CIMG3142Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying? 
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying? 
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile. . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .

You may want to listen Nat King Cole singing this song at

(Picture taken in Luoping,  China March this year, after climbing up 1,000 steps to the Smiling Buddha statue. This post is specially dedicated to my brothers and sister. . . . . please SMILE 🙂 )

Travel Theme : Light

This week, Ailsa’s Travel Theme Challenge at Where’s My Backpack is “Light“.

I like the interplay of light and objects.

Last November, while in the HongLou Temple, Beijing we were enchanted by the effects of light on the yellow Autumn foliage.DSCF2555A

The leaves were transformed into  gold color while the light illuminated the artistic details of the temple beam,, the doors and roof tiles.

The light, in fact, is the main object of the picture and imparts a surreal feeling!

Quiet Corners at Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Last year, about this time, we travelled through the beautiful country of Croatia. We were delighted by the beautiful views of the green scenery and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia.CIMG1393

It was early spring and leaves have just turned green.

We particularly enjoyed resting at some quiet corners of the Plitvice lakes  where the reflections in the water sent us also into deep reflections.CIMG1394

We were sort of entranced viewing the green foliage and the reflections.

Lions in the Garden of Dolmabache Palace, Istanbul

The search for images of benches has led me back to the photos of Turkey, in particular, those taken in the quiet gardens of the Dolmabache  Palace by the Bosphorus Strait of Istanbul.

While we enjoyed the view out to the sea when sitting on the seaside benches, we also enjoyed strolling around the peaceful garden which was reclaimed from the sea for the Sultan.CIMG0502

One of my favorite pictures is that of a sculpture of a male lion in the garden, with a tree, an ornamental fence and the sea as background.CIMG0501

Not far from the sculpture were the lioness and her two cubs. While the cubs looked playful, the mother looked on guard with undivided attention.CIMG0493

In front of the palace was the swan fountain, it looked well integrated with the flowers, the pond and the surrounding.CIMG0505

As no photos were allowed to be taken within the palace so once outside the palace building and out into the garden, we took whatever photos  we found interesting including  a gate to the palace garden.CIMG0506

The top part of the arch gate was highly ornamental, the details really got me  interested.

The visit to the garden was just unforgettable!

Yellow Monday (4)

Have been raining for more than two weeks now. Need some sunny photos to cheer up.DSCF3131A

The humid and unsettled Spring weather here remind us so much of the good weather we had earlier last month up in Luoping, Yunnan with the rapeseed flowers in full bloom.DSCF3121

Can we have some sunshine this week???

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Clouds

This is the first time that I participate in the Wild Weekly Photo Challenge.

We were at the wrong season up in Napahai, Yunnan. Instead of a peaceful lake surrounded with a green scenery, all we saw was a dried up lake with puddles.

Napahai Lake (Napa Hai) is 3270 meters (10,728 ft.) above sea level and covers 660 square kilometers (254 square miles). Approximately 8 kilometers northwest of Shangrila, the lake fills up a valley surrounded on three sides by mountains which are covered in snow during winter and spring time.DSC_0089

High up in Napahai, the atmosphere was thin and the temperature was around 3 degree Celsius.  While wandering in the dried lake, a dark cloud came upon us and rain began to fall. There was basically no place to hide or take refuge. Herdsman were hurrying back to their far away shelters.

When the rain subsided, we found ourselves in this vast plain with barely anybody in sight. A buffalo was charging towards us . . . . . . .DSC_0084

Watching clouds is one of the enjoyable activities in the tropics. Apart from island hopping (see my earlier post Koh Samui – Islands Hopping), one of the things we like was watching colorful low hanging clouds as the sun descended below the horizon.DSC_0629

Here, the temperatures are more like 30 degrees Celsius.  One way to relax oneself is to watch the dramatic clouds while seeping a cold drink . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Also, not forgetting to mention the delightful white clouds dotted the blue sky of Inner Mongolia, China with yurts in the foreground. . . . . . .DSCF2282

Finally back at home, it is not uncommon to see rain clouds during summer months. Picture below shows clouds gradually lifting up from the mountains after heavy rain and people have restarted their wind surfing. . . . . . . . . . .CIMG1884

Green Wednesday (3)

I like Monet’s impressionist paintings, especially those with water lilies.

Painting has never been easy; I rather resort to photographing them instead.

Apart from the water lilies, the picture below is basically green in color. The picture shows some leaves starting to turn yellow. This reminds me that in real life, things do get withered. However, they give color to this otherwise monotonic picture taken in the gardens of Huánghèlóu , China .DSCF6090

I also like the reflections in water. On the top left are reflections of willows while on the top right corner are the reflections of a stone arch bridge; both are outside the picture.

For those who love water lily leaves, below is a picture taken in Hokkaido, Japan showing the whole pond full of them.038

Travel Theme: Benches

Over at Where’s my Backpack, the weekly travel theme is benches.

I like photographing empty benches. Benches are so inviting, especially when you are physically or mentally tired.  This picture taken in the gardens of  Dolmabache Palace in Istanbul is my favorite photo.CIMG0499B

We started our day visiting the Dolmabache Palace  on the bank of the Bosphorus strait. While we certainly admired the architecture and other things we saw in the palace; we were particularly impressed by the serenity of the gardens outside the palace. What a joy it was, sitting on the benches in the garden, looking through the tall white ornamental fence by the Bosphorus strait; watching ships passing by under a beautiful sky!

Below is another picture which is taken at a slightly different angle in the same location. This is how it looks in color.CIMG0500A

Apsaras in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Not to be confused with Devatas,  Apsaras, (A Sanskrit word meaning “from the water”) are the female spirit of clouds and water; celestial dancers or water nymphs who had the duty of dancing on the waters and in the heavens to entertain higher gods. Apsaras means beautiful supernatural girls who are able to change their shapes at will. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing and music. Understand that while Devatas (please see my earlier post) usually have their feet on the ground in the bas reliefs, Apsaras usually appear in a group and dancing .CSC_0328

In Angkor Wat temple, they were on walls and pillars, lintels and window frames. I found myself surrounded by apsara everywhere I turned. Although they were all carved in stone,  each apsara (above) showed slightly different appearances, either in facial expression, pose or costume and adornments.