Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Delhi, India

Many people take respite on the porch at the Sikh Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most magnificent buildings in Delhi.  They have come to worship (on Sunday), but also to participate in the rituals of living.  Male Sikhs are identifiable by their turbans.  Note the style (patka) unique to boys and young men.  A gurudwara is a Sikh temple.  [2011]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Delhi, India

Delhi’s Lodi Gardens spread around the tombs and mosques built by the Lodi sultans about the time Columbus was sailing west to reach the east.  In the background is Sheesh Gumbad, meaning dome of glass.  It is a tomb and a mosque.  [2011]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Delhi, India

He is a sadhu. All over India you find these Hindu “saints.” They have renounced the world and all its pleasures and live solely in a spiritual dimension (somewhat like medieval Christian ascetics). Generally, sadhus congregate around Hindu temples, but this one was perched on the curb outside the Roman Catholic cathedral. The pink fabric probably denotes loyalty to a particular goddess. [2011]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mumbai, India

There’s plenty of cheap labor in India.  That’s why many jobs haven’t been mechanized.  Porters like these compete with cars, buses, and trucks for street space.  Guess which one has the lowest carbon footprint.  [2011]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mumbai, India

For the British, Bombay (a Portuguese place name) was the gateway to India. When King George visited in 1911, construction of the arch began. It came to be called the Gateway of India. Now, it’s a popular site on the tourist circuit and an embarkment point for harbor tours. [2011]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mumbai, India

Colaba market in Mumbai keeps the neighborhood provided with everything it needs.  While the men run the shops, the women sit (and lie) on the street selling vegetables.  It’s capitalism modified by traditional gender roles.  Do you think they dress to match the fruit?  [2011]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mumbai, India

Hi from Mumbai!  Welcome to Marine Drive, the essence of Mumbai’s waterfront.   High sun keeps the crowds away.  But, just wait until evening!  You’ve been reading about India’s emerging middle class.  Here are two of them, being as friendly as they can.  The West’s “Playboy” lifestyle has its appeal, judging from their T-shirts.  FYI:  Bombay is now Mumbai.  [2011]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Palwal, India

Buffaloes are bred for milk production in India and are commonly seen in rural areas.  From another bodily orifice comes their second most important contribution to the household economy:  fuel.  Dung is precious in the Indian countryside. Biogas might be as well.  [2011]

Monday, May 23, 2011

Agra, India

Sari and sandals, with the Taj Mahal as a backdrop: what could be more Indian?  Cell phones perhaps.  I am sure she is texting someone about how she feels in the presence of the greatest monument to love the world has ever seen.  [2011]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Agra, India

Neither his first nor second wife gave the emperor any heirs to the Mughul throne.  Then, Shah Jahahn found Mumtaz Mahal, who gave him fourteen children, but died giving brith to the last.  In mourning, he built for his Mumtaz the Taj Mahal, one of the 'new seven wonders.' Can you imagine the army of elephants that contributed to this effort?  Where's their memorial? [2011]

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Southampton, England, UK

Some cities tore down their wallls and gates, but not Southampton. The most spectacular survivor of the 13th century is the Bar Gate, today right in the heart of the shopping precinct, a pedestrian zone. Having turned his back on history, he uses a different gate, his mobile, as a portal to the world beyond. [2011]

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Needles, Isle of Wight, England, UK

It looks like an iceberg, but’s it not.  It’s chalk.  Here the white cliffs of Wight dwindle in stature until they know they must give up the ghost and succumb to the sea.  Ultimately, the fate of The Needles is the fate of the entire island:  the sea’s only goal is to consume the land.  [2011]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Totland, Isle of Wight, England, UK

The agricultural landscapes of the Isle of Wight have become part of the island’s ‘brand.’  Scenes like this flank the footpaths that course across fields and pastures.  In England, the public has a right that is unknown in the U.S.:  the right to walk, bestowed upon the people by common law.  [2011]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England, UK

At the mouth of the Yar River, stands the port of Yarmouth (like the one on Cape Cod).  The fishing fleet today is largely there to serve the sport fishing market.  These nets never stop working.  When they are on the water, they are catching fish; when they are on the dock, they are pleasing photographers.  [2011]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Portsmouth, England, UK

Here, May flowers catch some rays on the Southsea beaches of England’s “waterfront city,” Portsmouth.  All day, they gaze across The Solent at the Isle of Wight, knowing they are so rooted in this place that they shall never see the island that provides their one and only view of the wider world beyond.  [2011]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Portsmouth, England, UK

Every High Street in England seems to have a bike shop or two.  In this case, the High Street is Albert Road, and it’s a far livelier place than Portsmouth’s real High Street.  The bike shop is also a community center that offers a slice of sidewalk life and a morsel of stimulus for the ‘green revolution.’ [2011]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Liverpool, England, UK

The cult of the Beetles has become the cult of Lennon in Liverpool, recently driven by Julian (his son) and Cynthia (his first wife).  Here, in Chavasse Park, the anchor of the re-born city center, is the monument that was dedicated to world peace on the 70th anniversary of John's birth.  Seven decades: hard to believe isn't it?  [2011]

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Liverpool, England, UK

Presumably, the shopping center took its name from one of the Biblical Johns, but in Liverpool today, there is only one St. John that anyone cares about. That is John Lennon. Three miracles make a saint, and more than three of The Beetles' hits have been deemed miraculous by most. Rising above it all is St. John's Beacon. [2011]

Friday, May 13, 2011

Liverpool, England, UK

What was it about this street fifty years ago that launched a revolution?  And, who is that lad, the one leaning against the building and receding into the shadows?  He is keeping surveillance over his favorite club, The Cavern, here on Mathew Street.  From Liverpool's shadows came The Beetles’ first fans and the world of music was never the same again.  [2011]

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ramsey, Isle of Man

Those are Maxxis tyres (not Manx, just English for tires) on that 'toy' racecar. It was raining outside, so these two holed up in a shop still open on Saturday afternoon. I stopped in to ask why there was a Washington County Sheriff's car patrolling the streets of Ramsey. A local car collector collects from the States! [2011]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Douglas, Isle of Man

Doolish's old harbor is hemmed in by hillsides. What used to the main commercial port for the island is now a pleasureboat haven. The yellow shrubs on the upper slopes seem not to to like the coast, but once elevation increases just a bit, they take over. Doolish is Manx for Douglas. [2011]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Douglas, Isle of Man

Then, there is the tragic side of life in the UK's motorsports capital. Just visit the cemetery to find out what I mean. The cross and angel are joined by the bike and race course map on Phil's headstone: sacred and secular together. Or, maybe all sacred. He died for the sport he loved, and so did dozens more, all honored on a memorial wall nearby. [2011]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Peel, Isle of Man

End-of-course: on the Peel Prominade and in the rain. No, he wasn't the driver of the winning vehicle, but he might be in ten years. It's clear what he has decided to do with his life, dangerous though it might be. [2011]

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Douglas, Isle of Man

What used to be the Manx National Rally is now the Manx Telecom Rally. It's a two-day race. Here, a driver makes a pit stop right along one of the main roads into Douglas, the largest borough on the island. [2011]

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Douglas, Isle of Man

The Isle of Man may just be the motorsports capital of the United Kingdom. For weeks now, bikers have been using every week-end to get ready for the IoM TT race, which goes back to 1911. The TT is now one of many races that take place on this 221-square-mile island, a country of its own with the ability to set its own speed limits. [2011]

Friday, May 6, 2011

London, England, UK

What can you identify in this classic picture of Westminster?  Victoria Tower?  The House of Lords?  The House of Commons?  Big Ben?  the River Thames?  You really can't see Big Ben (it's the bell inside the tower), but you can see what everyone calls Big Ben, the tower (or clock) itself.  [2011]

Thursday, May 5, 2011

London, England, UK

No yard, no balcony, no porch:  so, the celebration goes to the sidewalk, perfect for a low-traffic day in London, the day of the royal wedding.  What could be better than a picnic on Gosling Street? [2011]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

London, England, UK

As in all great cities, renewal goes on constantly in London. Here you see evidence of physical renewal: skyline cranes that are giving the city a face-lift. And, also, political renewal: Union flags that are affirming reverence for the monarchy. On this four-day wedding week-end, flags are everywhere. Even, the Underground emblem uses the patrimonial colors. [2011]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

London, England, UK

These Turks have brought some Anatolian culture to London's fasionable Fitzrovia neighborhood. Yet, on this very special day, they participate in British nation-building. Is there any doubt in your mind that Cybele was a fertility goddess? Or that the heart says Kate and William? Or that there might be a connection between the two symbols? [2011]

Monday, May 2, 2011

London, England, UK

No one should miss Avenue Gardens in Regent's Park. The 'English garden' is an iconic image of the country. And, in that garden is planted a civics lesson. These tulips are not English; their bulbstock is from Turkic inner Asia; hundreds of other plants have the same story to tell.  Immigrants they are, and how nicely they complement the brilliance of England's indigenous species.  [2011]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

London, England, UK

On April 29, 2011, all of London was aglow with red, white, and blue (and a little booze, as well).  The occasion, of course, was a royal wedding.  Everyone seemed happy with their future king and his chosen bride, or maybe just happy to have the day off.  For these two on the morrow, it's back to their ordinary lives.  Too bad Will and Kate will never have ordinary lives.  [2011]