a.k.a. Photo of the Week

“Pic of the Week”, October 12, 2018: The Waterfall at the Dubai Mall

10 Dubai Mall (48)

One of the most impressive works of public art I’ve ever seen was in the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall.  Located close to the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifi) and with views of it, are two cylindrical waterfalls that extend the full four story height (24 m) of the Mall structure. 

All that flowing water seems out of place in the desert, but the sight and sound of it is beautiful and mesmerizing.  To enhance the waterfalls are dozens of fiberglass figures giving the illusion of synchronized divers.  This art work can be viewed from each level of the mall, and the perspective changes so take the escalator up all the floors and take it all in.

The fountains are …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 5, 2018 : Space Shuttle, “Discovery”

04 Discovery

When the Space Shuttle program was discontinued in the early years of the Obama administration, museums around the world scrambled for the right to receive and exhibit one of the four remaining shuttles.   It seems highly appropriate that one of these unique spacecraft should find its final home at the prestigious Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located in Virginia, close to Washington Dulles Airport, about a half hour’s drive from downtown DC).  

Situated in a separate wing of the Udvar-Hazy Center with other relics of space travel (including an especially an impressive collection of satellites), the Shuttle is one of the Center’s prized exhibits.  The shuttle Discovery is parked so that you can walk around it …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 28, 2018: Dubai’s Textile Souk

00 textile souk, Dubai (2)

Situated in the Bur Dubai, adjoining Dubai Creek, is the Textile Souk.  This is a pretty market district located within a restored traditional bazaar, its buildings and walkways shaded by a wooden roof (the shade providing welcome relief from the almost unbearable desert heat). There is a main central lane to the market, with side alleys leading to smaller shops.

Most of the shops are now operated by Indian (rather than Arab) traders and the merchandise sold varies from the colorful bolts of cloth (cotton, silk, some embroidered), dresses, blankets, slippers, and assorted Dubai souvenir items.  Bartering is expected and often lively.  Many of the shops have tailors who can sew you a dress or shirt and have it ready before you depart …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 21, 2018: Views from Ushuaia

09 Ushuaia 2-2014

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.  It lies on the tip of Tierra del Fuego, off the Beagle Channel, and is surrounded by the Martial Mounts. This excellent location allows you to enjoy dramatic scenes of the sea, mountains and forests of southern Patagonia.

We spent a few days in Ushuaia after completing a memorable cruise through the Patagonian fjords.  The weather was quite changeable and scenes of the city were often dramatic, especially when viewed from the hill where our hotel was located.

Ushuaia has a modern international airport and is the closest deep-water port to Antarctica.  The last photos below are some of my favorites, with “Godbeams” of light penetrating the heavy cloud of a clearing storm.

(Click on …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 14, 2018: Floralis Genérica, Buenos Aires

02 Floralis Genérica, Palermo

Floralis Genérica is one of the best known and most impressive monuments  in Buenos Aires. It’s a sculpture of a massive flower (18 tons, 23 meters high) made of stainless steel, aluminum and concrete.  Floralis Genérica is located in a beautiful 4 acre park at the Plaza of the United Nations in Recoleta.  The park has walking paths that allow you to view the sculpture from different angles.

This impressive artwork was donated to the city in 2002 by architect Eduardo Catalano. It has a mechanism (which may or may not be working) that opens and closes the flower’s six gigantic petals, depending on the time of day.  When all is in working order the flower closes …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 7, 2018: Reminders of a Wildfire, Patagonia

01PainesMassifTorresDelPaine77

Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve and is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.  The area has had several significant wildfires in the past few decades, the largest in late 2011 which burned into 2012 and destroyed 16,000 hectares (about 40,000 acres) .   All of these wildfires were caused by careless human behavior.  While it is somewhat shaky, this short videoclip shows the magnitude of these fires and just how scary they are when you’re in the midst of it all.

The area doesn’t have the dense forests or taller trees one sees in coastal Patagonia, but the scrubby dead bush that remains is definitely a reminder of these fires. I …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 31, 2018: Galle Face Green, Colombo

15 Galle Face Green (2)

Situated on the Indian Ocean, just north of the historic Galle Face Hotel and south of Colombo’s business district and old Fort region, is a public park known as the Galle Face Green

The park covers 5 hectacres (12 acres) and is a popular place for people to gather, especially at sunset when the beautiful light of the setting sun and cool ocean breezes draws folks in.  The Green has in the past, also served as a horse racing venue, golf course and sports field (football, cricket, rugby).

During my visits to Colombo I enjoyed walking along the Green’s oceanside path just after dawn — one of my ways of dealing with jetlag.  The walk …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 24, 2018: A Disappearing Prairie Icon

elevator 1

Grain elevators, prairie sentinels, prairie cathedrals — all synonyms for the large structures that have dotted the Canadian prairies for more than a century.  I recall when traveling across the plains as a boy, you could spot these wooden towers at great distances — often 20 or more miles away — providing welcome relief to the otherwise flat landscape.  Each elevator was a storage facility that marked the location of a prairie town; the larger and more plentiful elevators were in a given location, the larger and more prosperous the town.

The business of the prairies is agriculture and mechanisms needed to be developed to get the bountiful grain crops to world markets.  After some experimentation with bagging the grain, it …

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