Travel theme: Curves

Ailsa’s new travel theme is “Curves,” and if you click on my link, you will see her 3 amazing photos for the challenge.

I was sure I must have something suitable, tucked away in my trusty laptop, and these are what I came up with:

This is the curve in the road where I first set eyes on the most breathtaking sight of Mount Rushmore. It had been a dream of mine to actually witness this amazing spectacle for myself, and I was so excited.

I just love how the curve of this beautiful arch, contrasts with the straight path through the lovely gardens of the 10th century Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Here are the fabulous green curves of the the hills which line the Li river between Guilin and Yangshuo. The scenery here has been famed as “the best under Heaven,” and I can quite believe it. It was as if I had been transported into an ancient Chinese pen and ink drawing. The elegance was just astounding.

 

Here is the beautiful curve of a rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I put this one in especially for bulldogsturf, who is an ex Rhodie.


Some of you may have seen this next pic, but it does fit the theme very well. How is this for a curvy staircase? Whilst in Rome last year, we went to the Cabiria Restaurant,where we got the elevator up to the roof deck. After dinner, some of us decided that this was a far more exciting way to get back down to ground level. I counted 186 steps, and although I’d only had two glasses of wine, was quite dizzy by the time I reached the bottom. 🙂

I know that the word “curvy” is often used to describe the well-rounded female figure. When we went out walking along our beach path today, I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this painting for the theme. This artists impression of female curves is quite hilarious, don’t you think? 😀

I hope you enjoyed my curvy pics. If you would like to see what other bloggers have come up with, just click here.

 

 

 

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Some of the wonders of my world.

My blog friend View from the Side had a weekend challenge, the theme of which is, “The seven wonders of my world.” I’m very late with my post, but as you know, I’ve been very busy practising and playing piano for penguins. 🙂

I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you some of the photos taken during my son and granddaughter’s visit to South Africa a couple of weeks ago, which feature some of the wonders of my world. Of course, the biggest wonder of all is that out of all the billions of people in the world, hubby and I should have found one another, and lived happily ever after for more than forty years. Actually, he deserves a medal, but don’t tell him I said so. 😉

Little Sienna really enjoyed walking on our beach, but insisted on taking her new “purse” along. I wonder what it is with us women and our purse fetish. 🙂

We spent a day at our ‘U Shaka Marine World’ in Durban. Check out the size of this reconstruction of a Megalodon’s jaw.  It makes Stephen Spielberg’s “Jaws” look like a picnic by the lake.

where we had great fun examining some of  the wonders of the sea.

I’m so glad I can see these rays without having to go diving around under the sea, so I wondered what that guy was doing in the tank with them. I wouldn’t be nearly as brave if that glass wasn’t between him and me.

What an absolute wonder is this underwater garden.

These purple jelly fish are also called ‘mauve stingers’ and I’m sure some of you have come across them on your beaches in the USA. I wonder what their sting feels like.

Now here’s someone I certainly wouldn’t like to meet in person. I wondered whether he thought I looked tasty through the glass.

This gorgeous star fish was stuck like superglue to the glass, and I wondered if he would ever move again.

We even found Nemo without really trying, so I wondered what all the fuss was about. 🙂

The dolphins performed wonderfully, just for us.

This one wanted the stage all to himself.

Afterwards, we had a very tasty lunch aboard this old wreck, and I wondered what this ship had looked like on its maiden voyage.

I wonder what this huge python is doing in the middle of Marine World.Sienna took quite a fancy to him.

Well, I seem to have exceeded the seven wonders I was allowed for the theme, so I’ll end here. Hope you enjoyed wandering through my watery post.

Smile and wave at the pianist.

Today being Wednesday, I’ll be leaving shortly to play piano for a couple of hours at our local mall. Last Sunday I was also there, filling in for the Sunday pianist who helped me out whilst I was away with my family in Johannesburg. Unlike the Wednesday crowd, which are mostly ‘Platinum Pensioners’, as our mall management has seen fit to label every shopper over fifty-five, Sunday is very different, with many more younger folk with their families out for a weekend shopping spree and maybe a meal at one of the restaurants here.

Last Sunday there was a fair on, with lots of stalls displaying wares from the shops in the centre, plus a few antique stalls. The atmosphere was very festive, and the piano had been moved to make way for a wedding dress display. I was now right next to a massage set-up, with young Indian ladies offering passers-by a free neck and shoulder massage. I love people-watching, and was fascinated to see how many men took advantage of this.

So there I sat, amid all the bustle and noise, trying to concentrate on my playing whilst watching and smiling at all the shoppers who came past. I had just started playing that lovely Michel Legrand song, “How do you keep the music playing?” (which as it turned out was very apt), when I was startled by a six-foot-plus guy in a ‘penguin suit’ who stationed himself in front of the piano, and proceeded to conduct me right through the song until the very last chord. Now, you might think that this should have helped me to keep in time with the rhythm,  but I was actually laughing so much that I almost fell off my seat. I had to keep going though, as any self-respecting musician would do, with such a stern-looking conductor waving his arms around in front of them.

When I’d finished, I whipped out my iPhone and insisted that he owed me a photograph. He obligingly posed for me,  before waddling off to terrorise a few more people. 😀

I guess today will be much more tame, with probably just a few ‘smiles and waves’ from platinum-haired pensioners, rather than penguins. 🙂 Wishing you all a great day.

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.

My ‘Capture the Colour’ photos

The travel site Travel Supermarket is running a contest to ‘Capture the Colour’.

They say. ” a picture paints a thousand words. Well, rather than asking you to write a five thousand word blog post, we’re inviting you to produce a blog post with up to 5 photos that really do ‘Capture the Colour’… the 5 colours Blue, Green, Yellow, White and Red.”

I was nominated by “The Retiring Sort” to do this challenge which ends on August 29th. I have to nominate 5 other bloggers, and time is fast running out.

My blue photograph was taken in 2008,  whilst on vacation on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. This is the wooden dive jetty for the scuba diving boats, and as you can see, the brilliant blue water there is simply stunning.

My green photo, is taken from our Skyway cable car as we hung high above the Kuranda rainforest just outside Cairns. This Cableway spans 7.5 kms of pristine rainforest. It was the most awesome experience, to glide metres above the rainforest canopy before descending through the canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest at Skyrail’s two mid-stations, where we were able to disembark and spend time examining the rain forest from below, on the walkways provided for this purpose.

My yellow photo is a section of the vaulted ceiling of  “The Gallery of Maps” in the Vatican Museum, which we visited in October last year. The decorations on the vaulted ceiling are the work of a group of  Mannerist artists including Cesare Nebbia and Girolamo Muziano. The visitors there seemed to spend more time looking up at the amazing ceiling, than they did examining the maps which lined the walls.

My favourite white photo is this one of Victoria Falls, taken on a visit in 2004. We flew up from Johannesburg South Africa, and spent a few days doing all the usual things, like white water rafting and elephant rides. Whilst the more dare devil members of my family were being scooted down the river in and out of their rubber dinghies, I was thrilled to experience my first ever helicopter ride above these magnificent falls.

Last but not least, is my red photo. I chose this for its “aaah” appeal. On our  2006 visit to the San Diego Seaworld, we were enchanted by the sight of this baby polar bear, fast asleep and snuggled up with his red plastic ‘comfort toy’.

My nominees for this challenge are as follows:

photography of nia

bulldogsturf

Gemma

Gunta

GillyGee

Good luck to you all if you take up the challenge. Sorry it’s such short notice.

Ailsa’s Travel theme: Silhouette

Ailsa’s travel theme this week had me searching through my photos. At first, I was sure that I had nothing, except for this one, which isn’t really a silhouette, but a shadow. I took it on our beach when we went to have a look at the local air show a couple of months ago. We sat there until the sun started to go down, and it began to get cold. I saw our shadows on the sand, and couldn’t resist capturing with my iPhone.

I was wrong however, about not having any suitable photos and found these three. The first one, of sunset on Sunset Beach in Hawaii, I’ve posted before, but I think you won’t mind seeing it again. 🙂

The second was taken at sunset from our hotel window in Tahiti.

Lastly, I have a photo taken through the coach window, as we travelled  in Spain. The Osborne sherry Bull “El toro de Osborne” is a 14 meter high black silhouetted image of a bull in semi-profile, and is regarded as the unofficial national symbol of Spain. The bull was created in 1956 by Manolo Prieto. These hoardings of cut-out bulls dominate the landscape across Spain. Spaniards see the image of the bull as a national symbol, as it reminds them of bullfights and the beauty of this strong animal.

Just click here, to see more silhouettes which have been entered for Ailsa’s theme.

 

 

 

Weekly photo challenge: Urban

The weekly photo challenge is one which calls for restraint, as I have so many photos which would qualify for it. I decided to spare you though, and post just a few. 🙂

The first two are taken in Beijing, and show the urban life around the Hutongs, which are are narrow streets or alleys formed by lines of siheyuan traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. Many of these have over the years, been demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. Some of them have however, been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. We took the next two photos when we were there in 1999.

Here I am riding in style in a bicycle driven rickshaw. My mom lived in China during the war, and was carried to school every day in a rickshaw manned by what was then known as a “rickshaw coolie.”

The next photos were taken in X’ian which has developed from a sleepy rural village into a bustling urban metropolis. The usual form of transport is by bicycle, as you can see below.

Down an alleyway beyond the Drum Tower, we found the Muslim market which was a hive of activity. Even the meat and rice deliveries were done on open carts driven by cyclists who must have very strong calf muscles. 🙂

There were lots of stalls selling all manner of souvenirs etc, and at the end of the street, there is another which winds for ages and is full of food stalls, which looked to be where many of the locals gathered at mealtimes. This next photo is the bottom entrance to the market.

Here is one of the main streets in X’ian, where you will find more cars and buses.

Go down the side streets though, and  bicycles abound once again.

I’m sure that since our visit, X’ian has probably changed quite a lot. It is now the capital city of Shaanxi province, and I read on Wiki, that it and has 5 pillar industries: IT and hi-tech, equipment manufacturing, tourism, modern services and cultural industries, and that by the end of 2006, there were more than 48,200 industrial enterprises. I imagine that if we were to make a return visit, we’d find it very different from the way we remember it, as portrayed in these photos.

Looking up whilst checking out our beach.

Marianne at East of Málaga featured me in her photo challenge this month. The theme is ‘Looking up’, and she has posted some awesome photos taken from down below. As some of you may know, I’ve been away from my beach house for almost a whole week. Today was a spectacular day weather-wise, so we just had to take a stroll to get our fill of healthy sea air, and check out the beach. The lighthouse beckoned us  from a distance, as we walked along the promenade.

When we got close, I looked up, and this is what I saw. Do you see that chip out of the plaster right at the top?

There were quite a few people around, and I was wondering which one of them was the owner of this car.

I don’t like to get too close to “nut-cases,” and anyone who would pay good money to secure this car registration plate, must surely qualify as one. 🙂

This next photo definitely won’t do for the challenge, because it was taken ‘looking down’ from the end of the pier. You can see why this seaside resort is called Umhlanga Rocks. The ships really do need that lighthouse.

A bit further along, I looked up at the quite recently built ultra-expensive apartment blocks which now block out the sun from the beach, for the best part of the day. 😦

Here is a shot looking up at the sun through this tree filter.

Now for a totally unrelated couple of ‘looking up’ photos. First one is of hubby doing his trapeze act in Phuket a couple of years ago. I was utterly ‘gob-smacked’ as I looked up at him merrily swinging away upside-down. My very own Tarzan!

Anyway, as some of you may have already seen, I got my own back when we were there this year, by insisting on trying out the parasailing over the bay at Patong. I don’t think he could quite believe that it was his scaredy-cat wife flying around up there. 😆

Now I have to feature two blogs, which I follow.

I have chosen Gunta whose blog is called “Movin’on.”  She posts the most awesome photos, mostly, but not exclusively, of her beach on the Oregon Coast. I have been following her for a while now, and always look forward to each new post.

Second up is Lisa of the “I write what I like” blog. She is from Durban, South Africa, but is now living in France, where she runs her own chalet.  She skis in winter and hikes the Alps in summer, and posts the most breathtaking photos, together with tales of her adventurous life there.

I do hope that you will take time to visit these two blogs, and enjoy them as much as I do.

 

 

 

 

 

Home again with great memories.

We have just arrived back home, after a 7 hour drive from Johannesburg. We left quite late, as we attended our granddaughter’s ‘Brilliance Award’ ceremony and stayed for a delicious lunch afterwards. She achieved the highest mark in South Africa for her sociology exam. Her college did so well and had 14 students who were given this award in different subjects. Her younger brother was sitting behind us, cheering her on as she went up to accept her certificate. She has two more years of schooling, and is hoping  to study medicine at one of the top universities in England when she graduates from college.

Our drive back was thankfully uneventful, although we did see some insane driving along the way. I wish people would realise that a car isn’t a fun toy, but a lethal weapon, when driven recklessly. The winter dryness was very evident as we drove through the Free State, but the scenery was still really beautiful.

Our son and his daughter Sienna got back to New Jersey today, and he sent me a message saying, “Had a decent flight home, except for the giant Croatian cruise captain who kept falling asleep on my shoulder; definitely something to be said for travelling business class.” 🙂 He went on to say how much he enjoyed his trip out to see us all, and that it was “the trip of a lifetime.”

I have wonderful memories, lots of photos, and a pair of tiny purple socks which need washing, to remind me of their visit. 😉

Now all that remains, is for me to finish unpacking,  load the washing machine, and then it’s off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to catch up with you all, as I wade through my 300+ emails. 😉 I also have lots of photos to share over the next few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake’s Sunday Post: Black and White

I love Jake’s new challenge, because I have just the right photos for it. They don’t need any alterations whatsoever. 🙂

I know it’s hard to believe that Thailand could look so black and white in the month of June, but these pics were taken when we arrived at the harbour to catch our boat out to a couple of the islands. Some of you who’ve been following me for a while may remember my stormy, rain-soaked post. 🙂

In spite of the weather, we did have a fabulous trip, and the boat-ride was quite an adventure, and very exciting at times.

This photo isn’t entirely black and white, but I couldn’t resist showing you my sister-in-law’s gorgeous black poodle called Luca. Forgive my cheating, Jake. 🙂

Tonight we’re going out for a farewell dinner, after eating a very substantial farewell breakfast and a delicious farewell lunch. I have complained that since our son arrived a week ago, I have hardly stopped eating long enough to draw breath. Ah well, I suppose I can always go on a lettuce and seed diet when we get back home next weekend, but I bet that won’t happen either. 🙂

As some of you will have noticed, I’ve managed to find a bit of internet here and there, and a few odd minutes when nothing much was happening. Hope you all have a great week.