.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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Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

“Pic of the Week”, March 16, 2018: Descent into Las Vegas

00 Las Vegas Descent

One of my favorite places to enjoy the views from a window seat is when flying over the beautiful desert scenery of Utah and Nevada.  Recently while on approach and descending into Las Vegas McCarran Airport, just before sunset, I enjoyed some beautiful scenes of the Mojave Desert.  Colorful shades of red, tan and brown, ending with the now filled reservoir that is Lake Mead.  And ending with views of the Las Vegas Strip as our plane was about to land.

The last few minutes of I flight I found most memorable.

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.All Trips / Chile / South America

Visiting the Otway Penguins, Chile


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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.All Trips / Alberta / Car Culture / Central Canada / North America

Great Cars Along the Highway: 1959 Meteor Montcalm

00-Show and Shine Car Show (110)

A lovely 2 door hardtop beauty that is approaching 60 years of age! The Meteor  was a Ford model that was built and sold only in Canada.  

In the mid-1950s, Ford thought that to compete with General Motors (eg. with its Buick and Oldsmobile brands), it had to develop similar unique products. The plan affected Mercury by calling for the marque’s completely new platform and body design to differentiate it from Fords, beginning with the 1957 model year.

Eventually a 1960s trade agreement brought the US and Canadian auto manufacturing industry into alignment for cross-border production and trade. These unique Canadian models were axed.

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu

Waikiki and Honolulu viewed from Diamond Head

Framing the skyscrapers of Honolulu, the outline of Diamond Head is a readily identifiable landmark, recognized as a U.S. National Natural Monument in 1968.  It’s a volcanic tuft cone know to the locals as Le’ahi; the name “Diamond Head” was bestowed by 19th century British sailors who thought the calcite crystals on the adjoining beach were diamonds.  

Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.  An average of 3,000 people visit the crater every day, making it one of the most visited sites in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanic eruptions and on all of the islands you’ll find cones, vents, and eruption flows within the lava rock.  These are all …

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.All Trips / Central USA / North America / North Dakota

Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota

Grand Forks Air Force Base B25J Flo

I’ve visited only two US Air Force Bases in my life.  One was in Colorado Springs where our friends (2 Air Force veterans) gave us a tour of the training facility and some of the planes on exhibition, a very memorable visit.  My second was this Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota, where one can visit a diverse display of aircraft and missiles outside the main entrance gate.  Apparently free guided tours of these aircraft can be arranged for groups of 6 and more with 2 weeks notice, but as just my father and I were visiting and ours was a spur-of-the-moment decision, this didn’t apply to us.  We did not actually enter the AFB, just explored the planes …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Back at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center Museum 11-2016 (7a)

When I have free time while traveling in greater Los Angeles, I love to visit the Getty Center — well worth a full day’s visit, especially if you’ve never been there before.  There’s no admission fee but you have to pay $15.00 to park for the day (so if you’re dropped off by a friend, the entire day would be a freebie).   There’s a large parking structure adjoining the 405 Fwy in Sepulveda Pass and from here visitors takes a tram uphill to the Getty Center.  The tram/funicular ride takes just a few minutes and when you exit you enter a beautifully crafted world of art and architecture.   I enjoy walking the meticulously maintained grounds and taking in the ever …

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D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, February 16, 2018: Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC

Washington 285 Lincoln Memorial at night

Always held the 3rd Monday of February, President’s Day is intended to honor the first President, George Washington’s, birthday.  February (12th to be precise) is also the birthday of the President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President.  

Both men were great leaders who are remembered on their nation’s currency and through monuments in the nation’s capital.  Today’s Pic features my personal favorite, the Lincoln Memorial.   Built at the western end of the Washington Mall and styled after a Greek Doric Temple (which like Lincoln is featured on the $5 bill), there’s a H-U-G-E sculpture of Lincoln is inside.  If the Lincoln statue could stand up, it would be 29 ft (8.5 m) tall.  It’s carved of Georgia white marble and weighs 175 tons.  The …

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