“Pic of the Week”, February 23, 2017: Western Gorillas

San Diego Zoo Safari (121)

While gorillas are the largest of the great apes, the western (lowland) gorillas are the smallest and least endangered of this subspecies.  Native to the Congo River Basin, they live in lowland tropical and swamp forests.  They are quiet, peaceful animals whose existence is threatened by deforestation and poaching.

Male gorillas are up to 1.55 meters tall and weigh up to 157 kg; females are 1.35 meters and weigh up to 80 kg.  They  are mainly herbivores, feasting on leaves and fruit but occasionally eating ants, worms and caterpillars.  Western gorillas are nomadic, wandering in groups of up to 30 individuals in search of food.  Each band is lead by a dominant “silverback” male ( so called because of a silver …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Back at the Getty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center Museum 11-2016 (7a)

When I have free time while traveling in greater Los Angeles, I love to visit the Getty Center — well worth a full day’s visit, especially if you’ve never been there before.  There’s no admission fee but you have to pay $15.00 to park for the day (so if you’re dropped off by a friend, the entire day would be a freebie).   There’s a large parking structure adjoining the 405 Fwy in Sepulveda Pass and from here visitors takes a tram uphill to the Getty Center.  The tram/funicular ride takes just a few minutes and when you exit you enter a beautifully crafted world of art and architecture.   I enjoy walking the meticulously maintained grounds and taking in the ever …

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D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA

“Pic of the Week”, February 16, 2018: Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC

Washington 285 Lincoln Memorial at night

Always held the 3rd Monday of February, President’s Day is intended to honor the first President, George Washington’s, birthday.  February (12th to be precise) is also the birthday of the President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President.  

Both men were great leaders who are remembered on their nation’s currency and through monuments in the nation’s capital.  Today’s Pic features my personal favorite, the Lincoln Memorial.   Built at the western end of the Washington Mall and styled after a Greek Doric Temple (which like Lincoln is featured on the $5 bill), there’s a H-U-G-E sculpture of Lincoln is inside.  If the Lincoln statue could stand up, it would be 29 ft (8.5 m) tall.  It’s carved of Georgia white marble and weighs 175 tons.  The …

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.All Trips / Chile / South America

A Stop in Puerto Natales

01 Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is an isolated small town in Patagonian Chile, the kind where if you blink you might miss it while you’re driving through.  It’s best known as a gateway for trekkers and adventures traveling to nearby Torres del Paine.  Recently fossil rich caves near the town have brought it fame because of the giant sloth fossils found within.   Puerto Natales is situated on the Ultima Esperanza Sound and is a port for the Navimag ferry.

The first European to discover the area was Juan Ladrillero, a Spanish explorer who was looking for the Strait of Magellan’s western passage amidst the maze of the Chilean fjords (1557).  The famous British ship of exploration, the HMS Beagle (on which Charles Darwin was …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 9, 2018: Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

Q.C.I.  017.  Old Masset

Haida Gwaii — the island chain off the coast of British Columbia formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands — has a long history of terrific native artistry.  While visiting the islands, we made a stop in the small community of Old Massett which sits on the site of several historic Haida villages.  

It was in Old Massett that some of the Haida people who had survived the devastating wave of smallpox that arrived with white settlers started regrouping in the late 19th century.   Today, Old Massett is the administrative center for the Council of the Haida Nation. 

Old Massett is home to the Islands’ largest collection of contemporary totem poles, which are located throughout the village.  There are several skilled …

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.All Trips / Europe / Germany

Signs of Berlin


Berlin is an interesting and fun destination.  Almost completely destroyed by bombs in World War II, it is mostly a newly rebuilt city, though with some interesting preserved historic sites.  Economically the city is doing well and it has a young vibe because of its college and job scene.

While strolling through the city, I captured (as I always do), images of those signs caught my fancy in some way.  These included:

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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.All Trips / Central USA / Minnesota / North America

A Day in Grand Marais, Minnesota


Grand Marais is a town of about 1500 residents situated in Cook County, Minnesota.  It rests on the northwestern shore of the largest lake in the world, Lake Superior.  Grand Marais is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer season, and is accessed by Minnesota Highway 61 (North Shore Scenic Drive).  It’s 110 miles NE of Duluth and 40 miles SW of the Canadian/US border.

Grand Marais is French for “Great Marsh”, the name referring to a marsh that was situated in the town long ago which it seems has mostly been filled in.   It has a nice harbor (see photos above and below) and many people like to sail from it onto the unpredictable waters of the Great …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 2, 2018: Shopping in San Telmo

00 San Telmo shopping

San Telmo is one of the more popular neighborhoods for shopping and dining in Buenos Aires.  The city, at its prime in the late 19th century, is now in what could most kindly be called a state of “elegant decay”.  There are a lot of old shops in San Telmo, which is especially well known for its antique market.  

My favorite store was one that sold these unusual leg lamps (see above), which brought a smile to my face as I remembered the famous scenes involving a similar lamp from the classic film, “A Christmas Story“.  A small craft market surrounded around one of San Telmo’s squares, great coffee shops and produce stands.

My wife and I spent the better part …

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