Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

The vert ramp may be the most challenging of all skateboard ramps. In Whistler, it has taken center stage in the skate park that turns a winter wonderland for skiers into a summer destination for those who want to challenge gravity. [2001]

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Aleppo, Syria

His ancestors were domesticated in this very region over 3000 years ago. (No, not the boy, the ass.) Three millennia later, they are still navigating the narrow streets of ancient cities. In fact, they are probably providing essential labor as Aleppo rebuilds after the four-year battle that left the city incapacitated. [1996]

Monday, May 21, 2018

Rome, Italy

Why is it always a surprise to find American fiction being read around the world? Not just read, but read in a language other than English. Think about it: Spanish Steps, European reader, American author, English original, Italian translation. and (probably) Finnish cell phone. Patricia Cornwell and Dr. Kay Scarpetta would be proud. [2002]

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Madrid, Spain

Madrid's Atocha Railway Station is a botanical garden unto itself. The turtle pond has provided a habitat for up to 300 turtles, but it looks like their tenure there will soon end. The stated reasons are overcrowding and sanitation, both of which are problems that could be addressed without closing down the whole exhibit. [2009]

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Crossett, Arkansas, USA

Hamburger and french fries: It's the epitome of American cuisine. Availability: ubiquitous! So, there are two things to look up: (1) the meaning of ubiquitous, (2) the rules for capitalizing French. Two questions follow: (1) What does uniquitous (UNIQUitous) mean? (2) Why do we capitalize French in French fries when they have nothing to do with France? [2018]

Friday, May 18, 2018

Covington, Louisiana, USA

Warm weather comes early to southern Louisiana, and soon it is joined by plumpelicious strawberries. At the center of Louisiana's strawberry kingdom is Ponchatoula, where you might even find an early harvest in late February. This year marks two decades for the family-owned Fletcher Strawberry Farm, but the industry goes back over a century. [2018]

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

If you're off work this morning, go fishing. Certainly, there must be a stream like Marsh Creek near you. Or, sit down at your PlayStation and cast a few from Fishing Planet. Time to vote: Which one sounds like more fun? [2018]

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, USA

On the other side of that dune is the angry Atlantic. It may not be angry today, but its mood swings are severe, so severe that the folks who live here know their time is limited. But, for now, they can enjoy the beach, enjoy the blooms, and enjoy the bounty that God has provided. [2018]

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Auckland, New Zealand

What a difference a century makes! Here's a scene that's replicated in cities all over the world: the low-rise skyline of the early 1900s vs. the high-rise skyline of the early 2000s. Let's keep the low-rise buildings around: They remind us of our history and they admit light to city canyons. The low-rise is the former Northern Roller Mills building. [2011]

Monday, May 14, 2018

London, England,UK

It's short, but it's been at the heart of London fashion trends for decades. Since 1973, Carnaby Street has been open only to pedestrian fashionistas, and its always crowded. Just take the Underground to Oxford Circus Station and head southeast. Then, take your place at the stanchion and pull out your mobile. [2015]

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Zagreb, Croatia

Receiving a warm-hearted greeting and providing a little bit of impromptu performance art! Did you ever think of the sidewalk as a stage? Perhaps you, too, have been an actor. Perhaps you have taken a page from the same playbook. [2008]

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Horsing around and providing a little bit of impromptu performance art! Did you ever think of the sidewalk as a stage? Perhaps you, too, have been an actor. Perhaps your actions, too, have been mis-characterized. [2017]

Friday, May 11, 2018

Samana, Dominican Republic

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds." It's a quote from Marcus Garvey, but it was made famous by Bob Marley in his Redemption Song. Bob Marley died on this very day in 1981. [1992]

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

The blanket market. Bold geometric designs characterize the Navajo blankets for sale all over the American Southwest. Sometimes you wonder if any two are alike. Surely you can find one that fits your personal aesthetic! Or, maybe your personal aesthetic tends toward baseball cap and Nike t. [2017]

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Stratford, Virginia, USA

The wine market. Wine has become a favorite for festivals and street fairs. Here, on the shores on the Northern Neck, the Wine and Oyster Fest gives local residents and lots of visitors from DMV the chance to slurp and swill all day long. DMV? District-Maryland-Virginia. [2013]

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Frogmore, South Carolina, USA

The vegetable market. Beans, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beets: Who could ask for anything more? Actually, we might ask for some corn and potatoes (and shrimp) so we could make Frogmore Stew, one of the Low Country's signature dishes. [2009]

Monday, May 7, 2018

Jerusalem, Israel

The juice market. Think that only citrus fruits can be hand-juiced? Think again. In fact, the best way to get your daily share of pomegranate is to drink it. That means you don't have to cope with all those seeds. Interested in the history of the pomegranate? Consult Deuteronomy 8:8. [2010]

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Havana, Cuba

The vegetable market. When you are shopping for vegetables, choose color. In selecting by color, you're getting natural vitamins and antioxidants. Make sure, though, that your five servings a day cut across the rainbow of hues. [2017]

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Delhi, India

The dried fruit and nut market. Fresh fruit perishes so quickly (and even more quickly in the world's warm climates). The solution is to dry your grapes, figs, apricots, and dates for later consumption. Supplement them with nuts (plus beans and a source of calories) and you've got a perfect diet. [2011]

Friday, May 4, 2018

Maastricht, Netherlands

The flower market. The Netherlands is famous for its flowers. In fact, it is the world's largest cut flower exporter. Don't assume, though, that these were grown in country. In fact, more and more sea containers arrive in Rotterdam (yes, by sea!) stuffed with flowers for the European market. These might have come from Colombia. [1994]

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Headed to the Apple Store (see it?) on Buchanan Street to get your iPhone repaired? Wait! There may be a cheaper alternative: right down the street, opposite TOPSHOP. That's what competition is all about in the country that gave us Adam Smith and "the invisible hand." [2017]

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Bloudane, Syria

High above the city of Damascus, in the folds of the Lebanese mountains, the Barada River begins. The water is so pure, no treatment is necessary. Just bend down, cup your hands, and imbibe. Eventually, these waters will collect at the base of the mountains and make Damascus one of the world's great oasis cities. [1993]

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Hebron, Palestine

The tradition of eating camel meat is becoming increasingly rare in the Middle East. But, a few butchers make it their specialty. You can't order it in local restaurants, but you can buy a steak here and take it to a restaurant. They will cook it for you. [1998]

Monday, April 30, 2018

Riga, Latvia

From big cities to small towns, the big treat about traveling anywhere in Europe is visiting the fruit and vegetable markets. They are everywhere. Surprised to see watermelon at this one? It originated in southern Africa, not the American South. [2003]

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rock Sound, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Pizza and subs have taken over the world. Here in the Bahamas, it might be better to buy them inside and eat them at that table outside (nicely positioned in the shadow of the building). And, if you are feeling generous, you might offer a bite to that dude on the cycle. [2014]

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Yes Dear. That was his answer. Her question was: "Won't you please buy the biggest boat you can find and take me out sailing?" Certainly, you must know that it was he who wanted the boat. [2014]

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cuzco, Peru

Marketing trends seem to have reached Peru from the Global North, but not child labor laws. He spends his days helping his family get by. When he gets thirsty, he won't even drink what he is selling. That would amount to a lost sale. [2001]

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

They are waving at you, so wave back! Popular culture rolls across the landscape in waves. The Hello Kitty wave began in Japan and crested globally in the 1990s. But, the knock-offs (like these) continued. What makes a frowning cat so appealing? Maybe the wave. [2011]

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bang Plee, Thailand

Let's call them genius loci. Translated (from Latin), that means 'spirits of place.' These spirits do seem to have a glow about them: in part because they're gilded and in part because they are street lights. But one appears to be a broken spirit. Which one? [2016]

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

What's the tree of life in coastal regions of the tropics? The coconut palm. It provides food, water, oil, fiber, and building materials. Today, you can add to the list coconut honey, wine, vinegar, sports drinks, geotextiles, fiber board, erosion-control mats, rubberized car mats, and biodiesel additives. [2016]

Monday, April 23, 2018

Havana, Cuba

Cuba installed a new President last week. No, it wasn't this guy. But, it might as well have been: 'cause Raoul is still on the scene and remains head of the Cuban Communist Party. Will the time ever come when Cuba is Castro-free? As for this companero and his tat, it looks like he would have been a revolutionary had he been around in the 1950s. [2014]

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

What is the population of planet Earth? Did you answer 7.6 billion? You should have asked for clarification. Earth is inhabited by more than one species, not just humans. The question might have meant: What is the sea lion population of planet Earth? Today is Earth Day, so let's try not to be so egocentric! Share your home with other species. [2016]

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Look up! It's International Astronomy Day. Clouds permitting, the least you can do is find the North Star (unless your're somewhere down under)! So, why would an international observatory be located in the Canary Islands? Just look at those blue skies and how far you are from any light pollution. Plus, you're 8,000 feet above sea level (less atmosphere). [2017]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Choudrant, Louisiana, USA

There's a new bridge in town, a new covered bridge. It's for pedestrians only, and it's already become a place for at least one youngling to get away from the world and contemplate his future. He's made the space his own. [2018]

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Crossett, Arkansas, USA

An empty lot on Main Street now provides a quasi-permanent place for a trendy (though folksy) food truck. Big Daddy flips the burgers as customers assemble outside for a business meeting over lunch. "The food is wonderful and so are the owners": so says a post on Facebook. [2018]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA

It remains a visual reminder of the 1920s when it was built as the hotel of record in downtown Vicksburg. Today, it has been refurbished into apartments, many with some of the best views of the Mississippi River anywhere. But, that rooster is a problem: He starts crowing at sunrise. [2018]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Speaking of proboscises, don't forget the anteater. Arthur, here, uses his elongated snout (and even longer tongue) to feed on ants and termites. He is the most well-known of four anteater species; he's a giant anteater. [2018]

Monday, April 16, 2018

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

These are two of the Asian elephants at Cincinnati's Zoo. Just look at those proboscises. They are used for drinking and bathing, smelling and touching, and communicating. Of course, they are also used for eating, but the Asian elephant's cousins in Africa are more likely to use the end of their trunks for grazing and grasping. [2013]

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

It's alive, muscular, and a bit hairy. It is a proboscis, but it doesn't belong to a moth, butterfly, or mollusk. So, to what does this proboscis belong? Come back tomorrow for the answer. [2018]

Saturday, April 14, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Jackson Square hosts a cavalcade of festivals every year, but the art market that uses the surrounding fence goes on all the time. Overlooking the scene are the steeples of St. Louis Basilica, saliences that define the French Quarter itself. [2018]

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

How do you make a flood wall look like a living part of the city instead of a deadening barrier? Add one or more murals, fountains, and sculptures. With the in-progress wall replacement, we'll see how much of this public art survives. [2018]

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Since Canal Street never was a canal, it should be re-named Hinge Street because it hinges together the two most prominent islands in the cultural archipelago that is New Orleans. On one side is the French Quarter, on the other the CBD (the old English quarter). Strategically positioned between the two: food trucks. [2018]

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

The Huichol people of Jalisco and surrounding states have given Mexico one its most internationally recognizable folk arts: bead work that captures centuries of tradition and capitalizes on the talents of local artists. In addition to a menagerie of chimerical animals, the beads are used to decorate vases, bowls, and masks. [2008]

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jaffa, Israel

Here's the fish that made Jaffa famous. And, a certain prophet named Jonah, too. It was on Jaffa's shore that "the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." Your assignment: Compare and contrast the symbolism attached to the Jonah story by Jews and by Christians. [2010]

Monday, April 9, 2018

Bristol, England, UK

Bristol is the unicorn capital of the world. There are unicorns everywhere, including two on the city seal and two of bronze that guard city hall from way up high (or at least high enough to escape a Noah-like flood). Let's name this one Brizzle. Happy Unicorn Day! [2015]

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Jal, New Mexico, USA

They are simply silhouettes, but they catch the eye, symbolize the spirit of place, and provide a focal point of identity. When artist Brian Norwood erected the sculpture in 2000, Jal's fortunes were in decline. Now, thanks to the energy market (alas, not the ranching economy), they are soaring. [2018]

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA

Kiawah Island is a town whose essential message is "keep out unless you belong here." Guard houses and gated developments abound. The island has 30 miles of trails, 10 miles of beach, 7 golf courses, and 1 county park.  But, there are 0 grocery stores, 0 hardware stores, 0 churches, 0 cemeteries, 0 schools (public or private), and only 1 gas station. [2012]

Friday, April 6, 2018

Quincy, Pennsylvania, USA

Wherever you are, train yourself to look both up-slope and down-slope. Then, stop and rest awhile as you decide which way you want to go. What's up-slope here? Last season's cornfield. What's down-slope? Your guess (but the steps lead somewhere). [2018]

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

Feeling faint? Or peering through a pane of colonial glass? Along Duke of Gloucester Street, the right answer must be the latter. And, it might offer some insight into our sense of history. We never see the past with the clarity we imagine; it is always imperfect and distorted (just like our memories). The distorted building here is Virginia's colonial courthouse. [2018]

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

There are two realms of flamingos in the Western Hemisphere. One centers on the Caribbean and one on Chile. These are Chilean Flamingos, but they are not in South America. They are catching eyes at Zoo Atlanta. The Chileans aren't as pink as their cousins to the north. [2014]