Ed’s Sunday Stills: Billboards

This week’s challenge, Billboards and Road Advertisements, is quite a fun one. I have lots of pics of signs, although very few which would qualify as billboards.

I did spot these in London, and I thought this McDonalds one was quite good.

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I might have hoped that this one was referring to me, until I saw the tall, blonde and gorgeous potato chips. 😦

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This road sign in San Pedro looked quite promising.

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That was until we saw the restaurant. 😦

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If you happen to be looking for a majestic hotel in Bolivia, you’ve come to the right place. It looks like they have electricity. 🙂

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New York City has billboards plastered all over the place,

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and Times Square must be the ultimate billboard paradise, commanding the highest prices in the world for advertising there. Last year, Dunkin’ Donuts paid $3.6 million for one digital sign there.

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I think the most iconic and well known billboard has to be the Hollywood sign, which was designed by an Englishman and constructed in 1923. It was originally meant to only last for 18 months until the lots for a new real estate development called ‘Hollywoodland’, were all sold. It’s undergone many changes and improvements over the years, and today, has its own trust fund and a ton of security which involves razor wire, infrared technology, 24 hour monitoring, motion sensors, alarms and helicopter patrols.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my billboards for Ed’s Sunday Stills Challenge. It’s open until next Sunday, so why not do your own billboard post?

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A Family Centenary celebration coming up next weekend.

“Live your life and forget your age” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

A week this Sunday, hubby’s Mom in England will celebrate her 100th birthday, and all the family will be there cheering her on at her party for 140 people at the village hall. She’s always as bright as a button, and I’ve never heard her complain about getting old; in fact her age is a source of pride, and she’s so looking forward to getting the Queen’s telegram. Last week the woman in the cake shop, was very surprised when this sprightly woman walked in to order her own 100th birthday cake.  She has lived on her own, in her double storey, three-bedroom house since she was widowed twenty years ago, and does all her own cooking, with friends often calling in to have tea with her. Her favourite pastime is playing scrabble on the computer, and she is a daunting opponent in the competitions she takes part in. She bakes really delicious cakes, and until a few years ago, used to enter them in local competitions and often win first prize. For her 90th birthday, she baked and decorated a delicious Pavlova, and dozens of friends and relatives came to her party.

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Five years ago, she and my Mom accompanied hubby and I on a trip to the USA to visit our son and family. These two old ladies, were so excited and cheerful on the flight over from England. It was such an adventure for them both; the first time they’d been to America.

They walked their legs off all around New York city, taking in the sights and sounds and never complaining of being tired. The two of them shopped up a storm at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Banana Republic.

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and posed for photos in Times Square.

We took the ferry across to Ellis Island where the new immigrants to the USA used to be processed, and then we were off to see the Statue of Liberty. What a thrill that was for them both.

A two-hour car journey took us down to Washington, where we stayed for a couple of days, going to see the White House, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and other historical sites. Once again, the two of them put their best feet forward and enjoyed every minute. They were like excited teenagers, and it was such a joy to be with them.

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The reason I’m telling you all this is that it’s my birthday on Sunday, and every birthday that comes around I remember how I sobbed my heart out at my 21st party, because I would never be young again. Hubby had to take me for a walk around the block to calm me down. What a silly young thing I must have been, with not a thought in my head for all the wonderful years still to come. I suppose I must have believed then that youth was the most important thing in life, but I was so wrong. Life experience is worth far more than transient youthfulness. The years since my 21st have been full of wonderful achievements with the addition to our family of two precious children and five gorgeous grandchildren. Talents which as a youngster I didn’t realise the value of, have been polished and used. I’ve watched with pride as my children grew up into responsible, successful and happy adults. Many people have come in and out of my life and taught me valuable lessons in the process. I’ve learned to be more caring for others’ needs and wants and have also experienced the love and selflessness of my family and friends towards me. It’s only as one grows older and hopefully wiser that one appreciates the benefits of not being young any more. Speaking for myself, I’m so grateful for the lessons learned over the years, and wouldn’t trade my life experience for the youth I had then.

It’s been said that “Life begins at forty,” but I believe that life begins every morning when you wake up, however old you are. You may have a job to go to; embrace it and be the best you can be. You may have children to care for; give this task the best you’ve got. A happy childhood is one of the most precious gifts that parents have in their power to bestow. Maybe you have a talent which needs a little nurturing to bring it to the fore; give yourself the chance to shine and let others have the benefit of it too. If you are already old, then share the wisdom of your years with those younger and less experienced than yourself. Life teaches us lessons for a purpose, and we can often find someone who can benefit from what we have learned. Aging isn’t something to be feared. As Gloria Pitzer, an American TV personality once said, “About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” We can either plan for it by keeping ourselves healthy and fit and being wise with our financial planning for our old age, or we can just let it creep upon us unawares and give us a big fright when we suddenly realise that it’s too late to do anything about it.

Every day is a gift to us and whether we’re young, middle-aged or downright over the hill, we can always “Seize the day” and run with it. Well maybe not literally run, but you know what I mean. When you’re young, live your life as though there IS a tomorrow, so that when you’re old, you can live as though there’s NO tomorrow.

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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The city that never sleeps.

“And because no matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be the place for you.” ~ Michael Bloomberg, 108th mayor of NYC.

Jake’s theme this week is ‘City’, and I immediately thought of one of the most famous cities in the world. I first visited New York in 1996, and fell in love with it. It certainly did feel like a big apple, just waiting for me to take a bite. There is so much to do and see, and everywhere you look, there are people busily scurrying to and fro about their business, and tourists just like ourselves, map in hand, just standing getting their bearings before the next onslaught on the city’s attractions.
One of the first things we did, was to take the ferry across to Liberty Island, to see the grand old lady who has greeted visitors and kept watch over the city since 1924.
 We just had to go right up inside this iconic symbol. It was so much bigger than I’d ever imagined, and we climbed right up into the crown. I lost count of how many steps it was, but I read that there are 354 steps and 22 storeys. It was quite some climb, and the stairs are so narrow as you pass people on their way down.

We marvelled at the lovely architecture of the New York Stock Exchange. I’d never seen a yellow cab before, except in the movies, and there were so many of them, everywhere.

The famous old buildings down near Wall Street, were a sight to behold.

It was difficult to get far enough away to get a good pic of the Empire State building, without standing the chance of getting run over by a cab.

Central Park, which had only been a name to me, now became a reality, with delightful little surprises around every corner.

The Disney Store was a treasure trove of souvenirs and we spent a good hour in there deciding what to buy.

The Rockefeller Centre was everything I’d ever imagined and more, and the beautiful golden maquette of Prometheus, one of the most famous statues in the world, did not disappoint.

Everything seemed bigger and better in America, especially our limo ride to the airport.

On a subsequent visit in June 2001, we took the ferry across from Hoboken to Lower Manhattan. (Our son had emigrated from South Africa in 2000, and was now working in the city).

We rode the elevator to the top of the World Trade Centre. It was such a beautiful morning as we sat way up there, enjoying our breakfast of hot coffee and bagels loaded with Philly cheese.

The view over ‘The Big Apple’ was truly breathtaking.

As I stood there in the morning sunshine, with not a breath of wind, I couldn’t ever have imagined that in less than three months time, this wonderful structure would be raised to the ground.

In May 2008, we took both our mothers over to see our son and family, and we all went into the city. Here is hubby’s mom who was then only 95-years-old, standing in the middle of Times Square. Both our mom’s had never been to America before, and they had the time of their lives, walking their legs off all around the city, and shopping up a storm in Macy’s. 🙂

Last year in May, we took a cruise out of New York, and got this shot from the ship, looking straight up 42nd Street where most of the theatres are situated.

New York is truly the most amazing city; it’s not beautiful, shiny  and clean; far from it, but it throbs with a vibrancy that is difficult to describe, and has an allure which is hard to resist. You really have to go there and experience it for yourself.