Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

On the outskirts of modern Tulum, a roadside furniture vendor sets out his merchandise in time for the afternoon rush hour. [2015]

Friday, January 30, 2015

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

If you go to Tulum, it is the Maya ruins you must see.  For modern Mexicans, the ancient Mayans have provided resources for recreation and tourism. Tulum provides a rare case of a Mayan city overlooking the sea.  [2015]

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

What could be more relaxing than a hammock on the beach.  Here at El Mirador, near the southern end of Cozumel Island, a few hammocks let travelers try them out: to convince them they need one at home. The hammock seems to have originated with the fishnets of the Caribbean's native peoples, so it fits the cultural geography perfectly. [2015]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Cozumel Island is nothing more than an uplifted limestone formation that has been subjected to the forces of weathering and erosion. The chemical weathering of limestone results in karst topography, with lots of underground caverns. That's what this sea arch started as before it was torn apart by Caribbean waves and tides. [2015]

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Avenida Quinta is the main drag of Playa del Carmen. The street has been turned over to pedestrians, tourists from all over the world. Lots of music drifts out onto the street from the restaurants and clubs. This one uses a mural as a backdrop: How much more Mexican can you get? [2015]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Everybody needs sunglasses when they visit the tropics, even a plucked, bow-tied, jeans-wearing, color-coordinated chicken. What was giving the two dudes so much mirth, though, must have been an inside joke. [2015]

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

By one estimate, the British governments spends 150 million pounds annually to remove gum from city streets. Many places around the world have the same problem, but now there is news of a non-stick chewing gum. Once again, an engineering solution is offered for a human problem that seems to defy a behavioral remedy. [2009]

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Auckland, New Zealand

Looking for a dog-friendly park where your canines can romp around off leash? Head to Western Park in Auckland. It is huge and all ready for neighborhood dog shows. [2011]

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Someone outght to write a thesis on the geography of shadows. At the micro-scale, they exercise a demi-deterministic influence on daytime, out-of-doors population distribution. Shadows also shelter bats and what they represent:  in this case, rum! [2014]

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bucharest, Romania

Cute. Right? And fortunate, too. (1) They grew up in a post-Communist Romania. (2) They live in Bucharest, a hub of eastern prosperity. (3) They are 'stylin,' and obviously comfortable looking very international. (4) They are falling in love! [2014]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Sandridge Bridge is no longer needed for rail service, so it's been reconditioned to serve as pedestrian crossing and sculpture garden. Here is one of The Travellers, one of ten in the entourage. He represents the convict era of Australian history. [2011]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

During the 19th century, the harbor at Spanish Town would have seen the ebb and flow of steam ships carrying copper off to Wales. Today, that same port, now called the Yacht Harbor, provides the island with a different economic base. [2014]

Monday, January 19, 2015

London, England, UK

The London Eye is back in the news. It's been re-branded: "London Eye turns red as Coca-Cola sponsorship deal is launched...campaigners hand out toothbrushes to families in protest against sugary drink firm." That's the Daily Mail's headline from yesterday. Want to guess the new color of its nighttime glow? [2003]

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

Downhill to the docks (or, at least, the waterfront), then off to Russia and its near abroad. From Küçük Moscova to Bol'shaya Moskovskaya: That's what you need to know if you're mapping the patterns of international trade. To Istanbul's Little Moscow come the Russian wholesalers to replenish their shelves back in 'Big Moscow.' [2014]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

Can you tell you are in Little Moscow? Within a few square blocks of Duran are clothing stores that cater to the Russian market. And, you can be sure that the hotels in the area all have desk clerks who speak Russian. Remember, though, you are really in Istanbul. [2014]

Friday, January 16, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey


A star, even if it's on a T, is the mark of a capital city. But Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, so how do we work our way out of this conundrum?  By letting our gaze settle on the fashionable fur hats. They will soon be for sale in Russia, which may make Istanbul a capital of their fashion industry. Or, maybe the city's just a cheap place to buy wholesale. [2014]

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Havana, Cuba

Here's what life looks like under the banyan tree in an upscale neighborhood of Havana. Fit and happy they seem to be. Even the well-to-do in Cuba society must fit as many people into a house as they can. The result is that many prefer to be outside. That means more exercise and, because it's Cuba, no fast food temptations. [2014]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Brennero and Bolzano, Italy

The rail line through the Brenner Pass connects Salzburg to Verona. But, where does Austria stop and Italy begin? The answer given by political geographers might be different than the answer given by cultural geographers. Can you tell which side of the political divide you are on here? [1984]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sofia, Bulgaria

Saints Cyril and Methodius christianized the Slavic peoples along the Danube River by translating the Bible into the vernacular language, Slavonic. To do that, they devised the Cyrillic alphabet. Cyril stands next to his elder, Methodius. In Bulgaria, they are national heroes. [2010]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

The unseen gives life to the seen. It's the same among plants as it is among people. The farfugium japonicum draws its beauty from what is deep underground and invisible to the naked eye. The homo sapien draws its beauty from what is deep inside and invisible to the naked eye. [2013]

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

Equine bones or riverine driftwood? Neither: Cast bronze with patina. Fraudulent or just fun? Both: But a Chattanooga choo-choo would be less fraudulent and more fun. [2013]

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cañon City, Colorado, USA

What can you find on a Cañon City corner? Assassination without emotion of stags who've not been blessed. Etiolation for the promotion of hunting in the West. [2005]

Friday, January 9, 2015

Quinby, Virginia, USA

What can you find on the Quinby waterfront? Corrosion amidst the commotion of daily life on the docks. Oxidation with the intention of mimicking the pox. [2007]

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sedona, Arizona, USA

What's the future of the license plate? It could be destined for the scrap pile. A bar code would be far more efficient for keeping track of every single vehicle in the United States without the assistance of human eyes. The matrix bar code, in fact, was invented for the automotive industry. [2009]

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

You might call him the mascot of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Traveling with a pet? Here in the dog park you can let him have some relief from the stress of travel. Biodegradable bags provided! [2014]

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

The My-Way dog is best appreciated when you notice the fence that surrounds it. A lifted leg has the potential to plant an idea in the minds of some passers-by, but the fence keeps them from acting on their My-Way impulses. Without the fence, one inanimate sculpture might be simply a prop for some animated performance art. [2011]

Monday, January 5, 2015

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Toboggans are nothing more than skim boards for snowy environments. However: (1) Instead of taunting summer's sun, they are part of winter's fun. (2) Instead of skimming southern swells, they skim the snow of northern hills. (3) Instead of staging a solo act, they may be with people packed. [2005]

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Chiang Mai, Thailand

It's mid-morning and he's got the plaza to himself. Can he really make music on that rag-tag collection of cans? Let's see. Or, rather, let's listen. As you scroll down, imagine what you are going to hear when he starts playing. [2011]


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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Larnaca, Cyprus

Where are you? Just look at the iconic elements of the landscape: a pinto pony, a cowboy, a cactus field, a crude wooden railing that passes as a fence. Surprise: You're in the pedestrian precinct that surrounds Larnaca's marina on the island of Cyprus. [2004]

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sofia, Bulgaria

Some lessons for the year ahead: (1) Don't judge people or things by outward appearances; they might look like monsters but actually just want to play. (2) Be gracious givers and gracious recipients; bond yourself to others by giving and receiving. (3) Seek the high ground, take time for yourself, and contemplate the horizon. [2010]

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Too much celebration last night? Might this be you and a friend on the dance floor? In the year ahead, just remember: We all have a dinosaur deep within us just trying to get out. Happy New Year! [2013]