Word and Image

Archive for April, 2016

Bidi

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Yes, in the middle of a sandstorm, I’m out feeding the cats. Bidi and Lily are outdoor cats. They hang around the compound but are not adopted. The guys at the gate feed them. And countless other tenants do the same too? Lily was showing up regularly. But on this day, Bidi is the one who appeared. Ok, you show up, you get fed. It would not be a notable event. But in the sandstorm and with a silly expression, well, that merits a pause. With point and shoot cameras, and with animal shots, like fish, you can be surprised by what shows up. Auto focus changed the game long ago. Now, just point and shoot. Yeah, I’m finally in the new century. Amazing, when you suddenly have insight into what everyone has known for years. But I grew up before cellphones. Imagine that! Beam me up Scottie!


Sandstorm

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Well, as I have commented before, it ain’t Lawrence of Arabia blinding. But at least it’s enough to comment upon. The light is funny. It’s decidedly yellow. The sun is up there. Wind is what blows the sand about. Duh! And it is like fog. The visibility is diminished. You don’t feel the sand upon you. It is too fine. It’s not like the grains of sand at the beach. That’s way to bulky for the wind to pick up. So, for the desert, this is the stuff of movies legend. I asked. It’s not the worst. It’s noticeable. It’s hard to photograph because it doesn’t look like anything too radical. There’s a layer of dust on everything. Tomorrow we’ll see cars completely covered. It will be like snow in winter covering all the exposed surfaces. Only then the cars that haven’t moved will still be covered a week from now. Its one way to collect abandoned cars.

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Meanwhile, the best you can see is the visibility is diminished to the horizon. The problem is that not seeing a building is not a picture. So a single image hardly does justice to a sandstorm. Video might work. Palm leaves and trees don’t sway much in the wind.  I’m still seeking a quintessential image. So far this is the worst I have seen. So there’s my image. Someday I might be able to top this.


Stormy Weather

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We dive here. The resort across the way in the image is Dream. There’s blue sky over there. They used to be very crowded with divers. Now my place is where the crowds are. Maybe they became diver unfriendly? Who knows? Waves on the ocean are nothing without some comparison. So, look across and there are whitecaps. You can see some swells. I’m not a boater nor a sailor. I can tell you the wind was steady and hard from the left. The stairs are covered in waves. Hey! I just noticed the stairs! My! They weren’t there before. Someone put them in. Neat! You used to have to jump about three feet into the water. No big deal unless you are there and about to jump. We would fall backwards into the water, no jumping forward. I don’t know why. But falling backward is unnatural. And there is a moment of panic as you let yourself fall. Nope. Not my cup of tea. Ok, they took care of the jump. You can walk the stairs into the water. The trick is climbing back out. No easy feat. There is nothing under the stairs. Right, there is no floor! Go figure!

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Anyway, we dove in the morning. We were down an hour. The water was smooth as glass still and calm. And when we emerged, it was as though the world had changed. I did not pay attention. These are not intimidating waves for an experienced diver like me. Smug, aren’t I? But within minutes we got word the resort was closed for diving. There was already a sandstorm in Jeddah. And the wind was picking up speed. Gee, it’s about thirty minutes south to Jeddah, no more than about 15 miles. Sunny, windy, a few waves, and we had to stop diving. Hey! I don’t make the rules. I just play safe. And besides, I was a bit chilled from the first dive. It’s still not full blown spring here. That damn water is colder than my dive computer says. There are times when 79 degrees feels a whole lot colder than it looks. Yes! Mixed metaphors and fractured sentences….


Interlude II

IMG_8960It’s a memory test. Back on March 21, I wrote the first post and forgot two images. Aha! Too late. So, new post. The first is my sea lion. The poor guy was lethargic and in retrospect, I agree, he was probably ill. At the time I was more thankful that he posed and did not shuffle away. In fact, he stayed in place for several hours at least. He made no move when I approached. I apologize that I never considered calling for help.

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As I related to you, Stewart arrived twenty minutes later. He’d rushed to get his camera. I already was on the scene and had my camera and my shots. So I took advantage to work the scene. It was at Stewart’s expense. His daughter and mine are best friends from kindergarten. So Stewart and I have spent many a time photographing subjects. One rule: get low, it gives you a more natural image from that angle. Adapting that, he knelt on the pavement. A purist would have gone for the rocks. I laughed. The daughters will too. Me? I just sat down. No need to scrape my knees and elbows. I took advantage of civilization.


Adopted

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Cats. I wrote about the bunch I have befriended. They are an independent lot. They come around when I whistle. I feed them. Lulu has adopted me. She moved in a couple days ago. And though I open the door, she stays. About the last thing I expected was to be chosen by a cat. Trust me. It’s a surprise to me too. To be sure, they choose you. Badi is friendly and loves to be petted. He comes to the door but won’t come in. Lily and Butch still swipe at me when I feed them. Lulu walked through the door and then proceeded to explore. Her tail was high in the air and trembling. Apparently she approved of my incredibly messy villa. She made no move to leave. She and I learned about kitty litter together. I will say that cats are smart. She got the concept immediately. Dogs do not. We are going slow.

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Lulu had her first overnight. She’s been here a day. Eat, sleep, explore, and play. So far so good. I was never too good with diapers. So me and kitty litter are having issues. First of all they don’t sell much cat food. The grocery in Delaware had a whole aisle devoted to pet food. In Jeddah there is a small section and few choices. And there is no litter box. And, whoever heard of clumping! I’m not sure what I got into here. But I belong to Lulu now. Let’s see where it goes. Fetch, roll over?


Smile

_DSC0616It’s that same trip to Africa. We were camping. Gee, all the sudden I got camp memories. I’ve been a Boy Scout. Tent, no running water, no shower, open fire, sleeping bags… This was not too shabby at all. The tents had a floor and a cot and blankets and screens and a porch…. The Masai escorted us to and from the dining tent. In the dark it was a possibility to be attacked… by lions. Oh my! The morning we departed I shyly motioned for a picture. Soon enough these guys all rushed to be in the picture. All smiles and delighted to have their picture taken, I was surprised. I usually am not so straightforward to impose upon strangers. And their enthusiasm charmed me. I was searching for that African jump image. This smile one always brings a fond memory and smile to me. Yup, a highlight image!