Monday, March 31, 2014

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When you were a kid, you learned to use the garden hose to make a rainbow. It was always just out of reach: just like these barrels. Hoses and rainbows now make a striking focal point for Montreal's Place des Arts. Return to Geographically Yours tomorrow for a different view of the barrels. [2009]

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

It's early in the morning (see the long shadows?) and the boys are on their way to school. Don't they look sharp in their school uniforms? Want to guess what they'll be doing today? [2014]

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Madrid, Spain

Well into the modern era, the most prominent part of Europe's urban landscape was the church. Its steeples, bells, and domes, many holding crosses aloft, rose above low-rise skylines and lifted the eyes of earth-bound mortals to heaven. Salient parts of the landscape they were, reminding everyone of the Roman Church's power. [2009]

Friday, March 28, 2014

Castletown, Isle of Man

The Siliwen is in Castletown on the Isle of Man, but her home port is Bangor, Wales, right across the Irish Sea. Do you get the impression you're entangled in the Celtic fringe of the British Isles?  It's a region where Welsh, Manx, and Irish lilts lap the ears as surely as waves on Muir Éireann lap the shores of Cymru and Ellan Vannin. [2011]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

What contribution does public art make to the landscape of Kings Cross? For some, 'Stones Against the Sky' makes no contribution: far too abstract. For others, it's visual relief: a forest of spheroids in a land of boxes and slabs. For still others, it's an invitation to smile: a.k.a. "Poo on Sticks." [2011]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tlaquepaque, Sedona, Arizona, USA

Right outside Sedona, Arizona, is Tlaquepaque, an ersatz pueblo devoted to the arts. The American Tlaquepaque was modeled on the Mexican Tlaquepaque. In the arts world, Tlaquepaque is a name that sells.  Say it again:  Tla - kay - pa - kay. [2009]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico

Created by Sergio Bustamante, the pillow-head characters seem to pop up in all the well-healed areas of Jalisco, including the pueblo of Tlaquepaque, perhaps the most well-known 'arts town' in Mexico. To the cultural landscape, the pillow-heads add irresistible whimsy. [2008]

Monday, March 24, 2014

London, England, UK

Little more than a hundred years after the Roman legions began the conquest of Britain, Budicca led a Celtic uprising against Roman authority.  Although she was London's enemy, the city today honors her with a statue along the Thames. Would you guess from the sculpture that she was anything but a Roman herself? [2009]

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Iconic: That's what you would call a statue like this. The hula dancer has come to be a symbol of Hawaii itself.  But, why? What is it about Hawaii that she personifies? Or, is the whole thing just another example of women being stereotyped? [2011]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

It's National Wildlife Week. Let's hear it for the Indian Rhinoceros! That coat of armor protects him well from natural predators, but not from homo sapiens. With 3,000 left in the wild, the Indian rhino is classified as 'only' vulnerable. Let's say shukriyaa to the Cincinnati Zoo for helping to stave off an endangered designation. But where's his horn? [2013]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Denver, Colorado, USA

It's National Wildlife Week. That means it's time to take stock of the world's endangered species, of which the Siberian Tiger is one.  In the wild, in the Russian Far East and nearby China, Siberian Tigers number less than 250. Who has been their main predator? Homo sapiens. To the Denver Zoo for participating in the Species Survival Plan: Спасибо[2013]

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

It is National Wildlife Week.  We should all be thankful that some animals are not living in the wild and, therefore, vulnerable to the predatory species known as homo sapiens. Human animals are not always humane animals. Asante sana, Zoo Atlanta, for welcoming four lion cubs into the world just this year. Here is one of them with dad, enjoying the morning sun. [2014]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gambier, New Providence, The Bahamas

Tourists visit resorts in The Bahamas and conclude that the entire archipelago is equally prosperous. It's not. Although tourism is responsible for more than half of The Bahamas' jobs, the wealth generated is locked up in places like this, while the so-called 'family islands' go begging for infrastructure and development. [2014]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Generations pass, technologies evolve, standards change, and preferences progress. Soon the size, style, and building materials of homes are outmoded. As new houses are built, old ones are abandoned. Decay takes over. For a time, they remain with us as visual reminders of the past, but eventually even their foundations disappear. [2014]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Girls rule, and roof too. To help with home repairs, Bahamas Methodist Habitat looks for volunteers to bring a better tomorrow to the island of Eleuthera (so very far from the Bahamas' wealthy resorts). Many homeowners simply can't afford the extraordinary costs demanded by island economies. Beneath these shingles, the fear of rain will soon be over. [2014]

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Red Hook, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Red Hook is on the East End of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Pillsbury Sound lies beyond. Ferry connections are available to Charlotte Amalie, St. John, and Tortola. That's a lot of place names, but hearing each one is like receiving an invitation to explore. [2014]

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

The fragrant harbour isn't so fragrant any more, but the urban landscape looks tidy and almost inviting from this perspective. Just think what the view must be like from one of those towers. By the way, Hong Kong means "fragrant harbour." [2011]

Friday, March 14, 2014

Paris, France

Egypt's pharaohs have always been the standard to which all monarchs aspire. Hence, all the potentates of Europe had to have a spire of their own: an Egyptian obelisk. This one was given ("given"?) to King Louis Philippe in 1829. Its hieroglyphics praise the reign of Ramses II ("Louis Philippe"?). [2005]

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Piraeus, Greece

"I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away." So sayeth R Kelly and every skateboarder in the world. [2006]

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne was Australia's first capital. It served from 1901 until 1927. In 1902, the new national government gave women the right to vote. It took until 1908, however, to bring women's suffrage to Victoria, Melbourne's home state. A sculpture called "Great Petition" commemorates the 30,000 signatures collected in favor of giving women access to the voting booth. [2011]

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Australia's old Parliament House served until 1988 when the new Parliament House took its rightful place, exactly where Walter Burley Griffin wanted it: atop Capital Hill. Griffin and his wife were the original planners of Canberra, a city built from scratch to host the national government. [2006]

Monday, March 10, 2014

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Canberra 101: It's not a course; it's the number of years Canberra has been on the map. Canberra 310: It's not a course; it's Canberra Day (3-10), a day to celebrate the naming of Australia's capital city. Canberra 107: It's not a course; it's the height of Parliament House in meters. What gives the building height? The four boomerangs (yes!) that hold hold up the flag. [2006]

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Before you know it, a new generation has taken over the gameboard and you are watching from the sidelines. Bobby Fischer: Move aside, even if today is (or would be) your birthday. A young Norwegian has taken over. At age 19, Magnus Carlsen became the number one player in the world. This month, he became the highest rated player in history. [2009]

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Zitácuaro, Michoacán, Mexico

Commencing in the 1500s, the Laws of the Indies provided a template for town planning in Spain's New World possessions. One of the Laws states that there should "always be sufficient space where people may go to for recreation and take their cattle to pasture without them making any damage." Ergo, in the center of every town was the Plaza Major. [2008]

Friday, March 7, 2014

Seongnam, South Korea

Korea or New England?  Their climates are so similar:  temperatures that bring out autumn colors, topography that shows them off, and fog that rolls in and temporarily obscures their brilliance. Why so similar? Look at their locations with respect to latitude, the coast, and offshore currents. [2012]

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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

Cinnamon Bay offers a captivating natural landscape, and there's just enough activity to make it an interesting human landscape as well. In fact, humanity and nature mesh quite nicely. Even the colors of the windsurf boards and sea kayaks are coordinated with their natural surroundings. [2014]

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Delhi, India

Pepsi and peacock feathers: for sale on Chandni Chowk. Both serve the same function: They promise to alleviate Delhi's subtropical heat. [2011]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

These revelers are on their way to the French Quarter to kick off the beginning of Mardi Gras with a parade. Do you recognize the Mardi Gras colors? They're of Russian origin, you know. Celebrate today because tomorrow begins a period of pre-Resurrection solemnity. It's called Lent. [2009]

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tallahassee,Florida, USA

Florida became a state on this date in 1845, and the territorial capital of Tallahassee became the state capital. Why? It was between the two largest cities: St. Augustine and Pensacola. The new capitol, the tower, was built in the 1970s, but you're not supposed to take a picture of it from this perspective. Do you see why? [1995]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicago, Illinois, USA

According to meteorologists, spring began yesterday. In Chicago, however, winter continues to reign supreme. So, does spring begin on March 1 or March 21? [2006]

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Koper, Slovenia

It's a grassy lawn, not a sandy beach. It's a working waterway, not an open ocean. It's a bobbing boy, not a bobbing buoy. Such is reality in geographically disadvantaged states like Slovenia. Not sure what that means? Look at a map. [2008]