Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Milan, Italy

Ice cream season never ends, but summer does. In America, our minds seem to reckon the last of August as the end of warm-weather frivolities. So, celebrate with an ice cream cone. As for me: I'll have stracciatella; I'll close my eyes; and I'll imagine myself in front of Milan's Galleria as I say good-bye to the sultry days of summer. [2008]

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vile Parle, India

Twine and trowels are among the workaday bonbons for sale in Vile Parle, one of Mumbai's suburbs.  India is a land of street-level earthiness with scenes in sepia tone and living color, but never in black-and-white. Whether you are buying or eyeing, do take time to savor the bonbons. [2011]

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crac des Chevaliers, Syria

It's looking good for a castle that has been on the landscape almost a millennium. It was built by the Crusaders and occupied by the Knights Hospitaller. 'Crac' comes from the Aramaic name for a fort.  Coincidentally, it guards a 'crack' in the mountain range that seals Syria off from the Mediterranean coast. [1996]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Don't be late! But, if you are, just sneak in the back door. This is Toronto's St. James Cathedral. Is it a Roman Catholic cathedral or an Anglican cathedral? Hint: Last year, Queen Elizabeth II attended 11 am services here. [2010]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seattle, Washington, USA

He's sleepless in Seattle, and homeless, too. Does it really take two officers and two canines to rid the street of one vagabond? No fair: four against one! Actually, though, the tone was conversational, and the dogs seemed to intuit his innocence. [2011]

Friday, August 26, 2011

Genoa, Italy

The facts of history are sometimes preposterous and hard to believe. For instance, this year Italy is celebrating its 150th birthday. Seems like Italy has been around longer than that, doesn't it? This is their first king, Victor Emmanuel II, who died in 1878. First king? Yes, as a unified state, Italy has been around only for a century and a half. Compleanno felice. [2008]

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jerusalem, Israel

The Romans would have called this street the Cardo, Jerusalem's main north-south thoroughfare. If you follow it into the Jewish Quarter you will have help peeling back the layers of time and getting down to the Roman pavement. These men may not look busy, but they are. Their business is socialization of the young, the next generation of boys-to-men. [2010]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zagreb, Croatia

A messenger of God guards the entrance to Zagreb's Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our angel has help, though. The cathedral is semi-surrounded by an enclosure with guard towers, one of which is visible in the background. [2008]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Platja d'Aro, Catalonia, Spain

Hold onto your picnic. Platja d'Aro's ants are on steroids. You'll be lucky to get to the beach at all. In Catalonia, so many works of art are "larger than life," and these formicidae are no exception. What do the Catalan people excel at? Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. [2005]

Monday, August 22, 2011

Volubilis, Morocco

A reconstructed triumphal arch marks the site of Volubilis, making it instantly identifiable as an ancient Roman city. Though far from Rome and beyond the Pillars of Hercules, it sat perched above a broad plain that made Morocco a granary of the Roman Empire. [1989]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monaco-Ville, Monaco

Is it a cathedral or a cemetery? Both. Monaco's cathedral is where the archbishop has his seat, but it is also where the royals have their graves. Apparently, death is not the great equalizer after all. [2008]

Saturday, August 20, 2011

London, England, UK

Today, they are tourist attractions, not service providers. The cell phone has taken over the streets of London, and the iconic red 'telephone boxes' are disappearing. Even the word 'telephone' looks antiquated, doesn't it? What about St. Edward's crown?  Will that disappear, too? [2003]

Friday, August 19, 2011

Faridabad, India

As another academic year begins, kids in America will board their buses every day for the ride to school. Few rides, however, will be as adventurous as the ones in India, where freshly-scrubbed boys bump along not-so-freshly scrubbed streets in jam-packed jitneys. Mothers: Hold your tongues. This is what life is all about in most of the world. [2011]

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trieste, Italy

One hundred years ago, Trieste was in Austria-Hungary and James Joyce was in Trieste. Today, Trieste is in Italy and James Joyce is still there. It may not be Dublin, but it is a city where the greatest novelist of the 20th century spent a decade of his life. [2008]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Let windows frame your view of other cultures. Stand on the outside and take a gander into the culture's cuisine, for instance. You might see a 'bob-ee-koo' duck and want to match the look with a lick. You can go to Hong Kong if you want, but finestral displays like this are part of Chinatowns on every continent. [2011]

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Brunswick, Georgia, USA

You may recognize it from an iconic photograph of the 1930s. Larry recognized it as an iconic way to sell subs:  'Larry's Giant Subs'. Strung out on an I-beam high above New York City, these construction workers are on their lunch break, probably wishing for the 'sub' tropics. And here they are in the subtropics on a flatbed truck outside one of Larry's stores. [2011]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Macau S.A.R., China

Every harbor has 'em: tugboats. Macau's are yellow, a color that seems to fit the Chinese palette perfectly. It is favored as a symbol of the earth itself. These look like designer tugs that haven't worked a day in their lives. Are they more interested in color coordinating with the tire bumpers that line the wharf? [2011]

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Istanbul, Turkey

A heap of socks materializes along Turgut Özal Avenue. Women come to mine the mound as if digging for Lydian gold like their ancestors in Anatolia. Coins arc from hand of buyer to hand of seller, none cognizant in the least of the bridge connecting them to Croesus. [2007]

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Devonport, New Zealand

He is Maori, of course, and a warrior watching over the waters of Waitemata Harbor. How do you read the body language? Pugnacious enough to ward off invasion by a neighboring tribe, but less threatening to the white warriors with their superior technology. Should technology that kills more efficiently really be called superior? [2006]

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jerusalem, Israel

Intramural Jerusalem is a jigsaw puzzle of microworlds. The city's segmented urban geography fits the word so often used to describe Middle Eastern cities: cellular. This is one of the 'cells': the Monastery of the Flagellation's garden. Outside the enclosure is the Via Dolorosa, one of the old city's thoroughfares. [2010]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sofia, Bulgaria

In front of the Presidential Palace, guards stand sentry in Sofia. Don't they look like they've inherited their vestments from freedom-fighting ancestors who ousted the Turks in the 1870s? But, there soon may be a significant difference. Women are coming to the Guards Regiment! [2010]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Edam, Netherlands

Known as a nutty palate pleaser,
Edam cheese is a tourist teaser.
For export, coated in red or black,
But locavores just want it wrapped.
For centuries it was in demand,
For ship-board meals, the globe it spanned.
And made the town on Holland’s polder
Known to all for its Edammer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Victoria, Gozo, Malta

Here's what café society looks like on the island of Gozo: all men, all 'mature.' Does it remind you more of Italy or Tunisia? Do you see the evidence of globalization? No? Those chairs have taken over patios, porches, and rooftops all over the world. What did people sit in before the age of ubiquitous plastic? [2009]

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cardiff, Wales, UK

It was, but is no more. Landscapes change. St. David's Market lasted two decades after it was refurbished in 1987. Then came the expansion of St. David's shopping center. You can read the anticipation of demolition in this scene: tarnish, graffiti, and abandonment. Only the produce contradicts its drabness. [2005]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chiang Mai, Thailand

A moat lined with trees surrounds the old city of Chiang Mai. The moat provides a sink for water; the trees provide a sink for carbon. A healthy planet needs its trees, and that applies to cities as well as rural areas. [2011]

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Schuyler, Nebraska, USA

Railroad + grain silos + town = the settlement geography of the Great Plains. In this case, the railroad is the Union Pacific, the grain silos serve Land O'Lakes, and the town shows its Czech history with the name Duden appearing on A Street's biggest building. [2008]

Friday, August 5, 2011

Portland, Oregon, USA

It's noon on the bricks and the band is playing. Come evening? Flicks on the bricks. The people of Portland make use of their public spaces, especially on days like this. It is sunny and in the 80s, and has been for going on a week. Rare for Cascadia. [2011]

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Berlin, Pennsylvania, USA

Every form of land cover has a unique spectral signature. So does every culture. Can you identify this folk culture by the colors on the clothes line? It's an Amish farm on the Appalachian Plateau. We all reside somewhere in Euclidean space, but we also reside somewhere on the electromagnetic spectrum. [2010]

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

The sun sets over the Bay of Banderas. The sun also sets on a year of Geographically Yours photographs from around the world: 365 of them. Now, get ready for year two. [2008]

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Munich, Germany

Who says Latin is a dead language? Here it is in active use in the heart of Munich. Julius Caesar came, saw, and conquered Zela with the sword. I came, saw, and conquered Munich with the camera. [1996]

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kayseri, Turkey

Kayseri's cultural and physical geography point the same way: up! Doesn't the minaret seem to mimic the mountain? The city is on the old Silk Road across Anatolia, but the Silk Road simply took over parts of the Sardis-to-Susa Road that formed the spine of the ancient Persian Empire. Yes, the mountain is volcanic: a composite cone. [2007]