Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, April 27, 2018: “Big Edge”, Las Vegas

00 Around the Vdara (16)

Situated in the heart of Las Vegas’ City Center, in the middle of many beautifully designed skyscrapers, is a fascinating piece of street-art.  It’s crafted by Nancy Rubins and is known as “Big Edge”.   Like something you might imagine seeing at the bottom of a waterfall that has surprised dozens of boaters.

“Big Edge” is situated in front of the Vdara Hotel and Spa, between the Aria and Bellagio casinos, and is best seen from its elevated circular drive (its not visible from The Strip).  Two hundred boats, many canoes but with some flat bottom boats and rowboats, are incorporated into this unusual piece.  Given the strong desert winds, this seemingly haphazard arrangement of boats actually has to be firmly …

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.All Trips / D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA / Washington District of Columbia

Martlin Luther King Jr Memorial, Washington D.C.

00 Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (10)

 
“Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope”

 

One of the newer memorials in Washington DC is also one of its most unusual and memorable.  The Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial is located adjacent to the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, beside the National Mall and the FDR Memorial.   The MLK Memorial is spread along the banks of the Tidal Basin and cover four acres, but is centered on a carving of the famous Civil Rights leader. 

The MLK statue is incorporated into part of a large granite boulder that has been sliced into three pieces, much like the layers of a giant sandwich.  To enter the monument from the National Mall, you walk through the outer two …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Seville’s Awesome Cathedral!

04 Seville Cathedral

Seville’s cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The cathedral was built in the 15th century (1401 to 1506 A.D.) on the site of the 12th century Aljama mosque.  Portions of the mosque survive within the Cathedral’s structure, most notably the belltower known as Giralda.

Seville’s Cathedral is very popular with visitors and unless you arrive early or late, you’ll likely have to wait in line to purchase your ticket.  It’s one of the most magnificent churches I’ve ever seen, and I found it well worth the wait and price of admission.  While you wait in line you’ll have time to study and enjoy some of the beautiful craftsmanship adorning the …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / North America / Pacific Northwest / Washington

Great Cars Along the Highway: Ford Sunliner, Spokane

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Came across this lovely old car parked in a shopping mall in Spokane.

It’s a Ford from the early 1950s that seems to have been reworked somewhat, especially its grill, making it a little hard to pinpoint.  I expect a 1952 or 1953 vintage, but a lovely classic  convertible.  I found it interesting that it has its old dealer plaque, Stoddard-Wendle.  Wendle is still a popular Ford dealership in the city. 

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips / Alberta / Central Canada / North America

Beautiful Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park!

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Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park lies in the Milk River valley of the province’s prairie grasslands ecosystem and has characteristic “Badlands” erosion.  It is situated in southern Alberta, just north of the Montana border.  

This place is sacred to the Blackfoot native population as the Park contains the largest concentration of petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the North American plains.  It is believed this site was a place where the ancestors of the Blackfoot people gathered to socialize and tell stories. 

I visited this park several years ago.  It’s in a fairly remote place, about a half day’s drive from the city of Calgary and an hour and a half from Lethbridge.  I visited on a rainy, windy June day that …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

A Visit to the Old Dutch Fort in Batticaloa

06 Old Dutch Fort Batticaloa (15)

My visit to Sri Lanka this past year provided my first opportunity to explore the east and southeastern coasts of the island.  During prior visits, the area was “off limits” because of the decades-long Civil War disrupting the country (which fortunately has been resolved).  The region around Batticaloa was a Tamil stronghold in their fight with the Sinhalese government.  The region is decidedly more Hindu and Christian than other parts of the island I’ve visited.

Sri Lanka, because of it’s strategic location, has been in the cross-hairs of many colonial nations over the centuries.  In modern recorded history this includes the Portuguese, Dutch and English, all of whom left their mark on the country.  There were several dozen such old forts …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Colombo’s Independence Memorial Hall

10 Independence Monument

One of the required stops when touring Colombo is this rather impressive building, situated in Independence Square within the trendy Cinnamon Gardens neighborhood.  The monument commemorates Sri Lanka gaining its independence from Great Britain on February 4, 1948.  The location is the precise site where Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, opened Sri Lanka’s first parliament, in so doing ending almost five centuries of colonial rule (the last 140 years under Britain).

The building, while mostly made of concrete instead of quarried rock, is styled after the ancient structures in Sri Lanka,  The main feature of the monument, the assembly (audience) hall, was modeled after the royal court of the King of Kandy, the last kingdom in the island nation to fall to …

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.All Trips / Chile / South America

Visiting the Otway Penguins, Chile

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It’s hard not to like penguins.  Flightless, of course, their comical waddling gait on land belies their great agility and speed in the water.  A chance to see them up close and in the wild is always something I’ll jump at, so I was glad for the opportunity to visit this penguin colony at Otway.  Otway “feels” inland but is connected to the sea and the Fitzroy Channel.

Situated off the road connecting Torres del Paine and Punta Arenas in Patagonian Chile, Seno Otway is home to a large but seasonal colony of penguins.  During the peak season, from October through March, there are up to 150,00 Magellanic penguins that mate and reside in the area.  They nest, lay eggs in October, and …

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