One more…. It’s great to get a window seat on an airplane. Even better, I was in row 2. It means I get off the plane first. In the Middle East everyone crowds, so you will easily find yourself ten back from the front, but that’s another story. What I have to say, is that it is just a shame to waste a perfectly good sunset just because the airplane glass is a little scratched. One more time, I had a great opportunity… and I took it.
Well, street photography has become a recent specialty for me. It’s a matter of taking a photograph when you’re too shy or too wary that the subject might object. To cut the point finer, it is said that anyone in a public space is fair game. I suppose it also comes down to if you’re caught, it could be a long explanation as to why you were detained. Anyway, this can be done, just don’t be obvious in focusing and definitely don’t be obnoxious. Go wide angle, use auto focus, and you’re good to go. And the main issue, don’t get caught. Or as Desi said, “Lucy, you have some ‘splanin to do!”
I’ve been trying to get a shot of a school of fish. In my mind’s eye it has been a favorite shot of underwater photographers to get that swirling mass of biologic frenzy under the sea. It’s not as easy as I thought. Fish don’t swirl around that much. And mostly the masses stay well away from anything as large as me trailing a large burst of bubbles and likely as not to eat them. Maybe they liked Julia better and were closer just to see what she was up to.
I would have to say that it doesn’t look like much. In fact this is another find that Julia made. Really, I’m beginning to think that my mind wanders when we dive. It looked like a flounder on the move. When we surfaced and showed this photo around, the experienced divers were convinced that this is an electric stingray. They congratulated us for not getting shocked. I was not going to touch it anyway. It’s a rule. “Don’t touch anything, it may bite.”
We were diving at this resort. All the resorts are close set and the next door neighbor is just a stone’s toss away. It was abandoned. So these three girls, who were snorkeling, had clambered onto the empty structure and were jumping into the sea. It wasn’t exactly safe. There’s a reef and you can miss and land on a rock. If you’re willing to do something stupid, I’m equally willing to photograph it. As I snapped, one of the father’s (I didn’t know till he told me) stopped me and said, ‘No photo.’ Then he corrected and said not for advertising or commercial use. Hmmm…. anyway he let me keep what I had and from this distance, I defy you to identify any of the sillies jumping. More ‘street photography’ and luckily Julia was not there at the time to roll her eyes in disapproval.
We did this shot in the old town. It’s not as though you can see how hot we had become. It was about a minute later that we made a break for the car and the A/C. You really can’t walk around in the late afternoon. It’s why I believe everyone is out and about at late night.
Even though I have been in Jeddah for nine months, I have barely gotten around due to transportation limitations. Here is a ‘find.’ I had passed this place many times but it is a bit too far to walk. We stopped in and checked the menu. Julia loved it so much we ate there twice. The dish you see is cherries covering kabob meatballs and crisp flatbread chips. The other is phyllo wrapped meatballs that will be covered by yogurt. The pictures don’t do justice to the fun that we had. And it is cherry juice that we drank. No alcohol, it was very good indeed.
We wandered the old city. In the sun it was hot as in hot and sweaty. We were melted in pretty short order. Julia was pretty hot but remained a good sport. She even wore the scarf out of deference. Men don’t have to wear any covering except the pants are to cover the knees. I was hot but not nearly like what it must be to wear a black abaya. I have to say that I have Julia video of what shall be called ‘the abaya dance.’
There is a square in which someone attends the pigeons, leaving out food and water. Julia especially liked the flying pigeon. The pigeons took wing because a feral cat wandered through. Though emaciated, it made no effort to get a pigeon meal. The pigeons weren’t taking any chances.
I don’t know what the bundles were for. I did not have a translator. But all manner of things are available in the market. There were small shops and then there were vendors who just sat wherever there was space.
Julia was too tired to go to the fish market. We settled for the old town market. She admonished me to avoid taking pictures and to avoid incurring the wrath of unwilling subjects. It’s called street photography. I just shoot without focusing or composing. Sometimes I shoot and look as though I’m shooting something else. Julia threatened to stalk away if I continued. She did concede that the shots were pretty nice and a good memory of her trip.
A macaroon in New York is associated with Passover and is a heavy coconut cookie. In French (Paul restaurant) it is a light meringue cookie sandwiching some fresh raspberries. I had an éclair. Julia didn’t want a taste of mine and before I could turn around she had finished her macaroon. Why? She didn’t want to share hers. Hmm… I didn’t really want pink food anyway.
Having run Julia around in a jam-packed schedule and with jet lag ever present, she was too exhausted to go for dinner. Being the ever insistent father, I dragged her out of the villa kicking and screaming all the way. I ordered up a lemonade with mint (hence the green color). “Taste it.” And then I had to order another one for myself. She had the classic croque monsieur. It’s classic because it was a specialty of her Grandmother Lila when the kids would go to her house for lunch. Dinner woke her up but Julia was still too full for dessert. So we took it home.
I never played basketball with Julia. I wasn’t even aware she had game. Here she is, abaya and all, dribbling and putting in a lay-up. It was pretty hot and she did this just once just to show me a thing about her skill. Neat!
I took Julia on a tour of the hospital. Ordinarily, it’s not a big deal to show your daughter where you work. I did a lot of ‘take your daughter to work’ days with her. But the architecture is pretty stunning. So once again I got this fortuitous shot of her LCD as she lined up her shot. One thing that they do a lot is to make elaborate displays for new babies. The balloons are draped around the doorframes. Here’s what you see before it’s installed.
I can’t quite describe this confection. It’s a glazed roll, but more like a cream puff. The center is laden with melted butter at its bottom. The glaze bakes on and provides a sweet crisp topping. I found them quite delightful. Julia found them heavy and too much for an afternoon snack. All I can say is they are really the best right out of the oven. I’ll see if David enjoys this when he visits. It’s not something that I have come across in New York.
You might laugh since you saw the dive shots in the Red Sea. But I’ve been to the brand new Jeddah aquarium a couple times now. Julia wanted to see it, so off we went. Looking back on the images I can see what she meant when she said that the coral in the Red Sea was more than any she had seen else where in the world. We saw a bunch of sharks. Julia was under the impression that there are no sharks in the Red Sea. So while we dived she was relaxed until the instructor set her straight. I suppose she will be looking over her shoulder when we next dive. And there was this unusual orange stone fish. This would be hard to miss in the sea, but hey, I miss seeing a lot of things when we dive.
What I like here in Julia’s shot is that she has a head on view of the fish. My shots have mainly been profile shots. Hers is a real fish portrait. As they say, it’s in the eyes. She nailed it! Have I mentioned before that this is not easy to do? You hover, the fish hovers, everybody is moving in 3D and then you have to get the exposure, pose, and composition …. ah you get the idea.
This is the term used to describe looking at your camera LCD to judge the last photo you took. This shot was purely fortuitous. I happened to get the LCD screen as Julia was lining up her shot. If you tried to do this you would miss nine out of ten times. Hey, I got lucky. Underwater, you don’t really get to use the viewfinder, and the LCD at best is just an estimate. You really let the camera do the hard stuff, focus and exposure.
These shots are examples of why Julia is better than me. She was able to float into place and just press the shutter at the perfect moment. Hence, she got these spectacular shots. The females are bright orange and do not look at all like the males. She got great shots of them also. What impressed me is that she got the hang of underwater photography on the fly by just listening to me and the she applied her own technique to get these shots.It’s a great feeling to have your kids exceed your own skill.
Maroun told us there were two octopi out on the reef, a male and female. As to where, he simply spread his arm and made a general gesture. Julia found this one also. She was looking at a rock, that she thought was a moray eel, which turned out to be an octopus. They change color and you don’t really get to see tentacles. So they are hard to spot. They can really mimic the surrounding coral, so you have to catch them while they are confused about what camouflage to take on. And shy… this one scooted under the rock and hid from us as best it could.
Julia and I were taken by Capt Omar (instructor) to his secret dive spot. It’s less than one hundred yards from the dock, but it’s not at all obvious. His co-instructor, Shamia, has yet to find it. So much for sharing… It was spectacular, but I’m still trying to get a great shot. We were there every time we dove and Julia even missed it as we swam through because it’s not so obvious. What it amounts to is a tunnel in the reef coral, that is beautiful to swim through. From one direction (as in these shots) it’s great and from the other side it’s nothing special. So that’s why Shamia is mad at Omar.For once, even Julia didn’t realize we were swimming through the tunnel when we approached from the wrong end.
We, Julia and I, were on our own, having passed the confidence test of the instructor, Shamia, and were swimming along, when a professional photographer beckoned and pointed out the presence of the larger stonefish (above). It’s not easy to notice because it blends in so well. I called Julia’s attention and we had a ball taking photos. The professional had completed his shoot. He had a serious DSLR and housing with high-end flash (big bucks). Julia to her credit was aware of everything around and motioned to me to look at another rock. It was another smaller stonefish. I wanted to ask someone if it was male and female, but underwater, questions are hard to put. Hey! I don’t see one (stonefish) before and then we see two in one dive.
I have passed this shop for many months. It is along the back road to the hospital. They constantly close major roads so you have to hunt for a way to get to work. Since I am a captive passenger, I often idly look at the road and discover new things. The stacked air conditioner grills are clear enough. Inside are compressors and more parts. After a few months it dawned on me that the weather never changed. It was sunny everyday and the temperatures reached over 90 degrees pretty much daily. Why then? Really, why is the A/C repairman sitting in his shop without any? Don’t worry. I passed another repair shop on another street and it was the same… no A/C for the repairman.
I used to think that you can know a place within a few days. But this one took me a while to notice and figure out.