Jake’s Sunday Post: Perspective

This week, Jake has asked us for photos showing ‘Perspective’, and has created some amazing graphics to illustrate what he means.

Here are my pics, which I hope meet the requirements. This first one was taken at Sea World in San Diego.

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Here is my eldest grandson pretending that he is a racing driver in this AC Cobra Replica at Monte Casino in Johannesburg.

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I’m somewhat dwarfed here, by this huge Valentines flower arrangement.

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I love the perspective of this pic taken on board our boat in Punta Cana.

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Lastly, here’s one some of you may have seen before,  but I think it definitely fits the challenge. Donald Trump’s penthouse is on the 68th floor of this amazing skyscraper on 5th Avenue NYC.

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To see more bloggers’ interpretations of Jake’s theme, just click on the Sunday Post badge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background……sort of

The latest Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘In the background,’ isn’t as straight forward as I at first thought. I looked out a few pics with something interesting in the background, like this one of Table Mountain in Cape Town,

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and one taken from our hotel balcony in Rio, with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance,

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and one taken across the Hudson River, with the Twin Towers rising above Lower Manhattan.

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Then there is this one taken on our long-boat canal tour, showing Bangkok coming into view.

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What about this one of a country market in Ecuador, with a giant yellow blow-up ‘Pilsener Light’ beer bottle and the smoke from a volcano in the background?

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and this one taken on a boat off the coast of San Pedro in Belize, with hubby and his dive buddy bobbing around in the background.

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I also love this smiley one of little Sienna, with a shark in the background.

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Then as my teachers at school used to tell me, I thought, “Let me read the question again.”

In the Background: The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces. In today’s challenge, let’s turn the tables. Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or — as in the example above — the foreground, the center of attention.

Well this was a different kettle of fish entirely, and all I could come up with, was this one taken by hubby during our kitchen renovations in Florida. 😀

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics of foregrounds and backgrounds nevertheless, even if I didn’t keep strictly to Michael Pick’s guidelines. 😳

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Pathways

Ailsa’s theme is ‘Pathways’, and I had fun seeking out a few photos of paths I have seen on my travels.

Here in the North West Province of South Africa we have ‘The Palace of the Lost City’, where the African theme is carried through every detail of the design and architecture. These life-size elephants line the pathway up to the entrance to the Lost City. Each of the elephants standing on the bridge has a powerful loudspeaker inside, so you can listen to the realistic surround sound of the jungle. Every hour, a special hydraulic system starts to shake the bridge like in an earthquake, and a concealed dry ice system shrouds the bridge with white mist. The sound system then plays a powerful rumbling sound, making you feel like you are in the Indiana Jones movie when the huge boulder started rolling towards him.

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Here are pathways leading up to Machu Picchu in the Cusco region of Peru. This 15th century Inca site is almost 8,000 feet above sea level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest.

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Here is a pathway up to what looked like a shrine built into the rock, on our travels through Ecuador.

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On the road from Cuenca to Quito, we stopped off to visit some mud huts near an active volcano.  Such a pretty little pathway led up to them, but I couldn’t stay inside for very long, as there was an open fire, and the hut was full of smoke.

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Here’s a rather interesting pathway in Montana.  This rock formation is called“Devil’s Slide,” and according to the brass plaque there, that red pathway  is where the long-horned sheep have been coming down for centuries to drink at the river. I would have loved to see them come slipping and sliding down that rock face, but there weren’t any thirsty sheep that day.

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Here are a couple of pathways on the idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, in Thailand, the film location for the movie ‘The Beach’.

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I seem to remember that this well trodden pathway led to the restrooms. 🙂

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In Bali, there are many pathways along the green rice terraces.

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Here’s me heading down the path at our resort in Nusa Dua on the south-east coast of Bali, to spend some relaxing time at the pool.

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There’s a rather steep path down to the beach at Fontelina on the Isle of Capri. This magical beach rests at the foot of the legendary Faraglioni, and is where the Roman emperors residing on Capri, once came to bathe. The faint-hearted don’t have to take this route, as it can also be reached by shuttle boat from Marina Piccola.

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Rather more easily accessible for me, is this pathway onto our beach, just down the driveway, but we have wet weather today, so I’ll take a rain check.

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My favourite pathway photo ever, was sent to me by my son when he was on vacation in Bermuda. It made me want to get on the next plane.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed dallying with me along the paths from my travels. To see more bloggers’ interpretations of Ailsa’s theme, just click here.

Thoughts on Mom’s 88th birthday

Thank you so much to all of you who left messages of congratulations to my mom on her 88th birthday.  I read each and every one to her, as well as the Facebook messages. She said, “How very kind people are. Tell them I really appreciate their wishes.”

On Thursday, hubby and I went to fetch her here for the weekend, and met my sister for lunch. Those of you who read about the “elusive turquoise top” which I was trying in vain to find for her birthday which is today, may be amused to know that we walked into a boutique at the centre where we went for lunch, and found the perfect one, and it wasn’t turquoise at all, but a mélange of soft greys. It waved to sister, almost as soon as we walked in the door. Crisis averted. 🙂

That evening, just as I was about to start preparing supper, the door bell rang and there was a courier with a cardboard box addressed to mom. She was beside herself with excitement, never having had a couriered parcel before in her whole long life. It was from my daughter in Johannesburg, and contained  yummy chocolate goodies. Her thoughtfulness really made mom’s day complete.

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On Friday, we took mom down to the bench at the top of our beach steps, and there we sat for quite a long while, watching the waves and the ships. It was a very special time for both of us.

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We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sea air.

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Saturday morning was my day for playing piano again at the mall, so hubby brought mom along to listen, and then we went for a tasty lunch and a bit of shopping. Helping mom to negotiate her way through the crowds of shoppers, I couldn’t help keenly feeling the reversal of roles. I remember when I was a child, having to run to keep up with her as she strode along the street, walking the mile or so into the town because it was “quicker than waiting for the bus.” “Step it out, you’ve got long legs.” she used to say to me. Now I hold her arm protectively, as she’s not too steady on her feet, and I’m afraid she might get bumped by some passing stranger who doesn’t know how special she is. I know it comes to all of us who are fortunate enough to have elderly parents, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of heartache as I see how frail she is. I’m so glad that something which hasn’t changed over the years, is her sense of humour. When we’re together, the smiles and laughter come thick and fast. She sees the funny side of everything, and I’ve inherited this sometimes embarrassing trait. My sister is the same, but even worse, and when the three of us get together, you might be forgiven for assuming that we’ve been let out for the day from some institution for the insanely comical. I’ve also passed this gene on to my daughter, and our long-suffering husbands have  just had to learn to live with it, bless them. 🙂

On Sunday, mom’s birthday dawned bright and sunny, and as usual I took her tea in bed. There she lay, her slight form hardly making a bump under the bedclothes, and I couldn’t help joking. “Happy birthday mom. You’re two fat ladies today!” She replied with a laugh, “That’s exactly what I was thinking when I woke up and realised that I’m 88 today. She had Facebook messages from family overseas, my daughter and granddaughter phoned from Johannesburg, and my sister and her husband phoned from Lesotho where they are spending a few days in freezing cold temperatures. Hubby’s 99-year-old mom in England also spent a good half hour chatting to us all. I then made a really nice lunch, and one thing I will say is that mom has a great appetite for her size.

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Just before I served our sticky toffee pudding, we had a Skype call from our son and family in New Jersey, and mom was so thrilled to see her grandson and his three gorgeous children. Little Taylor was also celebrating her 4th birthday, and Sienna kept jumping down off her dad’s lap to show us how she can do cartwheels. Two-year-old Max came to say “Hi” and then he was off on his own mission. Isn’t Skype just the best thing since sliced bread?

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Now mom is back home in her little cottage, and I’m sure her neighbours were glad to see her back. They all love her to bits, and gathered together to see her off on Thursday, and wish her a very happy weekend, which I know she had. That’s another thing about my mom. She never takes anything for granted, and is always so grateful for each little thing and every act of kindness. My darling mom, may you live to enjoy many more years.

A perfect autumn day in paradise.

Some of you who haven’t seen me on your blogs, might have been wondering what I’ve been doing for the past couple of days. Well, the weather here has been absolutely perfect, around 26 C, humidity in the low 50’s and wind speed only about 8 km. This is the best time of year here on the south-east coast of South Africa.

On Tuesday I had to spend some time traipsing around our local ‘Theatre of Shopping’, as our nearest big mall is described. I was looking for suitable presents for my mom and sister who both have birthdays within a day of each other. I found mom a lovely duvet  set, but do you think I could find the elusive turquoise top that my sister wants. Not a chance, so when I see her today, we’ll go searching again at a different mall.

Yesterday, after playing piano for two hours at our local shopping centre, I definitely needed to get out and breathe in the fresh sea air. Our shops are full of winter boots, jerseys, jackets, scarves and woolly hats, but this is the best way to dress for our wonderful climate.

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The beach wasn’t very busy, except for a few fishermen on the rocks.

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There was also someone doing a bit of spear fishing.

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I didn’t see him spear anything, I just saw his flippers disappearing under the water.

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In a couple of week’s time, these aloes, of which there are many along the beachfront, will be blooming bright orange.

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I was delighted to see that the missing piece of plaster at the top of the lighthouse, had been repaired and repainted, although the red doesn’t quite match, as the original paint has faded. I think they should have splashed out and repainted the whole thing.

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Of course, not everyone here is on holiday, and these window cleaners were busy on one of the apartment blocks. Their platform was swaying around quite a lot, and I was really glad it wasn’t me up there.

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There was one little snag here in paradise. The tractor which is used to launch the boats at Grannies Pool,

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seems to be somewhat out of action. I wonder how this happened.

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I’m off up the hill to meet my mom and sister for lunch, and then I’m bringing mom back to stay with us here in paradise for a few days, as it’s her 88th birthday on Sunday. We’ll probably be out and about quite a bit, so I may not be on the blogs much, but will endeavour to catch up as and when I can. Have a great weekend.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Four Elements

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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If not, I’ll just have to make do with this paltry bit of fire in a 16th century English pub/restaurant. Of course the sherry did create a bit of fire in the belly. 🙂

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To see Ailsa’s wonderful photos, and links to more bloggers’ contribution to the theme, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

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.

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A bit farther along, someone had escaped from home, and was all setup for a day’s fishing.

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This couple looked to be dancing in the surf.

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You don’t have to be young to escape on a surf board,  just fit.

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Riding the waves is a wonderful form of escape.

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This also looks like a lot of fun.

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Children love to escape to the beach and play sand pies.

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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.

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For the adventurous, there’s deep-sea fishing and wave jumping on offer,

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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. 😉

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I hope you enjoyed my pics for the Weekly Photo Challenge. To see more contributions, you can click on the link.