Saturday, September 20, 2014

Paris, France

Journalist Tom Wolfe summarized this landmark's history perfectly: "Napoleon wanted to turn Paris into Rome under the Caesars, only with louder music and more marble. And it was done. His architects gave him the Arc de Triomphe and the Madeleine." Which one is shown here? [2005]

Friday, September 19, 2014

Havana, Cuba

You might expect fish to be a big part of the Cuban diet: it's an island with abundant small harbors. Yet, fish is in short supply: rarely available by ration card and expensive if you eat out. Why? [2014]

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tartous, Syria

Wooden boat building still takes place on the shores of the Mediterranean. Notice how the bent frame is being constructed. Could his name be Beckham? [1996]

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Piraeus, Greece

The setting is Greek; the chain is American; the seats are empty; and the waiter is bored. Is the price too high? Is the food too salty? Is the table too small? Is the name too English? [2006]

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas

These kayaks don't look at all incongruous in the subtropical waters of Eleuthera. If you know anything about their history, though, they are completely out of place.  They originated thousands of years ago in the subarctic.  Little did the Inuits and Aleuts know they were inventing something that would become so popular in the 21st century. [2014]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Marrakech, Morocco

With hats like these, water vendors function like neon signs in Marrakech's medina. You can't miss them, so you can't miss the fact that you're thirsty. Those same brightly colored hats, some augmented by tiny clanging cymbals, are used to attract tourists, too. In the background:  the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque. [2010]

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal

No wasted space here. Whether land or water, the lure of geography has assured intensive use of this site for centuries. Every yacht that leaves the Doca de Bélem turns back the clock to the 1400s, when da Gama and Diaz used the mouth of the Tagus River to open up the world ocean. [2009]