May 30, 2012

In Search of Beauty

Some business signs inspire confidence. Others, well... not so much.

Cebu, 2011

Yet this beauty parlor in Cebu had a line-up of eager customers.

And how could you resist patronizing a parlor that promises, "You don't have to go anywhere, because with our service you will be... too gorgeous"!

Manila, 2011

Linking with seekers of Signs, Signs. Have some fun and check out other informative, humorous and creative signs from around the globe.

May 29, 2012

Venasque WWI Memorial

Today I bring you to the medieval town of Venasque in Provence.

Less than a dozen kilometers southeast from Carpentras where my parents lived for many years, perched up on a rocky outcrop, is this picturesque old town we often passed through on our outings by car.

Fortunately we stopped one time so I could capture this World War I memorial for Taphophile Tragics.

Venasque, 2007

While I liked the monochrome version, my honey preferred the color... so mouseover and choose your own. But he agreed that this handsome profile of the fallen soldier looked better in black and white.

The war memorial stands next to the Romanesque Church of Notre-Dame (12th-17th C).

And overlooks the Nesque valley below.

May 28, 2012

Whimsical Birds Mural

I don't know anything about this mural painted on a corrugated metal fence in Cebu, but I know I liked it as soon as I spotted it. Click.

Cebu, 2011

Then I took a closer look and saw how whimsical - and odd - it is. Click.

And as I walked past it, I realized what a challenge it would have been to paint on this surface. Click.

Linking with Monday Mural. Go check out other marvelous murals from around out globe.

May 26, 2012

Goats on a Tropical Beach

Ilocos, 2010

All I need to say about this is that right about now I'd rather be a goat on a sunny tropical beach. Just for a few minutes, okay?

Linking with Camera Critters.

May 25, 2012

The Grand Millenium Reflected

This is part of the Grand Millenium Plaza building reflected in the windows of Sheung Wan Golden Centre in Central, Hong Kong.

First in monochrome for Weekend in Black and White. [Better seen enlarged.]

Hong Kong, 2007

And then, because I really couldn't decide which I liked better, a slightly different angle in color for Weekend Reflections.

When I took these photographs some years ago, we were on a fast walk and I really only noticed the clock tower and the art decoish details. I was expecting to find some interesting information about the architecture. It was therefore a bit of a disappointment to learn that this is a relatively new building completed in 1998 with no real historical significance.

What you would not realize just from looking at these photos is that right behind the clock tower the Grand Millenium Plaza is a 28-floor multi-purpose building. I didn't take a photo of it.

This was an urban renewal project started in 1988 on 7,200 sqm lot of land in a then rather dilapitaded area of Central on which the two towers were built: this one you see, plus another 52-story glass tower with a similar lower floor design (ranking 20th on the list of tallest buildings in HK). Between the two towers there is a 3,365 sqm Italian-inspired plaza, complete with fountain, trees and flower planters - an amazing little oasis in the urban center. This photo shows only a small part of it.

The buildings and plaza are worth a closer look. I found this 360-degree view online (and it gave permission to use it for non-commercial purposes). After clicking on the center red arrow and OK, click on full screen on the top left; then use your mouse to drag left-right-up-down to change your view. You can also zoom in or out. It's cool.

May 21, 2012

Markers in the Wilderness

Today's post for Taphophile Tragics and Our World Tuesday is short.

While we were out appreciating the vastness that is the aimag of Hovd...

Mongolia, 2007

... I hardly expected to find this: 

No living humans around for miles and miles. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Chinese Bacchanalia Mural

Wuchuan, 2012

Not a mural subject one would expect to see on an otherwise very ordinary tile house in this rural town of Wuchuan.

But this is no ordinary revelry.

This painting depicts the legendary Eight Immortals. These ancient folk heroes possess knowledge and powers that combined encompass the secrets of nature. They are revered by Daoists. Still popular today, they are often depicted together as a symbol of good fortune and longevity.

Linking with Monday Mural.

May 17, 2012

Countryside Scenes and a Bridge in Taishan

On a balmy early evening about a month ago we drove some kilometers south from Kaiping and crossed a little ways into the county of Taishan (see map at end of post). Our mission was to have dinner in an unassuming countryside restaurant (read: converted private home; no name, no address, no license) that had become popular merely by word-of-mouth.

While the others ordered our meal - all from live and fresh farm ingredients - I grabbed my camera and walked down a path off the paved country road. Want to come along? You may like the images better enlarged.

I crossed the bridge to find farmers working in a rice paddy and vegetable field, although it was quite late in the day.

Turning back, I see both sky and river showing off soft pale pastels.

Not long after, the sun painted the sky this rare (for Guangdong) brilliant orange for me.

Taishan, 2012

Taishan, which I've always called the Cantonese Toisan, is a county-level city. You can see most of its borders in pink on this map below, and we didn't drive far into it this evening. The tip of the arrow marks the dinner spot.

Taishan is the place of origin for many of the Chinese who migrated to California to work as contract laborers during the Gold Rush, then later to work on the Pacific Raiway. The Taishanese were among the many migrants from four counties (Kaiping, Enping, Taishan and Xinhui) who established the Chinatowns in North America. Until as late as the 1980s, when more Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese and Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong people started to emigrate to North America, the languages I most heard spoken in Chinatowns were the dialects from this region.

I am linking this post with the blogging communities at Skywatch Friday, Weekend Reflections, Sunday Bridges and Scenic Sunday.

May 14, 2012

Monday Mural - Reposo III

This is the third of the Reposo fine art murals. The first post explains the setting and the second post is here.

Today's beautiful painting is by Aileen Lenozo.

Manila, 2006

About this multi-awarded artist:

Lanuza made a name for herself painting realistic works of women in traditional garb but set in a highly conceptual context. Her interest evolved into portraying women as super heroes in their own right but set in highly interesting, conceptual and oftentimes amusing circumstances.
See some of her recent paintings and read more about her here.

I dedicate this post to all mothers - whether or not your corner of the globe celebrated Mother's Day yesterday. Here in China it was.

And I link with Monday Mural

May 11, 2012

Hopsan (Iron) Bridge in Kaiping

Hopsan (Iron) Bridge, located at the border between Bahop and Hinkong townships in Kaiping, was built in 1934.

Kaiping, 2011

Several years earlier, Wong Le Yung, a Kaiping student studying in Japan, started a fund raising campaign to build this bridge. By 1934, he raised 16,200 silver dollars. With a local design, they bought steel from Germany to build this iron truss bridge without pillar supports, a great architectural achievement here at the time.

The length of the bridge is 67 meters and the width 9.5 meters.

Stories were told that the Japanese tried to bomb the bridge to stop the movements of the anti-Japanese guerillas during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), but their planes failed to find the bridge.

I am not clear whether the locks were built at the same tme, but my guess would be that they were a more recent addition.

A plaque on this tower says that the local government declared the Hopsan Bridge a heritage site in 1983. This is my contribution to Sunday Bridges.

The view from the bridge overlooks some run-down factory buildings I'd guess to be from the 1960s, except for that brand new blue roof. With the soft light of the setting sun, it gave me my shot for Weekend Reflections.

May 7, 2012

Zodiac Mosaic Mural

Ulaanbaatar, 2007

The entire wall of a building in the capital of Mongolia was covered with this mosaic mural with the Chinese zodiac. From the close-ups you can see it was made in squares and somehow attached to the wall.

Below I recognize the yin-yang symbol of complementary opposites in the center. There are other symbols on the mural I'd like to learn more about.

Have not been able to find out any details about this mural.

Since last week was my birthday as well as the birthday of the City of Oakland, CA, home to our kind host for this meme, I thought it a fitting contribution to Monday Mural.  

Andy, this one is for you. Wish I could've given you a piece. :-)

May 4, 2012

Ugly Ducks Reflected

Even ugly is in the eyes of the beholder, but these two ducks sitting on an air pump on a fish pond in Kaiping sure won't win any awards for beauty from me!

Kaiping, 2012

Joining reflections seekers at Weekend Reflections and animal lovers at Camera Critters.