a.k.a. Photo of the Week

“Pic of the Week”, April 19, 2019: Easter Week in Batticaloa

01 St. Mary’s Cathedral, Batticaloa (5)

During my last trip to Sri Lanka, I spent some time visiting with my friend, Dottie, Sir Arthur C Clarke’s personal secretary.  I got to know Dottie during my travels to Sri Lanka decades ago and we have kept up our friendship and correspondence over the years; it was nice to reconnect in person for a few days.

Dottie is a devout Roman Catholic and wanted to visit the Catholic churches in eastern Sri Lanka, which gave me the opportunity to see places and observe religious customs I otherwise might not have.  One of these places was the Cathedral of St. Mary in the small city of Batticaloa, an old church dating to 1808.

The church is simple but nicely maintained.  I …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 5, 2019: Union Point Church, Manitoba.

03 Trip to Morris (11)

Sometimes it’s good to stop at places you’ve driven by hundreds of times and actually explore them.  Such was the case with my visit to the Union Point Church south of St. Agathe in southern Manitoba.

The church is situated between the north and south-bound lanes of highway 75, the road that connects Winnipeg to southern Manitoba and North Dakota.  It’s a fairly important road, so thousands of people drive by the church every day but I suspect hardly anyone ever stops for a visit.

Union Point church was originally built in 1887, destroyed by fire in 1939, and rebuilt in 1940. There’s a small cemetery beside the church with tombstones dating to the late 19th century.  There was once also a …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 29, 2019: Farmacia de la Estrella, Buenos Aires

00 Pharmacy

Like many of you, I’d like to step back in time on occasions — at least as much as a particular spot will allow me to.

A visit to Farmacia de la Estrella on Defensa Street in Buenos Aires, near the Basilica de San Francisco, will take you back to the 19th century.  Built in 1835, the pharmacy is still actively functioning and a busy place dispensing homeopathic remedies to those in need.  It is said to be the oldest pharmacy in Buenos Aires.  

The woodwork is original mahogany, and the murals are lovely.  You’ll see lots of old jars from a time when medicine didn’t come in blisterpacks or disposable bottles.  The pharmacy hasn’t changed much over the past two centuries and …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 22, 2019: Sambodhi Chaithya, Colombo

00 Stupa

Stupas, or dagobas, are very commonly found throughout southeastern Asia.  I’d never seen one with legs before my visit to Sambodhi Chaithya, located on Marine Drive adjacent to the Harbor in Colombo’s Fort district.

Sambodhi Chaithya was built in 1956 on a platform supported by two massive interlocking concrete arches.  No one is sure why it was designed in this manner, but likely so that it can be seen at a distance by ships as they approach the harbor.  The stupa can be entered by climbing 11 sets of stairs (barefoot — no shoes allowed in a stupa — beware of burning your feet on a hot day!), and then crossing a steel bridge as you can see from the photo …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 15, 2019: Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires

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Situated on Buenos Aires’ busy Avenida de Mayo is a charming cafe that’s worth looking up.  Cafe Tortoni was founded in 1856 by a French immigrant who fashioned it after Paris’ cafes of that era.   To say he did a great job is an understatement.  Walking in from the busy avenue does indeed seem like stepping into Van Gogh’s Paris.

Cafe Tortoni moved to its current location in 1880.   It has remained largely unchanged since then. 

We visited for coffee and a pastry with some friends during our stroll down Avenida de Mayo.  Both the company and refreshment were excellent!  And the ambience was most memorable.

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

 

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“Pic of the Week”, March 8, 2019: Weddings in Krakow

Weddings on Wawel Hill (19)

I’m a sucker for weddings.  I understand that many couples don’t stay married, but there’s something appealing about the excitement, optimism and pageantry of the wedding day that appeals to me.  I fondly remember my own wedding day some 33 years ago (still happily married), and more recently those of my two sons.  I’m old-fashioned enough to consider marriage the cornerstone of civilization.

While traveling, I like to take the opportunity to snap photos of wedding couples when possible and I’m not being intrusive.  There were a lot of weekend weddings in fall in Krakow, some of which I had a chance to photograph.

As always, my very best wishes to each of these couples.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 1, 2019: James Bond’s Aston Martin

00 Bond car

Sitting adjacent to the Burj Khalifa gift shop in Dubai was a most beautiful car.  If it looks familiar it’s because it was used in the Bond movie, Spectre.  The car is an Aston Martin DB10, a 2 door concept car created especially for the movie by the British Car manufacturer.  A total of 10 cars was made — 8 used in the movie, 2 used for promotional purposes.  I assume this is one of the latter.

Some of the car’s technical specifics:  4.7 liter AJ37 V8 engine producing 430 bhp.  Accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.3 seconds.  6 speed manual transmission.  Top speed 310 km/h (193/h).

A rare and very beautiful machine.  And …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 22. 2019: Celebrating a Newborn, Rajasthan

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Enjoying a nice lunch in a restaurant that offered escape from the mid-day heat, we were attracted by the sound of music and a crowd gathering outside.   Everyone in our Rajasthan travel group headed out and had the opportunity to see this celebration.

Our guide explained that a child had been born in the village and this was a way of making a public announcement to that effect.  Notice in some of the photos a woman is carrying a baby’s crib on her head.  Mostly it’s a chance for people to dance and celebrate.

Any could join in the festivities and several from our group were soon taking part.  I did what I always do — watched and documented the experience with my …

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