Friday, July 31, 2015

Yangdong, South Korea

As the country's oldest traditional clan village, Yangdong is protected by the Republic of Korea and is now on UNESCO's World Heritage List. This is Mucheomdang. the family home of the aristocratic and neo-Confucianist Yeogang Yi family. [2012]

Thursday, July 30, 2015

London, England, UK

London and New York stay ahead of the game by making sure they are in a constant state of renewal. Both are 'global cities,' but only London is able to hold on to its past while allowing each upcoming generation to re-make the city using building cranes as their tools of choice. [2015]

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia

Welcome to the transit hub of Tbilisi. If you arrive here on a Soviet-era bus from the airport you are met with a Soviet-era square and apartment block. Soon, a Soviet-era sorrow falls over you. Head off in any direction, however, and the new Tbilisi shows its colors. [2015]

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Here's why you go to Mexico's Caribbean coast: to learn how to scuba dive. For the tropics, though, it seems like they're overdressed. Guess that's just part of the sport. Scuba: That stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. [2015]

Monday, July 27, 2015

Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

The Alice does have a spring, but climatically, it's in the middle of one of the world's great deserts. Gold drew the first European inhabitants to Alice Springs, but getting there was another problem. Long distance transport was initially accomplished by camels. Today, air travel is the preferred means of overcoming the friction of distance. [1988]

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bran, Romania

Geraniums do well in window boxes as well as everywhere else. They are even more popular in Europe than in North America. The flowers always rise to the occasion by standing above their photocellur foliage that bring them food. [2014]

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Karkamish, Turkey

Turkey is making sure that Syrian refugee children at the Karkamish Refugee camp have the opportunity to complete their schooling. After that, they can count on nothing. Their country is gone, perhaps forever. For now, they have no citizenship. And, any dreams they have must be kept to themselves. Unrealistic say their elders. [2014]

Friday, July 24, 2015

Karkamish, Turkey

At the Karkamish refugee camp, most of the residents are women and children who have fled the unclassifiable horrors that are taking place in Syria. The men are back home, presumably fighting for a cause, or in a city somewhere else trying to make money. [2014]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Karkamish, Turkey

As of the end of 2014, there were 60 million refugees in the world. They have fled their home home countries looking for safety elsewhere. The U.N. refugee camp at Karkamish was built on the Turkish border to house Syrian refugees. Let's hope this camp is temporary, as is always intended by the U.N. [2014]

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gaziantep, Turkey

There are now more than 4 million refugees from Syria. Here are two of them. They now live on the streets of Gaziantep. A few miles to the south is the Syrian border, which is no longer the Syrian border. It is the frontier between Turkey and "the Islamic State," the frontier between freedom and persecution, and perhaps the frontier between life and death. [2014]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Raqqa, Syria

Five young men dedicated to keeping Syria running on four wheels. Twenty-three years ago, their home city was on the dusty frontier of the Fertile Crescent. Today, it's the capital of a self-proclaimed, but de facto, independent state: The Islamic State. At least some of these smiling mechanics must still live there. They would be in their early 40s. [1993]

Monday, July 20, 2015

Davenport, California, USA

Better than an art gallery, don't you think? Accessible and attention-getting. Art is best when it's out on the landscape for people to see. Would you feel differently about its appeal if you knew it were commercial art? Yes, there is an ad on the front of the sunglasses! [2010]

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Durango, Colorado, USA

What's that slung over the clothesline? What do you make of it? Does your mind jump to the big picture from nothing more than a cultural fragment? Do you like reading the landscape? If so, remember: Rarely do you get complete sentences and full paragraphs. [2013]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Islamorada, Florida, USA

Does Florida have a Caribbean coast? Not technically; the Keys protrude into the Gulf of Mexico. If the natives wanted to call it the Caribbean, could they? Bahamians, off the other coast of Florida, would say 'yes.' The Bahamas are all technically in the Atlantic, but natives there speak of the leeward shore as the Caribbean side. [2014]

Friday, July 17, 2015

Waterford, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

"No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main." That would mean that every man who thinks he is on an island is really on a peninsula. Here is evidence that the dictum applies to women, too. Donne. [2014]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Havana, Cuba

Who can be the first to walk on water? Perhaps they are practicing so they can impress Pope Francis when he visits Cuba on his way to the United States in September. After all, the Holy Father officiated at the prenups that brought the two countries together last year. Now that was a miracle! [2014]

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Thanks to the National Park Service, we know that "Spain's King Philip hired Field Marshall Juan de Tejada and Buatista Antonelli, a young Italian engineer, to help design a defense plan for the Caribbean." They decided to fortify 10 key sites, including the harbor of San Juan. Immediately, the geographer asks: Where were the other 9? [2009]

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Samana, Dominican Republic

Quiet cove, but not all is well. Do you see any evidence of landscape change? Beach erosion, perhaps? Look at the palms at water's edge. They're not so perpendicular any more. You might be surprised they're alive at all until you remember that coconut palms thrive on salty soils. Notice that nothing else does. [1992]

Monday, July 13, 2015

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

There are no cruise ship at Cruz Bay. They use the facilities on the neighboring island of St. Thomas. Here on St. John, you can have a true vacation: relaxing, quiet, colorful. [2014]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

You could probably say she is taking a bath since the place is called "The Baths." If you think every beach in the Caribbean is the same, visit Virgin Gorda. The southern tip of the island is like nothing else in the Lesser Antilles. [2014]

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Mexico has its own Caribbean coast. It was a sparsely settled frontier until 1970 when Cancun was built. Then, development moved south to Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, which face off across the Cozumel Channel. Today, tourists are moving south to the Riviera Maya, anchored by Tulum. Be careful, Mexico! Tourist destinations are easily worn out. [2015]

Friday, July 10, 2015

Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker is nothing more than a small sandbar with a small village and a small number of hotels and restaurants. Perfect for relaxation if not for the night life. Sunbathing and windsurfing are its specialties. Let's see how fast things change now that Southwest has begun flights into Belize City, a short water-taxi ride away. [2015]

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Inuktitut. Iqaluit. Inuksuk. Nunavut.
Language. Capital. Cairn. Country.
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ.  ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ.  ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ.  ᓄᓇᕗᑦ
Nunavut. Day. July. Ninth.  [2012]

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gaziantep, Turkey

Copper is soft and malleable, hence, easy to work. But those very qualities detract from anything made from pure copper. Enter tin. Fuse the two and what do you get? Bronze. Anything made from bronze is hard and durable. That's why we hear very little about the Copper Age but lots about the Bronze Age. Bronze boosted the advance of civilization. [2014]

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Boats, cars, bikes, and people: You see them all in the heart of Amsterdam, along the canals that hydrate one of the world's greatest surviving 17th century landscapes. "The Venice of the North" is living proof that history can be useful, profitable, and voiceful. [2015]

Monday, July 6, 2015

Brussels, Belgium

Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses: humble harbingers of spring looking for buyers on Brussels' grand market square. Hard to believe they're not native Belgians, but migrants from the mountains of inner Asia, where growing conditions were so harsh they needed the boost provided by underground food-storage organs, otherwise known as bulbs. [2015]

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Elizabethton, Tennessee, USA

When you find a covered bridge in an urban setting, you usually suspect it was rescued from rural demise. Not so in Elizabethton. The county seat simply needed some room to grow. So, in 1881, county commissioners appropriated money for a bridge over the Doe River. Today, it is feted with a covered bridge festival every June. [2012]

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dana, Indiana, USA

It's Independence Day, a time to honor patriots: like Ernie Pyle, the Dana native who brought the battles of World War II to the print-bound public with his first-person reports from the front lines. Late in the war, he was killed in battle and later awarded (as a civilian) the Purple Heart. Honored here are Ernie Pyle and the Hillsdale Covered Bridge. [2015]

Friday, July 3, 2015

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Just as it was about to be demolished by the state highway department (the grim reaper of so much transportation history), the Everhart Bridge was bought by Mrs. Margaret Meigs, spirited away from Perry County, and reassembled in front of the mansion at Fort Hunter. It's still in Fort Hunter park, but now has a niche of its own. [2007]

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lewisburg, West Virginia, USA

In the woods of the Greenbrier Valley, Herns Mill Covered Bridge stands all by itself, with only the tulip poplars to keep it company. Since it was built in 1884, though, its relative location has changed even though it has always been in this very spot. What's the story? (1) Ponder the name of the bridge. (2) Ponder the proximal location of U.S. Highway 60. [2015]

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mahomet, Illinois, USA

In 1965, a 19th century, New England-style covered bridge was built from scratch over the Sangamon River in the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Mahomet's community playground. Here's how it has kept up with the times: (1) bicycle-pedestrian lane added for safety; (2) brown bat colony welcomed as valuable insect eaters. [2015]