Cee’s FFC: Sand and Dirt

This week, Cee has asked us for some pics showing sand and dirt.  Here are a few that I’ve found to show you.

This one was taken in Morocco, where there was quite a lot of sand and dirt underfoot. These two guys obviously didn’t want to get their feet dirty.

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I think this is a rather funny pic of me in Peru. It looks like a standoff between me and the local women. They took this opportunity to try to sell their wares, and were actually quite formidable, not taking no for an answer.

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There was beautiful white sand in San Pedro, and also lots of bicycles.

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A sand sculpture  still under construction on my beach in Umhlanga Rocks, with an important hastily written message for passers-by.

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It’s quite strange how people get the urge to dig when they get to the beach. I bet he’s not nearly as keen in the garden at home. :)

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These white lions are well camouflaged against the sand and dirt of the South African Game Park.

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This is my favourite way to see the sunrise, as a beautiful backdrop to the sand and the sea.

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To see more entries for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge, just click Cee’s badge.

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Sunday Stills: Landscapes from The Great Barrier Reef to Machu Picchu.

Ed’s Sunday Stills Challenge this week, is ‘Landscapes’, which is a pretty all-encompassing subject. It can be anything from mountains and hills, to rivers, lakes and oceans, as well as indigenous vegetation, and even human elements, such as buildings and structures which help define the self-image of a region, and make it unique.

My first pic was taken from the Kuranda Skyway, overlooking the lush, tropical, World Heritage-listed rainforest in Queensland Australia.

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Here is a view from ‘Cook’s Look’, the highest peak on Lizard Island, a national park on the Great Barrier Reef. Captain Cook named the island when he visited it in 1770  and remarked, “The only land animals we saw here were Lizards, and these seemed to be pretty plenty.” It is said that he climbed the peak to help him chart a course out to sea through the maze of reefs which confronted him.

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Here is the stunning landscape that we saw whilst cruising past Hinchinbrook Island, one of the world’s largest island national parks. With its myriad of natural vegetation such as lush rainforest, rugged mountains and mangrove swamps, it’s considered to be the jewel of Queensland’s national parks.

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Hopping across to Bali, the most famous of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, we see the beautiful rolling landscape of the lush green rice terraces. Balinese rice cultivators are famed all over the world for their efficient use of irrigation water, and the rich volcanic soil also contributes to consistently high yields of their crops.

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One of the most truly awe-inspiring landscapes I’ve ever seen, is Machu Picchu, which you may have noticed, I have used as my blog background.

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This 15th century Inca site is situated almost 8,000 feet above sea level, and was built on a mountain ridge overlooking Sacred Valley, some 50 miles northwest of Cusco in Peru.

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Well, that’s all the landscapes I have time for today, as I must now go and pack for our trip to see our family in New Jersey. We leave tomorrow morning, and get back late on Tuesday.  It’s Sienna’s 8th birthday party on Sunday, so all very exciting. I may not be around much, but you can be sure I’ll have some pics for you when I get back.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my landscapes for Ed’s Challenge. To see more entries, and perhaps join in, just click here.

 

 

 

A Word a Week Challenge: Old

This week, Sue’s challenge is ‘Old’, and she has some great photos for the theme. This started me thinking about some of the really old places I’ve visited, and things I’ve seen. Of course, as you may have noticed, my background photo is of Machu Picchu, the last stronghold of the Incas. Here is another view of this magnificent wonder of the world.

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This ancient religious site, dates back to the 15th century, and the stonework is a great example of the use of natural raw materials, which were used to provide outstanding architecture, totally appropriate to the surrounding environment. One gets such a sense of awe whilst wandering around this indescribably beautiful place.

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An even older structure, is the Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders of the world. The construction of the wall started over 2,000 years ago, and the entire wall with all its branches has been found to measure 21,196 km.

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Another World Heritage site, is the Maya pyramid temple of Kukuikan, also know as El Castillo. This step pyramid found at Chichen Itza, dates back to 750AD and demonstrates the accuracy and importance of Maya astronomy. It has 365 steps, one for each day of the year. Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps, and the top platform makes the 365th.

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Another man-made construction of a quite different kind, is the Harrods building in Knightsbridge London. Of course it’s not quite as old as the previous two tourist attractions, only dating back to the mid 19th century, but it’s one of the world’s most famous stores. It covers a 5 acre site, and there are 90,000 sq.metres of selling space, spread over seven floors. This iconic landmark has over fifteen million visitors a year, and lives up to its motto, which is ” Omnia Omnibus Ubique.” (All Things for All People, Everywhere.)

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Now if you want something really old, you could go to the American Museum of Natural History, and there you will see the massive jaw of a Megalodon, the biggest prehistoric shark that ever terrorised the seas. It became extinct 1,5 million years ago, although there have been reported sightings even as recently as 1960. However, fishermen have been known to exaggerate on occasion, so maybe we shouldn’t be too worried. :)

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Dinosaurs first appeared 230 million years ago and have been extinct for about 66 million years, so I guess that their remains would definitely qualify as old.

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One of my dearest friends told me that her 5½-year-old granddaughter asked her, “How old is Great Grandpa?” and when she replied, “He’ll be 94 this year,” Taryn digested this news for a few seconds, and then said, “Gee, that’s super old. Isn’t that when dinosaurs were on the earth?” Well hubby’s beautiful mom is going to be a hundred years old this August, and she has never once mentioned seeing dinosaurs when she was a child. :) Just in case you’re wondering; yes that is all her own hair. :)

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my old post, and had a few smiles too. You can see Sue’s wonderful old pics, if you click here.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roads

Cee’s roads challenge this week, had me searching through a few of my albums for something different. I’ve travelled many roads, in many countries, and I do try not to snooze, just in case I miss something.

This long, narrow and very winding road up to Machu Picchu really kept my heart in my mouth. Not a chance I was going to fall asleep on that coach, as I had to keep breathing in every time I saw another vehicle coming towards us down the hill.

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This is the road through the town at the bottom of the hill, also very narrow.

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A dusty, stony road through Bolivia, made for quite a bumpy ride.

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Another sand road through a Bolivian town. Tarmac would be a real luxury.

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Back to the USA, and a drive down the highway in Montana under clear blue May skies, was far less stressful. We could see Yellowstone in the distance.

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As we travelled through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming the weather became less Spring-like, and the road was quite slippery.

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Back to civilisation, and Times Square is much more populated of course. You can hardly see the road for cars and people. :)

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Here’s the Lincoln Tunnel, as we sped our way out of the city. No stopping allowed of course. :)

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Hong Kong roads are also very busy, and quite hair-raising to cross.

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In Xian, the roads were extremely congested, even though there weren’t many if any cars around.

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Of course what ever road you may be travelling on, it’s always nice to ride in style, so from the ridiculous to the sublime. I was most impressed when our New York taxi arrived. I was expecting one of those yellow cabs.

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To see more interpretations of Cee’s theme, just click here.

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Gallery

WordPress challenge: Green

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  Lao Tzu                                                                                                Click on any image to get slide show. To see more entries for this green challenge, just click here.

Wonderful Machu Picchu for Jake’s theme

Jake’s Sunday Post challenge this week, is ‘Wonderful’, and he has shown us some of his own wonderful images.

I asked myself, “What is the most wonderful place I’ve ever visited?” and Machu Picchu immediately sprang to mind. I have it as my blog background, but just in case you never noticed, here it is again.

I’d heard and read about it, but nothing could have prepared me for actually seeing this most sacred place of the Incas, in real life. It has such a peace and quiet about it, that you just want to stand and breath it in, and an aura of mystique which I’ve never felt before, even when I visited the pyramids of Egypt.

I don’t think it’s possible to take a mediocre photo of this most photogenic of places,

even when hiding from the heat of the midday sun, under one of the thatched shelters there.

For more details and pics of my most wonderful trip ever, you can click here.

To see other bloggers’ interpretations of the theme, visit Jake’s wonderful Sunday post.

CBBH Photo Challenge: Repetition

Marianne at ‘East of Malaga’ blog, has a monthly photo challenge. September’s theme is ‘Repetition’. She says, “In everyday life, repetition can often seem tedious.   However, with creative use in photographs, repetition can give an image a real impact.   Evidence of repetition can be found all around us, not only in nature, but more often in man-made objects too.”

I have a few pics to share with you which say to me, “repetition.”

The first one is taken in downtown Lima, Peru, at the San Fransisco church. This 17th century Baroque church, originally had a normal graveyard for its members, but 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 the skulls together in a center pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms; a rather grisly sight indeed.

On a less macabre note, here is the interior of the Mezquita Catedral (Mosque Cathedral) of Córdoba. This beautiful building has a very interesting and varied history. The vast central hall has 856 columns, made of jasper, onyx, marble and granite, and is absolutely breathtaking to behold.

The terraced rice paddies of Bali, also speak to me of repetition. As well as the repetitive lines and tiers of these paddies, can you just imagine how tedious the work must be? After the fields have been plowed and raked, the messy and back-breaking work of replanting can begin. This is often done by whole family units; men, women and children.  All day long, they trudge barefoot through the rice paddies, constantly bending over.  I read that on average, it takes fifteen people, four days to plant out an area of 1 hectare.

On a brighter and more relaxing note, here are dozens of deck chairs on the beach in Phuket,  just waiting for people to finish breakfast, and come down to relax in them, whilst watching the waves.

More chairs here, but this time at a family friend’s house, overlooking Lake Tahoe. They were being set out for our son’s wedding a few years ago. There am I on the balcony, and my son is down below looking up at me. What a lovely occasion it was. :)

If  you enjoyed my ‘repetition’ photos, why not do the challenge yourself? To see more bloggers’ interpretations, just click here.

I would like to introduce you to two of my favourite bloggers:

Cathy, an English teacher in Oman, has some fascinating experiences and lots of beautiful travel pics to show you. She’s super friendly too. :)

Gemma of first and fabulous, is a retired teacher, and full of fun and great photos, as she takes us through her daily life.

I hope you will take a moment to visit my two friends. You are sure to enjoy.

Jake’s Sunday Post theme: From a distance

Jake’s theme this week is a lovely one, and I have found a few photos to show you.

The first one is of Alcatraz Island, taken from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. It’s often referred to as “The Rock,” and was firstly a military prison in 1868, and then a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. In 1972, it became a national recreation area and in 1986, was designated a National Historic landmark. I was reading some of the history of this island on Wiki, and it was so fascinating. One of the best know inmates was Al Capone, who was incarcerated there in 1934, for four and a half years.

I guess I had to include one sunset shot, and this photo was taken whilst crossing the Nile from Luxor. In the distance is the ‘Valley of the Kings’, where can be found the tombs of the Pharaohs and noblemen of ancient Egypt.

Back on dry land, you can see the pyramids way in the distance. You can tell how far away they were, because my teenage son looks so huge in comparison. :)

This photo, was taken whilst skimming across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru, in a high-speed Hydrofoil. We had a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Andes mountains in the far distance.

This last one was taken much closer to home; in fact from my bedroom window. If you look carefully, you will see a funnel-shaped cloud, which is a tornadic water-spout, way out at sea in the Indian Ocean. This is apparently quite a rare event, but not uncommon off our part of the South African coast towards the end of summer.

I hope you enjoyed my collection of “from a distance” photos. To see what other bloggers have come up with for Jake’s theme, click here.