Monday, November 10, 2008

Lucky turtle

Squeezed in between the Kristallnacht post and tomorrow's Armistice series, time for something more lighthearted. This was inspired by a shot of a turtle (or tortoise?) that I took in Shanghai. You see, the turtle is our lucky animal. When I left Holland for an assignment in Singapore in 1999, I was 42 and single. One of the farewell gifts I got was a remark in the departmental newsletter that I would come back as a married man. One of the welcome gifts in Singapore was a book on Feng Shui. One of the things that I picked up from that book was that turtles are supposed to bring you luck. So one Saturday just a few weeks after my arrival I went out and bought a little turtle statue. Afterwards, heading for lunch on the banks of the Singapore river, the statue safely tucked away in my pocket, I decided to take a detour through an air-conditioned shopping mall. There I passed a little art gallery where a young Chinese female artist was working on a painting. I came in to have a look at the art. And the artist. And I kept coming back the days thereafter. One thing let to another and within a year we got married. So yes, turtles bring luck.
Fast forward to our wedding dinner in Shanghai in 2000. My wife had warned me that I was expected to drink a glass of beer on every table at the wedding dinner - eight in total. No problem. Except that when we started I found out that I was supposed to toast with everyone at every table - 80 sips of beer, and a few full glasses with her cousins to boot. When I had managed to survive that, her uncle brought us a spoon with a piece of meat on it - to be eaten together from that spoon for luck. Not the easiest thing to do when your bride is wearing a large bridal hat. But in the end we managed, and after spitting out a few bones, the wedding gradually came to an end. The next day I asked my wife what we had actually eaten from that spoon. It turned out to be the head of a turtle. After my stomach had finally readjusted to normal mode, I realized how appropriate that was. And fact is, almost nine years later we are still happily married. Thanks to the turtles.

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1 8 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 50.8 mm
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0