Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. No.IV

So as the day was wrapping up, and we had had our fill of international tunes, food, and sights, we decided we should quickly take a stroll to Koneser. On the way there was funnily enough a sausage stand there.

Even with all this international flair and excitement, this old Baba Yaga still couldn't get into the spirit of things.

On the way to Koneser, we heard some interesting tunes and popped into the Indian section which wasn't in a courtyard but more a small car park.

They were cranking out the tunes, it was a really nice vibe actually to stand around with a sitar a harmonium and some tabla action in the background combining with a slightly more Western violin, or was it an Afghani Rabab I can't remember, either way it was pleasant.
I swear the bloke on the Sitar looks like a beatnik version of yours truly.

Also in the corner Ganesh and Buddha were enjoying the tunes.
There some questions asked though. Like "Will this match our credenza, Dear?" To which no doubt the Polish males reply would either be "I'm listening" and followed by "Yes of course dear" without really listening and hence not knowing what he was agreeing to. Where as the Australian male would instead say "What the bloody hell is a Credenza?!". Ahhh culture you will never bore me.

As we came out of the Indian enclosure, sounds like some place to put illegal immigrants, we heard some more music with a bit more rhythm coming from our left. We strolled down to find it was the end of day parade. It started with the the Brazilian contingent.
I love the massive brick wall and the tiny head poking out of the window to watch.
They were shaking it like a Polaroid picture.
You have to love a massive headdress.
I wanted some blur, but I would be lying if I said I wanted it this blurry. Oh well it is still colourful.
After the thrill of the party, we saw what I think has to be the scariest clown ever!
So we popped into Konoser as they had a photo exhibition of the Praga world through the 50's and 60's and some slightly earlier photos. It was really great.
After that it was time to call it a day in old Praga town. The street was still closed to traffic and the folks were still flowing in and around.
But as beautiful as the buildings are we knew that the left bank was calling us.
So until another day workingman's town, keep shining brightly.
Lets get on that tram and see what the other world or Warsaw has for us......

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day is Today

Today is Australia Day. Don't forget it. So there are many things that we should all think about, the things that make Australia something different:

- Kangaroos
- Emus
- The fact that both animals are on our coat of arms
- The fact we eat both animals on our coat of arms
- Australia has the 7th lowest population density
- Australia has more sheep than people
- Australia has more kangaroos than people
- Australia is about 25%
- In 1949 the first year of Australia's new citizenship levels 24% of these people were Polish
- In 2009 peoples from 175 different countries sat Australia's immigration test
- Also in 2009 India was Australia's biggest immigrant population 17% of the total
- There are roughly 60,000 first generation Polish immigrants in Australia
- 2.6% of the Australian population is considered Aboriginal
- Australia has almost 2000 wine producers
- Australia exports most to Japan
- In Australia we have, depending on who you believe, up to 8 of the top ten most poisonous creatures on earth
- Crocodies (salt water) grow on average to 5m long and about 700kg
- Great White Sharks normally grow to about 4.5m in length the biggest being 10.9m
- A female Koalas have two vaginas but is still not a bear
- Platypus's are venomous
- Garth is Australian
- Australia is cool

I think that is all. Happy Australia Day

I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. No. III

So after seeing the soft jazz and then the belly dancing ladies, we really craved more live music. Whilst the swirls, the smooth moves, and the clickety click of camera shutters was a nice start to the musical world, we really needed more. What else could this multicultural festival offer us?

Some were looking a little vague.
But it was good that the beauty and the beast both made an appearance.
When I think world music, I do tend to think percussion. There is no real reason why, apart from the fact hearts beat all over the world and to made a beat is probably the simplest, yet possibly the most warming of sounds. It certainly is nice to see some well polished knobs about the place.
Then a young lady to wack them delicately with a stick.
Hey, they even let red heads play! Who ever would have thought?! But the Chinese community had a great place, there was plenty going on.
So after that we really did hear something that sounded totally tribal. Walking off down Brzeska and found a big red camel. What on earth could that signify?
Of course it means white people playing tribal African drums. It is scarily infective, too. It seems really therapuetic and I would love to give it a crack one day, but I don't think the neighbours would love it too much. Then again it might make up for the screaming baby on one side and the 1990's nightclub upstairs.... a thought I shall ponder in the future, no doubt.
But everyone seemed to love it. Except maybe the host and lead drummer for the day.
You can even check out a video here of the people getting their groove on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff - II

So with the world getting together for fun and good times in Warsaw, it was great to see many people of Warsaw going, not just the internationals of Wawa. The kids just love a bit of music and the adults love the variety of food that was on offer. I personally enjoyed the music and the amount of people actually smiling and enjoying it, but most of all the feeling of community that exists in such events.
The kids love it when you get interactive with new things, it works in museums and it works at multicultural festivals.
I love that Poland is not a litigious society like America, Australia and to a lesser extent the UK are. People here can still do things which are quasi reckless and there is a chance of injury, but there isn't the huge fear that someone will sue you in the morning.
More community art, this one is a little more morose and the subject matter is probably not really my scene, but that said, I still think the quality of art is very high and these are all people you could see locally, I may even have bumped into them on the day without noticing. Also something to add, this picture is on about the 3rd floor of a building.
The courtyard scheme was great! I almost wanted to move straight to Praga, and to imagine the majority of Warsaw was like this at one stage would have been amazing. I don't mean multicultural, but based on courtyard houses with the highest residential buildings really being only about 5 floors. This one was home to Salsa classes, they would talk you through it or you could just watch the Latin lovers going nuts.
There was colour and art everywhere and in all forms.
Some people made their courtyards more homely.
If only I had used the video function I could show you this girl clicking her fingers along to some really cool jazz. I do like the henna tattoo though, even if I don't readily associate Jazz, Sunshine, Beer with a straw and Henna together it makes for a fun day no doubt.
In this courtyard, where the Jazz was, there was even a cartoonist whipping out samples of elves, goblins and all manner of crazy things.
It wouldn't be a multicultural festival without scantily clad women, and well there of course was some explaination needed for this as we see here.
Then we just get down to it. You have to love a good belly dance, I remember getting "into the groove" in Istanbul on a Bosphorous cruise. These although not as Gypsy looking certainly caught many boys imagination. I couldn't even count the number of boys taking photos of these lovely lasses.
They seem to enjoy it to, you can see a sneaky photographer bottom right.
Now that I think about it, with me taking these photos, did that make me one of the appreciative boys? Well, yes it did indeed. I love to see a show where people are enjoying themselves. You see professionals perform and, well, lots of them look like they are at work, probably a lot like sitting down and starting at an accountant crunch some numbers, a copywriter making magic happen or a marketing person... umm.... well.... getting a coffee probably.
So after seeing such buxom ladies, is it time to pack up your baskets and head home?
Not likely, there is plenty more to come!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff.

There are so many photos I took last year, I haven't even done the count. Plus the ones I deleted and the ones I imagined I took every time I was in a crowd. Sometimes my ultimate dream is to have a camera in my eye, so I can take the photos I see when I don't have my camera, or it isn't possible with the people there.

So the next few posts are all about photos that I haven't got around to looking at before now. So let's get on that train and head to the next stop. Memory town!
These photos are all from the Multicultural Festival on "the East Bank", "the Far Side" or simply Praga. Something you notice quite quickly about Poland as a whole, especially as an Australian, is the lack of diversity of its people. It is very monocultural in that according to the 2002 Census only 1.23% (471,500 people) see themselves as non-Polish. Ahhh, you might say that everyone thinks they are Polish because they live here, but to be honest, that isn't the case. The highest "non-Pole" groups in Poland are Silesians 200,000 (basically Polish of the South with a funny accent), then Germans 151,000 (basically the Poles but organised), then Belarussians 49,000 and Ukranians 30,000 (both of which at some stage belonged partly to Poland). So, that accounts for nearly 92% of the people from "abroad" in Poland. What it shows is that all these crazy foreigners are people who basically look like Poles as well. The remainder being .1% of the population as a whole. Whereas in Australia, 25% of the population are immigrants, a quarter from UK and NZ, the rest from all manner of countries. So what I am trying to say, it is very obvious here that there is limited immigration.

Phew! What a long winded lead up. To say that a multicultural festival is a great thing for Warsaw! Hooray!

Actually it was in Old Praga, if we are to be specific, which is easily the nicest part of Praga and I really think one of the prettiest places in Warsaw. Just not somewhere I would hang out in after dark. My opinion about Architecture in Warsaw tends to be very much like a fabulous song from a great Brisbane rock/electro/punk band circa 1997. Regurgitator , see that song here, to give you a hint what it is, see this blog post's title.
One of the first things you notice in Old Praga is the buildings. They are, as the name would suggest, old. Also they have a great "new" tradition of creative and varied decoration. You will see some of that in this Old Praga post. Old Praga has become somewhat a bohemian region of Warsaw, I hope that it continues to be like this and improve the area with more art and a safe friendly place to enjoy it.
These little blue folk are really cute and are found at the Western end of Ulica Ząbkowska. They just look like they are made of playdo or plasticine and would be great to squeeze.
The little tacker just looks like someone you actually want to hang out with.
During the festival, there were many courtyards within the old housing blocks being used as performance locations. It gave it a great sense of community, something I tend not to see so much living in Warsaw's Bedroom, as Ursynow is called.
When the old meets the new.
Some Courtyards have great art displays and funky little bars in them too.
Some come in colour too ;)
This is a cool project of local women pictured by a local artist.
And here are two of the women!

You gotta love ladybirds!
A great use for all those bottle tops! I think I need to start drinking more beer.
The Rabbit Hole is a really great bar on a sunny day.
I just love those shadows.

End of Multicultural post Number Jeden (1).

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