Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

No Turning Back. It's time to put the old year behind us and make our resolutions for the year ahead. Life's best is still in the making. So, why would you want to turn back? [2014]

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Thanking my barbers for 2014: First, my Dominican coiffeur in the British Virgin Islands. Then, left to right: McDonough, Georgia; Gulfport, Mississippi; Philippi, West Virginia; New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; Havana, Cuba; Bucharest, Romania; Dillsburg, Pennsylvania; Brunswick, Maryland. Nine barbers, nine friends, nine locations, one topophile. [2014]

Monday, December 29, 2014

Haridwar, India

Pilgrims converge on Haridwar to bathe in the sacred River Ganges at the point where it plunges out of the Himalayas and onto to the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Many make a haircut, and sometimes a head shaving, a part of the purification ritual. [2011]

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Priest conversation.
Sweet conversation.
Brief conversation.
Ceased conversation.
At least it wasn't a
Tweet conversation. [2014]

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saluda, Virginia, USA

How do you judge privilege? Just read the landscape. When you drive an eye-catcher like this, the privilege of parking on the grass right in front of the church is yours. Every privilege has a purpose, though, and helping people find their purpose is the reason Christ Church exists in the first place. So, recognize your privileges and ask why you have been chosen. [2014]

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hoboken, Georgia, USA

Each year, the employees of Georgia Power cover 400 miles in 2-1/2 days to benefit the American Cancer Society. It's called Run for the Reason, and it's a way to raise money for fighting cancer. Now, on Boxing Day, maybe the box you give should contain a donation to a cause bigger than yourself. [2012]

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Key West, Florida, USA

Look into the future this Christmas day. Do you see legions of Cuban gardeners poised to board a ferry in Havana for the 90 mile ride to Key West, ready to put in a day's work tending the Lighthouse and cutting the Bermuda grass, then returning home in the evening? Just a thought. [2014]

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pigeon Point, California, USA

No coastal plain here. On the east coast of the United States, only in Maine do you meet a landscape like this. On the west coast, cliffs and bluffs are the norm, not the exception. The Coastal Ranges of Washington, Oregon, and California carry that name for a reason. So says the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. [2007]

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Port Penn, Delaware, USA

Ever see a naked lighthouse? Here's one, the Liston Range Rear Light. It has a partner, fully clad, the Liston Range Front Light, out in the Delaware River. When the lights align, you're on course. Do you have any leading lights in your life? Yes, range lights are also called leading lights, and now you know where we get a popular vernacular expression. [2013]

Monday, December 22, 2014

Biglerville, Pennsylvania, USA

It may be the first full day of winter, but the days have just started to get longer. We pray for Persephone's return from the underworld. In these latitudes, her reappearance is assured. Soon, the trees will be in foliage and the apple orchards will be in bloom. Where is Persephone now? With her abductor in Hades. [1994]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, USA

Low sun and long shadows: both are maximized today. It's the December solstice:  shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and longest day of the year in the South Hemisphere. Solstice means "sun stop": the direct rays of the sun stopped moving south at 6:03 pm EST today and began moving north again. [1984]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Izmir, Turkey

A meal in Turkey is not complete without bread, a.k.a. ekmek in Turkish. We would call it flatbread or pita, but it's not flat like the bread of Syria and Mesopotamia just to the south. Turkish 'pida' is round and puffy, not round and flat. Like all bread, it's best when it comes right out of the oven. [2014]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

They are getting paid for what they do, but it looks like fun doesn't it. Perhaps a new industry is waiting to be born: People would pay for the thrill of scaling a high-rise, and maybe you could get them to wash the windows as part of the deal. [2011]

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Havana, Cuba

The United States and Cuba are normalizing relations, a long-overdue move on the part of the U.S. government. Life for everyone, including these gardeners, is about to change, hopefully for the better. But, as the American dollar stages an invasion, change could also mean a widening income gap between rich and poor. [2014]

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trieste, Italy

Who keeps the streets looking good? Hard-working men and women whose toil goes unsung. Who gets the credit? The syndaci. They call the tunes. It's the same everywhere. [2008]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand

In both Thailand and the United States, Meals on Wheels means feeding the hungry. In the United States, however, the hungry are shut-ins who can't prepare food for themselves. In Thailand, the hungry are people who order fast food by phone and have it delivered. Context matters! [2011]

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA

How many ads can you add to a single wall? As many as you want if you just keep painting over old ones. Do you see Coca-Cola struggling to make a come-back? Look closely, and you will discover layers of history reintegrated into contemporary narratives. [2012]

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dallas, Texas, USA

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does culture. A blank wall is a reserve of space, ready to be exploited when the economy permits. Then, it becomes a resource, ready to be commercialized. That was the practice in downtowns and uptowns all across the country as modern retailing began in the late 1800s. [2007]

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

"Mural" comes to the Anglophone World from La Francophonie. The word for wall in French is le mur. From it, we get mural, today used as shorthand for mural painting, a painting on a wall. What you see along Norfolk's Granby Street is paint on a wall, for sure, but does it qualify as a painting? Is it a mural? And, does it deserve a Gold Medal? [2014]

Friday, December 12, 2014

Covington, Virginia, USA

Landscapes have a grammar of their own. They communicate with subjects, objects, and verbs. So, what are the 'verbs' in the paragraph above and what is their tense? Future Perfect, perhaps. What could offer a more perfect glimpse of the future than last summer's memories of good times along Dunlap Creek by the Humpback Bridge. [2010]

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Covington, Virginia, USA

Landscapes have a grammar of their own. They communicate with subjects, objects, and verbs. So, what are the 'verbs' in the paragraph above and what is their tense? Past Perfect, perhaps. What could be a more perfect reminder of the past than a covered bridge? In this case, it's the Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. [2014]

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

What does a Christian church have to do with a lighthouse? To geographers, it's all about reading the landscape. Lighthouses tell pilots how to wisely navigate turbulent waters. Churches tell congregants how to wisely navigate turbulent lives. Thank you to Jacksonville's First Baptist Church. [2007]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal

What does delivering the daily news have to do with a lighthouse? To geographers, it's all about reading the landscape. Lighthouses tell pilots how to wisely navigate turbulent waters. Newspapers tell patrons how to wisely navigate turbulent times. Thank you to Lisbons's Diário de Notícias. [2009]

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gaziantep, Turkey

In Turkey, where they language is Turkish, they are called babouches. Where to you find them? In the pazars. What are they made from? Morocco. It's an old word for leather. [2014]

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Marrakech, Morocco

In Morocco, where the language is Arabic, they are called babouches. Where do you find them? In the souks. What are they made from? Morocco. What kind of an answer is that? Consult Meriam-Webster. [2010]

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Valetta, Malta

If Malta is the "land of honey," then these are honey bees. But, their honey is Cisk, the nectar of the island nation, now with an export market, but penultimately Maltese. Cisk: lager beer since 1928. [2009]

Friday, December 5, 2014

Valetta, Malta

Don't discount the role of food and drink in nation-building. Malta doesn't. For indigenes of the archipelago, there is a preferred alcoholic beverage: Cisk. And, there is a preferred non-alcoholic beverage: Kinnie. Devotion to Cisk and Kinnie define what it means to be Maltese. [2009]

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Suomenlinna Island, Finland

In Finland but in English: "Passport Control." Small countries struggle to maintain their identity, linguistically and otherwise. Even the Suomenlinna fortress in the background tells of Finland's struggle to survive. It was built by the Swedes to keep Finland from being taken by the Russians. [2005]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Antalya, Turkey

"Wait till my ship comes in!" Is that what these casuals are thinking as they watch the boats entering and exiting Antalya's harbor? The black-pants dude, though, is going to miss it entirely if he doesn't get off his cell phone and fix his eyes on the horizon. [2014]

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cardiff, Wales, UK

Places often use literature to make their genius loci feel at home. That's what Cardiff has tried to do by replicating John Masefield's "Cargoes" on its waterfront. Seen here: 'a cargo of ivory and apes,' trade in which we today deplore. It's an example of dialectical tension between past and present. [2005]

Monday, December 1, 2014

Canillo, Andorra

In times past, Pyrenean shepherds wandered up and down the Valls d'Andorra tending their flocks. Today, snapshots from that bucoloc past have become identity stones of Andorran nationhood. The formerly feudal fiefdom has transformed itself into a modern urban nation, but the rural past continues to feed the memory, as it does here in Canillo. [2005]

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Maaloula, Syria

Maaloula is one of the most picturesque towns in all of Syria, but it hasn't been spared the brutality of Syria's civil war. For the time being, though, it's back in government hands, and that's a good thing. The town's cultural geography is Christian. Look closely and you will discover a Byzantine-style church topped by a cross. [1993]

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Noosa, Queensland, Australia

What does Confucius say to the Australians? (a) "A man of wisdom delights in water." (b) "Water is the driving force of all nature." (c) "No water, no life; no blue, no green." Leonardo daVinci and Sylvia Earle get credit for the last two, so what's your answer again? [2006]

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gloucester Courthouse, Virginia, USA

Just like the first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, the Virginia county of Gloucester has Berkeley roots as well. The Berkeley family was from Gloucestershire, England. Now, it's the day after Thanksgiving, so let the countdown to Christmas begin! In Gloucester Courthouse, it begins by hoisting holiday banners along Main Street. [2013]

Thursday, November 27, 2014

King George, Virginia, USA

What a Turkey! All puffed up with his own importance. Little does he know what's coming. He'll not get a pardon in Virginia. Why? Because he's wearing a pilgrim's hat, thus spreading the nonsense that the first Thanksgiving took place in Massachusetts. Everyone knows it took place in Virginia: at Berkeley Plantation on the James River. [2010]

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

The Walnut Street Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in '71, and tropical storm Agnes took it out of commission in '72. Young folks learning to drive either loved the bridge or hated it. The metal grate that was its floor presaged Paul Simon's 'Slip Slidin' Away.' Today, only half the bridge is left, and it's a pedestrian crossing. [2014]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Exactly two hundred years ago, the first bridge to arch its way across the wide Susquehanna at Harrisburg began construction. It was a covered bridge and it lasted four score and two years until a flood took it out. The Camelback was an engineering wonder of its day: the river here is almost a mile wide with an island in the middle. [2014]

Monday, November 24, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Harrisburg is capital of the state and the river-crossing capital of the Susquehanna. Before roads and rails used bridges to cross from east shore to west shore, ferries did the job. All pointed west, just like the arrowheads formed by the rising sun peaking through the arches of the old Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge. [2014]

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ault, Colorado, USA

With apologies to the hymnist (recognize the tune?) and to the gospel of Matthew:
Surely the presence of the Bison’s in this place.
I can feel his mighty power and his grace.
I can hear the thud of Bison hooves,
I feel his breath upon my face.
Surely the presence of the Bison’s in this place.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jerusalem, Israel

Food has a future, but it also has a past. The link between the two is nowhere more vivid than along Jerusalem's Cardo where an Israeli boy steps into a mural to accept a pomegranate from a young counterpart who walked the same street over two millennia ago. [2010]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Is the future of food organic? It's doubtful. If we stop using chemicals and biotechnologies, our farms will simply produce less. Then, how will we feed the world's 7 billion inhabitants? [2011]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kaoshiung, Taiwan

It's not easy being green. Anything green hasn't yet ripened, right? It's not easy being warty, either. Especially when you are supposed to be an edible fruit. These bitter melons haven't ripened and are supposed to be warty. Sliced, they are popular in salads. [2011]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Izmir, Turkey

If the display is pleasing to the eye, the taste will be pleasing to the palate. It's a relationship that holds all over the world as food is offered for sale dockside and streetside. It's especially pleasing when you know the shapes and colors reflect the local environment. [2014]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Were you born during the last two decades of the 20th century? That would make you a Millennial, and that would probably make you someone who has never tasted a raddish. (Is that the Canadian spelling?) Hypothesis: the radish's role in delivering gastronomic pleasure has been taken by chilies and jalapenos. [2010]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Whatever be the future of food, bananas are sure to be part of it. Here is what you call a hand of bananas. Can you count the fingers? Can you accept the fact that the banana is botanically a berry? The future of food? It's the theme of this year's Geography Awareness Week. [2011]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bran, Romania

Today begins Geography Awareness Week, so it's time to reflect on the geography of food. What you eat depends on where you are. If you are in Romania in August, expect to have the best red and black raspberries you've ever tasted. [2014]

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Flåm, Norway

The chances of experiencing a sunny day along the coast of Norway are minuscule. During low-sun season it verges on night 24 hours a day. During high-sun season, atmospheric condensation, in the form of haze and fog, makes the days gray and overcast. A day like this is an exception. [1984]

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lixus, Morocco

Digital technology begins here, with the mosaics (in this case, Neptune) of the ancient world. Long before there were computers, people learned to use small pieces of stone or tile as 'picture elements' to create still lifes, geometric designs, landscapes, and portraits for their homes and temples. What do we call picture elements today? Pixels. [1989]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lixus, Morocco

Located a bit upstream from Morocco's Atlantic coast, Lixis is beyond the Pillars of Hercules but not beyond the reach of Mediterranean civilizations. It was founded by the Phoenicians and eventually passed to Rome. Its accessibility, flat and well-watered terrain, defensibility, and productivity made the region a breadbasket of the Roman Empire. [1989]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

In Veliko Tornovo, Geodesia meets Orthodoxia in Sveta Gora. Veliko Tornovo: Bulgaria's old capital city. Geodesia: the land of Buckminster Fuller. Orthodoxia: the land of Bulgarian Orthodox architecture. Sveta Gora: the place of the trist between art gallery and geodesic dome. [2014]