“Pic of the Week”, February 15, 2019: Arabian Tea House Cafe, Dubai

02 Al Fahidi Historic District (53)

Just outside one of the more interesting neighborhoods in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Historic District, sits a small picturesque cafe — the Arabian Tea House Cafe.  I’d been on my feet for more than three hours and the heat of the day was ramping up, so I thought I’d take a break to rest and get a snack. 

The cafe was situated in a shaded courtyard (shade provided by both trees and canopies) with comfortable tables.  Some sofas for waiting were placed outside and inside the restaurant, so it must get busy at times, although that late morning it was not. Fans moved air around and it was quite pleasant, despite the ambient heat.  The clientele was a mixture of locals …

Read More

Karl on | Leave a comment

“Pic of the Week”, February 1, 2019: St. Peter’s Church, Colombo

00 St. Peter’s Church, Fort (3)

Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka with just 7.5% of the population being Christian.  Most residents are Sinhalese Buddhists (70%), with smaller numbers of Tamils (12.5%) and Muslims (10%).  Historically all these people have gotten along quite well, although there have been periods of serious conflict (eg. a bloody 50 year civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils).  While there are many ancient Buddhist temples throughout Sri Lanka, it’s not common to find older Christian churches.

It’s worth looking for the entrance to St Peter’s in the Fort District of Colombo.  St. Peter’s is located on Church Street beside the Grand Oriental Hotel, adjoining the city’s harbor.  The area is quite secure, with barricades and fencing, because Police headquarters …

Read More

Karl on | Leave a comment

“Pic of the Week”, January 11, 2019: Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo

00 Oriental Hotel Colombo (4)

The Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH, previously the Taprobane Hotel) is a heritage property located in the Fort district of Colombo.

The building was formerly a barracks for the British Army and was converted to a hotel in 1875,  with 154 rooms.  Ads at the time claimed it was “the only fully European owned and fully equipped hotel in the East”; also, “the hotel is lighted throughout by electricity and all the public rooms and bedrooms are kept cool by means of electric fans”.

It was an elegant place to visit in the 19th century.  It had a tropical garden, was illuminated at night by colored lights, and had its own orchestra which performed daily.  The hotel underwent a thorough a refurbishment in …

Read More

Karl on | Leave a comment
.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Day in the Dubai Mall

07 Dubai Mall (69)

On my last day in Dubai I thought I’d connect with a few world records.  I visited the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and with the world’s highest observation deck, and the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall (by total area).  These two structures adjoin each other, so it’s quite easy to see both in one day.  I’ll soon publish a separate post on the Burj Khalifi, but today I’d like to focus on some of the sights and activities of the Dubai Mall.

Generally speaking, I’m not much of shopper and definitely not a Mall guy, but the Dubai Mall was an interesting and pleasant place to visit, especially as the outside temperature soared to 40oC (105oF), and …

Read More

Tagged , , ,
.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Signs of Sri Lanka

01 Signs of Sri Lanka

As many of you known, I like to collect photos of signage during my travels.  It’s a bit random to see what will strike my fancy, but I find these photos usually tell a story about the destination beyond what you’ll find at major attractions.

Sri Lanka is trying to to transition to a modern economy; we’ll see if it’s successful.  I’d did notice increased numbers of more modern signs while i was there during my last trip, as commerce is becoming more westernized.  These were often in both English and Sinihalese.

Here’s some of what I saw during my most recent travels on the island nation.

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

Tagged

“Pic of the Week”, December 28, 2018: The Coffee Museum, Dubai

05 Al Fahidi Historic District (85)

The Al Fahidi Historic District is one of the few surviving older neighborhoods within Dubai.  It’s quite a charming area which has been refurbished and modernized, and contains a variety of shops, cafes and some small museums.

One of the museums is dedicated to coffee.  It’s a small privately owned museum that displays the owner’s private collection, including historic items related to coffee making and drinking, such as old coffee grinders, pots, roasters and other coffee-related memorabilia.   Some of the items reflect the history of coffee consumption around the world.  There’s a small library with books based on coffee dating back as far as the 18th century.  And there are some Emirati-style majlis (sitting rooms) also on display.

Coffee is an integral …

Read More

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, December 28, 2018: The Coffee Museum, Dubai
.All Trips / Asia / India

Faces of Wagah

Wagah Border, India & Pakistan (63)

The lowering of the flag ceremony at the Wagah Border, which you can read about here,  provided an excellent opportunity for people watching.  Sitting in the viewing stands for more than an hour gave me lots of time to look around and snap photos of the border guards and civilians in attendance.

Here’s some of what I saw that afternoon:

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

Tagged , , , ,
.All Trips / Asia / India

A Memorable Trip to the Wagah-Attari Border

26 Wagah Border, India & Pakistan (195)

The flag lowering ceremony held at the Wagah border is among the more unusual festivities I’ve attended while traveling.  This border crossing is not far from the Sikh city of Amritsar which I’d visited for a few days, so I arranged for a car, driver and guide to take me to this event (recommended to me by someone who had lived in the region).

This is a daily ceremony done by the security forces of India (Border Security Force, BSF) and of Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers).  It can alternatively be viewed as a symbol of the two countries’ rivalry, or as one of cooperation depending on your philosophy (my perspective was that it was mostly one of rivalry, as the two nations …

Read More

Tagged , , ,