October 30, 2011

Double-Deck Overpass

In the densely built city of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton), there was no more room to build roads. So they built up. Countless overpasses snake through the buildings, in some places, like here, double-decked.

Guangzhou, 2011

Traffic in my photo looks bearable, but most times it is bumper-to-bumper, rivaling a frustrating drive in Los Angeles. Car sales started to boom in China in the 1990s and in 2009 it overtook the USA as the largest car market.

That's a very far cry from the days I saw only bicycles on the streets, with the occasional bus or government vehicle.

October 29, 2011

Ready for Coffee

Manila, 2011

A few days ago I readied my cafetière à piston to make my habitual morning cup of arabica. As I placed it on our marble kitchen counter I noticed and savored the light effects and shadows. [Better viewed enlarged.]

Linking with the meme communities at Weekend in Black and White and Shadow Shot Sunday

And for the season:

October 28, 2011

[SkyWatch] Skies over Anilao

Last weekend we drove just over two hours south from our home in Manila to take our three house guests from Canada snorkeling in Mother Nature's colorful fish bowl. 

On a small peninsula called Anilao that juts out from the mainland of the province of Batangas there is a strip of popular diving resorts. Our favorite is a small, but cozy family-run resort at the very end of the strip.

After a long wet season, the weather was perfect for us: soft, sunny, warm with a hint of a cooling breeze. I am happy to be able to share these skies for SkyWatch Friday.

The first four were captured from our banca ride to and from a spectacular snorkeling spot next to the aptly named Sombrero Island. You can see it in the distance in this first photo and up close in the second.

Batangas, 2011

The water was perfectly clear on this day and tropical fish of all shapes, sizes and colors swam peacefully among the diverse and plentiful corals. Our presence did not appear to disturb them in the slightest. (Why is it so very hard for humans, the so-called "intelligent" species, to co-exist in peace?)

Notice the faint hint of a rainbow over the hill here as we near our resort, as well as the clouds reflected in the calm surface of the sea. 

This last one with the sun going down was the serene view from our resort. I especially like the shapes formed on the water by the gentle ripples and the sun's reflection on the tiny waves lapping the shore.

I am also linking this post with James' Weekend Reflections.

October 27, 2011

Autumn Colors in Kansai

We purposely timed our visit to Kansai to coincide with its famous fall colors.  Thus many of the photos I have posted previously from this magnificent region will show you the breadth of beauty found this season of warm yellows, oranges, reds and browns.

Today I share a few more autumn photos from that trip to celebrate a season we don't really have at home in tropical Philippines.

I sure wasn't the only one reveling in the flaming colors of the maples!

Kansai, 2009

Manila, 2011

I took this final photo last evening. This line of friendly pumpkins are on the street in front of our neighbor's house, waiting to greet the kids of the village coming by on Saturday for group "trick or treat" fun.

Halloween was not known in Finland where I spent most of my childhood, so the only time I got to dress up and go "trick or treat" was a couple of years in my early teens in Vancouver, BC. Fortunately I never did have much of a sweet tooth and I outgrew this pretty fast.

Do you celebrate this event in your corner of the world? Do you have any special memories?

Linking with other autumn images at Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday and (for the last image) to Pat's Thursday's Things in a Row.

October 26, 2011

O is for Olive

For ABC Wednesday, where the week’s letter is O, I am taking you to a small medieval town in Provence, France. (I’d rather have posted something O about my recent trip in Guangdong, but my creative juices couldn't take me there.)

Prior to making my way to Asia in May 1985, I spent about half a year with my parents in their tiny apartment in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; it was a mini-chapter between major chapters of my life. I had turned my back on a career in law and was experiencing a bad (and recurring) case of the what-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up blues. In hindsight, living among charms provençal was a terrific space to sort out the color of my parachute. (I now only wish I'd had a camera then.)

Flash forward twenty years, long after my parents had moved to a larger nearby city (and my father was no more), I returned for a quick visit... with my early model digital point-n-shoot. There's much I could say about Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, including that this 13th Century town sits among seven tributaries of the river named Sorgue and has a few lovely waterwheels... but I must get on to the letter O

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, 2005

Among the attractions to the town is its Sunday market.  Along the river in temporary covered stalls an immense range of local and not-so-local products - fresh, cooked, processed and manufactured - are for sale. 

It is here one fine Sunday that I found one of my favorite foods: olives. From the unripe green French picholine to the ripe black Greek kalamata, there are thousands of cultivars.

Olives are cured/marinated and packed a gazillion delicious ways - such as with herbs, garlic or salt-brine - and I pretty much like them all (except the flat tasteless canned ones). 

Just thinking about spiced olives in Moroccan cuisine or an olive tapenade appetizer and I begin to salivate! And of course no other oils but olive oil go in my salads. In Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the selection is almost overwhelming.

October 23, 2011

Above the Streets

My last post before slipping behind The Great Firewall of China a few weeks ago elicited questions about where I was to take the photo. The answer is: I shot it looking down from one of the countless pedestrian overpasses that makes walking in the bustling city of Hong Kong a whole lot easier and faster.

I posted an overpass in the financial district of Central last year. This one was taken in Mongkok, the most crowded place on earth, with 130,000 people living and working there per square kilometer or 340,000 people per square mile! And that, if I'm not mistaken, does not include the thousands who go there daily to shop till they drop!

Mongkok, 2011

Besides the pedestrians on the overpass and below, in this one capture, you can also see a handful of red taxis, a couple of double decker buses and a line of mini-buses, all part of the most efficient transit system I've ever experienced.

This overpass joins the meme Sunday Bridges.

October 7, 2011

Look the Right Way

Crossing the streets in Hong Kong can be a hazardous venture if you don't look the right way! The signs on all the streets make it a no-brainer... if you remember to look down first!

Hong Kong, 2011

Joining seekers of interesting Signs, Signs.

Note: I'll be going behind The Great Firewall of China shortly and will catch up with fellow sign bloggers and other commenters when I get back out.

October 2, 2011

Bridge to Cultural Island

This traditional Chinese gate marks the entrance to the bridge going to Cultural Island, an eyot in Jiangjiang River flowing through the southern Guangdong town of Wuchuan.

Wuchuan, Guangdong, 2011

I have crossed this bridge many times, and I will cross it again next week. Still, I don't know the name of the bridge, or whether it even has one.

 This bridge joins Louis la Vache's Sunday Bridges.

Note: On Tuesday I will go on the road again and expect to have sporadic internet access over the next few weeks, so you may not see me until I return. While behind The Great Firewall of China, I can receive and send email, but Big Brother is not a fan of Blogger.