Sunday, May 26: Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Pathways. I’ve seen many beautiful pathways in my travels around the world.
Friday, May 10: This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is Pattern. Patterns are everywhere. Patterns are sometimes intentional and sometimes accidental. They can be decorative or merely a result of repetition, and often patterns can be in the eye of the beholder to discover them.
Sometimes man makes patterns out of nature, as in these tea farms in Boseong, South Korea.
And sometimes nature makes its own patterns, as in these wetlands in Suncheon Bay Ecological Park in South Korea.
At other times, man makes patterns to show reverence at places of worship, such as this Buddhist temple in Maisan, South Korea.
Or to show reverence to Allah, as in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE or the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman.
And sometimes, man makes patterns to show his own ability to create opulence, as at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
Saturday, April 6: By happenstance, Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? came up with a counterpoint to the Weekly Photo Challenge of Color this week. She challenges us to come up with photos highlighting Pale. She writes: Bright and colorful photos can be show stoppers, but sometimes the palest of photographs can capture the imagination.
Friday, December 7: Our new travel theme challenge for this week from Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? is Circles. She writes: Circles have a similar effect to leading lines in photos – the eye can’t help but follow the line of the circle, usually tracing around it several times, which draws attention to both the circle and whatever it encloses.
Here are some circles from my travels:
Before I went to Korea, I ate my meals on one plate. Maybe two. But in Korea, they serve their meals on multiple plates and everyone eats off of them communally. Every one of their meals is like this. They do a LOT of dish washing in that country!
I’ve posted pictures of my favorite place in Korea, Suncheon Bay before, but the ones I’ve posted were taken in December, when all the grasses were brown. On this trip, taken October 2, the circles of grasses were green.
Sunday, December 2: Jakesprinter’s Sunday Post challenge for this week is peaceful: in a state of tranquility.
Two years ago at this time, my son Alex came to visit me in South Korea. We found many peaceful places in our travels around the country. It was freezing cold, as Korea tends to be in December. Because it was winter, most of these spots were quite deserted, and truly peaceful (“handsome boy” visits korea: motherhood revisited).
Wednesday, July 25: FrizzText (FrizzText: 7 Super Shots) nominated me to take part in HostelBookers 7 Super Shots. It’s been 10 days since he nominated me, and I’m just now getting around to taking part in the challenge, 8 days before I leave Oman to return to the USA for one month! (But who’s counting?)
The challenge is to choose 7 of your own photos, one for each of the following categories:
- A photo that…takes my breath away
- A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
- A photo that…makes me dream
- A photo that…makes me think
- A photo that…makes my mouth water
- A photo that…tells a story
- A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)
Here is a photo that takes my breath away. In Cappadocia, Turkey, we wake up at dawn for an hour-long hot air balloon ride. As 40 balloons lift off simultaneously, everyone is silent. The experience of rising, feeling the land pull away, seeing the multitudes of other balloons in the sky, all at different heights, of different colors – it takes my breath away. It takes everyone’s breath away. We are awed into silence. The only sound is the blast of the fire overhead, the rustle of people moving around in the basket to search out the best view.
As we relax into the ride, we make noises, exclamations of wonder. We love the other balloons floating in the sky with us; they’re our companions. Seeing them is the only way we can see ourselves. Below are the white pinnacles of Cappadocia, the fairy chimneys, the pointed volcanic rocks, tufts of greenery.
Here is a photo that makes me laugh or smile. This is a picture of one of my closest friends while I lived in Korea, Anna S. We all went to the Trick Art Exhibit in Daegu, South Korea. Here is Anna, hanging on for dear life.
Here is a photo that makes me dream. This is a photo of Houhai Lake in Beijing, China. This was such a peaceful and beautiful place; it made me feel all dreamy when I was there. After a rickshaw tour, our guide Grace walks us over to the lovely Houhai Lake. This is my favorite place in Beijing…the Summer Palace being a close second. Houhai isn’t necessarily a tourist place, although it draws plenty of tourists. It’s a thriving commercial area with funky and cool shops, restaurants with outdoor cafes and live music, weeping willow trees, paddle boats, bicycles galore, and a cool breeze blowing off the small finger-shaped lake.
My friend Suzanne and I wander around the lake. It is so lovely, with a cool breeze sweeping the weeping willows on the lake’s edge, like soft woolen fringe on a Nordic sweater. The lake is filled with dancing points of light, effervescent.
Here is a photo that makes me think. Before I went to Cambodia, I read a number of gruesome books about the Khmer Rouge. It really made me think about how, during the time millions of people were suffering under a cruel and murderous regime in Cambodia, I was living a carefree life as a teenager in America. Visiting Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, as well as the Killing Fields, really made me think about how oblivious we can be sometimes to other people’s sufferings.
At the Killing Fields, I face the entrance gate and a giant commemorative stupa. I discover later that the stupa is filled with the skulls of 8,000 victims who were murdered here. I go directly to the tiny museum where a film is in progress about the history of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime and of this place. The film is brutally honest and doesn’t try to gloss over the barbarity of this horrible regime. I find often in my travels that museums try to downplay the despicable actions of their country or to gloss over history. For example, in Musée de l’Armée in Paris, there is hardly any mention made of the Americans liberating Paris after WWII. You would think when visiting there that the French single-handedly defeated the Germans. Revisionist history.
The film here at Choeung Ek is truly sickening and brings me, and many other tourists, to tears. After the film, I collect myself, and walk around the grounds where I see some of the mass graves that were unearthed. There’s a grave where only naked women and children were found. Another grave contained headless corpses. Yet another only miscellaneous bone fragments. There is a tree where the regime would hold babies by the feet and bash their heads against the trunk. Their rationale for killing babies was so that the children of victims wouldn’t seek revenge on the regime when they grew up. One sign says that this particular tree held a loudspeaker to drown out the screams of those being bludgeoned, so as not to disturb the neighbors.
Here is a photo that makes my mouth water. This is warm goat cheese wrapped in pastry and smothered in cranberries at the Left Bank in Muscat, Oman.
Here is a photo that tells a story. Here is a picture of the view out of the auto-rickshaw that pulled our broken-down car nearly 10km somewhere between Chandigarh and Rishikesh, India. India was such an incredible hardship, especially on this day, which took the cake. I love this picture because it tells the story of a grueling 14-hour day on what should have been a 3 hour drive from Chandigarh to Rishikesh, India. To read more about this crazy day, check out: chandigarh >> to delhi (???) >> to rishikesh….14 grueling hours.
Honestly, I have a hard time coming up with a photo I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot). I love many of my photos because they bring happy memories to me, but as far as being National Geographic-worthy, well, I’m just not that great a photographer! I really can’t say I have a favorite, but I have some that I really like, similar to ones I’ve seen in National Geographic. This one was taken when my son Alex came to visit me in South Korea and we went to Suncheon Bay. This was one of my favorite places in Korea and when we went together, it was my second time there. There are so many beautiful shots, but I think this one is interesting.
Suncheon Bay is a coastal wetland with a large tidal flat, reed beds and salt marshes nestled between mountains and ribboned with rivers. Further inland are glowing chartreuse rice fields. I walk through the grasses along the wooden walkway and see fiddler crabs in the mud and some beautiful cranes. It’s warm but a breeze is whipping the sea grasses around. I love these grasses against the backdrop of the mountains and the rivers.
Here’s my post about my trip to Suncheon Bay: digging deep: edgy korean bus culture, tea bushes & wetlands, & the surrendered.
Now, I’m supposed to nominate 5 other bloggers to come up with their 7 Super Shots. Here’s who I nominate: