Recently, my posts have been on the Asia-centric side -- reflecting the fact that I've spent the last few years of my life over on the world's largest continent. Then there's it also being so that since returning to my home continent in July 2003, I've not ventured outside of Asia even for vacations -- that is, unless one counts the time I spent on the European side of Istanbul as time spent outside of Asia proper. Additionally, on a photographic note, there's the fact that I only started using a digital camera in the past couple of years; making it so that all the photographs I've taken using a digital camera have been taken in Asia.
Still, while it's true enough that I took the above photograph of the piece of art back in my home state of Penang, the fact of the matter is that the painting by an artist friend named Muzu Suleimanji is one that depicts a Zanzibar Stone Town street scene; and is one of the art works that I considered very much worth lugging all the way back from Tanzania -- where I became acquainted with a number of talented artists (including Makonde wood sculptors and Tinga Tinga painters as well as those who favored more Western art styles and media) -- after my one and a half sojourn in that East African country came to an end in July 1996.
On an even more personal note: The street depicted in the painting is one that I used to regularly walk on when I lived, as I did for some six months or so, in the Zanzibar Islands. And yes, should you wonder, I did often feel like I was in a scene from an Indiana Jones type movie and that I was quite the intrepid adventurer for being at home in that kind of scene!
Returning back to earth: Although it may not look like it (and especially to those who are more used to towns possessing roads that tend to be accessible to cars), the pictured -- and, I think you'll agree, picturesque -- street actually was one of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Zanzibar Stone Town's wider and busier public ways! More to the point as far as I was concerned, it was one of the ways that led to my usual workplace -- the Palace Museum, should you wonder; and yes, this means that I actually worked in a building that used to be home to sultans for a time! -- from a couple of the places I lived in when I was in Zanzibar. (For one reason or other, I ended staying in four different residences during my relatively short stay there... :S)
In any case, should you think I have a colorful past, let me tell you about Zanzibar's: A part of the United Republic of Tanzania since April 26th, 1964, it used to be a British protectorate and its own independent sultanate (whose last sultan was overthrown -- though did not lose his life -- during the bloody Zanzibar Revolution, an event that also took place in 1964). Further back in history, this Indian Ocean territory that became home to Hugo the Hippo in fiction -- and one that, let's face it, is now part of one of the poorest countries in the world -- also actually served for a time as the capital of Oman! ;o