Tuesday, May 31, 2016

San Francisco, California, USA

State capitol or city hall? It may look like the former, but it is actually the latter. San Francisco City Hall, in fact, looks like the national Capitol in Washington. Perhaps it's an architectural proclamation that San Francisco thinks of itself as the capital of the West Coast. If nothing else, you see the east-west rivalry that is part of American nationhood. [2016]

Monday, May 30, 2016

Jefferson City, Missouri, USA

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, with its 58,307 names, stands on the Mall in Washington, D.C. In addition, several replicas (like this one) move from community to community to make it possible for everyone to participate in the experience of honoring those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War. [2015]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adairsville, Georgia, USA

You wouldn't guess it from the palcidity of downtown Adairsville, but U.S. Highway 41 used to be one of the nation's major interstate highways (before there were Interstate Highways). Now, its been shunted to the side, I-75 has taken over its job, and Adairsville has been retired right along with the old highway. As for Peacock Alley.... [2013]

Saturday, May 28, 2016

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans is in the humid subtropics, so a fan is handy. Hers seems more like a useful tool than a fashion statement, but fans have served both purposes. If you want to know more two museums beckon: (1) The Hand Fan Museum in Healdsburg, California, and (2) The Fan Museum in Greenwich, London, England. [2014]

Friday, May 27, 2016

Covina, California, USA

The -vina comes from vine because the early pioneers thought wine was going to be their economic base. Instead, in the early 20th century, oranges catapulted Covina to one of the top orange-producing locations in the world. Today, the orange groves are gone but their ghosts go on. [2015]

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Castle Road, Gibraltar

The Visigoths lost the Rock in 711 to the Moors under the command of Jebal Tariq, hence the geographical name Gibraltar. The Moors lost the Rock in 1462 to the Spaniards under the command of Juan Alonso de Guzman, hence nothing. If you want to be remembered, get your name attached to the landscape and become part of a map. It guarantees immortality. [2015]

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Douglas, Isle of Man

The old harbor used to be the commercial heart of Douglas, but now it is big enough only for pleasure craft. It is a story repeated all over the world. The harbors of old cannot accommodate the scale of maritime commerce today, so they are retired and converted to people purposes. [2011]

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Havana, Cuba

Did you hear? Everybody's talking about going to Cuba! Not everybody in Europe, not everybody in Canada, not everybody in Mexico. For them, traveling to Cuba is normal. But, for US, it's new and exotic, and therefore in demand. Stand by as prices increase! [2014]

Monday, May 23, 2016

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

"Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the sombra, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday." Eleanor Roosevelt. Of course, Mrs. Roosevelt used the English word for sombra. See one? [2016]

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bran, Romania

Out the window: Look! It's Transylvania, Dracula's home digs. Romanians today owe a debt of gratitude to British novelist Bram Stoker, who created a fictional milieu for Vlad the Impaler. The country's post-Communist leaders have superimposed that milieu on a real landscape to create a tourist magnet imbued with a powerful sense of place. [2014]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Madrid, Spain

Limbs that lift, and tops that treat
Climbers to a view so sweet;
A God's eye view of what's below,
Of green sometimes, and sometimes snow.
Of others using limbs like steps,
To test their strength and build biceps.
To get away, but not to stay.
A place to pause. To live? No way!
One climb up and one climb down.
A smile has now replaced a frown.
Biceps built and soul restored,
You didn't need that bungee cord!
Poems were meant for stanzaed trees.
That's why we have poe-tree. [2009]

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cana, Israel

"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." John 2:11. The Franciscan Church of the First Miracle stands today on the site of the wedding feast, where the son of Mary turned six stone jars of water into wine. If today is your wedding day, may the blessings of God be upon you. [1999]

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

All that remains of the old Hong Kong Railway station is the clock tower. One hundred years ago, the station was built to connect Victoria Harbor with Canton (now Guangzhou). The station was demolished in 1977, but the tower was preserved. [2011]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

London, England, UK

Hong Kong has proclaimed itself "Asia's World City." Indeed, Hong Kong and Singapore have been rising on the world city list, while Tokyo has been declining. What city heads the list? London, of course (with apologies to New York). World cities are the command-and-control points of the global economy. [2015]

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Belize City, Belize

When you arrive in Belize City at Novelo's bus terminal, don't jump in a taxi and head out right away. Spend a little time next door at the newly renovated market and meet some of the friendly folks who keep Belize fed. [2015]

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bangkok, Thailand

It looks like there is enough clay left to form the rest of the body. On the other hand, it may be just the opposite. The whole body may be returning to the sod from which it was sculpted. Perhaps these lazy legs are intriguing because we don't know whether they are being created or destroyed. And, perhaps that is the hand of the sculptor. [2011]

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Seoul, South Korea

Bukhansan demarcates the northern border of old Seoul. At its foot stands the Presidential Palace, which is widely known as the Blue House but officially dubbed Cheong Wa Dae. The site has auspicious wind-water-earth properties according to pungsu-jiri-seol, the Korean version of feng shui. [2016]

Saturday, May 14, 2016

San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

"I can feel the love. Can you feel it too?" Love for the guitar, that is. Who is this hombre joven of the 8 de Octubre neighborhood? (a) the future Luis Villegas; (b) the future Oscar Lopez, (c) the future Carlos Santana, (d) none of the above. Come back in twenty years and you'll have your answer. [2016]

Friday, May 13, 2016

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Locks on a bridge over one of Amsterdam's many canals present such a contradiction. Why? Because canals in the Netherlands don't have locks. No need for locks: too flat! [2015]

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Changhua, Taiwan

On top of Mt. Bagua sits one of the largest Buddha statues in Taiwan. That's it in the background. The Great Buddha has a gravity all its own, leaving the boddhisatvas to enjoy only a nod or two by passing pilgrims. Big ears are a hallmark of Buddhist iconography. [2012]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Shortly after Norfolk celebrated its 300th birthday, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was invited to turn the harborside molasses tank into a Chinese pagoda, an extreme example of adaptive re-use. What did the holding tank look like twenty-four years ago? That's a question that can be answer by re-photography. [2016]

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

In 1982, Norfolk celebrated its 300th anniversary, and the molasses tank that used to anchor the dockside area adjacent to downtown became a signboard for the birthday party. Molasses was an important part of Norfolk's trade with the Caribbean. Re-photography should answer the question: What happened to that holding tank? [1982]

Monday, May 9, 2016

West Haven, Connecticut, USA

That looks like a low-wave energy coastline, so you know you are not fronting on the open ocean. In fact, it's the Long Island Sound. Still, the new construction does not look like a good long-term investment given the pace of sea-level rise and the vulnerability to Nor'easters. Here is a place for some re-photography. [2008]

Sunday, May 8, 2016

York, Maine, USA

The hard-rock coastline of Atlantic America begins north of Boston and takes flight in Maine. Coastal towns and fishing villages hug the cuts made by rivers as they find their way to the sea. York Harbor sits along the York River, which provides easy access to the Gulf of Maine. [2008]

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tlaquepaque, Sedona, Arizona, USA

Who's the mural artist here? Mother Nature, of course. She's working with shadows. Might shadows have been the inspiration for the world's first mural art 40,000 years ago? [2009]

Friday, May 6, 2016

Manteno, Illinois, USA

Want to feel royal? Make your torso worthy of a monarch and let your dreams take flight. It works best when you are dressed for the prom. A simple mural has carved out a space for performance art, a place where a seemingly half-finished lepidopteron invites you to become part of a tableau vivant. [2015]

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Manteno, Illinois, USA

Last year, about this time, the art teacher and her students at the local high school added some colorful butterflies to a local sidewall. This winged monarch is about finished but the torso seems to be missing. What's going on here? [2015]

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New London, Connecticut, USA

New London, once one of the world's largest whaling ports, has its very own whaling wall. It was a week-long project done by America's most well-known mural artist, Wyland. (See his signature?) Between 1981 and 2008, Wyland painted over 100 whales on walls all around the world. [2008]

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Whangarei, New Zealand

Rainy days are perfect for capturing whales on walls. Where? In Whagarei. You may think that is perfect alliteration, but: Whangarei is pronounced Fongaray, with an F. Does that mean whale is pronounced fale in Whangarei? [2011]

Monday, May 2, 2016

Seoul, South Korea

What could be better than one computer at your fingertips? Four computers, each one the size of a cell phone. In fact, they are cell phones, and they help him make his deliveries each day in the Yongsan electronics district of Seoul. Think they are made by (a) Apple or (b) Samsung? [2016]

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yerevan, Armenia

Let's strum in the month of May. Strum: it's an example of onomatopoeia, a category of words that originate with the sound of whatever inspired them. Hum is another example of onomatopoeia. Strum and hum: It's what we do with the guitar. [2015]