Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hippo Cork

In my post: ToJo Maputo, I promised to tell you about another hippo-gift, I received during that occasion, sometimes later.... well, here it is. This other hippo-gift was a wonderful cork stopper, or cork, with a cute looking hippo, made of glass, on top. Our friends visited the Kruger National Park in South Africa during their stay in Mozambique (only a few hours away), and in a small shop in the park, they found this cork. It was a very special afternoon: my first hippo from Mozambique and my first hippo-cork. I really felt spoiled! Dear Joke and Ton, time to open a nice bottle of wine, and make a toast: to good health, a wonderful friendship and happy hippos. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy (hippo) Feet

As most of you know by now, I have spent a lot of time, with the hippo family in the Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia. As a hippo lover to be able to come so close to them, is really very special. But as a photographer, being able to "fill the frame" with hippo, is just awesome. I know, it is cheating a little bit... and absolutely not the same as making similar pictures of wild hippos. I hope to be able to do that some day. Probably, I will have to use a mega-zoom as I do not think it will be safe to come anywhere near them... Many people ask me why I like hippos so much. The most reasonable answer (if there is any ;-)) I can come up with is that I like the fact that most body parts are out of proportion. The mega-mouth.... the huge head with on top of it: tiny turning and flapping ears. A huge behind, with a small (funny looking) tail and an enormous body, with legs that really look too small..... Just looking at them make me laugh.... but really explaining..... is impossible, of course! Having visited my hippo friends so many times, I must have a zillion photographs of all of them. Not only of their heads, open mouths and ears, but also of every other body part. These are the legs and happy feet of Dania, the hippo mum of the family. And every time I see these feet, I wonder.... what color nail polish would she like???

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hippos by Jaap Venema

I already introduced the first hippo statue of my collection (see post: The First). Now it is about time, I share with you my first hippo painting that I got as a present in 1998. I am a very proud owner of twelve great hippo paintings, of which eleven are made especially for me, including this one. A few of them can already be found on my blog (see posts: Hippo Pon and The Ninth). At that time, my then boyfriend, now husband, did tell me his uncle was an artist, but he did not tell me that he had asked him to paint a hippo for me. And so his uncle did.... not one hippo, but a whole bloat! Best surprise ever! I was collecting hippos already for some years, but I did not have a painting, yet. I also could not imagine that that painting would be the start of a whole collection of hippo paintings. The painting is made with a combination of water colors and ink. I could boast about the fact that I own a real "Jaap Venema", as he is a well known and established artist in the Netherlands, but the story of this painting will always be most important. And it does not matter, even if "Uncle Jaap" will become world famous one day..... this painting will never be for sale!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


For many years, I would go to the famous Christmas markets (Weinachtsmarkt) in Germany. I have been to the ones in Cologne and Düsseldorf several times. A few months ago, I met a German gentleman, on holidays here, from Dresden. We were chatting away. Already 80 years old, but still traveling around Asia and at home busy with gardening and square dancing. I was telling him how I love German food and about the Christmas markets I visited. But then he told me off (nicely though!), according to him I had not been to the best and greatest Christmas market in Germany..... the one held in Dresden of course! I promised him, if I ever have the chance, I will go there. This hippo, I bought a long time ago at the Christmas maket in Düsseldorf. I remember asking the German name for hippo. To my surprise (why did I not come up with that myself?) it was: Nilpferd.... very simmilar to the Dutch name: Nijlpaard. My friend told me some time ago, that it is also called Flusspferd, or (according to Wikipedia) Großflusspferd. This one is made of soapstone. I have several, carved out of this very smooth feeling material, but it is one of the few "sleeping hippos" of my collection. I hope they will have nice hippos in Dresden too!