Friday, March 31, 2017

Goodland, Texas, USA

Cattle Kingdom and Cotton Kingdom are regional monikers sometimes applied to the Texas Panhandle, but here is a landscape that fits neither. It looks like a family tried to establish a ranch, but failed: too little rainfall to sustain even a solitary shade tree. Abandoned for how long would you say? [2017]

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Washington, DC, USA

After they rally in front of the Capitol to mark "six years of international neglect and betrayal," Syrian-Americans in the DMV assemble to march to the White House. They want the U.S. to stand against Asad, Russia, and ISIS. Hope is waning, however, and the number of demonstrators has been declining. [2017]

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Washington, DC, USA

Voices from the podium and colors of the Syrian flag will attract the attention of decision-makers on Capitol Hill: That's the hope, at least. The Syrian community wants desperately to see an end to the Asad regime and the elimination of ISIS from their homeland. The latter objective may be achieved, but the former, not likely. [2017]

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Washington, DC, USA

The pro-democracy uprising in Syria began in March 2011. It was part of a so-called Arab Spring that touched almost every country in the Middle East and North Africa. Now into its seventh year, Syrians around the world "still want FREEDOM" for their homeland. The Syrian community of the DMV demonstrates every March in sight of the White House or Capitol. [2017]

Monday, March 27, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Less than two days after it arrived, the MSC Opera pulls out of the Sierra Maestra Terminal in Havana and is off to its next port of call. From the top of the Parque Central Hotel the city looks colorful but a bit dilapidated. Nevertheless, visitors are likely to remember Havana the way they think of a book that offered them a 'good read' on dog-eared pages. [2017]

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Havana, Cuba

MSC Cruises is the fourth largest cruise company in the world, but relatively unknown in the U.S. Here, the MSC Opera has just docked at the Sierra Maestra Terminal and its passengers have been given a day to see Havana. That's 2700 potential visitors for a city that desperately needs cashola. [2017]

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Havana, Cuba

That's a 1955 Ford Fairlane. In the United States, its ilk may be for collectors only, but classic cars are common on the streets of Havana, where the 1950s are not yet history. Get ready though, a new law in 2013 eased restrictions on new car imports. Cuba's motorways may be on the verge of a make-over. [2017]

Friday, March 24, 2017

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

See what's growing in the front garden? Day lilies and a bicycle. Both will be making someone very happy today. Or maybe a few months from now. [2009]

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fes, Morocco

A café named California is in Morocco. Ever think how similar the two realms are in terms of physical geography?  Area, latitudinal location, terrain, Mediterranean climate with short grasslands and deserts on the periphery. How can two places with such similar physical profiles have such different levels of development? [1989]

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas

It may look like iced tea, but it's really used cooking oil. Cruise liners donate it to the Island School on Eleuthera, which refines it into diesel fuel for its own fleet. In fact, the practice has become common in many cruise ship ports, and it sure beats throwing it overboard. [2014]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Suomenlinna Island, Finland

After World War II, Finland was banned from having submarines. (Go figure!) But one was salvaged, the Vesikko, and it now provides just one more reason why everyone who visits Helsinki should take the ferry to Suomenlinna Island. [2005]

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bandung, Java, Indonesia

Make a list of the world's countries. Then, name the most famous street in each country. Champs-Elysėes in France, Downing Street in Britain, La Rambla in Spain, Wall Street in the U.S., Yonge Street in Canada, 9 de Julio Avenue in Argentina, Orchard Road in Singapore, Takeshita Street in Japan. Now, name the most famous street in Indonesia. [2016]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Upper Rock, Gibraltar

Barbary macaques are all over the Rock of Gibraltar, but to see their conservation status go to the authoritative source, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. Surprise: They're listed as "endangered." Maybe over their entire range, they are endangered, but numbers are increasing here in Gibraltar. Do you see why? [2015]

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Brown pelicans are all over the coastline of both Californias, but to see their conservation status, go to the authoritative source, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. Sure enough: They're listed as "least concern" in terms of the chances for global extinction. Want to know about another species? Search the Red List. [2016]

Friday, March 17, 2017

Panama City, Panama

"Slavery is the offspring of darkness." So said Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America. As a result, he now has his own plaza in Panama City; it commemorates his role in emancipating those held in slavery. Yes, in Bolivar's time Panama was part of South America. [2017]

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Belize City, Belize

Amish? No! Mennonite. Although his head covering and beard, plus the colors of his garb, point to Amish heritage, he is one of the 'Russian Mennonites' who came to Belize via a circuitous route through Manitoba and Mexico. The Mennonites of Belize number over 10,000 and are known for their agricultural and mechanical skills. [2015]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch people head to the polls today. The country has always been solidly undergirded by shared bonds of nationhood and a commitment to liberal democracy, Now, issues of minority rights and the role of the European Union could potentially send it reeling. At least they have a king as head of state, and this is where he lives when he comes to Amsterdam. [2015]

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sembawang, Singapore

The bird photographer is in Singapore, but the skyline is in Malaysia. In between is the Johor Strait. However, it was originally the Singapore Strait. In a case of marinymic relocation, the Singapore Strait is now on the Indonesian side, and it doesn't look much like a strait! In fact, the Strait of Singapore may be the most un-strait-like strait in the world. [2015]

Monday, March 13, 2017

Lisbon, Portugal

In the foreground is the Alfama quarter, the place where the city of Lisbon got started as a Phoenician trading post three thousand years ago. In the background is the open ocean: an invitation to close the book on Mediterranean history and begin the preface to the book on globalization that continues to be written today. [2009]

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cohimar, Cuba

Early March and chilly: even in Cuba! It may seem like a blush of boys (maybe 10 total), but they have been joined by one lone girl. Out they swam into the cold waters of the Bay of Cohimar and then quickly returned to the rocky shoreline, all supervised by a responsible father figure. Up the escalera they scamper, one step closer to being adults. [2017]

Saturday, March 11, 2017

San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

He has just emerged from the bakery with an armload of bread. All neighborhoods have bakeries and all the bread looks like this. [2017]

Friday, March 10, 2017

San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

'Man buns' may not be popular in Cuba, but mohawks are, and those who have them wear them with pride. Even the trouble-some neighbor seems to be proud when his friend has a coif to show off. [20117]

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Hood ornaments are almost ubiquitous in Havana. This one guards the entrance to Mercado 19 y B, but she is ready to take off as soon as her master emerges with something to cook for the evening meal. Markets in Havana are named after the nearest intersection (19th and B), and there is one in every neighborhood. [2017]

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Havana, Cuba

He works hard for a living, but now seems to be taking a break. He has even allowed himself the privilege of moving his tush back to the cushioned seat where his patrons sit. [2017}

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Havana's historico centro has four main plazas and lots of of small ones. This one is dominated by a group of harlequins whose job it is to add some merriment to the scene. Look! It worked! [2017]

Monday, March 6, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Sunday afternoon means going to the movies for many Cubans, especially if  they're lucky enough to live in Vedado. The films are Cuban and so is the ice cream across the street. As for the Model T: not exactly Cuban, but very popular with visitors. [2017]

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Havana, Cuba

On July 26, 1953, the army barracks in Santiago de Cuba was attacked by a band of revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro. It failed, and Castro was imprisoned. Still, it became the vanguard movement that overthrew the Batista regime and established the Cuba we know today. The mural recalls the events of 1953, and so does the classic car. [2014]

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New York, New York, USA

From the 100th floor of One World Trade Center you can see what a global city looks like. Across the East River begins Long Island. On the Manhattan side, the scene is dominated by post-World War II Stuyvesant Town, the type of development Robert Moses loved and Jane Jacobs loathed. [2017]

Friday, March 3, 2017

New York, New York, USA

From the 100th floor of One World Trade Center you can see what a global city looks like. The Empire State Building in the center was New York City's tallest from 1931 to 1972 and again from 2001 to 2013. Now it's No. 3; the tower at 432 Park Avenue is No. 2, and it's also the tallest residential structure in the world. Can you see it? [2017]

Thursday, March 2, 2017

New York, New York, USA

From the 100th floor of One World Trade Center you can see what a global city looks like. The Hudson River leads north, with New Jersey on the west side and Manhattan's Midtown and Chelsea on the east. Little is left of the working waterfront of a hundred years ago as port services have relocated closer to the open ocean. [2017]

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New York, New York, USA

At a symbolic 1776 feet in height (to the top of the spire), One World Trade Center stands as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The One World view from the 100th floor is spectacular. You can even see the winged dove named Oculus that landed last year to nullify any negative energy that remains from 9-11. Together, they make a fine pair. [2017]