“Pic of the Week”, September 22, 2017: Tufted Gray Langurs

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It was always a delight to see these wonderful monkeys on my visits to Sri Lanka. Found mostly in dry zone forests and around human habitats, they are especially common in the country’s Cultural Triangle, which includes the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Anuradhapura , but also regions further to the south.

These are gentle creatures found nibbling on leaves and some of the food people leave as offerings at the temple sites.  The are usually seen in small groups.  And they don’t mind having their photos taken.

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.All Trips / Massachusetts / North America / Northeastern USA

A Day at the New England Aquarium, Boston

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I love visiting zoos and aquariums — at least most of them.  I believe they offer an excellent chance for people to see and study our planet’s fellow inhabitants, and that they are one of the most important conservation tools available to us.   People are much more likely to conserve animals and ecosystems they have an emotional tie to.  As a life-long student of biology and nature, I always find something new and fun everytime I go.

Boston’s New England Aquarium, while far from the biggest or best, is a nice place to spend a day with a family.  It is a popular tourist destination, hosting more than a million visitors each year.  Besides the aquatic attractions within the Aquarium …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 15, 2017: Merrion Square, Dublin

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Merrion Square is a beautiful garden square in south central Dublin.  It was laid out after 1762 and was largely completed by the 19th century. It’s a wonderful place to visit when in Dublin, for a casual stroll or picnic or to relax in a bench and do some people-watching.

People like to linger here, but the most popular resident of the park is a colorful statue of Oscar Wilde.  Commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group, it was sculpted by Danny Osborne and was unveiled about 20 years ago.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer and poet who resided across the street from the park.  Today he is best remembered for his novel The Picture of

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.All Trips / Asia / Nepal

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

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One of the most memorable places I’ve visited was the Khumbu region of Nepal, home of the friendly Sherpa people.  The main town in this region is Namche Bazaar.  It is not an easy place to get to.  You don’t just drop by.  Most people fly to Lukla from Kathmandu, where they start a one to two day trek to Namche Bazaar (depending on how fast you go).  This is the route those going to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal take, gradually acclimatizing as they ascend.

There are no roads here so all goods are brought to Namche Bazaar either on the backs of human porters or beasts of burden, large cattle at this altitude, yaks at higher …

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.All Trips / Eastern Canada / North America / Ontario

A visit to the Library of Parliament, Ottawa

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When you stand on the bank of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, (especially by the Canadian Museum of History), and look across the river you see the Canadian Parliamentary buildings.  This is the view captured in the above image.  The rounded building with flying buttresses in this complex, which is the one in the foreground and closest to the river, is the Parliamentary Library.  Before we step inside, let’s take a look at the history of the Library.

A Brief History of the Library of Parliament

Canada’s Library of Parliament began in the late 18th century with the legislative libraries of Upper and Lower Canada.  These two libraries were amalgamated in 1841 when Upper and Lower Canada united.  It was not …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 8. 2017 : Old man with bike, Chartres

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A scene of every day life in an historic city.
 
After having spent the morning exploring the great medieval cathedral in Chartres, we finished a fine lunch before heading into the medieval city down by the River.  While on our journey we came across this seasoned citizen, walking his bike up an incline.  Seems he is outfitted to go to the market.  Just an everyday scene in an ancient city.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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.All Trips / California / Food / Southwestern USA

Signs of Grand Central Market, Los Angeles

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Even though I lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 2 decades, it was not until I moved away from the city that I visited its famous Grand Central Market.  Situated in downtown Los Angeles (on Broadway), near many of the city’s massive skyscrapers and businesses, the market has been a landmark for 100 years (established in 1917).

The market has changed with time and it’s not like most of the markets you’ll visit.  Sales of fresh and bulk food , while a component, are a small part of the operation.  It seems these traditional market elements have been pushed out to make room for more restaurant vendors.  People now go to the market to buy prepared food.   …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 1, 2017: Canola field, Saskatchewan

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I had a pleasant drive across the Canadian prairies this summer with my father.  While the landscape is flat and lacks relief, it was a great time to do the trip because the canola and flax were blooming, adding a lot of color to the landscape.  And the first cutting of hay was being bailed, putting a fresh pleasant scent in the wind.  

Canola has become a popular crop in Canada these past few decades and canola fields are everywhere.  The plants are about a meter high and produce beautiful small yellow flowers that ripen into bean-like pods.  Black seeds from the pods are harvested and crushed to create canola oil and meal.  Canola seeds contain about 45 percent oil …

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