Friday, August 31, 2012

Changhua, Taiwan

Dennis (must be his Anglophone name) is cycling around the island of Taiwan.  He started several days ago in Taoyuan and had just reached Changhua when I caught up with him.  I was walking down Baghua Mountain; he was cycling up.  Our purpose was the same:  to see the Buddha.  Meeting people while traveling can be such an inspiration!  [2012]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake is the largest natural lake in Taiwan.  It's located at the half-way point of the Taipei-Kaohsiung megalopolis:  perfectly positioned to draw the urban masses to its shores.  On this day, however, visitors are not going to see the sun or the moon.  They're going to enjoy life in the clouds.  [2012]

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taichung, Taiwan

In Taiwan, sidewalks often double as kitchens.  All you need is a gas line or two.  See them?   By evening, what's in the pots will be on people's plates and pleasing their palates.  If you pass by, be sure to say Hello!  [2012]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keelung, Taiwan

Here be dragons:  harborside in Keelung.  He is the yang of 'yin and yang.'  As you might expect, a phoenix has come to rest nearby.  Having already participated in one parade, he decided to spend a few more weeks on the waterfront where he illuminates the night scape as if his ancestors were glowworms.  [2012]

Monday, August 27, 2012

Taipei, Taiwan

The fenghuang, or Chinese phoenix, perches on the roofs of most temples in Taiwan, usually in a yin-yang relationship with her companion, the dragon.  She has been part of Chinese culture for over 4,000 years and symbolizes just about every positive virtue of humanity.  This Taipei temple is devoted to Matzu.  [2012]

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Taipei, Taiwan

Learning English is a challenge that young people all over the world accept.  Their niche in the global economy may depend on speaking the global lingua franca.  In Taipei, an entire district is devoted to the English industry; the competing firms stretch on for blocks and blocks.   [2012]

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei took the honor away from Kuala Lumpur in 2004, and Dubai took the honor away from Taipei in 2010.  What honor?  That of having the world's tallest building.  Taipei 101 is 1667 feet tall (to the top of the spire).  Want to guess how many floors it has above ground?  [2012]

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Geothermal vents give rise to fumaroles on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' here in Taiwan's Yangmingshan National Park.  Steam and hot gases rising from the gaping hole known as Siaoyoukeng seem to blend with the clouds "creating the illusion of a dragon crouching in the sky."  [2012]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yehliu, Taiwan

In Taiwan, street food includes whelk, fresh from the sea.  Of all the things you could cook on a grill, who would think these knobbed mollusks would be among them?  [2012]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yehliu, Taiwan

The Yehliu promontory is now set aside as a Geopark (great concept, don't you think?).  What it has to offer are dozens of mushroom rocks like this one, many of which take on fanciful forms like 'Queen's Head,' which has become an icon of Taiwan.  The top of each mushroom is pockmarked by solution pits in calcareous sandstone.  [2012]

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yehliu, Taiwan

Along Taiwan's north coast is a cape known as Yehliu.  It was thrust up above sea level when the nearby volcanic Datun Mountain was forming.  At the point, you can see an almost perfect example of a small, uplifted wave-cut terrace (the flat area next to the green).  The material is sandstone so, once exposed, it is easily shaped by waves and currents.  [2012]

Monday, August 20, 2012

Zagreb, Croatia

Live outdoors:  It's what Europeans do in the summer. Days are long, temperatures moderate, and seats soft enough to encourage lingering. You will see Stella Artois sponsoring sidewalk cafes all over the continent (and well beyond, for that matter). It proclaims the leadership of Belgium in the beer market. [2008]

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kayseri, Turkey

Kayseri, the city and the province, has emerged as one of the Anatolian Tigers.  Since the 1980s, it has become a center of entrepreneur-led rather than government-led economic growth.  But, its roots in trade and commerce go all the way back to the Silk Road.  Anatolia is the name of the plateau that comprises the bulk of Turkey in Asia.  [2007]

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ocean Grove, New Jersey, USA

Whenever you arrive somewhere new, ask yourself this question: Why does this place even exist? In the case of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, the answer is suggested by the cross on the auditorium. It began in 1869 as a Methodist camp meeting on the Jersey Shore. The town was connected to New York City by rail and to God by John Wesley. [2008]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Harrisburg, Oregon, USA

Here's a north-flowing river, the Willamette. So, let's put to bed the myth that it's impossible for rivers to flow north. Just ask anyone who lives along the Nile in Africa, the Ob in Russia, the Shenandoah in the Virginias, or the Red River of the North in Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota. [2011]

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Marathon, Florida, USA

In the shape of a cape, the Florida Keys swing westward into the Gulf of Mexico. The island to their south makes 'illegal exit' a crime. Yet, many Cubans have risked their lives transiting the strait on rafts like this. The lucky ones are picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and survive to tell the tale. [1992]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ljubljana, Slovenia

All over the world (except for the USA!), youth use down-time August to experience a little freedom by traveling under their own power for weeks at a time.  If you can master a continent in shorts and sandals, with only a pack on your back, you can master life. For these Brits seeing Slovenia, a bite for lunch is a bite of independence. [2008]

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada

How cool is that?  It's mural magic, a portal to the past, trompe l'oeil for girl and boy.  What time is this place?  It's circa 1950 on Steinbach's Main Street, but around the corner it's 2012.  Geographers use the concept of 'perpetual transformation' to understand the nature of place.  The heart of Steinbach illustrates the concept perfectly.  [2012]

Monday, August 13, 2012

Liverpool, England, UK

The working waterfront has been transformed into a welcoming waterside park with wide walkways, but warehouse  facades, with their wide doors, were preserved to weld together present and past.  They look like they were built to weather the storms of change, and they have.  [2011]

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Koper, Slovenia

Gates are passageways, but they are also invitations, transitions, and picture frames. Cities like Koper are lucky to still have some of their medieval walls and gates. This one leads onto PreŇ°eren Square, also with a medieval heritage and an historic fountain. Come evening, it will come alive. [2008]

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Can you imagine someone, probably young or newly arrived, saying to a shop owner: "I know you don't have time to do this yourself. How about if I scrape all that gum off the sidewalk in front of your store?" Soon he has a clientele and a livelihood, and a new industry is born. That's how new work begins and urban economies develop. [2011]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nekoma, North Dakota, USA

The railroad is the lifeblood of the Great Plains, and these are the red and white corpuscles. They oxygenate the local economy and fight off disease by finding a market for the wheat, barley, soybeans, and flax that are dumped at the elevators here in Nekoma. OFCE stands for Osnabrock Farmers Cooperative Elevator. [2012]

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nekoma, North Dakota, USA

Another moose has wandered into the garage. In fact, he has set up housekeeping there. With a population now under fifty and a post office that has just closed, Nekoma still has an arts scene --  seen here. A garage door has become a canvass and a telephone pole has become a flag tree. [2012]

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nekoma, North Dakota, USA

Looks like there is just one car in the parking lot. Then again, it's not even Sunday morning.  Architecture like this is known as 'Prairie Gothic,' and the Nekoma Presbyterian Church is an almost perfect example. But, where is the bell in the belfry? [2012]

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Paris, France

"Annual closing from the 7th of August to the 31st of August inclusive.  Thank you  and see you later."  Every August, signs like this are posted on shop doors all over France.  The French seem to understand that the economy serves them; Americans seem to think their purpose is to serve the economy.  [2005]

Monday, August 6, 2012

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Who says cricket's not an American sport?  It's played in Canada, and that's America.  As for US, all we could identify are the bats, the balls, and the wicket (the three wooden stumps, here blue).  How the game is played is a mystery.  Want to add a word to your vocabulary?  This pitch is in Assiniboine Park.  [2012]

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Delhi, India

Despite the fact that cricket is played on all five inhabited landmasses (as represented by the Olympic rings), it is not an Olympic sport. It should be. Perhaps a sports geographer out there can explain this injustice. Here is evidence that cricket is popular in India, but compare with Regents Park in London. [2011]

Saturday, August 4, 2012

London, England, UK

True or False?  Lord's Cricket Ground, right next to Regents Park in London (where these chaps are engaged in the sport) was the venue for the cricket events of the 2012 Olympics.  Come back tomorrow for the answer.  [2011]

Friday, August 3, 2012

London, England, UK

After a pole vault over Buckingham Palace, it's time for a rest. So, put down that 'A-to-Zed' and take a break from Olympic action. Hmm. Maybe that pole vault was just a dream. [2009]

Thursday, August 2, 2012

London, England, UK

Buckingham Palace, perhaps. Yes, it was from here that Her Majesty was airlifted to the London Olympics opening ceremonies, making a dramatic entrance from the sky: all under the watchful supervision of 007 and the watchful anticipation of a stadium full of  'eyes of wonder.' [2009]

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London, England, UK

When Londoners won their Olympic bid in 2005, this is the way people found their way around the labyrinthic city. They used books of maps. With the XXX Olympiad now in progress, digital maps and GPS navigation have changed the world of wayfinding. And, scenes like this are becoming ever more quaint. What might she be looking for? [2009]