.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles’ Art Deco Treasure

01 Griffith Observatory

One of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks is the Griffith Observatory, which is situated on a hill (in massive Griffith Park) overlooking the Los Angeles basin.  Designed to be an observatory of the planets and stars, it’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that houses space and science exhibitions and has a great planetarium. 

While smog obscures the views from the Observatory most of the time, the place is especially memorable for its great views on a clear day like the one I had the

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

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Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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.All Trips / Asia / Car Culture / Sri Lanka

Great Cars Along the Highway. Colombo, Sri Lanka

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One of the rarest cars I ever countered during my travels to Sri Lanka, in fact, the only one of its type I’ve seen in the country, is this classic Cadillac coupe.  Parked in front of the Galle Face Hotel, it was decorated for one of the many weddings held here.

It’s obviously a Cadillac, and appears to be a Coupe de Ville from the mid 1950s with some post purchase customizations.  Anyone know anything more about this car?

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos)

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A visit to the Al Fahidi Fort (the Dubai Museum)

02 Dubai Museum (44)

When you visit Dubai today you’ll see a landscape of shiny skyscrapers piercing the hazy desert air.  There’s a lot of history to the region, although little lingering evidence of man’s habituating it because until a few decades ago, this was the home of nomadic tribesmen.  In the mid-twentieth century the influx of petrodollars changed all that and fueled the construction boom leading to the city we see today.  If like me you like to study the history of a place, then a visit to the Dubai Museum is a must when visiting the U.A.E.

The Al Fahidi Fort, built of coral stone and mortar in 1787, is the oldest building in Dubai.  The Fort is situated on the south side of Dubai Creek in …

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.All Trips / Massachusetts / North America / Northeastern USA

A Day at the New England Aquarium, Boston

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I love visiting zoos and aquariums — at least most of them.  I believe they offer an excellent chance for people to see and study our planet’s fellow inhabitants, and that they are one of the most important conservation tools available to us.   People are much more likely to conserve animals and ecosystems they have an emotional tie to.  As a life-long student of biology and nature, I always find something new and fun everytime I go.

Boston’s New England Aquarium, while far from the biggest or best, is a nice place to spend a day with a family.  It is a popular tourist destination, hosting more than a million visitors each year.  Besides the aquatic attractions within the Aquarium …

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.All Trips / Asia / Nepal

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

03 Namche

One of the most memorable places I’ve visited was the Khumbu region of Nepal, home of the friendly Sherpa people.  The main town in this region is Namche Bazaar.  It is not an easy place to get to.  You don’t just drop by.  Most people fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, where they start a one to two day trek to Namche Bazaar (depending on how fast you go).  This is the route those going to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal take, gradually acclimatizing as they ascend.

There are no roads here so all goods are brought to Namche Bazaar either on the backs of human porters or beasts of burden, large cattle at this altitude, yaks at higher …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A visit to the Library of Parliament, Ottawa

Parliament Hill 02

When you stand on the bank of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, (especially by the Canadian Museum of History), and look across the river you see the Canadian Parliamentary buildings.  This is the view captured in the above image.  The rounded building with flying buttresses in this complex, which is the one in the foreground and closest to the river, is the Parliamentary Library.  Before we step inside, let’s take a look at the history of the Library.

A Brief History of the Library of Parliament

Canada’s Library of Parliament began in the late 18th century with the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada.  These two libraries were amalgamated in 1841 when Upper and Lower Canada united.  It was not …

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.All Trips / California / Food / Southwestern USA

Signs of Grand Central Market, Los Angeles

03 Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Even though I lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 2 decades, it was not until I moved away from the city that I visited its famous Grand Central Market.  Situated in downtown Los Angeles (on Broadway), near many of the city’s massive skyscrapers and businesses, the market has been a landmark for 100 years (established in 1917).

The market has changed with time and it’s not like most of the markets you’ll visit.  Sales of fresh and bulk food , while a component, are a small part of the operation.  It seems these traditional market elements have been pushed out to make room for more restaurant vendors.  People now go to the market to buy prepared food.   …

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