When the wind blows

I didn’t see any rocking cradles, but anyway I took this snap just a few meters from a spot called Bodega Head, on a cliff high above the Pacific Ocean, near Bodega Bay, California:

What you can’t see here, but what I find amazing, is that this tree is leaning almost 90 degrees to shoreline.  If I simply turn around, this is what it looks like behind my back:

So even though you’d expect the wind would travel perpendicularly to the shoreline, in fact the local geography and hills somehow influence the wind to run south, parallel to the coast.

(By the way, I am no expert on trees, but I suspect this is a Cypress tree.  Cypress trees are amazing – and I hope to write a number of photo blogs (PHOGS) about them soon!)

Because it is so amazing, here is a close-up of the tree:

Unbelievable hole in the ground – what were they thinking?!

A lone black crow sits on a sign and contemplates an interesting landmark at Bodega Bay, California, which is nothing more than a hole in the ground:

But unbelievably, this water filled hole – or more precisely formulated, this water filled hole sitting directly on the San Andreas Fault – was originally planned to be the location of the largest nuclear power plant in the United States.  Until, of course, sanity triumphed over business interests in the end.

You can read more about this hole on the sign:

Where the “exotic niche” is mainstream

On a recent trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, I was shocked / surprised / stunned to see this advertisement on a public transportation bus:

Here’s a close-up of the advertisement:

Even within the IT community, there is probably only a small fraction of people who will understand this advertisement. And a tinier fraction than that who would be motivated to go find out more about this company.

So it is SHOCKING to see that a company expects enough value in paying for an advertisement like this. I don’t know the demographics of San Francisco, but it now must be one high tech city!

Ansel Adams was here – 1

This is the world famous photographer, Ansel Adams:

And this is the photograph he took in 1953 of a church in Bodega Bay, California:

And this is the same church, photographed by me in 2018:

One of these days I will play around with the color effects, and see what happens when I convert my photograph to black and white.  But . . . I still think Ansel did a better job than me!

Across the Krishnarajasagara

What a mouthful!  But South Indian names are actually quite easy to remember, because they are like German: long agglomerations of short words.

I have no idea what it looks like today.

But back in the day (the “day” being around 2005) the Brindavan Gardens were a world-class sight to behold: a massive city garden with dozens and dozens of powerful water fountains, and in the evening, everything lit with intense colored lights.

Anyway, built along the Krishnarajasagara Dam in South India:

The gardens had so many fountains, there are not enough pixels in most cameras to capture them all:

And where there were no fountains, there were man-made rivers decorated with intense flowers and exotic trees:

And even some spectacular buildings:

I visited the park a few years later, and sadly, it had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair – not worth visiting at all.  But a trip out there is still exciting, because there is a nearby village Bylakuppe with relocated refugees from Tibet – and in fact, it is the largest settlement of Tibet people outside of Tibet!

Bangalore Gothic

Back when I lived in Bangalore, what I think was an IT guy turned his passion into this livelihood and created Bangalore Walks, a program of guided historical walking tours of Bangalore.  I was one of his first customers.

On one of his walks, after showing us where Winston Churchill likely lived during his time in Bangalore, we stopped to look at this house:

It’s nothing fancy – there are hundreds of examples in Bangalore – but he brought our attention to the scalloped rooftoop.  According to him, this style of roof is only found in Bangalore – and it is an architectural style he’s dubbed Bangalore Gothic.

I haven’t taken any Bangalore Walks recently – and I hope they are still as good as back in the day – and you’ll actually find my name on the official website!

Gateway to the Taj Mahal

In an earlier snap I showed the incredible Taj Mahal.  But the doorway you have to walk through in order to see it is equally if not more magnificent:

Here again, the secret to getting great snaps is to visit during the off season. This was the middle of summer, and the temperatures were blisteringly hot.

If you look closely enough at the little portal at the center bottom, you can see the Taj Mahal way off across the courtyard.

And just because it is so incredible to look at, here is another shot of the Taj, this time from a slightly different angle.

If there is no tradition, one like this would be nice

I read somewhere that the pistol taken from Saddam Hussein when he was captured was provided as a gift to the U.S. President.

I don’t know if that is true or if it isn’t.

But I do know that something resonated positively with me when I learned that something evil was transformed into something peaceful, in the fountains of Trafalgar Square in London,

which were made with the melted down cannons and armaments captured from Napoleon after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Watery Grave

When I first started visiting the incredible waterfalls of the Kaveri River in Karnataka, India, they were undeveloped.  Although every year many people died doing this, I knew someone who showed me the “safe route,” so I’d climb down the rock face to see some incredible sights, particularly during the Indian Monsoon:

They were also largely unvisited, because even the young IT engineers lacked the automobiles needed to easily reach this place.

I guess it is a good sign of development, because today the falls are quite developed, and it’s a common weekend day trip for the IT crowd. They don’t let you climb down onto the rock face anymore,

And the many restaurants and food stalls have encouraged the monkeys,

Jungle Mystery Number Three

Continuing the series, this is the Teman Negara, a jungle rainforest deep within peninsular Malaysia, and the location of a number of mysteries for me.

This is the Teman Negara, which I visited during a trip to Malaysia:

And this is an Anopheles mosquito. Not the one that BIT me, despite my efforts to keep myself smeared with a powerful mosquito repellant, but one just like the one I caught sucking the blood in broad daylight from my hand:

Now here comes the mystery. About a month after returning from my vacation, at around 12.30 PM in the afternoon and while at work, I quite suddenly felt like I was going to get the flu: my body became weak, and I could feel my temperature was rising. I went home.

About one hour later, I was in bed with a high fever and chills.  My fever was higher, my weakness was weaker, and my chills were chillier than anything I have ever experienced, either before then or since.

Now, I’m not totally stupid – I know that because I spent time trekking in an area with malaria, and there could be a chance that I could get a delayed infection, so I decided to closely monitor my temperature: if it started to rise or get worse, I’d go to the hospital immediately.

After almost two days the temperature went down almost as quickly as it originally climbed, and the chills and the weakness disappeared.

Did I have malaria and then recover?  I remember the old British colonials would use the expression “to have a touch of malaria” – did I have a touch of malaria?

It’s a mystery because I guess I will never know!

Eureka! I found it!

I shared one of my all time favorite snaps in a recent post, but I mentioned that I sadly did not recall where I took the photo.  I spend a lot of time trying to capture the quiet emotions you can find at great lakes . . . so my memory in this area fails from time to time:

While researching my photo collection I found the original, together with many others I took at Lake Pancherevo, the Pasarel Reservoir,  and the Iskar Reservoir- they are actually connected and are the Bulgarian/Russian equivalent of the public water works projects in the United States started after the Depression – just outside of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.


The lion of justice

This is the sight you’ll see if you visit the Supreme Court building in Sofia, or Съдебна палата.

I guess you can associate justice with a lion (Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia, Mufasa in The Lion King, etc.).

It’s just that for me, when I think of justice, the symbol that comes to mind is a blind-folded lady wearing flowing robes and carrying a scale – rather than an vicious apex predator capable of severing a man’s neck with just two of its razor sharp teeth.

Jungle Mystery Number Two

Continuing the series, this is the Teman Negara, a jungle rainforest deep within peninsular Malaysia, and the location of a number of mysteries for me.

Unfortunately, I can’t actually show you Jungle Mystery Two – and that’s why it remains a mystery. While visiting the jungle, I got up quite early and took a walk. Two Chinese people were also walking, but they couldn’t speak English and I can’t speak Chinese, so we walked together in silence.

When we came to a jungle clearing, we saw two orange orangutans (looked like a mother and a smaller child) dangling from long vines.  Naturally I took many pictures – and so did my Chinese companions. Here is a picture of an orangutan I found on the Internet:

Now, here comes the mystery: according to scientists, there are no orangutans on peninsular Malaysia!  Apparently, all the orangutans are located on the island part of Malaysia, also known as Borneo.

Now, you would naively think I would pop out the photo I took and solve the Mystery – but sadly, no such chance. This was just before the advent of digital cameras, and during my vacation I lost several rolls of film, including the one of the animals I saw.

Now, I’ve heard that there are many exotic animals hidden deep within the jungle, such as jungle elephants that are almost never observed by humans. Does this mean there may be a population of orangutans hiding out in Peninsular Malaysia?  There are at least two Chinese people, somewhere in the world, who hopefully have the evidence!