THAR SHE BLOWS… and the hottest day in Tampa on April 28 – ever

Mel Rodgers Mt. St. Helens

Volcano expert Mel Rodgers explodes with knowledge – or the lack there-of.
She cautions that no one can predict lava flow or many other basic movements and explosions of volcanoes. Data stretches over millineum will be needed.
All this, while the Tampa, Florida thermometer hit 97 degrees – an all time, never before been recorded record heat for April 28.

And all 3 speakers spoke to a sold out crowd – outside on a deck – with no air conditioning.
(The air conditioner pictured here does not work – and there was no engineer in the house….)

Here kitty kitty

US Park Dennis Giardina 1

Dennis Giardina of the US Parks Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
tells how the Florida Panther population is on the rise. Tracking with a collar that falls off after several years, the data is proving valuable in getting the panther population back on track.

Where is Planet 9? All this and a latte too!

Prof Antonio Paris Planet 9Friday Afternoon
Foundation Coffee
Tampa, Fl

A taste of Science Tampa – 5 days of forays into science – and beer – and wine – and coffee
– came to a close with a look into space.
Professor of Astronomy Dr. Antonio Paris captivates a sold-out crowd of would-be science nerds.
Mining the nuggets of information the crowd learned thatPluto is no longer a planet because it doesn’t clear its orbit –
the way the 8 other planets including earth – do – primarily because of the gravitational pull of Planet 9.
According to Dr. Paris, for the first time in history, scientists are charting outside our known universe.

We draw the line…

unknown

Police patrol the peace on bicycles as Trump supporters move among the hundred-plus crowd gathered by the main entrance to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, while President Donald Trump is being briefed at CENTCOM.  CENT COM directs and enables military operations and actives with allies and partners to increase regional security in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Two sides of the street

unknown

While President Trump is being briefed by CENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, on Monday, February 6, 2017, protestors line Dale Mabry Highway, the main entrance to the base.  About one hundred people protesting the ban on immigration and travel and about a half dozen visible Trump supporters, exchange words across the divide.

Yes!

Diversity Advisory Council votes yes to give people 2 minutes to speakThe Diversity Advisory Council, a advisory body to Hillsborough County, voted unanimously to allow all speakers 2 minutes to express their beliefs and stories on immigration February 1, 2017

E Pluribus Unum

The Apotheosis of WashingtonThe Apotheosis of Washington is the fresco painted by Greek-Italian artist Constantino Brumidi in 1865 and visible through the oculus of the dome in the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. The fresco is suspended 180 feet (55 m) above the rotunda floor and covers an area of 4,664 square feet (433.3 m2). The figures painted are up to 15 feet (4.6 m) tall and are visible from the floor below.  Upside down above Washington is the banner E Pluribus Unum meaning “out of many, one”.

Hope for spring…

Hope for Spring A Nest Above The Capitol
A nest above The Capitol.
The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill, is the home of the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though not at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District’s street-numbering system and the District’s four quadrants. 

Fifteen minutes of foam…

Andy's 15 minutes of foam
This trinket was in the gift shop at The National Gallery of Art.
The National Gallery of Art, and its attached Sculpture Garden, is a national art museum in Washington, D.C., located on the National Mall, between 3rd and 9th Streets, at Constitution Avenue NW. Open to the public and free of charge, the museum was privately established in 1937 for the American people by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Andrew W. Mellon donated a substantial art collection and funds for construction.

Even the cars are red…

Even the cars are red in Washington DC
Even the cars are red in Washington, DC shown here on Independence Ave between The Capitol and The Rayburn Building. The Rayburn House Office Building, completed in early 1965, is the third of three office buildings constructed for the United States House of Representatives. 

Clear Backpacks

Wall of WonderAt the wall of wonder – the signs strewn in view of the White House as women, men, and children showed their concerns. Into the evening the wall kept growing.  Despite what people said about security and the importance of transparency, the see-through back-packs were a fashion statement. No security check-points were up.

White House wall

The wall of signs in front of the White HouseAs night fell on the Women’s March of January 21, 2017, marchers continued for several more hours to leave their signs in the shape of a wall in view of the White House.  The Women’s March had an attendance of a reported 1.2 million women, children and men.

Inauguration Handshake over the divide

Handshake

Ten minutes after the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as our 45th President of the United States, two women had words.”I am here to protest,” said Erika Hoel of Seattle, Washington, clad in her “pussy hat”.
“Why don’t you take a picture of someone who’s not here to protest?”
said Laura Leppert, Trump supporter from Dallas Texas.
“I am here to photograph and hear everyone’s opinion.” said Oregon photojournalist Janice Pierce.  
“How about a photograph together?”  And so the two women shook hands beside the press podium as security looked on.

Fiddle-dee-dee!

“Fiddle-dee-dee! War, war, war; this war talk’s spoiling all the fun at every party this spring…” Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind…
Ferns first appear in the fossil record 360 million years ago in the late Devonian period but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago
in the early Cretaceous, after flowering plants came to dominate many environments. The fern Osmunda claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. 
Paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years. 
Most ferns have what are called fiddleheads that expand into fronds, which are each delicately divided. Fern unfurling

Looking for life in all the right places….

Recent research show that ancient moss could explain why the Ordovician ice ages occurred.
When the ancestors of today’s moss started to spread on land 470 million years ago,
they absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere and extracted minerals by secreting organic acids that dissolved the rocks they were growing on.
These chemically altered rocks in turn reacted with the atmospheric CO2 and formed new carbonate rocks in the ocean through the weathering of calcium and magnesium ions from silicate rocks. The weathered rocks also released a lot of phosphorus and iron which ended up in the oceans, where it caused massive algal blooms, resulting in organic carbon burial, extracting more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Small organisms feeding on the nutrients created large areas without oxygen, which caused a mass extinction of marine species, while the levels of CO2 dropped all over the world, allowing the formation of ice caps on the poles.Moss & Blue sky

Cold Waves in Tampa

A cold wave (known in some regions as a cold snap) is a weather phenomenon that is distinguished by a cooling of the air. 
Specifically, as used by the U.S. National Weather Service, a cold wave is a rapid fall in temperature within a 24-hour period requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce, and social activities. The precise criterion for a cold wave is determined by the rate at which the temperature falls, and the minimum to which it falls. This minimum temperature is dependent on the geographical region and time of year.In the United States, a cold spell is defined as the national average high temperature dropping below 18 °F (8 °C).Cold Life Guard

Natural-born Citizen

Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President. This requirement was intended to protect the nation from foreign influence. 
My mother, Marian Pierce, was a naturalized citizen, having taken her test after graduating from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida in 1933.
She would study and teach classes on the U.S. Constitution the rest of her 95 years.  
Constitution Book NATURAL BORN CITIZENSIn her book, stained with her marker, was the following.  It is timely and questioned even today… 

My grandfather’s inkwells

ORRIN PIERCE’S CHILDHOOD INKWELLS
An inkwell is a small container used for holding ink in a place convenient for the person who is writing. 
The artist or writer dips the brush, quill, or dip pen into the inkwell as needed.
An inkwell usually has a lid to prevent contamination, evaporation, accidental spillage, and excessive exposure to air. 
Inkwells gradually fell out of use in the early part of 20th century as the reservoir fountain pen (which needs to be filled only occasionally) replaced the dip pen, 
which needed to be dipped in ink after writing a few lines.  
THESE were my grandfather’s childhood inkwells, designed to encourage writing.Orrin Pierce's childhood inkwells

Gasparilla

Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O’Malley was formed in 1992 when fourteen women, active in the Tampa community, had a vision about forming an all female Krewe, as a social organization. Their inspiration being Grace O’Malley, a real female Irish pirate from the 16th century.2016 GIRL PIRATES

Happy Gasparilla!

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is an annual celebration held in the city of TampaFlorida since 1904. 

Held each year in late January or early February and hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, 
it celebrates the apocryphal legend of José Gaspar (Gasparilla), a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida
As of the 100th edition of the Gasparilla Festival in 2015 (it was cancelled during World Wars), 
the parade was the 3rd largest in the United States and had an economic impact of $23 million on Tampa’s economy.2016 GASPARILLA YMKG bead toss

No standing on the wing…

In 77 days, I traveled 64,968 miles;
139 hours on a plane; 66 additional hours in airports waiting for planes.
 An estimated 7 hours on ferries; 10 hours on buses; 20 hours in cars.
I walked an average of 4.5 miles a day. Flying home…not once did I have the urge to stand on the wing…

No standing on the wing

“Here’s looking at you kid!”

Pictured here at Le Magasin Solidaire et Equitable, Christophe Labesse proudly represents women entrepreneurs all over Morocco who come together to sell spices, traditional health remedies, food stuffs and many different types of honey.  Currently, the NGO women-owned cooperative consists of about 50 women. The storefront in Casablanca is hard to find but worth the effort. Behind the upscale Hotel Sofitel in the parking lot, a one story building without a sign holds a treasure trove of Moroccan-produced products. Check out their web sit at Le Magasin Solidaire et Equitable (http://www.bladlkhir.ma/fr/and press translate. Ex-pat Kathy Kriger, owner of Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca (and a native of Portland, Oregon) told me about this resource. She sources the coffee served at her Casablanca “must-visit” restaurant – Rick’s Cafe – from this cooperative.  

Magasin Equitable Casablanca

Park bench bunch

Ninety eight percent of the  population in Morrocco lives in urban areas with around 25%  under age 15 and 9% over 60 years old.  Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco – with an estimated  population of nearly 6 million.Parkbench men Casablanca

Fashion forward at the Rabat Railway station

Women’s fashion is all over the map in Morocco. 
At the railwary station in Rabat, women passengers are connecting to either of just 2 tracks: the North-South link from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech or the East-West connection linking Oujda in the East via Fes to Rabat. Under development, the national railway-operator ONCF is working on a high-speed railway from Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech.
Rabat Train station

The bees have it

Flowers are casually cultivated along the winding streets of Casa. Hibiscus, bougainvillea, and bird of paradise crane out of cracks and crannies in walls along the old stone streets of Grand Casablanca. Shown blooming here, Sansevieria trifasciata, also called snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue or Saint George’s sword is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to tropical West Africa from Nigeria east to the Congo.  An urban bee and I are both attracted to it as we stroll along the white walls of the streets of Casa.

Mother In-law tongue bee

Parkour at the King’s Palace

Since the reign of sultan Muhammad ibn Abdallah, the Alaouite sultans and kings have maintained a palace in Rabat.

Although kings had many residences at their disposal, when independence was declared in 1956, they chose to keep the Dâr-al-Makhzen palace as the main palace of the monarch. Parkouring off the palace gate is Othmane el Alaom – holding the lock steady is Adnane.
Parkour off King's Palace door

Parliament of Morocco

The role of Parliament, and the respect of the monarchy for its integrity, has increased considerably since 1999, when Mohammed VI took the throne. However, the power of Parliament is still being limited as it is the King who appoints the prime minister and on proposition from the latter, the members of government. The Parliament of Morocco is located in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.
Since 1996, the national legislature has become bicameral and has therefore two parliamentary chambers:  The House of Representatives or the lower house has 395 members elected directly for a five-year term. The House of Councillors is elected indirectly for a nine-year term by two sets of electoral colleges. The Members of Parliament come from Morocco and the Moroccan-held parts of Western Sahara.
Rabat Parliament Bldg 2

Hassan II Mosque

Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau, the Hassan II Mosque is the largest in North Africa, and the third largest in the world. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, the sea bed being visible through the glass floor of the building’s hall. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable.  A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds. Work on the mosque was started in 1980, and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II, in 1989. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of the building.. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca.
Casablanca 1

Casablanca

The largest city of Morocco, Casablanca is located in the western part of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. One of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically, Casablanca is Morocco’s chief port and industrial center. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco.Casablanca

Clouds over the Tropic of Cancer

Crossing another imaginary line…The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its culmination. This event occurs once per year, at the time of the Northern solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent. As of 16 March 2015, it lies at 23°2614.3 north of the Equator. The Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer are two of the five major degree measures or major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The positions of these circles of latitude (other than the Equator) are dictated by the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation relative to the plane of its orbit. The Tropic of Cancer position is not fixed, but varies in a complicated manner over time. It drifts south almost half a second (0.47) of latitude per year (it was at exactly 23° 27 in year 1917).Cloud soup over Africa

Clouds over the Tropic of Capricorn

As of 14 March 2015, The Tropic of Capricorn’s latitude is 23°2614.3 south of the Equator, but it is very gradually moving northward, currently at the rate of 0.47 arcseconds, or 15 meters, per year. It is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth.
The Tropic of Capricorn is the dividing line between the Southern Temperate Zone to the south and the tropics to the north. The northern hemisphere equivalent of the Tropic of Capricorn is the Tropic of Cancer. The position of the Tropic of Capricorn is not fixed, but rather it varies in a complex manner over time.
P1400122

From Cape town to Doha to Casablanca – oh my!

Recovering from a sinus infection, flying on the Boeing Dreamliner at 40,000 feet on Qatar Air – I could feel the difference. It is the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 was designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is replacing. For those geeks among us, the Dreamliner’s distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. With more fresh air and humidity and a cabin pressure of 6,000 feet to minimize discomfort, Boeing claims that one in four travelers experience some form of ‘respiratory distress’ after flying 12 hours in a conventional aircraft with a cabin pressure of 8,000 feet, but this plummets to 5-6 per cent at 6,000 feet.

Flight over Tropic of Capricorn

Rhodes Memorial

Rhodes Memorial on Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, South Africa, is a memorial to English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853–1902) designed by Sir Herbert Baker. The memorial is situated at Rhodes’s favorite spot on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. Rhodes’s own wooden bench is still situated below the memorial. The magnificent view facing north-east can be imagined as the start of the Cape to Cairo road, Rhodes’s imperial dream of a British colonial Africa which had Rhodes as one of its greatest champions. Rhodes owned vast areas of the lower slopes of Table Mountain, most of which he gave to the nation on his death. Part of his estate was used for the University of Cape Town upper campus, part is now the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, while much else of it was spared from development.
Rhodes Memorial

The Table Cloth

Table Mountain is at the northern end of a sandstone mountain range that forms the spine of the Cape Peninsula.  The flat top of the mountain is often covered by orographic clouds, formed when a south-easterly wind is directed up the mountain’s slopes into colder air, where the moisture condenses to form the so-called “table cloth” of cloud. Legend attributes this phenomenon to a smoking contest between the Devil and a local pirate called Van Hunks. When the table cloth is seen, it symbolizes the contest – and the fact tht Van Hunks won! This broad sweep of mountainous heights, together with Signal Hill, forms the natural amphitheater of the City Bowl and Table Bay harbor.  In the foreground is Cape Grace hotel where Bill Clinton stayed when he visited South Africa as United States President.

Tablecloth descends on Table Mountain

Tankers

Because of its position along one of the world’s busiest trade routes, Cape town is one of the busiest ports in South Africa, handling the largest amount of fresh fruit and second only to Durban as a container port. The port also has significant repair and maintenance facilities that are used by several large fishing fleets and parts of the West African oil industry. Tankers wait offshore at Sea Point

Sea Point

Sea Point is a suburb of Cape Town and is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Cape Town’s well known Lion’s Head to the south-east and the Atlantic ocean to the north-west. It is a high density area, where space is at a premium. Houses are built in close proximity to one another towards the surrounding mountainside, while apartment buildings are more common in the central area and toward the beach-front. An important communal space is the beach-front promenade, a paved walkway along the beach-front used by residents and tourists for walking, jogging or socializing.

Sea Point Cape town

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion’s Head peaks at 2,195 ft above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park. The suburbs of the city surround the peak and Signal Hill on almost all sides, but strict management by city authorities has kept development of housing off the higher ground. The area is significant to the Cape Malay community, who historically lived in the Bo-Kaap quarter close to Lion’s Head. There are a number of historic graves and shrines of Malay leaders on the lower slopes and on Signal Hill.

Lion's Head Sea Point

Three Anchor Bay

Adjoining Sea Point is Three Anchor Bay. The beaches along this stretch are in the main covered with mussel shells thrown up by the ocean, unlike the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, which are sandy. The rocks off the beaches at Sea Point are in large part basaltic, of late Precambrian age and internationally famous in the history of geology.Seaside Capetown Beach rocks

Central City Train Station

As I photographed the skyline at Central City Station, a whistle blew behind me and these 2 suspected pick pockets hot footed in front of my camera.  A city of contrasts, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS) statistics for the year ending in March 2011, a total of 1 336 robberies were reported in the central part of the city. That’s an average approaching 4 robberies per day.

Pickpockets flee Capetown train station

Here kitty kitty…

On my way to Cape Town railway station  in the city’s central business district, I met these kitties – involved with the Amazing Race for their employer: Get Smarter.  
Get Smarter provides online education services accessible across Africa for the University of Cape Town with 2 postgraduate degree diplomas in either The UCT Advanced Diploma in Business Project Management; and the UCT Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Marketing. Me-ow!
Riding the train with Get Smarter

Devil’s Peak

The north-facing lower slopes of Devil’s Peak are situated near the suburb of Observatory. The slope runs into the Liesbeeck River and, as such much of present-day lower Observatory was a marshy estuary formed by the rivers, where buffalo, hippo, elephant, zebra, jackals, antelope, lions and leopards were once prevalent. 
Today it is an alternative part of town, with ‘New Age’ style stores, and South Africa’s only anarchist infoshop.  It is popular with students and is affectionately known as “obs”. 
During the years of apartheid, Observatory was one of the few de facto ‘grey’ suburbs where all races lived
P1380859

First Bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge, also called the First Bosphorus Bridge or simply the First Bridge  is one of two suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait  in Istanbul, Turkey; thus connecting Europe and Asia. The bridge is located between Ortaköy (on the European side) and Beylerbeyi (on the Asian side). It is a gravity anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers. When it was completed in 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge was the 4th longest suspension bridge span in the world, and the longest outside the United States. At present, it is the 22nd longest suspension bridge span in the world.First bridge at night

Tea time for Fido

No one knows how many street cats and dogs there are in Turkey. One estimate is that in Istanbul, a city of 11.3 million people, there are at least 150,000 free-roaming dogs. Free-roaming dogs have been documented in Istanbul for several hundred years at least, perhaps longer.Tea time for fido

Blooming jellyfish

In recent years, the ecological role of jellyfish within coastal marine ecosystems with high production has become an increasing concern globally.
The Marmara Sea is considered to be a biological corridor or a transition zone between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Chrysaora hysoscella (Linnaeus, 1767) have tended to form increasingly blooms in coastal areas of the Marmara Sea in the 2000s.
Jellyfish blooms may intrinsically be linked to over-fishing,Jellyfish on the Maramar Sea

The Maiden’s Tower

Since the medieval Byzantine period, The Maiden’s Tower is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus strait  220 yards from the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1110, Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus built a wooden tower protected by a stone wall.  From the tower an iron chain stretched across to another tower erected on the European shore, at the quarter of Mangana in Constantinople. The islet was then connected to the Asiatic shore through a defense wall, whose underwater remains are still visible. During the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, the tower held a Byzantine garrison commanded by the Venetian Gabriele Trevisano. Subsequently, the structure was used as a watchtower by the Ottoman Turks during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

The Maiden's Tower 2

Horon along Bosphorus Strait

The Bosphorus Strait forms the boundary between Europe and Asia, and is world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation.
It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara – and anyone who wants to join in to dance. Just put your hand out, and someone will take it and show you the steps to the horon – a group of a traditional folk dances from the Black Sea region of Turkey.Horon Native Turkish Dance

Pinhâni rocks Istanbul!

Everyone knows their name – Pinhâni – they are  famous in Turkey. 
They recorded the theme song for a very successful tv teen drama “Kavak Yelleri”- Turkey’s version of “Friends”.  
They have produced 4 albums, and are a crowd pleaser -
Featured here (left to right) : 
Guest artist Ertan Şahin, Selim Aydın, Sinan Kaynakçı, lead singer, Eray Polat. 
On drums Hami Unlu, and Tamer Karaoğlu  (not seen) on accordion and keyboard. 
Pinhâni was founded in April, 2004 by two cousins Sinan Kaynakçı and Zeynep Eylül Üçer as a Modern Rock band in Turkey.
 
 Tuba talks 2

Eminönü pier waterfront

The heart of the walled city of Constantine, Eminönü is the focus of a history of incredible richness. Eminönü covers roughly the area on which the ancient Byzantium was built. The Galata Bridge crosses the Golden Horn into Eminönü and the mouth of the Bosphorus opens into the Marmara Sea. And up on the hill stands Topkapı
 Palace, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya). Thus Eminönü is the main tourist destination in Istanbul. It was within the Roman city walls – that area which was formerly the Byzantine capital Constantinople.

Eminönü Ferry Pier

Excentrique

A trend of artisan and entrepeneur shops have hit Istanbul’s Kadıköy district in the last few years. 
Erkan Sahin owns the Excentrique shop, making accessories for jugglers, fire jugglers, artists and artisans for the last five years.  I was attracted by the pitchfork and when I opened the door, he stopped sewing and invited me in for tea and a chat. Love those Turks!Erkan Sahin sews

Alkim Bookstore

With over 500,000 books and seven stories, Alkim Bookstore is the Powell’s of Istanbul.  
Cafe Kafka on the top of the building has a heck of a view of  the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, facing the the European side of the Bosporus.Alkim Bookstore

The Eminönü waterfront, Hagia Sophia and The Galata Bridge

Disembarking the ferry at Eminönü and you get an eyeful.
The Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. It attracts almost 3.3 million visitors annually.The Galata Bridge  is a bridge that spans the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey. Underneath, restaurants and cafes serve drinks and food all day and night. Come here to enjoy a beer and nargile while watching the ferries making their way to and from the Eminönü and Karaköy ferry docks. From the end of the 19th century in particular, the bridge has featured in Turkish literature, theater, poetry and novels.Hagia Sophia & Galata Bridge

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historic mosque in Istanbul and is still popularly used as a mosque. Built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I, its Külliye contains a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice.  At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade İznik style ceramic tiles, made at Iznik (the ancient Nicaea) in more than fifty different tulip designs. The tiles at lower levels are traditional in design, while at gallery level their design becomes flamboyant with representations of flowers, fruit and cypresses.

Blue Mosque

Parkour in Istanbul

Specail1Parkour (the man without the shirt far right) ascends a wall by a church in Kadıköy.
Practicing parkour, he and his friends ascended this wall and left right before the police came.
Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features. Developed from military obstacle course training, parkour is a holistic training discipline using movement.  Practitioners aim to get from A to B in the most efficient way possible. This is done using only the human body and the surroundings for propulsion, with a focus on maintaining as much momentum as possible while still remaining safe.   Although it can be practiced in any location, it is usually practiced in urban spaces.
It was developed in France, primarily by Raymond Belle, David Belle, and Sébastien Foucan during the late 1980s. Parkour 1

Azerbaijani Protest

The next day I was strolling by the Marmara sea, photographing cats when I heard this protest.
According to my sources, these people are holding up the sign of the wolf, which refers to an ancient Turkish legend that a she-wolf led the Turks to safety.  
This sign of the wolf held up by people here references the Nationalist party of Turkey. The protest concerns the “Khojaly massacre”.
The Khojaly massacre was the killing of at least 161 ethnic Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojaly on 25–26 February 1992 by the Armenian and, partially, by CIS armed forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to the Azerbaijani side, as well as Memorial Human Rights Center, and Human Rights Watch
the massacre was committed by the ethnic Armenian armed forces, reportedly with help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment, apparently not acting on orders from the command.
The death toll claimed by Azerbaijani authorities is 613 civilians, including 106 women and 83 children.The event became the largest massacre in the course of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. 
Armenian genocide protest

Kurdish protest

This protest found me, as it passed the first group on the small winding streets of Kadıköy.
According to my sources, it seems that this was a manifestation about right to be educated in Kurdish native language and anti-racism. 
Kurdish protest 2One knowledgable source said that these are Kurdish people, however, another cautioned that these political groups are not necassairly Kurdish but leftist in general.

Millions of Eyes

In my first 48 hours in Istanbul, I saw 3 protests.  
This is Saturday morning.
 
The sign reads “Millions of Eyes are searching for the murderer of Berkin”.
It refers to a 2013 incidence in which a 13 year old boy died while going to get bread in his neighborhood.  
A police bomb canister hit him and eventually killed him during a demonstration in Task Gezi Park. 
No policeman was ever held accountable or charged for this boy’s death.
Task Gezi Park is an urban park next to Taksim Square, in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district
and it is one of the last green spaces in Beyoğlu and one of the smallest parks of Istanbul.
In May 2013, plans to replace the park with a reconstruction of the former Taksim Military Barracks (demolished in 1940) intended to house a shopping mall,
sparked the nationwide 2013 protests in Turkey. Today, plans are on hold for the proposed development but have not been dropped.
Berkin demonstration Kadikoy

Turkish cats

With the Hagia Sophia for a backdrop, this Turkish delight poses while waiting for her next meal.  People leave food and drink on the street for kitties.  
It was explained to me that many people do not believe in having cats indoors, but since religion teaches they are God’s creatures they are to be cherished and nurtured.  Meow! 
My first day in KadıKitty and Hagia Sophia4köy, I came across – and petted – 50 cats.

Doğuzzan Demin selling simit

Simit has a long history in Istanbul. Archival sources show that the simit has been produced in Istanbul since 1525.
It is a circular bread, typically encrusted with sesame seeds or, less commonly, poppy or sunflower.  
Simit’s size, crunch, chewiness, and other characteristics vary slightly by region.
Simits are often sold by street vendors, who either have a simit trolley or carry the simit in a tray on their head. 
Based on Üsküdar court records dated 1593, the weight and price of simit was standardized for the first time. 
Simit is an important symbol for many people of Turkey.Doğuzzan Demin selling simit

Just off the boat

The snow that kept me in Paris is melting in the night as I get off the dock from the Ido into 
Kadıköy. Though relatively deserted after the storm, Kadıköy 
is a large, populous, and cosmopolitan district of Istanbul, Turkey on the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, facing the historic city centre on the European side of the Bosporus. A prominent  residential and commercial area with inumerous bars, cinemas and bookshops, it is considered the cultural centre of the Anatolian side of Istanbul.
Istanbul snow

The Charles de Gaulle experience

The Charles de Gaulle Airport is one of the world’s principal aviation centres, as well as France’s largest international airport. It is named after Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970), leader of the Free French Forces and founder of the French Fifth Republic, as well as the President of France from 1959 to 1969. i got stuck in Paris for 2 days because of travel time and then snow in Turkey. Friend and famed Paris photographer/poker player Pamela Shandel bids me adieu as I (finally) leave for Istanbul.
As it was explained to me by my Airfrance service coordinator, I have had the Charles DeGaulle experience – meaning much time, pain, and pleasure transiting at the Paris airport.
Goodbye to Paris & Pamela

The eyes have it

More than 10 million tourists visited in Dubai last year as the emirate experienced a surge in visitors. Visitor numbers were boosted by increases from its largest source markets – such as a 30 per cent rise in tourists from Saudi Arabia and a 54 per cent increase in Russian visitors, both countries which feature in the city’s top five markets.

 

Eyes at Miracle Gardens

Fashion – dollars and cents -


Fashions are as diverse as the Dubai visitors. More than 10 million tourists visited in Dubai last year as the emirate experienced a surge in visitors. Visitor numbers were boosted by increases from its largest source markets – such as a 30 per cent rise in tourists from Saudi Arabia and a 54 per cent increase in Russian visitors, both countries which feature in the city’s top five markets.Dress to impress

Tallest building in the world

Fountains flow by the Burj Khalifa at night. It is the tallest artificial structure in the world standing 2,722 feet. Opening in January 2010,  Burj Khalifa is the centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development planned to include 30,000 homes, nine hotels, 7.4 acres of parkland, at least 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 30-acre man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. The decision to build Burj Khalifa is reportedly based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil based economy to one that is service and tourism basedFountain & Burj Khalifa 8

Dubai Creek

One of the oldest methods of transport, water taxis take locals and tourist alike across Dubai Creek.
Historically dividing the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai, Dubai Creek ends at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
At one time sources say that the creek extended as far inland as Al Ain and that the Ancient Greeks called it River Zara. 
It was along the Bur Dubai creek area that members of the Bani Yas tribe first settled in the 19th century, establishing the Al Maktoum dynasty in the city.
 In the early 20th century, the creek, though incapable then of supporting large scale transportation, 
served as a minor port for dhows coming as far away as India or East Africa.
Dubai Creek 2

Deira Old Souk Abrra station

Water taxis take locals and tourist alike across Dubai Creek.
Historically dividing the city into two main sections – Deira and Bur Dubai, Dubai Creek ends at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
At one time sources say that the creek extended as far inland as Al Ain and that the Ancient Greeks called it River Zara. 
It was along the Bur Dubai creek area that members of the Bani Yas tribe first settled in the 19th century, establishing the Al Maktoum dynasty in the city.
 In the early 20th century, the creek, though incapable then of supporting large scale transportation, 
served as a minor port for dhows coming as far away as India or East Africa.
 Sabkha Abra station

Miracle Gardens

With over 45 million flowers, Miracle Gardens opened in the fall of 2013 in a developing suburb of Dubai. The theme seems inexplicably Dubai.
The gardens change with the season, open December – May.   No maps, no guided tours…but, all the world loves a selfie.Selfie at Miracle Gardens

The Deira Fish Market

The Deira Fish Market is by far the cheapest place in Dubai to buy fresh fish. It is also an interesting and vibrant place to visit.  Hundreds of traders offer a huge variety of seafood, caught locally and further afield. It also boasts sections selling meat, fruit and vegetables.
The Deira Fish Market is located on Corniche Road in Deira, close to the Gold Souk and Al Shindagha Tunnel. Open daily until 11 pm.Kitty want a fishie

Nebil at Al-Romaizan in The Gold Souk

The Gold Souk is in the Deira part of Dubai. A trip to the Gold Souk truly demonstrates why Dubai has earned itself the title City of Gold. It’s worth visit even if you have no intention of buying, just to soak in the atmosphere of shop windows glinting with 18, 21, 22 & 24 carat gold, showing-off the abundant riches of this part of the world. Gold prices are among the lowest in the world and are largely determined by weight; also varying depending on whether the jewelry is machine-made or by a craftsman.

Nebil at Al-Romaizan

Evening Prayers

Dubai is a city determined to retain its heritage while racing at breakneck speed to embrace the 21st century. The Islamic religion impacts every aspect of Muslims’ lives and they prioritize their life in this order: religion, family, country. Speakers send out the call to prayer which occurs five times a day.

Call to Prayers 2

Bùi Thị Thảo

Tho will finish her degree at Hanoi University in 6 months in travel and tourism. Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with over fifty distinct groups (54 are recognized by the Vietnamese government), each with its own language, lifestyle, and cultural heritage. AT the cultural museum, she explained many nuances to me about this culture and said she is descended from the Kinh (Viet) ethnic group. Thank you Tho and I hope when you visit I can show and tell you about the hipster culture in Portland….
Vietnam University Tour guide

It’s a long, long way home….

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country with over fifty distinct groups (54 are recognized by the Vietnamese government), each with its own language, lifestyle, and cultural heritage. This Ede long house belonged to a powerful family as evidenced by the carvings on the staircase and elsewhere. The breasts on the staircase to the right are carved on the visitors staircase to enter the home. The house is over 142 feet long, almost 20 feet high and sits on stilts. The Ede are a matriarchial society and as daughters married, another room was added to accommodate the growing group of women, their husbands, and family.

Long House 1

 

Rainbow bridge

Opened in the fall of 2014, Nht Tân Bridge connects the airport with the old quarter of Hanoi. The bridge, part of Hanoi’s 43.6km ring road, crosses over the Hng River and is Vietnam’s longest cable-stayed bridge at 1,500m. Funding for the VND13.6 billion project came from Japanese international loans.  Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam, Hiroshi Fukada,  has reportedly suggested that the bridge’s name be changed to Hu Ngh Vit NhVietnam Bridget (Friendship of Vietnam and Japan).

Sung Sot cave

Hạ Long Bay consists of a dense cluster of some 1,600 limestone monolithic islands limestone monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegetation,
rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Suprising Cave limestone 3

Hạ Long Bay

In 2000, the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed the Hạ Long Bay in the World Heritage List for its outstanding examples
representing major stages of the Earth’s history and its original limestone karstic geomorphologic features. Halong Bay 2

Water Puppets

Water puppetry (Vietnamese: Múa ri nước, lit. “puppets that dance on water”) is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. Today’s Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition. When the rice fields would flood, the villagers would entertain each other using this form of puppet play. The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered. The shows are performed in a waist-deep pool. A large rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. Hanoi Water Puppets 2

Tube houses

There are two main things you’ll probably notice about the architecture in Hanoi: 1) the French colonial period, and 2) many houses and buildings in Vietnam seem seem to be very tall and narrow.  The reason for this is the way people are/were taxed on property – by the width of the front of the building. This is especially apparent in the Old Quarter of Hanoi where people buy houses with very narrow frontages so that they minimise their tax burden while having a place to display their merchandise to passers by. 
These buildings are refereed to as “tube houses” and often include courtyards partway through to improve air flow. The government is considering moving 26,000 people out of Old Hanoi over the next five years to make way for new development.
Tube House 2

Rainy night at Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake (Vietnamese: H Hoàn Kiếm, meaning “Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Lake of the Restored Sword”, also known as H Gươm – Sword Lake) is a lake in the historical center of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.

Hoan Kiem Lake 4

Not bad for 1,763 years old

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amitābha Buddha located at the Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The bronze statue probably dates from 1252, in the Kamakura period, according to temple records.
At one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near
the statue’s ears.  
The Buddha at Kamakura 6

Setsubun at Sensōji

Setsubun – “A bean throwing festival” – is held the day before the beginning of spring in Japan.
The  beans are thought to symbolically purify by driving away the evil spirits that bring misfortune and bad health with them.  Tokyo’s oldest temple – Sensoji – was the first place in Japan to hold a large-scale setsubun ceremony, bringing mass-market appeal to a ritual that had been practiced since the Heian era.Sensōji gifts in air

Oh you Devil!

Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!?
The custom of Mamemaki first appeared in the Muromachi period. It is usually performed by the toshiotoko (年男) of the household (the male who was born on the corresponding animal year on the Chinese zodiac), or else the male head of the household. Roasted soybeans (called “fortune beans” (福豆 fuku mame?)) are thrown either out the door or at a member of the family wearing an Oni (demon or ogre) mask, while the people say “Demons out! Luck in!” (鬼は外福は内! Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!?) and slam the door.
Oni wa soto

The Imperial gardens

The total area of the Imperial grounds including the gardens is 1.32 square miles.  During the height of the 1980’s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some as more than the value of all the real estate in the state of California.  Chiyoda district is shown behind the trees of the gardens. Imperial Gardens 2

Team Angel

D-Lite or Kang Dae-sung, of the South Koren boy group Big Band, performed solo in Tokyo at Yoyogi National Gymnasium to a capacity crowd of 57,363. 
D-Lite wrote a song called “Wings” after being involved in a car accident in 2011 in which a motorcylcist tragically died.  Team Angel  – Marina, Nagomi, Riza – show their support.Team Angel

Shinjuku at night

Shinjuku (新宿) is a central ward of Tokyo, known as the metropolis’ second center (副都心, fukutoshin). The area surrounding Shinjuku Station is a huge business, commercial, and entertainment center located atop the world’s busiest railway station complex.
The east side of Shinjuku is devoted to shopping and nightlife, including Tokyo’s largest red-light district Kabukicho (歌舞伎町) and gay nightlife central Shinjuku ni-chōme (新宿2丁目).Shinjuku at night

Live long and prosper

Native Tea in Mountain (Japanese Old Style Tea)
It is a manufacturing method of the tea of the Meiji era.  This tea dries in opened form.  Then the tea is parched.  Often health improves by drinking the tea.  A person’s disease can be cured from old days by drinking this tea.
Mayumi Aoyama sells the tea outside the Meiji Shrine.
Mayumi Aoyama

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine  located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. A couple enjoys the afternoon sun at the Meiji Shrine as snow drips off the roof behind them. In cold weather many people wear masks to ward off illness.

Meiji Shrine 3

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku (新宿区 Shinjuku-ku?, “New Lodge”) is a special ward located in Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. It is a major commercial and administrative centre, housing the busiest train station in the world (Shinjuku Station)  and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the administration centre for the government of Tokyo. 

At Shinjuku train station

Proud City

Travel time was almost 2 hours on the train from the airport into Shinjuku, the ward of Tokyo where I am staying. It snowed the day before – locals say it is unusual this year since it has been unseasonably warm.  Coming from Sydney, I am quite cold.  Brr!Tokyo Proud City 1

Sulphur-crested cockatoos on Broadway Street

In Australia, sulphur-crested cockatoos have adapted very well to European settlement in Australia and live in suburban habitats in cities such as Sydney. These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent.

They are very long-lived, and can live upwards of 70 years in captivity, although they only live to about 20–40 years in the wild. They have been known to engage in geophagy, the process of eating clay to detoxify their food. The sulphur-crested cockatoo is a seasonal breeder – in southern Australia the breeding season is from August to January.
A sulphur-crested cockatoos on Broadway

One Central Park

The jurors spent almost a year processing 88 entries, with One Central Park competing directly with the other four finalists in the category: The Edith Green-Wendall Wyatt Federal Building, Portland, USA (Americas); De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (Europe) and Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE (Middle East & Africa). Central Park gardens

You’ve got to know when to…

Know when to fold ‘em….
Holden is ceasing production in Australia in 2017.  The Australian car industry is all but dead and South Australia is in shock following confirmation that Holden will cease production after more than 60 years. The General Motors car produced in Australia since the 1950’s is last in a wave of car production leaving Australia. Holden will now follow Ford and Mitsubishi out of the country, leaving only Toyota building cars here.Holden cars 1

Busking

Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Street performance is practiced all over the world by men, women and children and dates back to antiquity. Tom Ward performs in Hyde Park for Australia day.  Note the extra holes at the bottom of his guitar.

Tom Ward

You can get anything you want…

…at the Central Market in Adelaide.  
Kangaroo meat is produced in Australia from wild animals and in 2010 was exported to over 55 countries worldwide. Currently sourced from wild animals as a byproduct of population control programs, both the meat and the hides  are sold. Although most species of macropod are protected from hunting by law, a small number of the large-sized species which exist in high numbers can be hunted by commercial hunters. This policy has been criticized by some animal rights activists.  On the other hand, the kangaroo harvest is supported by a wide range of professional ecologists in Australia.  Tastes like venison. says the butcher at the Central Market.
Kangaroo Meat

Boynton Park

Adelaide is a planned city, and the Park Lands are an integral part of Colonel William Light’s 1837 plan. Light chose a site next to the River Torrens. He was influenced by William Penn’s design of Philadelphia, and planned Adelaide on a grid of one square mile, interspaced by wide boulevards, incorporating five large public squares surrounding the entire city with a green-belt and the “lungs of the city”.Adelaide Parklands

Adelaide Architecture

Australian residential architectural styles have evolved significantly over time, from the early days of structures made from relatively cheap and imported corrugated iron (which can still be seen in the roofing of historic homes) to more sophisticated styles borrowed from other countries, such as the Victorian style from the United Kingdom, the Georgian style from North America and Europe and the Californian bungalow from the United States.Architecture 1

Black Swans in Bonython Park

Within Australia black swans are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. The black swan breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. Like other swans, the black swan is largely monogamous pairing for life (about 6% divorce rate).  An estimated one-quarter of all pairings are homosexual, mostly between males.

Black swans

Henley Beach

Named for English town of Henley-on-Thames, the Town of Henley Beach was promoted in the South Australian Register in 1860 as being “free from all the noxious smells which have been cause of complaint elsewhere”.

 

P1120135

The Beehive

The Beehive Corner is a landmark in the Adelaide city center, on the north-eastern corner of King William Street and Rundle Street, centrally placed between the Railway Station and the city’s shopping precinct.
For over a century, “Meet you at the Beehive Corner” has been a common phrase among Adelaideans when nominating a meeting-place in the city.
The Beehive 2

The Adelaide Gaol

Said to be haunted, the Adelaide Gaol was the first permanent prison in South Australia.South Australia was settled with no convicts, and at first there was thought to be no need for a jail. When need arose, they first used the ship, and then built and operated the Adelaide Goal from 1841 until 1988. The Gaol is one of the two oldest buildings still standing in South Australia, the other being Government House which was built at the same time.
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The Tour Down Under

Ruth Corset (in pink) from Team Total Rush Hyster was the front runner most of the 38 laps, but was over taken by Melissa Hoskins (right) team Orica with a time of 1:05:19.  This was the inaugural race of what will be an annual event in Adelaide, South Australia.

Tour Down Under 1