Down in Argentina you can visit Iguazu Falls. It’s sure to be wet. There is a boat ride to the falls. They give you a ‘wetbag’ to store valuables, that would be expensive cameras. Take the picture or not, it’s your choice. We did. And it was raining all day. I mean umbrellas couldn’t save you. David, Lisa, and I did the best we could. Dry was not possible. At lunch it was quite an experience to enter an air-conditioned dining room and to see condensation inside the lens of all the cameras (3). Fortunately the water evaporated and nothing more could be seen of any water damage. But it was scary for a moment. No waterproof diving camera in those days.
Yes, this is not a special effect. This is condensation in the camera at lunch when the A/C caused the vapor to fog. It cleared in less than an hour. Dumb luck or crazy!
Shortly after Lisa and I met, we traveled to Barcelona, across the French coast and Riviera, to Italy and then Rome. It was eventful. Before we left Lisa’s grandfather died. I lost my wallet in Barcelona. I left it in a restaurant on a table. American Express “Don’t Leave Home Without It” doesn’t have offices to replace the card. So we had to wait until Rome, the end of the trip, to get a new card. And!! I proposed marriage at the Trevi fountain (Three Coins in the Fountain). It seemed pretty romantic. We almost broke up because, marriage yes, but after I finished residency, that would be in about three years… too long. I just wanted the proposal to happen in the most romantic place I could think of. We’re still married…
We arrived in Rome, down to the last traveler’s check, late at night and booked a room in the Hotel “…” no names please. They still might be looking for us. We took a room “sans bathroom,” cheaper. In the morning Lisa didn’t bother to go down the hall to wash up or shower. I was sitting on the bed. Yes, I remember exactly where I was. She was leaning on the sink.
And… crack!… followed by a torrent of water shooting into the room. The sink was tiled into the wall without any support beneath except for the plumbing. And there were no shutoff valves below the sink. Who thinks of this stuff? The room was rapidly flooding. The carpet was soaked. And I, in my birthday suit, quickly jumped up and did what anyone would do under the circumstances. I stuck a finger into each pipe and stopped the flood. Lisa was screaming in fear (arrest) and pain (sink fell on toe). I was thinking, I’d like to be dressed when the hotel maid arrived. So first, put on my pants. Lisa stopped hopping and screaming; helped with the pants. Remember, hands not free to act. Good! Get a chambermaid. Maid looks in with an inquisitive look. Eyes open wide! Classic! She throws her apron over her head and runs. (You can’t make this stuff up.) Get someone else. The porter comes. He’s clueless. He looks. He doesn’t help. He doesn’t advance into the room. I need him to find and close the shutoff valves. I don’t plan on being the ‘Little Dutch Boy.” No luck naturally, he doesn’t speak English, and I’m don’t speak Italian. We’re in Rome, duh!! The porter finally advances close enough to this half dressed nut (me, remember, only pants) so that I can pull out one finger and squirt him in the face. He runs off… I’m thinking to call the police.
Get me some wine. What! That would be Lisa still screaming… and she knows I don’t drink. I’m frankly amazed that I can think through this emergency that I have never encountered. Two corks from the trays lying in the hallway, thank goodness for room service last night. Corks into the pipes and the water is stopped. The floor is flooded and the carpet is soggy. What now!? We do not have the money for this disaster. Quickly packing… I mean just throw your stuff into the bags… and we’re out of the room and down the elevator. News of our mishap has just made it to the lobby. Lisa stops at the desk, screams out in English (Italian speaking hotel, remember?), “What kind of hotel do you have here?!! My toe is injured! I’ve been damaged by your hotel!” And it appears the desk manager misinterprets Lisa and thinks she is going to blame the hotel, so he yells back in Italian (translation unknown, I don’t speak Italian, I told you already).
With that Lisa picks up the two suitcases (heavy for me, but fear will do amazing things) and stomps out the door saying that we’ll never stay here again. Really? I follow with all the early morning guest staring at the two noisy Americans. All I can say to this is that I took one photo before we evacuated the room. Yeah, priceless. Someday, I’ll find the photo of when we stayed two nights in a working brothel. Oh, to be young, on a budget, and so innocent.
It’s an inside story. He’s not a regular reader here. But I had a discussion with him as to whether there was any picture taking in Mecca, spelled Makkah in Saudi Arabia. To be honest I can watch the Mecca channel 24/7. I don’t see any cameras or photos being taken. They always walk counter clockwise. From all the smart phone pictures I see being taken at the Corniche (beach) there are plenty of photos there at the beach. But the number of serious cameras. DSLR or advanced point and shoot, are pretty limited anywhere I have visited. I put this image in for David as an indication that Nikon thinks the visitors use Nikon cameras when they visit Mecca. I still haven’t noticed a DSLR in Mecca. But Dave, I think pictures are ok. Wink! What happens in Mecca stays in Mecca. Non Muslims, that would be us are directed to take the road around Mecca. No Christians allowed…. This image was a throw away that I took in the Balad with him. I didn’t know it would have more meaning to us after he completed his trip.
David found this listed on his internet search of places to visit. So off we went and drove north to visit an ancient fishing village. It turns out to be a modern marina and there’s nothing quaint. In fact this is the same marina where I get the dive boat (see way below) and we leave for our ‘boat trips.’ I never associated the name David found with the marina location.
There is a habit, Farid told me, in which it is customary to build the wall before you build the house. And there is some effort underway to be energy conscious, hence the light posts with solar panels. Just when I think I see something I can agree with, I realize that these lights are in the middle of nowhere with nothing significant to light up.
We did look and look for that fishing village. It could have been a good photo op. It was my first realization that everything you see on the internet is not true. Maps are not well marked and what you find may not match expectation. We had that happen a lot in the next few days we wandered in the car. Dhahban was an adventure in non adventure hunting.
I have a bunch of non sequiturs. Actually I uploaded some shots from the Balud and they appear to be orphans at the moment. There always seem to be a few men bundling sticks cut precisely the same length. The bundles sell and I must remember to ask why they sell?Digital is a lot smarter than me. I shoot and the camera makes me look good. Mixed lighting and high contrast scene… no problem. It’s dates.This is as close as we came to actually buying anything. It was an old jewelry store, which is to say that the jewelry looked old. Nope, made in Pakistan, recently. Neither J nor David bought. Dave could have used something for his girlfriend….Shadows are a great subject. We’ve done some strange shapes. But the kids would have none of it as we walked at night. Patterns, I like patterns and especially when you have willing/unwilling subjects at hand.
Online the name is spelled Al Wahbah. At the site it’s spelled Al Waba. I surmise it’s phonetic differences. But no matter how you pronounce it there’s not much chance you’ll get good directions. We kept missing turns and ending up on the wrong roads. There were roads that were not on the map. Google earth can’t save you. There were cell towers in the middle of nowhere. And we had a wireless modem. It couldn’t save us. But we persevered throughout a day of solid rain. It was only dry for the two hours we spent at the crater. We debated about telling J. She had left for home a day earlier. Sorry. Wish you were/had been here.
If your timing is right it looks like you’re jumping in the crater itself. Well, that’s what David says.
It has rained twice in a year and a half since I’ve been here. It rained twice in ten days that David was here. On his last day going to/from the crater, it rained/poured all day. So the storm clouds we saw over the crater are probably not a common sight.
Lisa would never let me take a picture of her naked… We’re at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway in May 1984. Anyway that’s how I remember it. Lisa had been told by her friend, Eileen, to be sure to stay there. No one told us that a reservation was absolutely a must. So Lisa pleaded (by telephone from Los Angeles two days earlier) that we were coming on this once in a lifetime trip and couldn’t they please make some room. She didn’t even tell them she was pregnant. Yup, right beneath the water is her gravid belly holding Julia who would arrive in August. I couldn’t help wonder whether Julia was getting cooked. Well, the Inn was full! But….! There was a cabin in the mountain and the hot tub was broken, so we could stay there since no one was staying there until repairs were complete. It was up on the mountain, completely secluded, with a view of the Pacific (and the sunset). It had the hot tub, which, mysteriously, was working just fine. Idyllic! And lucky! You just have to assume that the Gods were smiling. And Julia was there too. But I’m not sure if that counts.
Back around 1980, Lisa and I were taking a timeout. We were sort of broken up. So she went to Eluthera to vacation. I wandered up to Boston to visit an OR nurse Ann (Sweeney) Levy. She was married to a GI specialist. She had been the Neuro OR coordinator while I was a resident at NYU. Her mom had had a brain tumor and I had assisted the Chief in her surgery, which turned out well. Leaving Boston, I drove to Cape Cod on a Sunday evening in October. All the traffic on the road was headed away from Cape Cod, bumper to bumper. I felt like I was going against the evacuating tide of traffic in my lone car headed to Providence. Wandering the dunes the next day, I chanced upon this house and got these images of the dunes with the autumn storm clouds. The house is gone now, changed forever into a non-picturesque photo-op some years back. It took me about 30 years to return to this spot. Things change. But, back then, when I took these images, they are iconic in my memory and can never be repeated. Like time it’s a one way trip. I could have done better with the composition. The house is a bit too centered. My father in law, Bill, offered to crop it when he framed the photo. But I decided to keep it as I shot it.
I took this picture in one of our early trips to Disney. I think it was Florida. It’s just an outstanding close up. I have shot this image again and again over the years… different horses in different places. But this was the first and remains the one I remember best…one of a kind once upon a time.
We just completed a boat dive last week. Leaving the harbor we went due west into the Red Sea for about seven miles. I watched the GPS, otherwise I’m not so smart. But on the water all you see is a blue horizon, while from the air I can now appreciate all the coral reefs. It makes sense that there are a number of ship wrecks to explore. Without a good chart you will be in big trouble around these parts.
I waited for the first glimpse. Even at 600 mph it’s a long wait from the Nile to the Red Sea crossing. Here it is just as we leave Egypt. All I could think was that Charlton Heston (Moses) parted a whole lot of water in that movie.
I passed out like never before on the flight back to Jeddah. I was barely awake after takeoff, just long enough to eat the meal. The shades were down so I didn’t peek until we were over Egypt. The first view was the Mediterranean Sea. Nope. It was just the desert. With the layers of blue I thought it was the sea. Wrong again, it was just a vast expanse of desert. The Nile from 39,000 feet is narrower than I expected. But you can see the irrigation and neat rectangular agricultural fields. I see the relationship between the river and the economy.
I’m sure there is a name but for the sake of my memory it is the blue mosque. It really should be plain and simple. But the mosque stands out in the rebuilt downtown. It sits among ancient Roman ruins and new churches and chapels. Though we didn’t hesitate to enter the churches, we didn’t try to go into the mosque. It just seems that there is still a little tension in the air.
Gee, I haven’t seen this stuff since the astronauts went up. To the right are large containers of powdered milk also. I mean really large containers; look closely. They are like gallon size and enough to make gallons and gallons of drink. Super market? Nope. Airport lounge. Huh? Where are you going? What travel destination beckons where you would stop off in the duty free shop and get a couple containers of Tang for the road. Which, by the way, they don’t sell any powdered drinks in the super market – diet ice tea and such. But Tang, you can’t get enough, I guess. Don’t be late to the airport, you won’t have enough time to shop for Tang.
I’ve been back about three months after my first trip home. I had to return through Riyadh. I ignored the travel desk’s recommendation to return nonstop a day later. The trip through Riyadh meant a three hour layover in the airport. Not enough time to go out and see anything but no so long that I would be miserable. I have an iTouch and iPod – music, reading, what have you.
Landing at about 6:30PM in Riyadh, first I had to clear customs with my bottle of soy. After repacking everything – you have to wonder what the customs guy thought of my Paula Deen pan – I had to wander around to the domestic airline side. It wasn’t easy. And I’m a guy, so we don’t ask questions or directions. But I had plenty of time and arrived in this very large waiting lounge that had at least a dozen gates.
The departure board was like any other and listed the flights, times, and gates. My flight departed at 9PM. At 8PM I stood by the board and waited for a gate announcement. My boarding pass did not have a gate listing. After waiting till 9PM, I assumed that the flight was delayed for some reason. Wrong! The first message on the board next to my flight was “Departed.” Yup! It left without me. I was actually more worried about the luggage and that damn ‘pan.’
Well the confusion and stress that ensued was monumental. I held the airline responsible. They probably announced the gate in Arabic and left it at that. I was bounced to the standby counter and shifted back and forth from agent to agent, all of whom were no help. Finally someone in customer service put me on the 1AM flight. I had already missed a shot on the 10PM, 11PM, and midnight flight. Ah ha!! It’s the gateway to Mecca. Everyone goes at all hours to Jeddah. So it was never a matter of waiting overnight.
Going to Mecca, there were many pilgrims wearing what I will call ‘bed spreads.’ Yes I know it has a name but I depend on someone to fill in the blank. It’s so that you are a humble pilgrim and not above anyone else in the eyes of God. It’s still bed spreads.
Well here I am on and among a plane full of pilgrims. We arrive at sometime before 3AM and the hospital driver has been waiting patiently since 10PM. I did try to call but I’m not sure if they ever really understood. My bags are sitting off to the side as unclaimed luggage so I’m out in 30 seconds. We trundle the luggage cart through the parking lot to the car, throw the bags in the trunk, and I turn to get into the car. The driver looks up and says, ‘…you have the keys?’
Yes, after all this, he threw the keys in the trunk and locked us out. A call to the hospital and another driver was on the way. With another key? No, he was coming with a crow bar and other tools to break into the car. They don’t keep extra keys at night. Another hour and we were on the way to my villa. You just can’t make this stuff up.
In order to visit Jeddah, you need a lot of paperwork in order. First you need a visa invitation. That would mean that I have to have HR cut a request for a visit from my daughter. They turned her down. She’s coming for a week. They requested 3 months – denied! Then we went and asked for 30 days. OK! But I had to take the application to the visa office myself and then stand on three lines and talk with 4 people and then they said ok. And I don’t speak Arabic. Now I have to have her send a copy of her birth certificate to prove she’s my daughter. They say it will be harder for my son; and forget my brother. Can anything be more complicated? So the visa invitation is addressed to the New York consulate office near the UN. I have to send everything to Washington DC. But since the invitation is addressed NY, they will mail it back to NY and then process from Washington. Don’t ask and I don’t want to know. Bottom line – who knows if this will all happen? I’m not holding my breath.
I would have to say that going online, buying a ticket, getting on the plane, and just go – never sounded so good.
I can’t say how I came up with this idea. On my last day in Dar es Salaam, I was going to take a walk. The hotel told me that I mustn’t walk alone. I had already done this at the beginning of the trip (and survived). But heeding the warning now, I hired a car and driver. I asked him to take me to the local fish market. I had had some success in the market of Stone Town and figured I could kill a few hours before my flight. It turned out to be a great time. No one seemed to mind me wandering about. I got to shoot local people and get a sense of the daily life one does not ordinarily encounter.
I put together this landscape. It’s interesting enough to me because the main element is my family in lower right. We had stopped by this pond/lake and there were hippos in the water. It was a non-event. The hippos were just noses barely poking out from the surface. You don’t go close to hippos. They will kill you. They have skulls in which there are teeth that look like they were derived from a saber-toothed tiger. I didn’t know they were so dangerous. But they never let us get near.
The big five… if you look them up, they are on the list of every big game hunter. We actually saw them all within one day on this trip. Amazing! Rhinos are special. We saw a few. We were fortunate. Our guide was staring off in the distance and then suddenly we tore off bouncing and throwing up a big tail of dust. They (rhinos) don’t see too well. But they don’t feel to threatened by a vehicle. So we were able to get some close-in shots before he trotted away.
I suppose that when birds eat fish whole, it makes sense to them. Eagles tear their food apart. But this guy was going to swallow lunch in one gulp. He spent quite a while attempting to get this done. First the fish had to be turned head first. It doesn’t go down tail first easily. It (fish) kept flopping so it would be lost if the bird lost its grip. And there were other birds waiting just to grab this fish if there was any mistake. Yes, he did swallow it whole. Didn’t mom always say to ‘chew?’
The big cats are hard to see. They just don’t like to be where people are present. Go figure. It’s probably good because I have no desire to be a next meal. This early morning we arrived in the Serengeti and our guide took us straight to this spot. The evening before this leopard had made a kill. Here he was calmly munching on wildebeest. It was quiet enough to hear the bones crunch. By the next morning there was nothing left to see of the carcass. You would never have known it had been consumed in a day. Timing, it’s pretty special. We were very fortunate to have come at the right time.
We stayed in a place that did work with children. These were kids that were housed, educated, and protected. There are a great many organizations doing good works. This hotel was run by a couple of Dutch physicians who had built a children’s home and were using the hotel to help support their work.
Sometimes you have to laugh. Both kids had the urge to stick their noses where they shouldn’t go. Hmm… you have to wonder why. Just a bit of humor. I didn’t take the shots with this in mind. They just happened to pair up in Lightroom that way. I think that my daughter would undoubtedly say that girls are smarter.
The trigone of the lateral ventricle is where the temporal horn and occipital horn branch off. It’s an anatomical point in brain anatomy, in radiological imaging and in neurosurgical anatomy. So to come upon a store with this name in Paris, it tickled my fancy. I’m sure it makes sense in French. But it’s amusing in English.