The One Where I Reveal Secrets –

- not my own secrets, just the work of others!


Photo taken in Santorini, Greece

So you see, those buildings weren’t always white. White gets dirty very fast. In order to achieve the fresh and clean look, the white cave houses on the Greek islands (well Santorini and Mykonos both, as far as I know), need constant upkeep. I was so excited when I came across this man re-painting his wall. I felt like I had stumbled upon some great secret. Of course, I asked for permission before taking the photo. Who wants some gawking tourist snapping photos while obviously hard at work in the heat of the sun?!

Did you know that white paint is used on houses in hot countries to reflect heat? This is also why people in hot countries often wear white.

Colour choices are made for specific reasons. I always thought the white and blue colours you see often on domes on churches, little island building doorways and windows etc. were supposed to represent the colours of the Greek flag. Instead, the blue is a colour meant to ward off evil (similar to the blue colour you see with the nazar, the Turkish symbol to ward off the evil eye). This turquoise-type blue originally came from a mineral found in Turkey (hence the name “turquoise”…). This vibrant blue is the perfect island colour, it’s the colour of a hot summer day, and it’s the colour of my favourite skirt (which is reversible and can be worn 4 different ways, which translates to 4 different outfits, which = a lighter suitcase).



Photos taken in Kyoto, Japan

I love the vermilion colour he’s using and the little glass bottle in his hand. Vermilion is not one specific hue. In China, it’s more of a red hue, in Japan, the colour takes on this brilliant orange-red that veers more to the orange-y side.

But look at the size brush this guy is using, it’s going to take him all day… all week if he has to touch up all 10,000 torii gates that line the tunnel walkway of the Fushimi Inari shrine… The Greek guy had a roller, he’ll be done his touch ups in less than 30 min I think! The Japanese are so meticulous about everything. One of the first things that caught our attention in Tokyo was someone cleaning the glass along the side of an elevator in a subway station – a subway station! It’s not just the trains that are super clean, the subway stations were spotless. That’s just incredible.

It takes 2.5-3 hours to hike to the top of the shrine on the mountain through the torii-gate tunnels. The Husband and I walked for about 15 minutes before I knew I couldn’t take another step. I wanted to re-trace the Memoirs of a Geisha (do you remember the movie?) – but that wasn’t happening, not with my heavy boots, and my umbrella-turned-walking- stick which did nothing to help my case.

I was most pleased when I came across the opportunity for these pictures though. Again, it felt like a behind-the-scenes kind of look, a glimpse into the making of the place, a reminder that nothing man-made is ever perfect.

“When you are older, you realize that everything else is just nothing compared to painting and drawing.” – David Hockney.

4 thoughts on “The One Where I Reveal Secrets –

  1. Awesome post! I’m sure your students are loving the way you reflect upon your travels. It’s lovely travelling through your eyes. Keep up the beautiful blogs! ;)

    1. F.P, Thank you for such a nice comment!! I like to share with the grade 9′s, they’re more interested than others, I think it makes things seem more real out there in the world outside high school! :)

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