Saturday, October 31, 2015

Carson City, Nevada, USA

If Nevada is 151 years old today, when did it become a state? 1864, during the Civil War. President Lincoln rushed Nevada to statehood because of its Union sympathies. He was rewarded with overwhelming Republican support in the federal elections which were held little more than a week later. The capitol building was begun as soon as the war was over. [2001]

Friday, October 30, 2015

Valle Crucis, North Carolina, USA

He looks entirely too happy to be a ghost, happy enough to wish everyone in the mountains of North Carolina a Happy Halloween. Consider yourself warned: Tomorrow is the eve of Hallowtide, three days devoted to remembering all believers who have departed this life. [2014]

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

It is Saturday afternoon and he is climbing a vertical slab of rock in Joshua Tree's Hidden Valley. The valley was so hidden it was used by rustlers to hide their cattle. Today, thanks to the National Park Service, it is not so hidden. [2015]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Covina, California, USA

Think of that trash can as a mine and him as a miner. He is collecting recyclables, mostly bottles and cans, and doing society a favor in the process. Around the city he moves, filling up his bags and earning a living. [2015]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Niland, California, USA

Geothermal activity along the San Andres fault is evidenced by a field of 'mud volcanoes' just east of the Salton Sea. Here, a generating plant (one of many) is turning that volcanic energy into electricity. [2015]

Monday, October 26, 2015

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The window is on his lap, under his control, right in front of his face. It probably goes everywhere with him. He uses it, often unknowingly, to frame the world. Do you have a window you take with you? An invisible window that allows you to be an observer of life even as you participate? Is there glass in your window or is it just a frame? [2014]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Zagreb, Croatia

The window is open, but she is immersed in her own thoughts. The jay is chatting up a storm, but she is oblivious. The world is at her fingertips, but her arms are folded. The window might as well be shut. [2008]

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Brasov, Romania

Those who pass through St. Catherine's gate enter Brasov. Those who enter Brasov enter Transylvania. Do you know what that means? Halloween is exactly a week from today! [2014]

Friday, October 23, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

Beyond this gate is the Topkapi Palace, from which the Ottoman sultans governed a great empire for 400 years. To get here by sea, nature provided two more gates: (1) a constriction of the Bosporus guarded by castles on either side, and (2) a companion strait, the Dardanelles, through which fleets had to pass before reaching the empire's core. [2014]

Thursday, October 22, 2015

La Linea, Andalusia, Spain

Lots of language here, but she is clearly not speaking to the world or the Anglophones on the other side of "the line." Her casa is on the Gibraltarian border, and she has apparently been aggrieved by the local government. She may be the 'Duchess of the Frontier,' but for the rest of her message we need a translator. Who can help? [2015]

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hauula, Hawaii, USA

Some people believe that Hawaii is an "independent country under prolonged illegal occupation." To meet their demands, Kau Inoa was  set up to start the process of reviving nationhood. But, there seems to be a schism in the movement. If you find Kau Inoa in this jumble of words, you will see it is being shamed. [2011]

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fulton, Missouri, USA

Golden rod suggests something of an etymological problem. All species belong to the genus Solidago. According to the sources, it is from Latin, meaning "to make whole." Convincing? Hardly. Sol has to stand for sun, doesn't it? And dago sounds like dagger. When you look at them what do you see? Sun daggers, a.k.a., "golden rods." Convincing? Assuredly. [2015]

Monday, October 19, 2015

Charlton, Massachusetts, USA

The sun is setting on helianthus. A few last into the fall and usually end their lives facing east, ready to honor the rising sun, a god to them. He gave them life and his own name: sunflowers. They even look like their dad, don't they? And, when they were younger, they used follow his daily path across the sky. [2013]

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Austin, Texas, USA

Bevo XIV died Friday, so the University of Texas and the whole state are in mourning. This McDonald's has probably become a pilgrimage site for those who want to honor the embodiment of longhorn pride. Long live Bevo XV. [2015]

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Damariscotta, Maine, USA

King Eider’s Pub seems to be capitalizing quite well on the pervasive consciousness of the environment in New England. "Locally sourced and green" is their motto, so you can be sure to find Damariscotta River oysters on their menu. [2008]

Friday, October 16, 2015

Grassy Creek, North Carolina, USA

From the heart of Appalachia come the trees that will make your holiday (a) merrier, (b) holier, (c) greener, (d) funner. Here is what a geographer would find funner: installing a GPS chip in each tree and mapping the results after they have all been purchased and taken home. [2015]

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Independence, Virginia, USA

From the heart of Appalachia come the pumpkins that will make your holiday (a) spookier, (b) craftier, (c) oranger, (d) funner. Here is what a geographer would find funner: installing a GPS chip in each pumpkin and mapping the results after they have all been purchased and taken home. [2015]

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

London, England, UK

Sometimes the voices that can't be heard in their home countries (e.g., Zimbabwe) are heard loud and clear on foreign soil (e.g., Britain). ROHR stands for Restoration of Human Rights, but that is unlikely to happen in any country that permits its leaders to hold the reigns of power for decades. [2015]

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Peel, Isle of Man

Here be three men of Man.
Winner to be? or an Also Ran?
What's the Key? the Master Plan?
Take a pic of Me, Mr. Camera Man.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Athens, Greece

Whose voices are heard? Whose voices are unheard? Television stations make choices like these every day. Typically, though, they go with titles and uniforms, which always seem to add authority to authoritative comments. [2006]

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico

A shade of green you may not want to paint your kitchen. A shade of yellow you may not want to paint your bath. But, woven into a xeriscape, the American agave uses its desert hues to suck you in. It is, after all, a succulent. [2007]

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tsovagyugh, Armenia

Tsovagyugh sits on a small plateau, really a pediment, overlooking Lake Van, one of the 'great lakes' of historical Armenia. Soon the snows will be returning to the Caucasus, not to disappear until next summer. [2015]

Friday, October 9, 2015

Caye Caulker, Belize

Belikin is the beer of Belize. Ever notice how native beers become rallying points of nationalism (and tribalism)? Ever wonder what the most popular beer is in other countries?  It seems like they all have a Belikin of their own, and maybe a dialect that contributes to the nation-building task as well. [2015]

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Low rise, high rise.
Lots of 'partments. A surprise?
Not when cities grow apace.
They just might run out of space.
So up they climb, into the sky.
Towards the sun, which makes things dry.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic

It looks like they are rebuilding their boat from the outside in. And, where is the work being done? Right on the beach. When the job's finished, a team of men should be able to pull it right into the ocean. [1992]

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Antwerp, Belgium

Her Ph.D. is in French-frying potatoes. There they are: Piled higher and Deeper. In Belgium, though, they would never be called French! Frites are what you order in the French-speaking part of Belgium, and frieten are what you order in the Dutch-speaking part. And, please don't ask for ketchup; they are served with mayonnaise. [2015]

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Name an iconic surfing beach in Australia. Bondi Beach, of course. Wave riders converge on Bondi from all over the world. Although it's been eclipsed in popularity by other surf spots on the island continent, none are as well known as Bondi. [2006]

Sunday, October 4, 2015

London, England, UK

Have you ever heard of a talking goat? They have one in Spitalfields. He's standing on a pile of shipping crates. All it takes to understand his language is a mobile. What he will tell you about are the successive waves of tough-as-goats immigrants who have poured over London's East End ever since the Huguenots arrived from France in the late 1600s. [2015]

Saturday, October 3, 2015

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Three Morro Castles made sure, for more than a century, that the Caribbean was a Spanish lake. Two were in Cuba and one was in Puerto Rico. Castillo San Felipe del Morro guarded the entrance to San Juan harbor, one of the best in the Antilles. Today, it belongs to the U.S. National Park Service and is listed as a World Heritage Site by the U.N. [2009]

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is notorious for its traffic jams, but there is one way to cope. Buy a scooter. Here, a student at Bangkok Commercial College seems to have gotten to class with time to spare. She was able to weave her way through all those cars and arrive with a smile on her face. [2011]

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cozumel, Mexico

Mexico is lucky to have at least a few islands in the Caribbean Sea. Cozumel is one of them, really a northern protrusion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (a.k.a., Belize Barrier Reef), the second longest coral formation in the world. Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen and land in San Miguel. [2015]