Expat Magazine

Living Abroad: Weird, Broken and Headless

By Miss Footloose @missfootloose

No worries - it's not me who's weird, broken and headless. On second thought maybe weird does apply: Being an expat and living in foreign countries is often considered weird by the stay-at-home tribes.

Tomes have been written about the benefits and sacrifices of living a nomadic life and many profound and high-minded epistles float around in cyberspace, so no need for me to add to those. Instead, let me offer up some . . .

Trivial observations of my own

Living and traveling abroad you become aware of all sort of things that you'd never see or pay attention to at home, such as mannequins. (I did say trivial, did I not?) Once I was so enlightened, I took my camera and had some fun with it.

Shooting mannequins

Living Abroad: Weird, Broken and Headless
Living Abroad: Weird, Broken and Headless

Oh, that face! I took this one in Tirana, Albania. In spite of her sparkly party dress, her expression speaks of great suffering. Not surprising, having an arm ripped off. Her sisters next to her seem to have a skin disease, not to speak of no head.

In Turkey one summer, I wandered around the wonderful market in Fethiye early one morning and found the venders not quite finished setting up their wares, so I shot this scene. Years earlier I would have just walked passed it.

More bare bottoms

I trust you have faithfully followed this blog, and know that I spent a good number of years in Armenia, a small country in the Caucasus Mountains, where people eat a lot of yogurt, although they don't all live to be a hundred. They do all shop at the sprawling Hrazdan Market. I have also spent time strolling around there, looking for treasures made in China or Turkey. Available in this market is more or less everything created by man and beast. I missed seeing the scene on the photo below, but was happy to find the picture on Flickr.com.

And since we are now in Armenia, this is a photo I took of a couple outside a shop in the center of the capital Yerevan. Not a marriage made in heaven, it looks like.

How painful is this?

I was visiting my native country of The Netherlands one summer and strolled by this bone yard in the window of an upscale shop in the center of Amsterdam. It's a bit painful to watch, isn't it?

Italy! Land of fashion and elegance!

Strolling around Rome one chilly February morning, my man and I saw fabulous shop windows with the most fashionable clothes. Then we wandered off out of the center to more humble areas and met these two femmes fatales:

Now get ready for this:

The next photo was taken in Istanbul, Turkey, but sadly not by me. However, I felt it was of the essence to show it to you.

The photographer Paul Keller calls it the diaper mannequin. It was taken in front of a medical supplies store. This poor thing! Everything is wrong with her: whiplash, broken wrist, back problems and she's incontinent on top of it all. How can she still stand up?

Headless and pregnant, oh joy!

And now my most favorite mannequin photo to date, taken in Paris, France a few years ago. My prince and I were wandering the dark streets after having enjoyed a fabulously expensive dinner. We passed this window of a shop which apparently catered to pregnant brides. All I did was shoot it with my little idiot-camera, and somehow it managed to come out looking like this.

Some time ago in the USA, I took a picture of a bunch of naked mannequins stashed in a corner near the fitting room of a fashionable department store in Virginia, USA. I decided not to show it here because it was kind of boring. They were so perfect in all their naked glory - not a scratch on their skinny bodies, no interesting expressions, no missing limbs. They just lacked that touch of . . . je ne sais quoi.

So this is it for now. May you be inspired to shoot your own mannequins.

Have you ever noticed funky mannequins or interesting shop windows? Domestic or foreign? If you have photos send me a link!

Living Abroad: Weird, Broken and Headless
Living Abroad: Weird, Broken and Headless

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