August 31, 2011

T is for Theatre - Peles Castle IV

It's time for Alphabe-Thursday and the letter is T. My T today is for theatre... that is theater for my American blogger friends. 

While I often use American spelling, in my mind, the King's English befits this word. Especially so when the subject of my post is the elaborate private theatre in the gorgeous Peles Castle in Romania I visited last May (first introduced here and here). 

The theatre, built in the style of Louis XIV, holds sixty seats.  

We were not allowed in the room, so these are only quick walk-by shots taken from the door.

 Sinaia, Romania, 2011

This second photo is very similar, but I wanted to show you as much as possible, as I find this mellow yellow room quite extraordinary. Enlarge the photos to take a closer look at the murals painted by the Austrian Art Nouveau duo Gustav Klimt and Franz Matsch. I'm sorry I didn't stop to take better photos of the murals, but believe me, this palace produces sensory overload!

A final piece of historical trivia: the first motion picture in Romania was viewed in this room in 1906.

G is for Gazebo

Why did the gazebo cross the road?

To get to the other side?

Philippines, 2010

Hand-crafted bamboo gazebos are popular in the Philippines. Besides offering a cozy space to relax, dine or socialize, they provide shelter from the searing sun or pouring rain. They are found in local cuisine restaurants, resorts and back yards.

The letter of the week is G at ABC Wednesday.

August 30, 2011

[Our World] The Portrait Painter

For centuries royalty and aristocrats submitted themselves to sit for weeks while a portrait painter created their likeness on canvas for posterity. In more recent times, anyone with sufficient coin could commission a private or public portrait.

Other than on the streets of Europe and America where tourists roam, I have seldom seen this art form and thought it had pretty well gone the way of the horse and buggy ever since portrait photography studios became the norm. 

Yet today I chanced upon this man of talent in a small stall in a mall. 

 Manila, 2011

Give him a photo and in a matter of days he can create a fabulous likeness or an amusing caricature of you, a loved one, or your entire family. You can choose pastel, charcoal or oil. Take a good look, you may recognize a face or two. I think you'll agree with me that this painter is gifted. 

And no, this is not a sales pitch. Just sharing a bit of my world for Our World Tuesday.

August 27, 2011

Palm Shadow

Manila, 2011

A potted palm casting its shadow in our lanai (veranda). The organic shape of the leaves in contrast to the geometric lines of the house appeals to me.

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

August 26, 2011

[SkyWatch] Washing the Skyscraper

Manila, 2011

Last week I had an errand to run in Makati, our financial district, and I spotted these window washers on this glass skyscraper. It's not the first time I tell you it's a job I couldn't do, but neither could I resist the shot. It still fascinates me.

Besides, it was one of the rare times I saw anything but gray in our skies these past weeks.

So here it is, for SkyWatch Friday and Weekend Reflections.

August 25, 2011

S is for School

When times are tough, the first things we go without are those we deem non-basics or luxuries. This goes for government budgets, too. Yet I find it incomprehensible and sad that we consider art and cultural programs, including art and music education for our youth in schools, among the dispensable, especially while the war machines are kept humming at full tilt. This value system does not speak well of us as civilized humans.

I am guessing that this once-handsome music school in Bucharest too had its funding slashed.

 Bucharest, 2011

The signs posted in front of the school show there is still a lively interest in a range of music in the city.

Posting for S at Alphabe-Thursday and Signs, Signs.

August 24, 2011

F is for Farmhouse

This florid fallen-in farmhouse near Sibiel was my favorite homestead in Transylvania. I found it on our foray through the fabulous old villages I posted a few months ago.

Sibiel, Romania, 2011

Check out the other fantastic F posts linked to ABC Wednesday.

August 22, 2011

Japanese Pickles

I like trying new foods. I do have boundaries, but I will generally try anything offered in good faith at least once. 

I was intrigued by the specialty food sold in this store in a food mall in Kyoto. But I did not get to taste any of it. My guess is that these rolls right in front are some kind of vegetable in a mustard sauce, but I must call on my blogger friend Kaori from Shinjuku Daily Photo to set me straight.

Postscript: Thanks much, Kaori! Here we have one of numerous kinds of pickles - tsukemono - often served with a Japanese meal. This particular pickle delicacy originates from the Nara period over twelve hundred years ago. The famous kasuzuke, known as shiru-kasu-zuke or narazuke, was made for samurai by pickling fish or vegetables (typically melon, cucumber or eggplant) in a mix of sakekasu (sake lees, what remains after pressing sake mash), mirin, sugar and salt. The amazing part is that a great kasuzuke takes 1 to 3 years to make!  One more reason for me to return to the beautiful Kansai region of Japan.

Kyoto, 2009

The scene certainly fits right in with Mellow Yellow Monday.

How about you... how open are you to new taste experiences?

August 21, 2011

Desert Shadows

You may be inclined to classify this image as a photo cliché... and I wouldn't argue strenuously... To make matters worse, by today's standard, it's a relatively old low resolution image. 

Yet still, I thought those of us in search of scenes for Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday might enjoy seeing the shadows of folks admiring the desert outside the city of Dubai.

Dubai, 2005

August 19, 2011

Waiting out the Rain

These bare-footed boys sitting on Quiapo Bridge that crosses the Pasig River in Manila are either resting or waiting out the rain.... or both. It had already been a long day of walking. 

Manila, 2011

For the story behind this image, see my recent post about the Black Nazarene procession.

Today I link with the blogging communities at Weekend Reflections, Weekend in Black & White, and Sunday Bridges.

[SkyWatch] Vivid Rooftop Skies

Indulge me once more as I share these two skies taken a few months ago. They are as vividly awesome today as they were then.

Bucharest, 2011

My post today is dedicated to Klaus Peter, nature photographer and owner of the wildly popular meme SkyWatch Friday, where he and sky watchers from around the world share their love of the skies. Klaus is with us no more.
"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
                               ~ Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky) 

August 17, 2011

E is for Embroidery

Today, when the letter at ABC Wednesday is E, I'd like to show you some more exquisite embroidery of the Kazakhs in Mongolia. 

Earlier this year, I introduced a Kazakh embroiderer of dream quilts. She and the four generations of her family live in the small town of Hovd, capital of the far western aimag (province) bearing the same name.

Deep in the interior, in the remotest areas of the aimag, our small group was warmly welcomed as honored guests into a number of family dwellings called gers.

Hovd, Mongolia, 2007

Also known as yurts, gers are nomadic tents typically made of white felt (heavy canvas) covering a wood lattice frame. First seen from the top of a hill, you are about to enter this ger with a colorful door.

Of the various ethnic peoples living harmoniously in Hovd, it is the Kazakhs who decorate their homes most handsomely. They typically cover the entire wall of their ger with intricately embroidered quilts and other adornments in brilliant colors. The designs are traditional, often with creative and unique adaptations.

This is the family that lives here, in the most splendid of gers. In stark contrast to the barren landscape outside, the interior was warm and bright.

The elder woman was happy to tell us about her various kinds of embroidery projects.

Towards the end of her presentation, she pulled out one of the more beautiful dream quilts I have seen. She told us she had embroidered it before her marriage to her husband. Her eyes told me she was struggling with the idea, but ultimately she told us she wanted to sell it. I bought it for her asking price, and here I sit holding it with her. Isn't it a beaut!?

photo taken by my good friend and travel mate Ruth Malloy

Here is a video of how this embroidery is done.

August 14, 2011

Apple Blossoms

The apple blossoms' shower of pearl, 
Though blent with rosier hue 
As beautiful as woman's blush 
As evanescent too.”
      ~ Letitia E Landon (English poet/novelist, 1802–1838)
The apple blossom exists to create fruit; when that comes, the petal falls.    
      ~ Kabir (Indian Philosopher, 1398-1519)
[click to enlarge to see shadows]
Austria, 2011

I saw this magnificent apple tree in bloom this past spring in Austria.

Linking with Shadow Shot Sunday (see the gentle  shadows of the stamen on the petals?), Weekend Flowers, Today's Flower, and Macro Monday.

August 13, 2011

Face of an Angel

Bucharest, 2011

Top part of a caryatid on a dilapidated building in Bucharest.

Linking with Weekend in Black and White.

August 12, 2011

[SkyWatch] Manila Bay Sky Drama

The skies around here have not been very colorful these past weeks, but perhaps you will enjoy this evening sky over Manila Bay from my archives.

Manila Bay, 2010

While the sun was still bright on the bay, it started to pour rain just outside the condo we were in, leisurely watching the sky entertain us.

Two- and four-wheeled traffic on a wet Roxas Boulevard. This avenue along the bay had/has the natural potential to rival Nice on the French Riviera, but mayor after mayor just doesn't get it.

Other than slight cropping, these images are straight out of the camera. I join the spectacular skies linked at SkyWatch Friday as well as creative reflections at Weekend Reflections.

August 10, 2011

D is for Dubrovnik

On one of the four days we were "stuck" in Cavtat (see last week's post), my mother and I took a ferry to Dubrovnik, a late medieval walled city in Croatia I had long wished to visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, this "Pearl of the Adriatic" on the Dalmatian coast was founded in the 7th century and became an important sea port from the 13th century onwards that once rivaled Venice.

Neither one day nor one post can adequate cover the richness and beauty to see and appreciate in the old walled town. Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries and monuments, with shiny marbled streets and small alleyways, make this a popular tourist destination. 

This is no dead historical tourist trap, however. It's very much a live city where children play and locals go about their business of living. A walk away from the main streets offered charming surprises around every corner.

This is just a brief photo tour to inspire you. [Photos enlarge with a click.]


Croatia, 2009

Linking with the community at ABC Wednesday with the letter D.

August 7, 2011

Yellow, White and Red Flowers Nearby

Here are three flowers species I managed to capture on-the-run over the hectic period of our move to our new home.

This Kampanilya or Yellow Bell (Allamanda cathartica Linn) adorned the gate of our old house. 

These Kalachuchi flowers, aka Temple Flower or Frangipani (Plumeria acuminata), grow on a magnificent tree in front of our new neighbor's house. 

And finally a macro of a flower in a Flame Tree (Delonix regia) outside the court we played tennis last week. To see an entire tree in bloom, see my earlier post here

 Manila, 2011

Check out the stunning flowers at Today's Flower and fabulous macros at Macro Monday. I'm also linking with the blogging communities at Mellow Yellow Monday and Ruby Tuesday.