Some of you will remember my meeting with the Kosovan ex gymnast at the beach last weekend. He is 46 years old, and not only does handstands to cool off after his morning run, but also did several of these, and was as steady as a rock. I was in total awe.
This week, Ailsa has asked us to post photos which pay homage to the four elements, earth, air, water and fire.
My earth photo is a view over La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia, and was taken on our drive from El Alto airport. La Paz is 3,650 m (11,975 ft) above sea level, and that night, the extremely high altitude affected me quite badly. A few glasses of Andean Coca Tea, given to me at the hotel, seemed to relieve my altitude sickness, and the next morning I was fine.
My air pic is of the cloud above one of the many volcanoes in Ecuador, and was taken as our vehicle bounced along the Pan American Highway.
The most sparkling stretch of water I’ve ever travelled across, has to be Lake Titicaca in the Andes. It’s the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 m (12,507 ft).
I hope this qualifies for the fire element; a fiery sunset snapped as we cruised the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef off the north-east coast of Australia.
If not, I’ll just have to make do with paltry bit of fire in this 16th century English pub/restaurant. Of course the sherry did create a bit of fire in the belly.
To see Ailsa’s wonderful photos, and links to more bloggers’ contribution to the theme, just click here.
When the going gets tough, the tough escape to the beach; at least that’s what happens here in Umhlanga. Today dawned bright, calm and sunny, after a rather dreary Friday. Of course hubby and I were keen to escape from the house and see what was happening along the beachfront. Imagine our surprise as we rounded the corner, and came upon this guy. He’d been running, and was now just cooling down. I asked if I may take his photo, and he obliged and did a couple more handstands. In the course of our conversation, I learned that he was an ex gymnast from Kosovo, and that during the war in the late 1990′s, he escaped to England. After getting his British passport, he came out to South Africa on holiday and decided that Umhlanga was the best place on earth, so stayed and bought a home near the beach. I have an even more amazing pic of him which I’m saving for this week’s Wordless Wednesday. He was really happy to have his photo taken, and asked me if I would e-mail them to him.
A bit farther along, someone had escaped from home, and was all setup for a day’s fishing.
This couple looked to be dancing in the surf.
You don’t have to be young to escape on a surf board, just fit.
Riding the waves is a wonderful form of escape.
This also looks like a lot of fun.
Children love to escape to the beach and play sand pies.
Here at the lifeguards station, you can see the pole, which in an emergency, is the quick escape route down to the beach, just like in the fire stations.
For the adventurous, there’s deep-sea fishing and wave jumping on offer,
but if you just want to chill out, you can lay yourself down at the water’s edge, use your shoes as a pillow. and just dream the day away; that is until the tide comes in.
I hope you enjoyed my pics for the Weekly Photo Challenge. To see more contributions, you can click on the link.
As I was lying in bed this morning in that dozy state of half consciousness, I was thinking about my fuss free cheesecake recipe and how easy it is to make, when out of nowhere it seems, an image of Miss Mizen popped into my head. This middle-aged spinster was my domestic science teacher at grammar school. She was very prim and proper, always dressed in twin-set and pearls and a just below the knee tweed skirt, Her strawberry blonde hair was always set in the same style, with not a hair out-of-place. In fact this phenomenon was the subject of much conjecture amongst my school friends and I, and the general consensus was that it had to be a wig. Children can be so cruel, can’t they?
I had chosen Domestic Science as a subject because I thought it would be easier than learning all those dates which are required for History, or mastering those dreaded contour maps and capital cities in order to pass in Geography. Our weekly lessons were held in a fair-sized lab furnished with long wooden tables, the tops of which were bleached almost white by countless years of ardent scrubbing by past students, trying to earn the approval of generations of Miss Mizens. The cooking part of the class always finished well ahead of time, as we had to wash pots and pans and then make those tables absolutely spotless before we were allowed to leave. It was the last class of the day on a Friday, so it was imperative that all this was achieved in double-quick time. Five minutes before the ‘get out of jail’ bell rang, we would all be seated in our allotted places, holding our breath whilst she swept down to inspect the sink and cooking area, and then very slowly, with cat-like tread in her brown leather brogues, she would walk around to each table making sure that not a speck of flour or grease was visible to her hawk-like gaze.
At breakfast on the day in question, our mom had opened a new box of Kelloggs Cornflakes and in those days, all cereal packets contained a little plastic toy or novelty. My sister and I used to take it in turns to lay claim to these prize items and as soon as the packet was opened, would dig around to find what was in there. It was usually right near the bottom of course. Anyway, my find on this particular day, was a navy blue plastic ink blot, such an innocuous and unexciting bit of rubbish, but I slipped it into my blazer pocket before leaving for school.
Maybe some of you can guess what is coming next, and yes you’re right. As soon as Miss Mizen had passed my table on her way to the kitchen area, a little devil got into me and I surreptitiously slipped the plastic ink blot which was very realistic, onto the table in front of me. To this day, I can’t believe that timid little me, who looked like butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, was brave enough to do such a dastardly deed.
As she slowly walked along doing her inspection, my heart was pounding with anticipation and dread, but I just couldn’t bring myself to remove it before she got to me. I just had to see her reaction, whatever the consequences may be. Well, she exploded in a frenzy of shock and disbelief that someone should be so mean as to desecrate her beloved white-wood table with a big ink stain. Her face went as red as a tomato, and I was afraid she was going to have an apoplectic fit, so to calm her down, I nonchalantly picked up the offending piece of plastic and popped it back into my pocket. The room was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. None of my fellow pupils dared to laugh, but I just couldn’t wipe the smirk off my face. She didn’t punish me, as I hadn’t really done anything wrong, but needless to say, I wasn’t her favourite pupil and didn’t pass with flying colours at the end of the year. She didn’t see the funny side at all and I’m sure she never forgave me. It’s odd the things that stick in your mind for decades. I can’t remember one thing I ever made in her class, except for baked apples with raisins and lots of syrup, and I only remember this, because on the bus going home, the syrup leaked out of the dish, all over the seat next to me. I felt really sorry for the next passenger who would come and sit in that seat after I got off.
This post is in reply to my friend Sidey’s weekend theme, ‘Amusing Consequences’.
A short while ago, I received this lovely award from the following members of my WordPress family. Thank you so much to:
Although because of time restraints, I’m no longer accepting awards for my blog, I thought this one really does deserve to be dealt with, as I do value each and every one of you with whom I’ve made contact through my blog. You’re like family to me, and I so enjoy interacting with you each and every day. We are all so different, and because of that, our posts are amazingly varied. Some of you, because of the things you share, I feel I know really well. I’m touched and impressed by the many poets among you. I wish I could write such beautiful poetry. Those of you who mainly post the photos you’ve taken, show me the world through your eyes, and it’s really engaging to see the many places you’ve travelled to, as well as the flowers, plants, trees, animals, birds, fish and even alligators which have caught the attention of your lens. Since I’ve been blogging here, my world has expanded a hundred fold. Thank you to each and every one of you for all the effort and time you put into your fascinating posts.
All I have to do to accept this award, is to display the award and nominate ten people who have made my blogging experience so special, and who I regard as a family of friends. Well that may sound really simple, but it’s actually so difficult to choose only ten. All of you who read and comment on my blog are very special to me, and I would like to choose you all. However, I’ll stick to the rules, as well as try to choose people who don’t already have this award. This immediately excludes at least two dozen of you, but I’m not infallible, so please excuse me if I don’t get it quite right.
Here are my nominations:
I wish I could add a few more, and I strongly recommend that you pay a visit to these members of my blog family. They are all really fabulous in their own unique way. As you see from my header, there is enough cake to go around for all of you, so please help yourself.
As Sarah Rosso says, “Patterns are everywhere. Patterns are sometimes intentional and sometimes accidental. They can be decorative or merely a result of repetition, and often patterns can be in the eye of the beholder to discover them.”
When I visited Bignor in the centre of the South Downs National Park in England, I was fascinated by the stunning remains of a third century Roman farm and villa. The intricate patterns of the mosaic floors were really pretty.
It’s mind-boggling to imagine all the work that went into creating these beautiful floors. One of the corridors in this sixty-five roomed home, was 79 feet (24 metres) long.
At our holiday resort in Phuket, we were most impressed with the skill and patience this young woman exhibited whilst creating exquisite patterns out of watermelons.
Also in Thailand is some exquisite pattern work at one of the doorways to the ‘Wat Phra Kaew ‘complex, better known to tourists as the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’.
The Mezquita Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba, dating back to the 10th century has beautifully patterned horseshoe-shaped arches with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite. These were crafted from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings,
This beautiful memorial at Kuta in Bali was built on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Pub to commemorate the first Bali bombing in 2002, when 202 people were killed. The memorial is made of intricately carved stone, set with a large marble plaque, bearing the names and nationalities of each of those killed.
The Balinese are skilled craftsmen and the wood carvings for sale were really amazing. Our guide explained to us that the rooster inside the cage was actually carved through the holes. Wow! No wonder it had a hefty price tag.
Now for something completely different. In downtown Lima, Peru, is the17th century San Fransisco church, which once had a normal graveyard for its members. When space became a problem, the skulls and bones were removed from the graves and thrown into a deep pit. This pit, over time, became the last resting place for most of Lima’s dead, and today the remains of some 25,000 to 70,000 people are stored at the catacombs. Until 1808, the bones were just heaped up in there, but in 1943, when the place was opened up for archeological excavation, it was decided that the Catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if the human bones were arranged artistically. They placed some of the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms, and then more rings of skulls; a rather grisly sort of pattern, don’t you think?
To see more examples of patterns, just click here.
What a super Mothers’ Day I had, even though I didn’t see either of my two children, who live, one in Johannesburg and the other in New Jersey. After heavy rain on Friday night and all day Saturday, Sunday dawned with lovely sunshine, so hubby and I were out of the house at 7am for a walk along the beach front.
There weren’t too many people out at that time, only a few dog-walkers, and I smiled as a young mom in running shorts, raced past us on the path, pushing her baby in a stroller. I wondered if she’d thoughtfully left her man to have a lie-in on her special day. I could smell delicious breakfast aromas coming from some of the hotel restaurants, and of course this made me rather hungry. We passed the Surf Lifesaving Club which serves delicious breakfasts, but it didn’t open until 8-o-clock, so we decided that we’d pop in on our way back.
We walked right to the end of the promenade, and once again, someone was sitting on our bench, so we just paused for a couple of minutes, watching a collection of dogs and their owners, having fun on the beach, before heading back.
By this time, there were more people out for a stroll, and when we entered the restaurant, there were a few diners who’d had the same idea. A glass of fresh orange juice went down very well whilst we waited for our smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on rye. It was so delicious and only cost R39 which for my US readers, is the equivalent of $4.50. What a bargain!
Then it was back home, stopping along the way to chat to a few friends. This time, we didn’t take the path up to the village, as we had to get home in case our daughter phoned.
As you can see, we mostly had the path towards the lighthouse, all to ourselves.
After a lovely long conversation with our daughter, we put the finishing touches to the lemon cheesecake which I’d made for dessert, and then it was off up the hill to my sister’s house.
Lunch was a delicious Lasagne with fresh salad from my sister’s garden There were three of us moms there, and my lovely niece was also able to join us.
The huge tree in their garden is yielding an abundance of delicious avocados, and every time we visit, we’re given a whole week’s worth to bring home. Brother-in-law was wielding the extra long handled pruning shears, and hubby was playing catch underneath.
In the afternoon, our son called from New York, and I not only got to speak to him, but also the grandchildren, who enthusiastically wished me “Happy Mothers’ Day granny.” Their little voices are so precious to hear.
Later, back at home, I revelled in the wonderful perfume of the abundance of flowers which came my way with lots of love from hubby and my children. Can you imagine the smell of these lilies? I have so many in my beautiful bouquet, as well as a plant pot containing four more.
I also have masses of white gladioli and lovely pink roses,
as well as gorgeous red ones,
and delicious candy. I was very spoilt, but I’m not complaining at all. Would you?
So, that was my Mothers’ Day. How very blessed I am.
To see more contributions to Jake’s theme, just click here.
Here I am squeaking in at the last minute for Jake’s Sunday Challenge ‘Attraction’.
I’ve shown you many of the places which have attracted me to travel to different places, The most memorable in my mind, being the amazing sight of Machu Picchu. This 15th century Inca site is to be found in the Cusco region of Peru, and is almost 8,000 feet above sea level.
Egypt had long been on my bucket list, and one of the attractions I really wanted to see, was The Great Sphinx of Giza, situated on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River. The head of the Great Sphinx is believed to be that of the Pharaoh Khafra.
The fallen and badly damaged limestone statue of Ramesses The Great, near Memphis, would have stood over 13 metres high. He was the most powerful Pharaoh of them all, and ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 BC.
The famous Terracotta Army in X’ian, dates back to 210-209 BC. These soldiers and their horses were buried with the Emporer Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, supposedly to protect him in the afterlife.
Another attraction in China, is the Li River in Guangxi Zhuang. We did a cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, and the scenery was truly breathtaking.
The USA has many attractions, and the most amazing place I’ve ever visited is Yellowstone National Park. Something we had to see, was the Old Faithful cone geyser, which shoots 3,700 to 8,400 US gallons of boiling water to a height of 106 to 185 feet. The average height of an eruption is 145 feet, and occurs roughly every hour and a half.
Something else I’d always wanted to see was the huge bronze Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.It was inscribed with the words, “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” It dates back to 1752 and in its early years, was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations. It acquired its large crack some time in the early 19th century.
A well-known attraction in San Francisco, is the iconic trolley bus, or tram. The first ones were pulled by horses, who managed with great difficulty to climb the city’s steep hills, until the electric tram was tested and brought into service in 1873.
Of course, you can’t go to San Fran without visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, the most popular tourist attraction there.
I was so excited to see the Statue of Liberty on my first visit to New York. Lady Liberty is located in New York Harbour, and was a gift of international friendship from the people of France, in 1886.
So many attractions, so little time, but to end off, I just have to include another photo of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This is one of the most photogenic attractions I’ve yet to see.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics. To see more attraction, visit Jake’s Sunday Post. He has already posted the next challenge, so why not have a go at it?