Friday, January 31, 2014

Upland, California, USA

Along the National Old Trails Road in California's Inland Empire stands one of the twelve Madonna of the Trail monuments. They were commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution to honor the West's women pioneers.  More inspiring than the statue is the name: 'Madonna' elevates these pioneer women to the status of religious icons. [2013]

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

The sculptor says: "Give me a High Four." Geographically Yours says: "Paws and enjoy the art." What else does the sculptor say?  “As a long time great dane owner, I see in these dogs a combination of playful goofiness and regal elegance.” What else does Geographically Yours say? "I see in these dogs a canine with geographic roots:  in Denmark."  [2013]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Madrid, Spain

Something is so funny, the audience is laughing itself off the bleachers. Then, you realize you, the spectator, are the only act on the stage. They're laughing at you. The stage is the central courtyard of the Reina Sofia National Art Centre. [2009]

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church dominates Puerto Vallarta's plaza.  Though it was built well after Mexico's independence, it is chock full of imperial symbols:  the cross on top of the orb (or is it a soccer ball?) and the large crown held up by angels.  You will understand what's going on here if you can answer this question:  Who is the King of Kings?  [2008]

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mount Simeon, Syria

The family is proud of their goats, but that's about the only option in the vast region west of Aleppo.  Millennia of bad land use practices, beginning with the Byzantines, have left behind a scarred landscape bereft of top soil.  It's spring, and the nomads are moving.  Note the tent.  [1996]

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Haridwar, India

Hindus converge on Haridwar to pay homage to mother Ganga (as in Ganges River). Many choose to shave their heads as a purification ritual that symbolizes humility and a new beginning. Rows of barbers line the streets of town, and a few get their hair cut as close to the sacred river as they can get. See the milky water behind? [2011]

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Is that a prehistoric ape on top of what used to be the tallest building in Niagara Falls? Yes, it's King Kong, the ultimate alpha male. But, when the dude in the orange duds looks up, all he can think of is his boss. Anyone else have the same feeling? [2013]

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

Ice cream, a creation of the cooler climes, has invaded the tropics, where there is always a market for things cool and refreshing.  The gringo expats who live in Ajijic stimulate the market even further. Ajijic? Once you learn to pronounce it, it will put a smile on your face:  just like ice cream.  [2007]

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rotorua, New Zealand

Her mobile is not a phone. It's a truck, and it's chock full of fruits and vegetables. She can meet the market as it changes over the course of a day. Food trucks are becoming ever more popular in the United States, but most serve prepared food. Anyone ready to resurrect this idea? [2006]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

A shadow just doubles the aesthetic effect of a faux gas lamp.  Design your night lights well for they may help brighten up the daylight hours too.  Any evidence this lamp has roots in 19th century Danish design?  [2014]

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Urbanna, Virginia, USA

Street lights rise above the fray.
They are important night and day.
At night, they offer light.
By day, they play with shades of gray.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dalton, Georgia, USA

Shadows add action to otherwise inert landscapes. It's almost as if they are alive with a creativity of their own. Here a street light adds no light to a brick wall. Anyone need more evidence that there's a parallel universe out there? [2013]

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Patong, Phuket Island, Thailand

Two men on 'Sidewalk Central': The heart of Patong's main shopping precinct is the place to see and be seen even if your predilections swing toward asceticism. Can you tell you're in Thailand? [2011]

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico

Two men on Zapopan Plaza: The central plaza is the place to be and be seen any time of the day in Mexican towns and cities. From your observations of the plaza's perimeter, can you deduce that you are in Mexico? [2008]

Friday, January 17, 2014

Manly Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Two men on Manly Beach: If you are a Sydneysider, it's the place to be and be seen on a Sunday afternoon. What kind of a football is that? Can you tell you're not in American anymore? [2011]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Denver, Colorado, USA

Quiz Time! Which of the camelidae do you see here? (a) Dromedary, (b) Bactrian. What region does he call home? (a) Middle East, (b) Central Asia. What is he carrying in his two humps? (a) Fat, (b) Water. Is this one ready for a trip across the Gobi? (a) Yes, (b) No. [2013]

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Is that Timon? Well, then, where's Pumba? Yes, these are meerkats, and they are show stealers. Their home stage is the Kalahari Theatre in southern Africa, but occasionally, mobs go on tour. Here, they perform on the shores of the Lafayette River, and the audiences love them. [2013]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

These may be the most ornery critters in Taronga Zoo. As geographer Jared Diamond has pointed out: Africa's zebras refused to be domesticated, thus retarding the pace of development on the continent where human ancestors originated. [2006]

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, USA

How do you make your world and the wider world a better place to live? By giving birth to beauty. Even if you're restricted to a chain saw, you can still coax a Muse out of a tree. His art of choice is sculpture. His creation: ursa major brought to earth. [2013]

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

How do you make your world and the wider world a better place to live? By giving birth to beauty.  Here, beauty begins with nature, with the sweetgrass that graces the Low Country marshes. Her art of choice is weaving that sweetgrass into something useful and beautiful at the same time. It's a Gullah tradition. [2007]

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Thompson Springs, Utah, USA

How do you make your world and the wider world a better place to live? By giving birth to beauty. Even if you're in the middle of the desert, art is in the air. His art of choice is photography: painting with light. [2013]

Friday, January 10, 2014

West End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Under ordinary circumstances, you would expect to see a fan like this on the ceiling, not the floor. But, when you are dockside waiting for ferry arrivals and departures, you are liable to see anything in the process of transit. [2014]

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tortola belongs to the Brits, but the culture takes its cues from the Americans. For those of a certain age, skateboarding along the waterfront is the best way there is to spend a Sunday afternoon. Why doesn't the USA just buy the rest of the Virgin Islands? They already use the American dollar on the British Virgins. [2014]

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

To get to Devil's Bay on Virgin Gorda, you have to make your way through crannies created by a field of huge granite boulders that litter the water's edge. Passages like this link a series of sheltered coves and secluded sea caves. [2014]

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

In the middle of the plaza in Cruz Bay, a monument to freedom marks the 150th anniversary celebration of emancipation. The boys at the foot of the monument, though, celebrate a different kind of freedom: the freedom offered by free WiFi. [2014]

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cinnamon Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin islands

The waters of Cinnamon Bay are so calm that paddle boarding is one of the most popular sports. It's a gentle way to spend the day and fits laid-back Caribbean culture perfectly. [2014]

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands are America's paradise in the Caribbean. We bought them from the Danes in 1917, and made them a part of the Anglophone world. The place-names, though, harken back to Danish history. The capital of Charlotte Amalie was named after the King Christian V’s queen consort. [2014]

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brighton, England, UK

Ha! Ha! Any time is a good time for a laugh. Aren't you always on the prowl for something that will put a smile on your face? [2009]

Friday, January 3, 2014

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Build a new city hall with bell tower and clocks. Use St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice as your inspiration for the tower, and 'Big Ben' in London as your inspiration for the clocks. Instantly, Brisbane got iconic value for its million-pound investment. Early in the 20th century, the source of Australia's identity was 10,000 miles away. [2006]

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Bells in belfries preceded buzzers on bed stands. The purpose was the same, however:  to synchronize the rituals of life. Churches built towers in which to hang their bells, then learned to use the exterior space for clocks that all could see. Doesn't the clock here look like an afterthought? [2007]

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chartres, France

Angels bearing sun dials preceded clocks on cathedrals. Before pocket watches, telling time was a public service, something of concrete value that parishioners received for their tithes. One thing sun dials were not good at: heralding the new year's moment of arrival. Happy New Year! [2005]