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March 2010

Hello from the Winelands of South Africa

We have arrived to the fabled Winelands of the Western Cape, only to find that I cannot download the beautiful photos that I have taken.   I will try to find an internet cafe that will allow me to show you the spectacular views. 

Needless to say, we are enjoying the delicious wines of the Stellenbosch area, and are eager to start our bike riding as soon as the bikes that were due on the 11th get here.   More soon, including photos, I hope.

Hello from Cape Town!

After a long but comfortable flight from LAX via London, we arrived in South Africa.    After we quickly settled in to our 'Backpacker's' guest house in the area known as Seapoint, we put on our walking shoes and took a scenic hour's walk towards Camp's Bay.    The wild coast of Cape Town is a wonderland of spectacular vistas.  

Above is a view of Clifton Beach, an area of magnificent homes overlooking sandy beaches.

There are many imaginative and beautiful ways used here to keep out unwanted intruders, including this lovely metal landscape.


Absailing over the sandy beaches of Camp's Bay - a chic and sunny beach with sidewalk cafes and beautiful people.  

Camp's Bay is also home to a large and active cricket pitch.   South Africans in general seem to bask in their balmy summer weather.

Milnerton Dunes Beach with it's view of Table Mountain and surfers in the foreground.   The waves were high today.    Kite surfing is also available here.

It turns out that this Sunday Cape Town will host largest bicycle race ever.   Lance Armstrong is among the 35,000 cyclists from all over the world who have come here to compete.   I have learned that the question to ask is their start time, as that will show their rank.   We rode in from the airport with a Brit who had promised himself to participate in this famed race 10 years ago at age 50.   His start time is 6:47 am, so he must be a fast and fit 60-year-old.    Needless to say, the hotels and cafes and streets are full of people with lycra cycling suits.

This delicious breakfast of eggs over a dark rye with sweet cherry tomatoes set me back 20Rand (at 7.5 to the dollar that comes to less than $3).

At lunch, we ate at a restaurant with a 'gangster' theme, as evidenced by this wallpaper in the ladies room.   The waitrons wore black fedoras.   Waitrons is a quaint South African term for servers.  

We went to the Milnerton Flea Market and met this pair of rescue pups.   Originally from Bloomfontein, these dogs charmed their owner - who had never had dogs before.   They are quiet and friendly, and were happy to be petted.   The owner says they are a Maltese and Jack Russell Terrier cross.

This Border Collie fetches sea weed tossed from the balcony above by his lifeguard buddies.  

This Chow Chow enjoys the sea breezes.

There are a few interesting signboards here in Capstad.   Of course, Africa is famous for their barbershop signboards, but so far this is the only one I have seen in practice, but it is a doosy!   That large gaping mouth on the right is part of an adult bookstore.

There are also some stenciled dog signs, but if I see any hand painted ones, I'll keep you posted.

This hand painted couple grace a curio shop on Long Street in downtown Cape Town.  

More later.   Please check the follow button at the top of this post to see more of our adventures in Cape Town and beyond.  

See the Dogs in Person!

The Ghetto Gloss Gallery on Melrose at June has added the Nepal Art Dogs to their store.

 Ghetto Gloss Dogs3
Above is a white shepherd by Sabala of Surya Arts, and to the right is Bruce Weber's dog looking decidedly like a rabid pup (by Ramesh of Om Arts).

 Ghetto Gloss Dogs2
The two dogs on the top left are rescue dogs painted by Yuba Raj Adhikari.   That cute little Boston Terrier is Veera by Sabala and Louis the poodle is a Spiritual Dog, also by Sabala.

 New Stone Age Dogs
New Stone Age LA has a number of Danger Dogs, including the little Shitzu above (by Vinosh), a double portrait of King and Princess by Dilip Niroj, and Ollie and Lily the King Charles Spaniels painted by Vinosh. 

 Cafam Dogs
The Craft and Folk Art Museum has a good selection of Nepal Art Dogs in their store.   They are right across from LACMA on Wilshire.

The Santa Monica Museum of Art also has the Nepal Art Dogs on display in their store.

Please support these vendors who support the Nepali artists.   

Micro-finance through art patronage is my motto.   Please help these endangered artists to keep their professions and dignity by supporting this Fair Trade Art project.

These signs are hand-painted on recycled metal and are available at these fine stores and on line through

You can see more of what is available on the Nepal Dog Channel on YouTube.

Contact me at [email protected] with any questions or comments.   I'd love to hear from you.

In Honor of the Oscars -- Movie Star Signboards from Nepal

Nepali signboard artists often use photos of movie stars from magazines for their beauty shop signage.

Nicole Kidman gets her hair done here.   Whilst in Nepal, she has black hair.   And probably a henna tattoo.

Penelope Cruz frequents the Sherpa Beauty Parlor while she is in Pokhara.   If you look closely, you can see that she was wearing a racy top that the local censors decided would be better painted over.   This happens to be by one of the Nepal Art Dog artists - Santosh Shrestha.

Also by Santosh, is his version of a young pre-Governator Arnold Schwartzenegger for the Fewa Gym.   Nice veins Arnold!

Angelina Jolie, by Jit Gurung, is what made me hire Jit in the first place.  This is right outside of his shop near Mahendrapul in Pokhara.  

 Kate Moss Sufraj
Other famous ladies include this portrait of Kate Moss that I commissioned as part of an experiment to see if I could expand the Nepal Art market.   I think this looks more like Tatum O'Neal than Kate Moss.   And Sufraj gave Kate a snaggle tooth!    This photo was taken from a Versace magazine ad. 

This is the wave of the future for Nepal signage.   I'm sure that Jennifer Aniston would look just as good hand-painted, original sign.    And I'm sure Jennifer would prefer to be paid for her image.   

Princess Di is featured on this old beauty shop sign in Boudha.   I wish she DID have a facelife!

My former editor and a co-worker on the Spider-man trilogy are nominated this year for their editing of 'The Hurt Locker'.   Best of luck to Bob Murawski and Chris Innes.   I can't wait to hear your acceptance speech.

The Nepal Art Dog project aims to stem the trend in Nepal to replace these hand-painted signboards with plastic pre-printed signage.  

You can help...


Nepal Art Dogs are hand-painted enamel portraits of pets on recycled metal, approximately 1 foot square.   Made in Nepal by 58 different artists’ studios.



This is a Fair Trade Art project that promotes the endangered signboard artists of Nepal.


For pet lovers who collect art and would like to make a difference.




Commissions available starting at $250


Send your Pet’s photo – get 3 choices from 3 different artists – pick your favorite


Enlightened Dogs from Nepal

When you hear the phrase ‘Nepali Art’, signboards are probably the last thing you think of.   My mission is to change that.


Signboard art in Nepal is fast disappearing - the artists are endangered, losing their livelihoods.   Their traditional trade is being replaced by printed, computer-generated signage.   The painting above is by Sanjib Rana.


My Fair Trade Art project is to promote this charming folk art from Nepal by making their artwork available to the world via ‘Beware of Dog’ signs. America’s love for their pets appears to be the perfect way to introduce the world to Nepali signboard art.   And, of course, the wording soon morphed  from ‘Beware’ to ‘Zen Dog,’ Enlightened Dog,’ and ‘Happy Dog.’    American Dogs = Nepali Jobs!   The painting of Lula the Tonkinese Cat above is by Sufraj Khadka.   (The blue 'dress' is actually the owner's socks.)

 “Danger Dogs from Nepal – Folk Art from the Himalayas” was started in 2007.    I had noticed that the lovely and quirky ‘Be Aware of the Dog’ signs that I had photographed over the years in Nepal were being replaced by generic boring stenciled signs.   They even covered this beautiful sheepdog with a stenciled sign!  That was the last straw!


Each commissioned piece receives a choice of 3 portraits of their pet, by 3 different artists.   That way, one is sure to please, 3 artists get work, and the extras are sold in museums as Folk Art.    Satisfaction is guaranteed.   I don’t accept money until after the customer chooses a portrait.   No bad karma here!    The art is synthetic enamel on metal, about a square foot in size.  Above (clockwise from top left) is Denver by Amar Shrestha, Hari Prasad and Sabala.

For more information, please contact me at [email protected].  There are more on the Nepal Dog Channel on YouTube as well.   Check out my website at