“Pic of the Week”, March 30, 2018: Good Friday in Trincomalee

‘s Cathedral, Trincomale (6)

Last year I had the pleasant experience of being in eastern Sri Lanka on Good Friday.  I was traveling with a friend who is a devout Christian and Roman Catholic.  As such we visited several of the Christian churches on the east coast of the country.  

Christianity is one of the smaller religions in Sri Lanka, the most common being Buddhism.  But there is a strong Christian community especially in the eastern part of the country.  On Good Friday (the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death) we visited St. Mary’s Cathedral in Trincomalee.  The church was very crowded and busy, with a large line of people waiting to get to the front of the church.  Their goal was to see …

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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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“Pic of the Week”, March 23, 2018: Forrey and Galland Chocolatier, Dubai

01 Dubai Mall (33)

Like many people, I enjoy chocolate.  Especially goooood chocolate!  Not only is it delicious, when done right it’s beautiful.

An example of what I mean, I encountered this chocolatier while wandering around the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall.   The window displays were absolutely lovely — the chocolates were beautifully packaged and wonderfully displayed, as was an Easter-egg styled display of macaroons.  I picked up a few pieces which I enjoyed while exploring this vast Mall — an affordable luxury.

Forrey & Galland is a Parisian company, founded in 1912.  While the Parisian shops have disappeared, this shop in the Dubai Mall opened in 2008.  All chocolate is crafted right here by a staff of 50 artisans. 

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, …

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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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“Pic of the Week”, March 9, 2018: A Rajasthani Potter and his Wife

03 Potter

It was most helpful having a good guide while in India because we got to see and experience a variety of things we otherwise wouldn’t have.  An example was a stop at one of our guide’s friend’s homes while in a small village in Rajasthan. 

As part of our education about the Caste system of India, wherein people are born into certain groups or Castes, our guide explained this man was born into the lower Sudra (labor) cast.  He was a potter, just like generations of his ancestors before had been.

The potter adeptly demonstrated his ability to mold wet clay into usable vessels, like drinking cups and small bowls.  The drinking cups we were especially familiar with as we had a …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 12, 2018: Pigeons at the Mosque, Delhi

00 Jama Masjid, Delhi (149)

Built more than 350 years ago, Jama Masjid remains the largest mosque in Delhi and is able to accommodate up to 25,000 for prayers.  Situated on a hill in the old city, it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in Delhi.

One of the people taking care of the mosque also looked after the large population of pigeons that flew around the minarets and dome.  He provided a large amount of grain and water to feed them, and carefully looked after their grain with a hand broom, keeping it in a neat pile.  

Pet-keeper of the mosque, so to speak.  

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

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Signs of Delhi

01 Signs of Delhi

There’ s no place quite like Delhi!  A large sprawling city with a population of about twenty million (itself more populous than many countries!), it is bustling with commerce of all types but mostly of the small street vendor to consumer variety.

As many of you know, I collect “signs”.  Delhi was a little challenging in this regard.  Many of the signs were crafted in Hindi, which I can’t read, but there were a fairly large number that were bilingual or created in English (with tourists and expats in mind, I assume).  It is these I tended to photograph. 

As with most things about Delhi, like its noise, traffic, crowding, filth and smells, the signage can be overwhelming to the senses.  Often …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

The Dubai Marina

Dubai20Marina200120281929

Just like most of greater Dubai, by all rights the Dubai Marina should not exist.  As such, it seems surreal when you first see it.  Built in the desert along what was once a vacant 2 mile stretch of sandy beach, it’s now a towering artificial canal city with a beautiful jumble of skyscrapers juxtaposed against the water.  

The construction project was complex and involved years of dredging and building, the construction still continuing.  When the building phase is finally completed, it will be the largest marina in the world (currently that title belongs to Marina del Rey in California).   The city of Dubai Marina can accommodate over 120,000 residents, many of them expats who enjoy the warm climate and …

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