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. [2013]

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]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mumbai, India

There is no one else around, so where did all that litter come from? Wait until the heat of the day passes, then Juhu Beach will pulse with activity. Recreational space by night, scavenger space by day. [2011]

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cohimar, Cuba

The Cojimar Fortress was built in 1649 to guard the back door to Havana. Hardly useful today for defensive purposes, it sits idle, just waiting for the time when tourist markets bid it back into use. Stay in school kid: you could be the founding director of the Castillito Museum when the day comes. [2014]

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Berlin, Germany

It stood for 28 years, and then it fell: 25 years ago today. In the annals of democracy, we put the events of November 9, 1989,on a pedestal, but we still build walls. In fact, democracies are as infatuated with wall building as authoritarian regimes. The fragments here were on display at Potsdamer Platz. [1994]

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Istanbul, Turkey

Low rise, high rise.
Istanbul: a surprise?
Density, immensity,
A city of intensity.
Foreground, background,
In between, look what we've found.
Mosque, mescit, minaret:
Expectations more than met. [2014]

Friday, November 7, 2014

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

If you could make one thing free for the entire world, what would it be? (a) food, (b) fuel, (c) frivolity, (d) fireworks, (e) fresh paint, (f) your autobiography? [2014]

Thursday, November 6, 2014

South Lake Tahoe, California, USA

On the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake the leaves haven't fallen, but the sunbeams have. And, they are just in time to coax the golden hues out of a clearing in the woods. [2006]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

York, Pennsylvania, USA

We live in a liberal democracy, which means that liberties, including religious liberties, are protected. Not even a majority vote of the population can take them away. Three hundred years ago, two places in the world became the first to pioneer in the protection of religious freedom: Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The tradition continues. [2014]

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Vote? Vote? Vote? Vote? Vote? Vote? Vote? Vote?
Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! [2013]

Monday, November 3, 2014

London, England, UK

What is the most appropriate geographical name for the area shown on P&H's lorry? (a) British Isles, (b) Great Britain, (c) England, (d) Scotland, (e) United Kingdom. The answer is the last item in the title of this post. If you got it right, treat yourself to a snack, since that is what's inside. [2009]

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

This 'subtle rock eater' inhabits Puerto Vallarta's Malecon. Are we allowed to defy the official interpretation: that we ingest negative emotions every day of our lives? Could it be, since he is on the beach, that rocks go in one end and sand comes out the other? It's physical geography anthropomorhized. [2007]

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oxford, England, UK

The first of November is the traditional start of low-sun season. As days grow shorter and shadows grow longer, all manner of chimerical creatures begin to appear. They co-inhabit the human earth until high-sun season chases them away on the first of May. [1984]