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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Andrej Turns Four or How Pizza Found Pizzo

A couple of days ago Andrej finally turned four. I say 'finally' as not being four had been a serious problem for him. For him the more, the better. Sometimes when he is angry with me for not letting him eat a fifth sweet he tells me 'You are zero years old' showing his fists without any fingers sticking.

Andrej turned four on Thursday and we wanted him to spend the day with his classmates preparing a cake but unfortunately both his teachers fell ill and I had to keep him home for the day. As the sun dared to peep through the clouds I decided to take him downtown Geneva for a walk to his favourite Parc des Bastions.

Our walk started next to Plainpalais, next to a statue of a philosopher. Who is it, I wonder? Andrej also has a skeptical look as all philosophers should have, shouldn't day? Yes, I turned four and I reached the goal but now my new target is five. Andrej is shooting at a moving target.

Andrej and the philosopher

I don't know why but I have always been attracted by water taps which are used in case of a fire. There was one at the corner of my street as a kid and it was always a silent presence except on the day when an old house burned and the firemen used it as a water source. They can often be beautiful urban objects.

By the water tap

We are already in the Parc des Bastion, one of the nicest places I know in Geneva. The park is quiet now, expectant of the spring to come. Andrej is posing in the next two pictures engaged in a psychological battle with the camera. Will you take a picture of me or will I take a picture of you?

Condensed happiness (1)

Condensed happiness (2)

The park is famous for its chess boards and I thought that Andrej could pose as a pawn at H2, ready to strike the non-existing enemy.

An important chess figure - Andrej

After the Parc des Bastions we went to a little square in the old town overlooking the park. That's a perfect spot for watching the winter sunset over the park. It is also a place where the 'official' chestnut tree is located meaning that the chief botanist of the canton observes the coming of the spring on this particular tree.

The official chestnut tree

This little square hides a set of very appealing old kids' toys, simply different from the standard set of toys one can find at playgrounds. Here is a merry-go-round where you have to pedal. Andrej's legs were not long enough though and we had a problem. Mine were not short enough. Some cutting and pasting of legs would have been needed for a perfect peddling couple.


Here is a small Trojan horse but no one should be afraid of it and your hard disk will stay intact.

Trojan horse

And, of course, we finally made it to this obscure object of desire - the chocolate muffin. All the suffering, walking, posing and playing was just an excuse to reach this coveted goal - a fresh, warm muffin with a vanilla filling with a hot chocolate in case the chocolate-ness of the muffin is not enough. If I can paraphrase Freud: it is not all about sex, it is all about chocolate.

A well-deserved muffin and hot chocolate

Even a muffin has an end and we had to go. On the way down to the lake we discovered the missing half of Pizza, her partner, her love. This is Pizzo. It is a perfect Yan and Yin, Yin and Yan.

Pizza can finally be happy - Pizzo is found

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Killing them softly

In October I spent some days in Malta. One sunny Sunday morning I decided to go to a fisherman's village Marsaxlokk (to be read Marsa-shlok) mainly because of its name (don't you like the 'x' in the middle of the word and on top of that it is read as 'sh') but also because of the guide's promise that the world's best fish market takes place on Sundays there.

The evening before there was a huge rain in Valletta which actually means Malta as there is little else in Malta outside Valletta. The rain was so serious that coming back from a Saturday outing with Venelina and Dora I was afraid that the water would get into the car and we would drift away direction Africa.

The morning after was as fresh as if no deluge had threatened to wipe the island the night before. Sometimes nature is so innocent and oblivious of what it had previously inflicted or at least pretends to be totally innocent. It was naughtily offering people a gentle African breeze.

The only sign of the rain in Martaxlokk were the huge puddles which were quickly evaporating in front of the eyes of Sunday morning coffee-drinkers. Evaporating puddles always remind me of childhood Sliven, the thrill to get out of home after being forced to hide during a summer rain. The only drawback was the fact that the leather ball would get into the water and become really heavy.

View of Martaxlokk port

I find that the Martaxlokk fishermen found a really cute colour combination for their boats. It fits so well the stone of the village houses.

The gentle killer boats

No matter how gentle the boats look like they have hidden killer properties and are actually there to bring those guys below to the tables in a non-living state.

Scampi anyone?

Hecatombe 1

Hecatombe 2

Hecatombe 3

Hecatombe 4

Hecatombe 5