Friday, February 28, 2014

Nicosia, Cyprus

Perpetuation through time is analogous to diffusion across space. Some innovations neither last nor spread; other innovations both spread and last. Mosaic art is among the latter. It made ancient civilizations famous, and it continues to command artistic attention, especially in Mediterranean countries. [2004]

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem stone:  it's the building material that has given Jerusalem a sense of place all its own. The city sits atop a limestone ridge, and the underlying geology has become the foundation of the built environment. The most amazing aspect of Jerusalem limestone is that it changes color as the sun arcs across the sky.  [1997]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

34.47° N 81.21° W, U.S.S. George Washington, Atlantic Ocean

On an aircraft carrier, you need a tailhook to land and a catapult (actually four of them) to take off. The catapult launch makes it feel like you are in a sandwich press. I boarded the U.S.S. George Washington on its way to Japan. Six years later, the mission is ending, the GW's place in the Pacific to be taken by the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. [2008]

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

29.48° N 79.33° W, U.S.S. George Washington, Atlantic Ocean

The runways on an aircraft carrier aren't long enough to land a jet, so a tailhook is used to force an arrested landing. As with all things in life: practice makes perfect. [2008]

Monday, February 24, 2014

29.48° N 79.33° W, U.S.S. George Washington, Atlantic Ocean

On this day, six years ago, I joined a party of civilians who flew out of Norfolk and experienced a tail-hook landing on the deck of the U.S.S. George Washington, an aircraft carrier on its way to a new home port in Japan. These sailors reflect the average age of the crew: 20. The man in the middle is the helmsman; he's driving the ship. [2007]

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Here are two competing vertical skylines: skyscrapers along Peachtree Street and tombstones in Oakland Cemetery. The first gains its height by adding stories, the second by adding Victorian grave makers to the top of a hill on the edge of town. [2014]

Saturday, February 22, 2014

McDonough, Georgia, USA

By what criteria do you judge the worth of small town?  Must it have some public space in the middle? a farmers market? some restaurants? a bakery? a Starbucks? Mercifully, McDonough's Starbucks are out by the Interstate. On the square is Bliss, the hometown favorite. [2014]

Friday, February 21, 2014

Griffin, Georgia, USA

The town clock fixes the founding of Griffin in place and time. The year 1840 (look closely!) marks the town's beginning. Atlanta was founded about the same time. One went on to become the center of a humongous metropolitan area. The other now finds itself on the periphery of that metro. Center vs. periphery: What makes the difference? [2014]

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Nature moves water downhill. The commonality tries to stop it, or at least use it, as it flows to the sea. Here it's fresh water. When it hits the sea, it won't be. [2012]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Aleppo, Syria

He should find a ready market for his rolls (not bagels) on the streets of Aleppo.  Flour, salt, yeast, and water are the simple ingredients, plus sesame seeds.  It's about the cheapest breakfast you can buy. [1995]

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Haridwar, India

There is nothing more refreshing than a cucumber when you are trying to get through the hottest time of the day.  These have been peeled, so it's important to keep them moist.  See the water?  Buy one and you can expect the sweetest cuke you've ever tasted. [2011]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico

Mr. Shepherd has been hired to protect the income divide between rich and poor in Mexico. May the rich forever be on the inside and the poor forever on the outs.  [2008]

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rancho Cucamonga, California, USA

He shares the slope with a shadowy serpent which seems to have followed him up the hill.  Do you see the slithers?  It's easier if you've ever spent a sunny day studying the stepped pyramids at Chichen Itza. Looks like both he and the snake are getting their morning exercise. [2013]

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pepperell, Massachusetts, USA

"When, in some obscure country town, the farmers come together to a special town-meeting, to express their opinion on some subject which is vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the most respectable one that is ever assembled in the United States." So sayeth Thoreau. [1993]

Friday, February 14, 2014

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Stretching out on the sand. Enjoying the evening. Waiting for the concert to begin. Loving the company of each other. Happy Valentine's Day! [2005]

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seoul, South Korea

Foodies of the world:  Come down from your haute cuisine and start eating what the people eat. Where will you find it? Food trucks, street vendors, and culinary kiosks. And, it will be made before your very eyes (i.e., 'the Asian way') not in a back room closed off from public inspection (i.e., 'the American way'). [2012]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Patong, Phuket Island, Thailand

Are you familiar with Krating Daeng?  It's the original Red Bull, which is now the most popular energy drink in the world. Origin? Thailand, where the bull was a gauer, or Indian bison.  The Red List calls gauers 'vulnerable' in the wild. Why can't just a fraction of every cent spent on Red Bull go the preservation of their habitat? [2011]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

In so much of the western world, everything closes down on Sunday. Most cultures have the un-American habit of giving people the day off. So, what do you do on Sunday if you're a deckhand on the yachts in Road Town's harbor? Here's the answer. [2014]

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney's monorail helped make Darling Harbour a successful venue for Australia's centennial celebration in 1988 and for the Olympics in 2000. Today, however, it is no more: a victim of the very waterfront transformation it helped to shape. What's coming? A new convention center worthy of a world city. [2006]

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

In Singapore, the canopy covering Clarke Quay means that visitors don't have to bring their own umbrellas to shield them from the daily showers that are so common at the equator. There seems to be, however, no protection from the rain that erupts from below. [2011]

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pisté, Yucatan, Mexico

Pisté is a small town and the topography is flat.  It's perfect for pedicabs.  With a canopy overhead, you've got both parasol and paraguas:  protection against the sun ('sol') and water ('aguas').  What sets these Yucatecan pedicabs apart?  The canopy covers the driver, too.  [2013]

Friday, February 7, 2014

Paris, France

The courtyard of The Louvre is where the centuries meet, specifically the 17th and the 20th. What's inside the world's largest art museum fills in and fills out the rest of the time line. I. M. Pei's glass pyramid was controversial when proposed, but attendance has more than doubled since it was built. [2005]

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

If you brought in some anthropologists of the future to pick through corner culture off Nathan Road in Hong Kong, what would they conclude? By the early 21st century (a) print media was still hanging on; (b) English was the most important language in a Chinese-speaking city; and (c) glamour and sports were the critical concerns of the day. [2011]

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Istanbul, Turkey

Ennui:  there's little more to say.  They've seen a million tourists.  They've had their picture taken a million times.  They've recited the same spiel in hopes of selling a million carpets.  Your assignment: add some thought bubbles to this 'cartoon.'  The setting is Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. [2007]

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valetta, Malta


It's just as it should be in a country once under control of the Brits: Expect a pub on every corner and a story from every guest. [2009]

Monday, February 3, 2014

Washington, DC, USA


Don't you love to see landscapes used for unintended purposes? In 1920, Daniel Chester French, who designed the fountain in the middle of Dupont Circle, had every intention of honoring Admiral Dupont. Today, no one cares about Admiral Dupont, but many care about getting a nap after some hard biking. [2011]

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mancos, Colorado, USA


These cyclists are lucky to have an army of spectators cheering them on from the roadside heights.  The only thing missing from the menagerie is a ground hog.  He's probably there: just hiding in the shadows. [2013]

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Jacksonville, Florida, USA


It's about time cities start putting the bicycle on a pedestal. Just think how much energy we could save if everyone in those nearby offices rode a bicycle to work just once a week. Maybe this visual reminder of the future will be an inspiration to them. [2007]