Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gardnerville, Nevada, USA

Balloon rides are a well-established component of the Carson Valley's amenity base. Pretend you're an eagle and can see Gardnerville, Minden, and Genoa from the air, not to mention the surrounding alfalfa fields and the Sierra Nevada. [2001]

Monday, January 30, 2017

Montross, Virginia, USA

♫ Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
No mountains near,
For here you're on
Virginia's coastal plain. ♬ [2015]

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Collegedale, Tennessee, USA

Every beverage has a unique geography, a mappable distribution that makes it possible to see whether a drink is equally popular across the country or variably popular region by region. Mountain Dew may fit into the latter category. Ever wonder what the geography of Mountain Dew looks like? [2013]

Saturday, January 28, 2017

London, England, UK

Let the Year of the Rooster begin! According to the Chinese zodiac, if you were born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, or 2005, you're a rooster: trustworthy and responsible. Today, every Chinatown in the world will be celebrating a new beginning. [2015]

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hong Kong S.A.R., China

The stars of Victoria Harbor are the ferry boats: often dressed to impress. You don't have to squint to see this one coming. Just this month, Star Ferry received an award for building social capital (whatever that means!) and making Hong Kong a caring and inclusive community. [2011]

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

Colonel Sanders isn't the only one with a secret recipe for fried chicken! Actually, the chef here probably has no recipe at all. He just knows the ingredients preferred by the neighborhood and throws them in by pinch and handful. [2016]

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Panama City, Panama

Only 'Lavanderia' suggests Latin America. The store's name is in English, and the currency is the U.S. dollar. Add to that the extra-tropical snowmen and a Chinese version of the Gregorian calendar. Welcome to the El Dorado neighborhood's Chinese laundry. The original Chinese immigrants came to build the sea-to-sea rail lines that predated the canal. [2017]

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yerevan, Armenia

In the capital of Armenia a door opens to a basement pub: It's a worm hole to the Caribbean, and Crawfish day is coming up. Cuba, or should we say "The Island of Freedom," never looked so inviting. Perhaps people go hoping to see an armed duel between Armenian cognac and the Cuban mojito. [2015]

Monday, January 23, 2017

Alamar, Cuba

Vivero Alamar is one of Cuba's showcase organic farms. It was founded in 1997 in response to the collapse of the USSR, but as a cooperative dedicated to socialist ideals. Some of its output is distributed by the government, but some is also destined for nearby farmers' markets. Mint in your mojito? It might have been grown here. [2014]

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Pop culture in the form of nation-building icons are displayed on ersatz license plates: maps, flags, cars, rum, and Che (but not Fidel). Are they really just for visitors? Or, is there some nation-building going on here? [2014]

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Havana, Cuba

Who is this monster and what is he eating? Could that be planet earth? Why is it empty? Who are the 99%? Why is this earth-eater in black and white? In case you can't read the wrinkles on his skin: Motorola, Canon, Adidas, McDonalds, Monsanto, Volvo, Target, Toshiba, Gazprom, Visa, Levy, Google, Nike, etc., plus lots of numbers. [2014]

Friday, January 20, 2017

Margate, New Jersey, USA

The elephants are on their way.
The elephant bull arrives today.
Elephants all, in center ring.
Elephants all, full of bling.
Ringling may be at its end,
or just re-staged. . . .
What's that portend? [2016]

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Is it nobler in the mind to suffer the stings and woes of icy fog or to take arms against a sea of troubles? Will the next four years evolve as: (a) a Shakespearean comedy, or (b) a Shakespearean tragedy? As "One Corinthians" reminds us: For now we see through a glass (or icy fog), darkly. [2016]

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hancock, Maryland, USA

"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam...." That would be a home in Maryland, not on the range. But still, a home where the skies are not cloudy all day. Just last year, with the passage of the National Bison Legacy Act, the bison became an official national symbol of the U.S. (joining the bald eagle). [2010]

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Even in January, the weather in Miami is perfect for sidewalk dining; so, let the day start with breakfast along South Beach's Ocean Drive. Hope everybody enjoyed Art Deco Weekend this year! At these tables, they're all saying it was the bee's knees. [2017]

Monday, January 16, 2017

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

The U.S. Supreme Court has made some bad decisions over the years, but the Dred Scott decision in 1857 was the absolute worst. Wouldn't those nine Justices be surprised to know that their names are buried in footnotes, while Dred Scott, and his wife Harriet, have a place of honor in America's heart and heartland: something to remember on MLK Day. [2015]

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bandung, Java, Indonesia

The songkok is part of Indonesian folk costume for men; so is the batik shirt. He wears both well. Those of us of a certain age recognize the fez-like hat because it was worn by Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia, who dominated so many news cycles in the 1960s. Let's work to transform National Hat Day into World Hat Day! [2016]

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bath, England, UK

Both Bath, England, and L'Anse-au-Clair, Labrador, Canada, are located at 51° North Latitude. Today, the temperature in the former is 44℉, and the temperature in the latter is -7℉. Chances are there's an open-air market in Bath today, but not in L'Anse -au-Clair. What accounts for the climatic difference? [2015]

Friday, January 13, 2017

Suomenlinna Island, Finland

There are seven World Heritage sites in Finland (6 cultural, 1 natural). Their importance supersedes the category of national treasures. World Heritage sites constitute the common heritage of all humanity. Suomenlinna is "an outstanding example of general fortification principles of the 17th and 18th centuries," but it is also a recreational playground for Helsinki. [2005]

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan has its own "blue mosque," and it is currently the only operating mosque in Armenia, a country with one of the strongest Christian identities in the world. Judging from the dome, is it (a) an Ottoman mosque, or (b) a Persian mosque? [2015]

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Panama City, Panama

Feeling like you need a drink or something to eat on Plaza Bolivar. The waiters here are ready to cater to your every need, but you must dine outside. They'll serve you at one of the umbrella tables across the street where you can contemplate the deeds of Simon Bolivar, the "liberator of Latin America." Note the mixture of Spanish and English in the signage. [2017]

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Colón, Panama

When you see a barber cutting hair outside under an awning, it is almost impossible to resist the temptation to have your locks shod (especially when you are only a mile away from the locks on the Panama Canal). This Panamanian stylist has been cutting hair for twenty years. [2017]

Monday, January 9, 2017

Colón, Panama

How do you while away a Saturday afternoon? With a game of rummy on the sidewalk with your friends. The city of Colon, with its vibrant street life, stands at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal, and it has a definite Caribbean feel to it. [2017]

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Balboa, Panama

These younglings have a cayuco and a sponsor. This morning they were practicing in the waters of Panama Bay off Balboa. Perhaps they will be paddling from ocean to ocean in the near future. Just imagine: Here in Panama, the Atlantic Ocean is just 50 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, and there's an all-water route to get you there. [2017]

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Panama City, Panama

Caterpillars abound in the tropics: There's so much to eat! These two will one day become sphinx moths and fly away. That is, if they don't get eaten themselves. Their bright colors, though, tell birds they are among the deplorables of the insect world. Their kind abounds on Panama City's Amador Causeway near the Biomuseo. [2017]

Friday, January 6, 2017

Panama City, Panama

After Panama Viejo was abandoned, the city moved to Casco Viejo, which is now the historic core of Panama City. It is crammed with lots of churches, the cathedral, fashionable restaurants, buildings undergoing renovation, numerous plazas, the President's palace, too many cars, and abundant views of sea and skyline. [2017]

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Panama City, Panama

The original site of Panama City was chosen by the Native Americans who had a fishing village here until 1519 when the Spanish arrived to plant the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. That settlement, abandoned after 150 years of service, is now known as Panama Viejo. In the background is the skyline of the modern city. [2017]

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Lisbon, Portugal

A castle has dominated the mouth of the Tagus River since Roman times, but the fortification seen here dates from the era of Portugal's post-Reconquista king Fernando I. The medieval period was an era when the map of power (political geography) was tightly coupled with the contours of the land (physical geography). [2009]

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gardenton, Manitoba, Canada

Dating back to the 1890s, St.Michael's is the oldest permanent Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada. It joined the Greek Orthodox Church in 1922 for reasons you can figure out if you know anything about Russian history. Still, it has remained a focal point of Ukrainian identity. [2012]

Monday, January 2, 2017

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Under British rule Singapore was a cultural mosaic: a neighborhood for Chinese (Chinatown), for Indians (Little India), for Malays and Arabs (Kampung Glam). Their architectural cores remain even though their ethnic namesakes have dispersed widely around the city. What ethnic neighborhood is this? (Hint: It's been glamorized for tourists.) [2016]

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Batam Centre, Batam, Indonesia

Join me in documenting the people, places, and environments of planet Earth in the year ahead. That's another way of saying to cell phone and selfie stick enthusiasts: "Train the lens on something other than yourself!" There's more to the world than autophotography. Or, should that be autophilography? [2016]