo made the move to upstate New York. Never one to shy away from conflict, her generosity, thoughts and sometimes vengeance were doled out as she saw fit to those who crossed her path. Whether it was redeeming a rain­check at a grocery store or haggling over an item at a yard sale, her sense of fair­ness and authority got her into heat­ed debates.

|  On the night of May 3 2016, Pamela Rita de Oliveira Mattos Zauberer passed away at home and in her bed w/ Laszlo and Jasmine by her side. In true stoic fashion, she had no complaints of pain. She had just celebrated her birthday the day before, and ate carrot cake, her fav­or­ite. She was 76 years old.



69 | Benjamin Leung Gok Wing
Benjamin Leung Gok Wing

|-  2.7.1944 – 9.4.2013  -|  Ben vis­it­ed Hong Kong at the be­gin­ning of 2013. What he must have thought about his home­town he is not aorund to tell me, but I know it’s the first vacation he’s had in a while.  |  It was there that Ben met my sister Sylvia, when they were both young and working in the same office. At that time my sister was learning to drive a stick-shift car and for hours and hours after dinner she would be out tak­ing driving lessons w/ an instructor to god knows where.  |  Ben would also go off on his own as a young man, but where he went you can always find on a map: a local swimming pool, or the near­by basket­ball court. He left these pursuits behind when he came to San Francisco, and eventually took up gar­den­ing: on 44th Avenue, and later out on Bay Farm Is­land. Both had sandy soil, hard to take care of.  |  On Bay Farm he had a wis­te­ria in ground next to a loquat tree in a pot. Ben was fear­less and grew every­thing. And those that took to his care, he made green.



93 | Regina Maria de Oliveira Mattos DaSilva
Regina Maria DaSilva

|-  2.28.1921 – 11.28.2013  -|  My father’s youngest sister. She ran the concession stand on the Peak, and took the Peak Tram to work everyday, after crossing the harbour by ferry from Kowloon side.



87 | Renee Lym Robertson
Renee Lym Robertson

|-  8.4.1928 – 1.4.2015  -|  ❝I bowed 3 times at the casket of Renée Lym Rob­ert­son. Auntie Renée died at the age of 87 in her stunning Nob Hill apart­ment. She was the daughter of Art Lym, the founder and head of the Chi­nese Air Force under the Nationalist govern­ment. She was born in Shanghai and fled to Hong Kong in 1949 as a ref­u­gee after the Communist Rev­ol­u­tion. She was a noted beauty in her day and was a fixture in the in­ter­na­tion­al Hong Kong society that centered on the Peninsula Hotel; where she caught the eye of Clark Gable and became his girlfriend and lover. I will miss her beauty, her style, those jungle red nails and lips, the jade and dia­monds, her stories and her wicked wit and wisdom. Auntie Renée was my Auntie Mame.❞ – Wylie Wong



33 | George Choy
George Choy

|-  2.6.1960 – 9.10.1993  -|  George was rocking a mohawk, so I took a pix, to remember our Passage through a rather brief moment in time. He now has one of the many plaques lining Castro Street.






-|  June 2021  |-


  EPICENTER OF 1906 EARTHQUAKE 

Defenestration

Defenestration Building 2013
Defenestration tossing out of a window was a site-sepcific installation on two outside walls of a shuttered building in San Francisco, created by artist Brian Goggin with the help of volunteers. Knowing the dilapidated structure would face the wrecking ball sometime in the future, City Hall went ahead and commissioned Googin to bring into existence anthropomorphic furniture in the process of escaping the Hugo Hotel by jumping out of windows and ambling down on whichever legs the furniture maker gave them. This time-specific public art then spent sixteen years thrilling passersby until the building was torn down in 2014.

The Huge Hotel, corner of Sixth and Howard, was built as a four-storey rooming house, but deemed unsafe after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The opening day crowd in 1997 were greeted by a massive spider web made of robes tied to various parts of the building. Already a few pieces of furniture, chair, sidetable, lamp, are marching down the walls. The first to actually jump out of the windows was an acrobat, soon joined by a posse, all dressed in super-costumes, all climbing on the web and doing circus things for half an hour. Then one by one, they would ease out of windows more furniture: sofa, coffee tables, mirrored armoire, bed, ottoman, bathtub, stool, bench, a grandfather clock. More lamps, which at night were switched, cleverly illuminating this surreal spectacle 24 seven.

After weathering the years, the furniture were removed in spring 2014, crated to go to an art gallery. They had all been bought already by an art collector, but a week later the blue sofa jumping off the roof was still there, too fragile to be dismantled. The bathtub too, halfway leaning out against a window sill, was still hanging on.

The ground floor of the Hugo Hotel was a an old-world storefront with high ceilings, and slender pillars spaced across the space. From floor to ceiling, everything in this grocery store was handmade using wood products. There were large bins storing potatoes and onions. Carrying basic bodega items, there was only rudimentary refrigeration, but the hours of operation were generous.


 GREEN GODDESS  



As his official resi­dence was under con­struc­tion, on a large parcel some 500 feet above Hong Kong harbor, gov­er­nor John and Lady Bow­ring be­gan to put­ter around in their back­yard, a steep slope crest­ing straight up to the Peak. And what they accom­plished, and passed on, has now be­come the Hong Kong Zoo­log­i­cal and Botan­i­cal Gardens (兵 頭 花 園). A living lab­o­ra­to­ry, won in war, seeded by transplants who were as­signed by the british gov­ern­ment to ad­min­is­ter -- or more like be marooned -- on this bar­ren rock, a stone’s throw off the South China coast.  ||  Chil­dren from a by­gone age took to the young sci­ence of bot­any and re-imagined Eden. These studious obser­vers of nature re­solved to quan­ti­fy history from the first day on­wards, to quest and as­sign names, to design knowl­edge for mass con­sump­tion -- basic emi­nent vic­tor­ian pursuits.  || 
In 1871, beginning its man­i­cured exis­tence as the back­yard garden to a gov­er­nor and his wife, a now public botanic garden has long ago tamed the un­friend­ly slope that it rests on, a slope which keeps rising. Teams of land­scape engineers, masons and laborers intro­duced native plants to their tropical and sub-tropical selves. Ban­yans tucked to­geth­er create back­drops. The only india rubber tree for many miles around lives here. Into the pam­pered soil went palm trees from near and far. Fern for­ests sheltered an under­growth world.

The original garden had shady boul­e­vards and ex­ten­sive flowerbeds. There was an aviary and a green house filled w/ orchids, bromeliads, ferns and climb­ers. The main fea­ture was a fifty-feet wide circular pond w/ a water feature on a foun­tain terrace. Home to water lilies, the lip of the pond was raised just so to allow for sitting.


British botanist Charles Ford was the first super­in­ten­dent of gardens, and he began the doc­u­men­ta­tion of local flora and fauna.  -|- two whole gingsengs on a botan­i­cal drawing  -|- water color of chinese clove w/ two branches  -|- a sprig of the dawn red­wood  -|- cutting of chinese elm on a plate  -|- framed draw­ing of a flow­er­ing chinese lantern






This public garden was deemed safe enough that, late into the evening, cou­ples took to strolling be­tween gas-lit walkways and holding hands in the shadows, serene in or­dered nature. Scents from the orange-jassa­mine, white jade orchid tree, mock lime and sweet os­man­thus, mingle w/ the heady kwai-fah and swirl the air. This open air conservatory soon turned into a paradise for adams want­ing some­where to take their eager Eves.















The animal house was first in­tro­duced in 1876, and though its inmates have rotated through the usual clas­si­fi­ca­tions over the years, it wasn’t until 1976 that be­lea­guered beasts were given new digs and more humane treatment by staff. Reptiles and mam­mals finally had sep­arate qua­rters. The bird cage was moved to an­oth­er part alto­ge­ther. Today 900 species live side by side and learn how to get along in a very crowded city.





- Jules Verne was invited in 1865 to help document the life aquatic in the harbor. The author alto­geth­er spent six months re­searching this water world, pick­ing up the local tongue, talk­ing to folks who would know. Dis­gard­ing the bulk as a con­coc­tion, little made it into Verne’s final man­u­script, yet he de­cid­ed to send the cuts to a friend working at a mag­a­zine. In the June 15 1884 issue of L'Algerie are the rejected notes of Jules Verne, ac­com­pa­nied by illus­tra­tions from Alphonse de Neu­ville, Édouard Riou, and George Chinnery.

  WHAT HE SAID 
W.H. Auden quote: ...Ten thousand miles from home and What's-Her-Name. A bugle on this late Victorian hill puts out the soldier's lights; off-stage, a war thuds like the slamming of a distant door ...  

  PSYCHEDELIC  PARK 

Built in 1932 as a vertical landscape to enhance the property of a Hong Kong tycoon’s mansion, the Tiger Balm Gardens of Aw Boon Haw is an over-the-top folly.








On the steepest hill­side im­ag­i­na­ble, in­hos­pit­able to real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, Aw Boon Haw en­vis­ioned a human-size de­pic­tion of a moral Chi­nese uni­verse. The land was his, and he lived w/ his fam­i­ly next door. The gar­den was a grand re­treat con­tain­ing sculpt­ed scen­a­rios from dao­ist prac­tices, w/ dol­lops of bud­dhist mind­ful­ness swirl­ing by myth­ol­o­gies of plaster-of-paris and con­fucian paint. At the apex of this min­i­a­ture cos­mol­o­gy perches a seven-storey pago­da, and steps lead­ing to the top.



A visitor to this psy­che­del­ic park can count on be­ing ambused by dei­ties and de­mons; also, phoe­nix, uni­corn, gorilla, kan­ga­roo, oth­ers. His­tor­i­cal tableaux seem­ing­ly trot out: Jour­ney to the west; fairy scat­ter­ing flow­ers on Bud­dha; others.



Staircases mul­ti­ply and are pas­sage­ways be­tween locales -- these altitude ad­just­ments then melt any sense of bear­ing. Natural ledges and spurs were leveraged for bridges, lookout points, nooks. Vistas start to appear then van­ish; shortcuts and forks ac­crue. Des­ti­na­tions take on laby­rin­thean lengths. This garden of steep and nar­row steps en­hances mys­ti­cal states of as­cen­sion and de­scen­sion. The cloud caves of heaven above, below the stock­ades of hell. Both are bound to make your ac­quain­tance.

The garden is built from sev­er­al ap­pli­ca­tions of plaster-of-paris shaped w/ chick­en wire in wet cement. Cement stair­cases were created from buildouts and brac­kets en­hance existing rock. Covered w/ paint, the Tiger Balm Gardens became in­car­nate – fin­ished forms found only dreams. The gardens are from the im­ag­i­na­tion of Mr Aw Boon Haw; there were no plan draw­ings. Con­coct­ed by master crafts­men Kwek Hoon Sua and Kwek Choon Sua, bros from Swatow, abetted w/ a crew of workers.

      |█ █|  The first steps to the garden already beguile.

  UNIVERSITY TOWN  Coimbra


⇞  CITY OF STUDENTS

Coimbra, a city in northern Portu­gal, is the see of a bishop, the cap­ital of a prov­ince, and a cen­ter of learn­ing. In 2013, UNESCO des­ig­nat­ed the Uni­ver­sity of Coim­bra as a Uni­ver­sity Town Recip­i­ent for its World Heri­tage Sites, “… an inte­grated uni­ver­sity city, w/ a spe­cif­ic urban typol­ogy, as well as its own cere­monial and cul­tural tradi­tions.” The prop­er­ty con­sists of two areas: a hill­top com­plex of build­ings, Uni­er­sity Hill, and a series of scat­tered struc­tures which all played a part in the uni­versity’s history.


There is a 12th century Augus­tin­ian monas­tery which was the first school, and the orig­i­nal library.

The Inquisition swept into Por­tugal in 1567, and Coim­bra was one of the three local centers tasked to con­duct it. Out­last­ing these stric­tures, the uni­versity bounced back, w/ strength­ened statutes, a re­orga­nized sylla­bus of stud­ies, great­er em­pha­sis on edu­cation in the ver­nac­u­lar, and the re-estab­lish­ment of free­om of re­search. The old castle on the hill­top was final­ly pulled down to make way for new build­ings.

A seal was then struck, a praxe, con­sis­ting of a spoon (sym­bol of punish­ment), scis­sors (sym­bol of un­ruli­ness), and a stick (symbol of self-defense).


University of Coimbra

University of Coimbra

Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra is the second oldest continuous institution of higher learning in Europe (the University of Paris is older), and the first university town in the world. In this northern Portuguese city, a world treasure become sited inside a national treasure, the school moved into a former royal palace on the summit of the hill, and grew to become a gathering spot for academics, writers, artists, who nick­named this the Lusitanian Athens, ‘Lusa Atenas’.



⇞   CAMPUS

An early champion of the new science of circumnavigation, an observatory was built to make spatial sense of the stars.

Investitures and major events take place in the ‘Sala Grande dos Actos,‘ below portraits of kings and queens. A cathedral, already there when the university arrived, was gifted by Jesuits. The throne room is now used for PhD candidate examinations, and nothing else.

The four rooms of the ‘Museu de Arte Sacra’ contain, among holy habits and chalices, books of early sacred music. There is a museum of natural history. A colonnaded walkway by the grand patio was added in the 18th century, the ‘Via Latina.’ The campus chapel, ‘Capela de Sao Miguel’, means that no student need run downhill to another one.

A Botanical Garden blossomed in 1772, that delightful Victorian experiment of Eden on earth, sprouting wherever colonialism circled.


There are five faculties (‘theologia’, ‘direito’, ‘medicina’, ‘mathematica’, ‘philosophia’) w/ disciplines in judicial and European court systems, interdisciplinary nuclear science, and the arts. (The university had begun by teaching law, rhetoric, mathematics, theology, medicine, grammar and Greek.) The teaching staff consisits of some 70 professors and lecturers. Semester is from autumn to the start of summer, when two months of exams take place. The ordinary degree resulting in the title ‘licenciado’ lasts five years. The degree of ‘doutor’ takes another year and another examination. Medical students study eight years.

The university has a digital repositorium inside a tech park involved in research and incubation. There is a repository for the project April 25, documenting the toppling of a dictatorship. Auxiliaries of the city-wide university system take on citizen practices such as sports, theater, and botany and preservation; there are several kindergartens and nurseries under its wing.




⇞   LIBRARY

When the university outgrew the original city library, a second one was built in the 18th century, on University Hill, the ‘Biblioteca Joanina’, the oldest university library in continuous use in the world, and housed in three large and resplendent Baroque rooms w/ painted ceilings.


The first room has a light green palette, the second a darker green, and the third room has a “… shade like that of orange Niger leather”; rich in gilt and exotic wood, lined w/ 300,000 volumes in galleries runing around the walls, incl. arguably the most valuable collection of Bibles in the world.

There are unpublished manuscripts of Domenico Scarlatti, thought lost but rediscovered in the 20th century, because they were incorrectly catalogued. By the front door, a passageway can take one down to the river, the ‘Palacios Confusos’, by a series of steps posing as alleys, past houses of different styles and years.




⇞   STUDENT BODY

The student body numbers about 25,000, and the dress code is a black Prince Albert coat, worn w/ black trousers, black cape batina, black dress tie; generally students go bareheaded. A military hospital happens to be located nearby, because.


Freshmen may not be on the street after the bell has rung at 6pm, on penalty of being shaved bald, if caught. Another form of punishment is to measure the long bridge over the Modego w/ a match, and it must be done w/ meticulous accuracy.

Even a good and sinless freshman must be prepared to run errands whenever required to do so by a sophomore or junior, but he may be “protected,” and the errand countermanded, by a friendly senior (‘quartanista’).

In turn a sophomore and a junior are known as a semi-harlot (‘mejo prostituo / prostituta’) and a total harlot (‘total prostituo / prostituta’) respectively.

These ‘estudantes’ make up about a third of the town’s inhabitants. Their graduation ceremonies take place in May. It’s then that a localized form of ‘fado’ is sung, by male students only, and only on the steps of the old cathedral when 10pm comes around, w/ lyrics more intellectual and romantic than the genre asks for, love songs tuned to the passions and sentiments of the students, who perfume the air w/ their lamentations until dawn.





⇞   STUDENT REPUBLICS

In the mid-1950s there were eleven “republics” or student organizations, active in the university.


One of them is ‘Pra-kys-tao‘ (Here We Are), a fraternity of ten students for the mutual benefit of themselves and their always-slender budgets, and to satisfy wants such as traditional evenings of wine and shrimps in town. Membership was open, upon unanimous favorable vote, to students of any race, color, religion or political creed except, during that period, communism. In the most pratical way, the student who had been a member longest is automatically president. Using a rotation system, two students, followed by two more then two more, serve as executive officers for fifteen days.

They run the republic and must explain and justify all outlays of money, and a debate on this topic may be opened at any time, all decisions being made by majority vote, and to be taken at the dinner table. Freshmen may not vote on money matters but on anything else.

This particular republic had only 13 electric light bulbs for 15 rooms, incl. the dining room, kitchen and hallway. Pin-up girls papered over every wallspace, the harem of the eye (‘Harem do Olho’). One wall had graffiti: “Artillery Exported to Pra-kys-tao for the Protection of the Marshall Plan.”

Certain campus traditions take place to mark the academic seasons, involving parades through the city, each rife w/ its own occult rituals. The noisy Latada - Festa das Latas (celebration of end of class), and the older Queima das Fitas (burning of the ribbons), which goes on for eight days, involving light blue ribbons for the Sciences, dark blue for Letters, yellow for Medicine and purple for Pharmacy.




⇞  CITY OF CULTURE

The original footprint of Coimbra has spilled downhil, and locals distinguish between the older Upper Town and the Lower Town.


The area bordering the Modego River is Cicade Baixa, downtown, where commerce happens amid Romanesque, early Baroque, Rococco, and Gothic structures, sporting Moorish shadows and sucumbing to the nautical notions of the Manueline style.

A Portuguese queen is buried downtown, in a silver tomb housed in the convent of ‘Santa Ciara-a-Nova’. The Fountain of Life, waiting for you since the 14th century, is behind this church.
Unto the 1920s Coimbra was all but inaccessible by road to travellers, not to mention damp beds and dangerous foods. Sacheverell Sitwell visited in the 1950s:

“… At Coimbra not only has there been wanton and appalling destruction of what was old and beautiful, but new University buildings have been erected which are really shaming in their blatant ugliness. The sculptures, particularly, are of an insulting hideousness.

Not that there is anything in the least Portuguese about these abominable buildings of Coimbra. But it is sad, too, because, Coimbra being the university town of Portugal, so many Portuguese retain memories of Coimbra and an affection for it all through their lives, and those memories will now forever more be tinged and coloured by the ugly buildings. There is no possible excuse for hideousness upon this scale; but it might, at least, be practised elsewhere and not in Coimbra.”


⇞ LUIS DE CAMõES

  The Lusiads Arguably the most famous student of the University of Coimbra is Luis de Camões, who (might have been) born in Coimbra in 1524 but known to have passed age 56 in Lisbon. His fame is partly based on supreme mastery of the Portuguese language and is its lyric poet, and his most famous work is a tour de force recounting the tragedy of Indes de Castro of Spain and her love Prince Pedro of Portugal, and her murder by jealous courtiers. She was killed by a fountain in the Garden of Tears (‘Quinta das Lagrimas’) in the convent of Santa Clara; where pond lilies are have been known to flower red.

A stone slab by the fountain bears the following verse by Luís Vaz de Camões (Lusiads, Ill, 135), here in a translation by Lord Byron:

Mondego’s Daughter-Nymphs the death obscure Wept many a year, with wails of woe exceeding; And for long memory changed to fountain pure, The floods of grief their eyes were ever feeding; The name they gave it, which doth still endure, Revived Ignez, whose murdered love lies bleeding. See yon fresh fountain flowing ‘mid the flowers, Tears are its water, and its name ‘Amores.’




⇞  MANUELINE STYLE

Flush w/ wealth from the Spice Trade, Portugal experienced a brief period where money became as abundant as sea water, and lavished it on an indigenous artform.


The discoveries brought back by the sea voyages Pedro Alvares Cabral and Vasco da Gama aroused the already composite Portuguese style, toying w/ Flemish, Italian and Late Gothic elements. The newly rich gathered the bounties of the sea trade and repurposed them an architectural vocabulary in churches, monasteries, palaces and castles, and a maritime motif applied to furniture, sculpture and painting. The style was given a name in 1842 by the Viscount Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, in his description of the Jeronimos Monastery. The characteristics of this Manueline style, named for King Manuel I (1495-1521), resulted in ornate portals, bevelled crenellations, conical pinnacles, and eight-sided capitals.

There were semicircular arches on doors and windows, columns of carved rope, and a wanton disregard for symmetry. There were symbols of Christianity and latter-day Templars, botanical flourishes, artifacts found on ships, all garlanded by Islamic filigree work and Moorish traceries.




⇞  AEMINIUM





▶ SOURCES:  [1] California and the Portuguese by Celestino Soares, SPN Books Lisbon 1939.  [2] Eyewitness Travel Guides: Portugal w/ Madeira & the Azores, DK Publishing Inc London 1997.  [3] The Finest Castles in Portugal, text Julio Gil, photographs Augusto Cabrita, Verbo 1996.  [4] A History of Spain and Portugal in two volumes, by Stanley G. Payne, The University of Wisconsin Press 1973.  [5] The Nagel Travel Guide Series : Portugal, Nagel Publishers Geneva 1956.  [6] A New History of Portugal 2nd Edition by H.V. Livermore, Cambridge University Press London 1976.  [7] Portugal and Madeira by Sacheverell Sitwell, William Clowes and Sons London 1954.  [8] Portugal the Pathfinder: Journeys from the Medieval toward the Modern World 1300-ca.1600, edited by George D. Winius, The Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies Ltd, The University of Wisconsin Press 1995.  [9] Port and the Douro by Richard Mayson, Faber and Faber London 1999.  [10] Portuguese Concise Dictionary 2nd edition, Harper Collins 2001.  [11] Spain and Protugal, Handbook for Travellers by Karl Bedacker, fourth edition. Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, publisher. London: George Allen & Unwini Ltd., New York: Chas. Scribner’s Sons. 1913.  [12] A Traveller's History of Portugal by Ian C. Robertson, line drawings by John Hoste, Interlink Books New York 2002.  [13] World Food by Lynelle Scott-Aitken and Clara Vitorino, Lonely Planet 2002.

▶ CREDITS  Culled from reporting by Tim Pozzi,the University of Coimbra website, the Internet, and guide books. Photographers incl., among others, Francisco Antunes.

▶ STREET NAMES [ 14 ] Some Coimbra street names include: Rua Anthero de Quental, Alameda do Jardin Bot, Estrada da Beira, Rua do Loureira, Couraca dos Apostolos, Rua das Padeiras, Rua das Solas, Rua da Moeda, Rua da Louca, Rua do Corvo, Rua do Joao Cabreira, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Mont’arroio, Rua do Corpo de Deus, Rua do Borralho, Rua dos Estudos, Rua Lourenco d’Almcida, Rua Venancio Rodriguez, Rua Garrett, Rua do Thomar, Rua de Alex Herculano, Rua Ferreira Borges, Rua do Visconde da Luz, Rua da Sophia, Rua de Castro Mattoso, Rua de Oliveira Mattos.


  TEA TIME 






The Teapot

That morning I heard water being poured into a teapot. The sound was an ordinary, daily, cluffy sound. But all at once, I knew you loved me. An unheard-of-thing, love audible in water falling.

Robert Bly b.1926

One Lump or Two

The must-dos for brewing a proper pot of tea, and how a constitutional drinking game, made palatable w/ sugar and milk, calmed a nation’s nerves.




  Cream or Lemon   A stead­fast­ness in dutiful habiting is a core definition of British­ness in all mat­ters related to tea, and in 2013 was due for a review: ❝ … the official six-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion for how to make a cup of tea, is offi­cial­ly “un­der re­view”. But don’t panic. It is stan­dard pro­ce­dure for the Brit­ish Stan­dards In­sti­tu­tion (BSI) to do a “sys­te­ma­tic peri­odic review” of each of its many spec­i­fi­ca­tions which, piece­meal, define nearly every­thing British.
 |- -|  Belying stereo­types of peremp­tory rigid­i­ty in any­one or any­thing that offi­cial­ly tells the pop­u­lace what’s what, the BSI is nice about what it does”. Brit­ish Stan­dards are volun­tary in that there is no obli­ga­tion to ap­ply them or com­ply with them, it says. The stan­dards are “de­vised for the con­ve­nience of those who wish to use them”. That sen­ti­ment ap­pears in the 44-page spec­i­fi­ca­tion, copies of which are avail­able free of charge.❞


In 2013, Chris­to­pher Hitch­ens gave an account of George Orwell mak­ing tea:

Just after World War II, during a period of acute food ration­ing in Eng­land, George Or­well wrote an article on the mak­ing of a decent cup of tea that insist­ed on the ob­serv­ing of eleven dif­fer­ent “golden” rules. Some of these (al­ways use In­dian or Ceylon­ese—i.e., Sri Lankan—tea; make tea only in small quan­ti­ties; avoid silver­ware pots) may be con­sid­ered optional or out­moded. But the essen­tial ones are easily com­mit­ted to mem­ory, and they are sim­ple to put into practice.

If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (I would add that you should do the same thing even if you are on­ly using a cup or a mug.) Stir the tea be­fore let­ting it steep. But this above all: “ [O]ne should take the tea­pot to the ket­tle, and not the oth­er way about. The water should be ac­tual­ly boil­ing at the mo­ment of im­pact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours.”
This isn’t hard to do, even if you are us­ing elec­tric­i­ty rather than gas, once you have brought all the mak­ings to the same scene of oper­a­tions right next to the ket­tle. It’s not quite over yet. If you use milk, use the least creamy type or the tea will ac­quire a sick­ly taste.

George Orwell

And do not put the milk in the cup first – fam­i­ly feuds have last­ed gen­era­tions over this – be­cause you will al­most cer­tain­ly put in too much. Add it later, and be very care­ful when you pour.

Finally, a decent cylin­dri­cal mug will pre­serve the need­ful heat and fla­vor for long­er than will a shal­low and wide-mouthed – how of­ten those attri­butes seem to go to­geth­er – tea­cup.

Orwell thought that sugar overwhelmed the taste, but brown sugar or honey are, I believe, permissible and sometimes necessary.

  Manchester, Eng­land – No­vem­ber 13 2015

Middleton officer Andy Rich­ard­son: “Just dealt w/ a 95 year old cou­ple, called and said they were lone­ly. What else could we do?”

He and a fellow offi­cer end­ed up go­ing over to the cou­ple’s house and shar­ing a cup of tea over a 30 minute visit, and later tweet­ed about the call.

“We’ve got to look after peo­ple as well. It’s not just fight­ing crime, it’s pro­tect­ing peo­ple in what­ever sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves.”

Fred Thomp­son, the elder­ly man who made the call: “You feel some­body cares and oh that does mat­ter … sim­ple things they talk about, noth­ing very spe­cial but they showed that they cared by be­ing there and talk­ing to you.”


Francisco Mattos


In the 1935 movie Ruggles of Red Gap, Charles Laugh­ton is a brit­ish but­ler trans­plant­ed to Amer­i­ca, where he in­structs the town spin­ster on the im­por­tance of mak­ing tea prop­er­ly:

She: (look­ing at water) It’s hot! ... He: Can I be of any as­sis­tance?

Oh no. Men are so help­less in the kitch­en. (Picks up ket­tle, pro­ceeds to pour in­to tea­pot.) Oh no. Al­ways bring pot to the ket­tle, never bring the ket­tle to the pot.
Charles Laughton Well lis­ten –I’ve been mak­ing tea for long­er than I can re­mem­ber– Don’t let’s get into dif­fi­cul­ties about this. But you must lis­ten to an Eng­lish­man about tea. When mak­ing tea, al­ways bring the pot to the kettle and nev­er the kettle to the pot. Oh, your knowl­edge is sur­pris­ing. ...
Don’t see why you should say sur­pris­ing. The best cooks have al­ways been men. I my­self have pro­nounced views on the prep­a­ra­tions and ser­vings of food. Have you? ... Oh yes. You know some­thing nice that would go w/ tea? ... Eh yes, yes. The in­gre­di­ents are quite sim­ple. Do you have a lit­tle flour? Oh would you? ... Flour, but­ter, milk and salt. Oh you seem so at home in the kitch­en. ... Ah it would be diffi­cult to de­scribe the in­tense satis­fac­tion that I’ve al­ways de­rived from cook­ing.


In 1997, Morrissey was asked in a sit-down interview: Do you ever get sick of drinking tea? Given the moment, the former singer for The Smiths ex­pound­ed on how this custom is prac­tised in his home: ... I absolutely never get sick of drinking tea. It’s a psychological thing really, it’s just very composing and makes me relax. It’s just so much a part of your culture. ... ‘Oh yes yes, I’m very avid, I have to have at least four pots a day. For those of us who don’t know how to make a pot of tea, what do you do?
Morrissey Well I would do that without even thinking about it. ... Right and also you have to use real milk you can’t use the UHT fake stuff, you have to use proper milk. ... Well you really have to put the milk in first which many people don’t. Put the milk in with the water, before you boil the water? ... No, you’re con­fused al­ready no, you put the milk in be­fore you pour the water in or the tea, which­ever.
Okay, so what about the actual brew­ing of the tea? ... The brewing of the tea, it’s very important that you heat the pot before you put the water in, if you use a pot. I know most people who just throw a teabag into a cup but in England of course you have to make a pot of tea and you have to heat the pot first w/ hot water and then put the teabags in – I can’t believe I’m saying this – and then put the hot water in and then just throw it all over yourself, rush to Out Patients and write a really good song.





Francisco Mattos


❝The popularity of tea in Eng­land ... was due to a Por­tu­guese infante, Queen Cath­erine, whose pre­di­lec­tion for that bev­erage ren­dered it fash­ion­able. In an ode to her, Waller sings: The best of queens and best of herbs we owe  /  To that bold nation who the way did show  /  To the fair region where the sun doth rise,  /  Whose rich pro­duc­tions we so just­ly prize.
Historic Macao by C. A. Montalto de Jesus 1984. Oxford University Press.

 UNESCO ::: 2013 SACRED SPACE RECIPIENT 

Mount Fuji

Blessed by superb symmetry, taking on its shape five thousand years ago, locus for ascetic buddhism of the shinto blend, standing alone in the center of the country, source of artistic inspiration since the 11th century, Mount Fuji’s conic silhouette has been copied by Japanese potters down through history and in due course has left blueprints on mid-century kitchen gadget design, chockful with its ergonomic effortlessness and sensuous surfaces. The designation by UNESCO of this mountain as the 2013 World Heritage Site Sacred Space Recipient consists of 25 properties including the mountain itself, shinto shrines, five lakes, and a haunted forest.

Shinto has been practised in Japan since at least the 7th century, and its cosmos is populated by a kami (diety) living in every imaginable natural formation unto a blade of grass. Mount Fuji’s kami is the Princess Konohana-sakuya, the shinto embodiment of nature, and you will know of her presence by the sight of cherry blossoms on the way up a very attractive mountain. The fujiko school of shinto adds a soul and believes the mountain to be a being. While all this bonding is going on, the buddhists sit back and regard the mountain as a gateway to another world. The crater is ringed w/ eight peaks and a walk all around takes a couple of hours, could this be what the buddhists had in mind?

The area around Fujisan-konohana-sakuahime (“Fuji causing the blossom to brightly bloom”) also contains other mystical marvels. Five lakes, the Fuji-goko, ring the mountain.

The northwest quadrant is a 14-square mile pine forest, the Aoki-ga-hara-jukai (Sea of Trees), which can be alarmingly dark during the day, forming a half moon around the base. This forest is home to goblins, demons, ghosts, and has been a destination suicide spot for many years.

It has come to pass and for as long as anyone can remember, there is and always has been a choice of only four trails leading pilgrims to the summit. All things here being of a magical quality, these four paths might very well allude to the Four Elements in a cosmic setting: rarefied Air at the summit, plentiful fresh Water within reach, Earth in its proudest seasonal garbs are all visited by the fire goddess Fuchi once a year, taking off her buddhist beads for a powwow w/ the princess. This takes place end of summer at a trail stop in the village of Yoshida, rife w/ rustic rumors insisting on a peculiar religiousity shared by fire festivals everywhere including the most famous, Burning Man,
although it must be noted that the Yoshida Fire Festival is done and over with in a night and the following day, involving ceremonies to conclude the climbing season.

Sunrise as seen at the summit by all-night climbers has its own dedicated name, goraiko, as in “my goraiko was obscured by clouds with rain blotting out the horizon.” For the fortunate ones, though, words like "awesome" and "bright red" and "a figure" readily roll off their tongues when recalling the alpine sight of the sun peeking over a watery horizon, the shedding of darkness around the self, the wonderment that immortals are hovering nearby, a palpable sense of alignment with gravity again, maybe even new eyes for the descent. It has been likened to something we all know happens regularly and “see” but not see; kind of shinto. It is one of Japan’s three Holy Mountains, together with Mount Haku and Mount Tate, and is on the island of Honshu.

Fuji is an active and relatively young volcano 62 miles south-west of Tokyo. It sits on a “triple junction” radiating techtonically down to the Filipino Plate, west to the Eurasian Plate, and east towards the North American Plate, the Okhotsk. It has erupted 21 times, the last was on October 26, 1707 (an 8.4), and destroyed 72 houses and three buddhist temples. It was powerful enough to blow a scoop out at the tip, becoming an actual new crater on the eastern flank. On February 4, 2013, a metereological ticker tape came through the wires:

The volcano remains calm. However, an increased number of small quakes near and under Mt Fuji are visible on our latest data plot of nearby earthquakes (within 30 km radius). While all of these are very small and the number is certainly not alarming, the volcano remains interesting to watch….



|  MT FUJI NOTES: [1] Four views of Mt. Fuji. [2] The Princess Konohana-sakuya is patiently gazing around wondering what is taking so long for her date Fuchi forever to arrive. [3] (top left) The Sea of Trees. [4] Four photographs taken from the summit at sunrise – a goraiko; anime of a sun goddess by Jayne Aw. [5] Mt Fuji in fact and fiction. | Fujisan (富士山). Names of the five lakes: Kawaguchi, Motosu, Sai, Shoji, Yamanaka. The four trails are Yoshidaguchi, Subashiri, Gotemba, Fujinomiya. Photos by Brian Chu, Daisaku Ikeda + screen captures.



  ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE RECIPIENT 

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient Al-Zubarah, Qatar

Buried under sand for hundreds of years, slowly being dug up going on years now, is Qatar’s largest archaeological dig, and a very fine example, preserved, of a merchant town c.1800s. This site is the ruined coastal port famous for its walls and known as Al-Zubarah. Founded by merchants in the late 1700s, this settlement had thrived as a pearl-fishery industry and also as a trading post — it is centrally positioned on the main sea route in the Persian Gulf.

2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient In 1811 there was a successful siege and what remained was abandoned and eventually was covered by sand. The property Al Zubarah Archaeological Site which comprises the 2013 UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fortified town, built w/ traditional Arab technqiues, that faces a harbor, w/ an original sea wall (exists still in part). A second, inner wall came later. The original fort still stands, there is another fort, two more walls, and a canal to the sea.
The largest domestic structure dug up gives a sense of the wealth enjoyed by the town’s richest, and why so coveted by its attackers: Nine inter-connected courtyards inside a building complex, surrounded by a high wall and having corner defense towers. Water fountain features are to be found, incl. ponds where a game played by children, called turtles-&-pearls, takes place underwater. Using a pet turtle, each player attempts to shoot a colored pearl into a row of different-colored pearls, w/ an aim of hitting out another pearl of the same color, all the while not disturbing the rest. 2013 UNESCO Archaeological Site Recipient