A Word a Week Challenge: Tropical

For many a time, we would just like to get away from the cold weather and, perhaps, getting away from it all.

This is the time when I would like to buy myself a ticket and escape to the tropics. . . . . a time when the lyrics of the song “Buy Me  Ticket to the Tropics” resonates in my mind . . . . . . . DSC_0528A

Here I’m sitting
And it’s getting cold.
The morning rain against my window, babe
While the weather looks all cold and gray.
In my mind I drift away
While I’m on my way to tropic island.
You always said I was a dreamer.
You were right up my way. . . . . . . . .

PS  Picture with beach and palm trees in the background was taken in a wellness resort on Koh Samui island, Thailand where we have just started another day in paradise.

Travel Theme: Ripples

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is “Ripples“. I always like responding to the challenge in Travel Theme as her themes are usually interesting and not superficial.

I like looking at ripples as they spread bigger and wider in concentric circles. According to the wave theory, ripples will spread to infinity but with smaller and smaller effects.

In the river of Annecy, France, a mother swan was radiating her love, as she taught her baby life techniques.CIMG1574

The picture below was taken in a temple of Zhangjiajie, China. A small child was captivated by  kois swimming in a pond. He was looking down with undivided attention at the kois which were causing the ripples.DSC_0263

While we were in West Lake, Hangzhou China, it was amazing to watch schools of kois coming up to the surface in competition for food thus causing the ripples.DSCF6433

At the throw of a pebble to a pond, the kinetic energy is converted to energy in the water surface. Energy just propagates outward on the surface as ripples.

Robert Kennedy used ripples as ripples of Hope in the quotation:

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy, June 6 1966 (South Africa address).

It is true that a great idea will send out ripples affecting the thoughts of many people, but to implement the idea, more energy is needed from all of us, all contributing to the ripples until, as R.F Kennedy said, it “builds a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”.

And God Created Waterfalls. . . .

The greatness of some of the waterfalls makes us think of ourselves as  being a tiny part of the universe.

Think of our life as a waterfall; it may come crashing down at some point, it may have it’s ups and downs, but in the end, it will continue to flow.DSCF9503A

(Photo of Victoria falls at Zimbabwe – courtesy of my sister-in-law, Jennie)

Sunset on the Waterfall

What is it like to take a ride on a bamboo raft, drifting near to a mystical waterfall when the sun was setting.DSCF2943A

Earlier this year, we took a trip to Yunnan and Guizhou. The Jiulong Waterfall was one of the highlights of the trip.

We didn’t have the luck of taking a ride on that bamboo raft but felt the whole scene was surreal when taking the photo. . . . . . . . . . .

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

This week’s Challenge is “Curves“.

While many of human’s construction are based on straight lines,  curves do seem more appealing to the eyes.

The most common type of curve is the circle or in a three-dimensional world, the sphere.

Both the interior and exterior of the Sophia Mosque in Turkey exhibit a lot of circular curves. It is amazing to see that the circular domes at several levels harmoniously merged together to form a graceful structure with a column free space underneath.CIMG0448

Nature creates a lot of curves too. The picture below is the Obruk Han Golu, doline (sinkhole) below the caravansary near Cappadocia. We were standing at a higher level looking down to the big hole when the sun was setting. Two men were  taking pictures near to the edge of the hole. They may have disturbed some birds taking refuge at the rocks; the birds flew out in flocks (see the tiny white dots over the water). The sight was just surreal.CIMG0272A

Several things from my trip to Bath, UK in 1985 always came to mind. They are the Roman Bath, the Royal Crescent and the weir just downstream of the  Pulteney bridge on the River Avon.28-01-2005 11-53-42 AM_0001

The weir was rebuilt in 1970s in its current ‘V’ shape with an associated flood control gate on the east side of the river. The Pulteney weir was featured in the recently released film of Les Misérables.

The weir has carefully combined engineering and art to form an icon for the town.

While we have plenty of straight lines, we need a lot more curves in our built environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Travel Theme: Flow

Ailsa’s latest Travel Theme is “Flow“.

Ninety kilometers from Kunming in China  is Jiuxiang ( Nine Villages) ; a land of limestone caverns, underground streams  and many interesting natural features.

Running through the Jiuxiang cavern is a natural stream course which flows and carves its way through and creating dramatic waterfalls on the way.

We have been walking up and down the many steps inside the colossal cave, admiring the natural wonders of the stalactites / stalagmites and the vastness of the cave. We have also taken a short but delightful boat ride on the underground river, floating down the river.

We couldn’t help admiring at the sight of the twin waterfalls plunging down from the upper part of the cave. Understand that the waterfalls could be up to 30m tall and in several tiers during the wet seasons.DSC_0419

What was more amazing was the golden background on the side of the waterfalls, water just seem to flow past a pot of gold by the side.

It looks like that the waterfalls have been there for ages and will continue to be there till eternity . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Down by the West Lake on a Rainy Day

It rained continuously for several days while we were in West Lake, China.

The rain did not deter us from visiting the various places of interest in this poetic UNESCO site .DSCF6446A

We were sent into deep thoughts as we descended the steps to the  banks of the West Lake  and watched the ripples on the water surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Travel Theme: Peaceful

Ailsa’ Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme for this week is peaceful.

Peace comes from within but there are some mental pictures which help us to achieve inner peace.

I like taking peaceful landscape photos, meaning the kind that make you want to quiet your busy mind, brew some hot tea and just take a deep breath.

In my superficial understanding, the common elements in my peaceful landscapes seem to include some of the following:

Serenity and calmness

Nothing exciting / disturbing

White color – from clouds / mist

Green color – from trees / grass

Blue color – from the sky or water/ sea

Wide open, unobstructed view so you can see forever.

Other qualities which are difficult to describe

For illustration, the image below was taken on a beach out in Koh Samui , Thailand where you have white clouds, blue sky / sea, unobstructed view as far as your eyes can see.DSC_0560

For the second image, I love the green view, the pavilion, the mist and the mountains behind. The image was taken in ZhangJiaJie, China.DSC_0058

The third image with fluffy white clouds, blue sky, wide open grassland was taken in Inner Mongolia, China.DSCF2318

I must admit that I still don’t understand what exactly constitutes peacefulness in a landscape picture. This will be part of a never ending search  in my future photography.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

This week’s challenge is “Fleeting

We were hiking the eerie mountains of ZhangJiaJie in China. The mist was heavy and looked like it would stay forever.DSC_0122A

For a fleeting moment, the mist dissipated and we have a good glimpse of the trees and the mountain behind.

However, such moments were brief. In a matter of minutes, again mist was all over us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Travel Theme: Costume

Ailsam’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack this week is “Costume“.

We had a good time travelling in Yunnan, China.

One evening, we went to see a show where they featured all the customs, dances and costumes of the different minority tribes in Yunnan.DSC_0392

Their traditional clothing were so colorful (some even look modern) and the show was entertaining.

Altogether, it was an unforgettable evening . . . . . . . . . . .