A Whiter Shade of Pale for Ailsa’s theme.

After two colour challenges in quick succession, Ailsa’s pale theme is quite refreshing. I was immediately reminded of that 1967  ‘Procul Harum’ song. It was on their debut album, and I remember it very well. I’ve often wondered what the lyrics mean, as I sit playing it on my piano. Maybe it’s better that I don’t know. :) It’s interesting though, that since that song, the phrase “A whiter shade of pale” has been included in several dictionaries, and I’ve used it myself quite often.

Here are some very well known pale faces. I wonder how many of you can name all four? If you’re American, I’m sure you can.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is a very pale Sulphur Bed at Yellowstone National Park, with the steam continually rising from it. The water which erupts from these geysers is extremely hot, about 95 degrees C, and there were warning signs everywhere telling visitors to stay on the boardwalks and designated trails, as there have been several deaths resulting from people falling into the hot springs. I was extra careful :)

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

This is the Temple complex at Karnak near Luxor in Egypt. The sun was so bright, reflecting off the dozens of statues and the flagstones between them.This is the largest ancient religious site in the world. What an amazing place.

IMG_0063

Another pale photo I have, is this one of Niagara Falls. I think I’d be feeling rather pale myself, if I had to be on that little boat down there.

IMG_0016

These White Lions are the palest of the lion species, and very beautiful. They are not albinos, but a genetic rarity unique to one endemic region on the globe: the Timbavati region in South Africa.

IMG_0662

This pale photo was taken at the Whistler Ski Resort in Canada. We went up there for the day when our daughter was living in Vancouver. It was so very cold. I don’t think skiing would be for me, but there were lots of people thoroughly enjoying themselves.

IMG_0014

This pale photo was taken in Xian, as we were walking through the outdoor restaurant area. It all looked steaming hot, but we couldn’t identify what was on offer, so we didn’t buy our meal here.

IMG_0173

Whilst I was searching for pale photos, I came across this one of hubby and I inside the top of the Statue of Liberty, and thought it would do nicely for the theme. The flash makes us look like two ghosts, and you don’t get paler than that. :)

IMG_0071

I hope you enjoyed my pale pics. To see more interpretations of Ailsa’s theme, just click here.

A Word a Week Challenge: Dance

Skinnywench of ‘A Word in Your Ear’, has asked us to post a photo showing dancing. This one was taken at a fancy dress party on a Nile River cruise, and I had a lot of fun that evening, dressed as a Belly Dancer. The real belly dancer spotted me on the sidelines of the dance floor, and beckoned me to join her. I hadn’t a clue what to do, but just tried to follow her steps and movements.

IMG_0009

After a few minutes, she let go of my hand, and I was on my own. At times like these, one just has to go with the flow; don’t you agree? So I carried on and did my thing, and even though I’m quite a shy person, well sort of, ;) it wasn’t too scary being in the spotlight, and the other passengers were very appreciative. The outfit did help a lot, and I felt like the real deal, with all those fringes swaying around. :D

IMG_0008

Here’s one dancer I wouldn’t even consider trying to emulate. This ‘Whirling Dervish’, made me dizzy just watching him perform. His frenzied, ecstatic dance, accompanied by weird howling utterances, was quite sight to behold. In the photo, he looks like he’s not moving, but I can assure you that he was twirling around very fast indeed. The dance is called the Sema, and has been performed for over 700 years by the Sufi, which is  a rather mystic order of Islam. If you would like to read more about it, click here.

IMG_0052

To see more interpretations of Sue’s challenge, click here to be taken to her blog.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Michelle’s challenge this week is to share a photo that says, “Forward.” I love her pic of a 12th century path at the beautiful Alhambra Palace.

Now, unless you’re new to my blog, you will know that I can rarely stop at one photo, except maybe for ‘Wordless Wednesday’. :? So here are a few pics from my travels which say “Forward” to me.

This massive unfinished obelisk was discovered in the stone quarries of ancient Egypt near Aswan. If it had been finished, it would have been 42 metres high and would have weighed nearly 1,200 tons. It was being carved directly out of the rock when cracks appeared in the granite and it was abandoned, still attached to the bedrock. Just imagine all that hard work for nothing! I found it really thrilling to be able to walk forward along the entire length of it, and imagine those quarry workers chiselling away with their small Diorite stone tools. What a mammoth task.

IMG_0029

We were on a Nile cruise in Egypt, and here is a photo taken whilst our ship was waiting patiently to go forward through the Esna lock, on our way to Luxor.

IMG_0041

From the heat of Egypt in July, to the freezing cold of Wyoming in early spring. We stopped in a lay-bye  to take some pics, and then it was time to press on forward to our destination, which was Yellowstone National Park.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

In the park, there was so much to see, but the temperatures were well below freezing. Hubby had left me in the relative warmth of the car whilst he went off to explore, but when he returned with tales of icicle-ringed hot geysers, my curiosity got the better of me. I wrapped myself up so well that even my own mother wouldn’t have recognised me, and bravely sallied forth to see for myself. Here I’m shivering my way forward over the slippery boardwalk. The amazing sights I saw were definitely worth enduring the cold for.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

To see links to more bloggers’ interpretations of the theme, Just click here.

Travel theme: Animals

Ailsa’s travel theme this week, had me looking through my photos once again, (when I should have been packing my cases). :) This one taken in Cairns, shows a young man who came every day to feed the pelicans on the beach. I remember that whilst I was watching, my hat blew off, and a very kind gentleman went down to retrieve it for me, before one of the pelicans took a fancy to it.

Lions are my favourite animals, and this very fine specimen was seen at the Rhino and Lion Park in Johannesburg.

Also to be viewed in Johannesburg game parks, there are zebras,

large and small rhinos.

and sleek, lazy cheetahs. I took this photo from the open Land Rover. The cheetah couldn’t even be bothered to jump up and grab my camera, I think they’re very well fed. :)

We had to go all the way to Egypt to get to ride a camel. Hubby was very brave on his own,

but I felt safer with our son up front. I never realised that camels were so high off the ground, until it stood up.

At ‘Bear World’ in Yellowstone National Park, I met this rather large teddy bear. He didn’t look very cuddly though.

These cute little guinea pigs in Peru, did look very cuddly, but they were unfortunately destined for the dining table. :( Of course, I didn’t taste one.

I’m all packed and ready to go to the airport. We fly to London this evening, so if I’m a bit scarce for the next few days, you’ll know why. I’ll pop in when I have the opportunity, but family comes first. :)

To see more animal posts, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

The Weekly Photo Challenge ‘Inside’, had me remembering places I and my family had been delighted to be inside on our travels.

In 1995, our teenage son, who was at that time an avid Knight Rider fan, was thrilled to be able to actually sit inside the famous K.I.T.T. car, when we visited Universal Studios in L.A..

I’d read about the ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’, but never dreamed that one day I would go for lunch inside the bar of  ‘Big Nose Kate’s Saloon’,

where the night before the famous gunfight, the participants had been carousing.

I was also thrilled to be able to go inside the infamous ‘Birdcage Theatre’, which in the late 19th century gained the reputation of being, “the wildest, wickedest night post between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.”

There are 120 bullet holes evident throughout the building, but I didn’t however expect that when I stood at the bar, the Sheriff/barman would pull out his gun and point it it right at me. ;)

It had always been a dream of mine to see the pyramids of Egypt, and  in 1992 that dream was realised, when I got to actually go inside the tombs of the ancient Pharaohs.

Elvis was my favourite Rock ‘n’ Roll star of all time, so in 1997, I was thrilled to find myself inside his home at Graceland, and to be able to wander through the Hall of Fame.

The Forbidden City in Beijing had always sounded so mystical to me, and in 1999, I was privileged to visit this palatial complex which contains 9,999 rooms. Here is a photo taken inside ‘The Hall of Preserving Harmony’.

Well, I think that’s enough ‘inside’ memories for this challenge. Hope you’re all having a great weekend.

Ships and boats from my travels.

Hi again, everyone. Whilst I was looking for photos for http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/ “Vehicle,” and before I’d read the guidelines properly, I found some pics of boats that I’d seen or been on in the course of my travels. Sea-going vessels didn’t qualify for the theme, but I thought I’d just do a post about water transport. Of course I have a great variety of pics, but here are just a few of my favourites.

This is a Nile cruise ship just in front of ours, on our  trip which took us from Aswan to Luxor to see many of the temples, most notable of which were the Temple of Queen Hapshepsut, the Karnak temple complex at Luxor, and of course the Valley of the Kings, which was spectacular. Here, we were alongside the Kom Ombo temple. We spent a very happy and entertaining week aboard, and I even got to impersonate a belly dancer at the fancy dress party.

The hydrofoil across Lake Titicaca took us from a resort outside La Paz to Copacabana, with stop-offs at Moon Island and Sun Island on the way. As you can see, we were the only passengers, apart from our guide. It was a wonderful sensation, speeding across the glittering lake in the bright sunshine, with the snow-capped Andean mountains to our right

These long-tail boats, known as ‘Ruea Hang Yao’ in the Thai language, are on the beautiful Phi Phi Island in Thailand. We did a day trip to this paradise, from Club Med Phuket, which also included a visit to Kho Phi Phi where the film, “The Beach” was made. We didn’t see Leonardo diCaprio, or a giant Marijuana plant. Laughing We have another trip booked there for early next month, and I can’t wait.

Our Venetian gondola ride last year, was a real highlight of our Italian tour, mainly because it was so funny. As you can see, our gondolier doesn’t look like the happy, singing type, and certainly wouldn’t pass the audition for Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, “The Gondoliers.” We set off under the Bridge of Sighs, and as we sailed along, we asked our boatman to sing to us, but he said that would be extra. LOL! The guy in the gondola in front of ours started to sing “Buona serra senorita,” and ours joined in, albeit somewhat halfheartedly. A local man walking along the path, called out to us in Italian, “He can’t even sing. Why don’t you just tell him to shut up?” We creased ourselves laughing, but ‘Mr Sourpuss’ did NOT look amused. Frown

Here is a vessel we intend to take a trip on when we return to Florida. We went boat watching one day earlier this year and saw the luxury motor boat, The Lady Delray, which takes one on a leisurely two-hour narrated tour from Veteran’s Park through the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, and past some of the area’s most beautiful mansions. We’ll be able to see a variety of marine life in its natural habitat, and learn a little about the area’s history, all this whilst snacking on tasty morsels and sipping cocktails. I’m so looking forward to it.

This vessel in the play area of our local mall in Florida, might not be a real boat, but it does contain my two gorgeous little granddaughters, so I thought I’d put it in anyway. Wink

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.