Tea Delivery

A tea delivery man brings Turkish tea to the employees of a shop selling children's toys.  On this tray sits both black tea and an apple tea.

It was quite challenging getting this picture, as the tea man walks purposefully, and guards his tray from being jostled by other pedestrians.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern lies under central Istanbul, and dates from Justian I's time as Roman emperor in the 6th century.  It's amazing civic infrastructure, and is beautiful.  Water was sourced from 19km away, via the equally spectacular Valens Aqueduct.

Peace Boat

The Peace Boat moored in Istanbul, with the Galata Tower in the background.  This is a cruise ship with a mission, and is based in Japan.

The End Poverty 2015 goal is noble, but it's hard to accomplish when the definition of poverty seems to become more and more broad.  As an example, in the US the Bureau of Labor Statistics has introduced a new poverty measure that ... doesn't in any way relate to the ability of a family to cover expenses.  This useless Supplemental Poverty Level is defined as the food/shelter/clothing spending of a family in the 33th percentile of income.  Wages and standard of living go up by a factor of ten?  Caviar, smartphones, and business-class flights for everyone?  The bogus Supplemental Poverty Rate doesn't change.

It will be challenging for the Peace Boat people to end poverty if we go about describing it in this nonsensical way.


Onwards, to Turkey!

Here is the men's rank for ritual washing prior to prayers at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.  As with most aspects of Islam, ladies wash separately (in this case, around the corner).  Beware -- don't fart between washing and prayer, else you'll have to start all over again.

Big Incense

These gigantic joss sticks were seen on the grounds of the Po Lin Monastery.  Perhaps they're for specific intercessions, where regular-sized incense just won't cut it?

A pretty big buddha sits peacefully in bronze up the hill overlooking the area.

Hong Kong Bicycle Commuting

At the Mui Wo ferry terminal, on the opposite side of Lantau Island, there is a maze of public bicycle parking.  On this Monday morning, it was packed with commuters that had cycled here and caught the ferry as pedestrians.

Tai O Fishing Village

Tai O is a fishing village in rural Hong Kong.  Its charming stilt houses, narrow allies, and pedestrian bridges make for a worthy day trip from the more urban side of Hong Kong.  Seafood was tasty and inexpensive.

Coathanger Antenna Map of Australia

Just before we depart Australia, I will leave you with a look at a pretty good aftermarket radio aerial for this white workman's ute.  It traces the national map quite faithfully, and I was careful to catch it oriented correctly.

I'll bet it tunes Nova 969 without a hint of static.

Ganesh is Fresh

Ganesh adorns Hosier Lane in Melbourne.  No surface is left unpainted in this laneway, and only works that are highly respected manage to have longevity like this.  In the past few years, this has become a popular spot for wedding photography.

I photographed all of the alleys in Melbourne's CBD across a few days in October 2008.  Reviewing that collection, it's clear that very little has survived since then.

Creepy 1980s Motel

My brief visit to Auckland didn't leave much time for tourism.  It did leave me in an inexpensive motel at an odd hour, which led me to recall the excellent Dr Who episode, The God Complex.

Red-tailed Tropicbird

A Red-tailed Tropicbird swoops in to roost in a cavity in the limestone wall underneath my vantage point.  The thick canopy of the Rarotongan forest canopy fills in the background.

I've seen the same species on Lord Howe Island.  The aerial courtship display is fantastic, as they are very maneuverable.

Taro Plantation

Taro grows in terraced plantations in the Tupapa Valley in Rarotonga.  The terracing and irrigation here was carefully planned and must have taken serious work to set up.  This construction predates European contact.

There is less area under cultivation than in the past, as the population of the Cook Islands is declining.  There is little market for taro export, so as domestic demand shrinks, the harder-to-reach terraces are abandoned.

Muri Lagoon Outrigger

A traditional six-person outrigger canoe sees a practice session in Muri Lagoon, along the eastern edge of Rarotonga.  My visit was quite windy, but there were canoe training runs by numerous parties each day.

I took my turn at kayaking in the same spot, and it was exhausting!

Megabat In Flight

Here's a Grey-headed Flying Fox about to alight on a tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney.  The trust administering the park has permission to evict the colony that's resident there, but has yet to act.

The similar formal gardens in Melbourne used to host a big bat colony, and successfully relocated them 6km away to a more rural park in Yarra Bend.

Sydney Coffee

Australia is blessed with fantastic coffeehouses.  In Sydney without local knowledge of which one to pick, I chose the storefront that had a queue of weekday office workers waiting outside.

I chose well.  Utopia Coffee offered a beautifully strong flat white, served expertly.

Makkasan City Air Terminal

A cavernous, underutilized rail terminal waits for customers in Bangkok. Makkasan is the rail station where you can check in for your Thai Airways flights, and catch an express train to the airport.

Something went badly wrong in projecting usage here, as there were far more staff than passengers (at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon). It's operated by the State Railway of Thailand, who planned and operates this uneconomic and expensive piece of infrastructure.

Venomous Snake Husbandry

The Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok raises venomous snakes for the purpose of producing antivenom.  The antidote is highly specific to the species that bites you, and there are plenty of venomous snakes endemic to Thailand.  Consequently, in the 1920s King Rama VI offered land and support for this institute to research and develop antivenoms to save lives.

The handler giving this demonstration (involving an aggressive but fortunately nonvenomous species) misjudged the snake's reach, and was bitten a few times.  Ouch!

Thai Riflemen

I was greeted in Bangkok by a seemingly endless procession of decorated Thai military men.  There were cutlasses and rifles, funny hats, and outrageous colors.  There were even tubas!

Lake Sammamish

Lake Sammamish snakes southwards towards Issaquah.  Mount Rainier looms in the distance, adorned with a lenticular cloud a little offset from its peak, hinting at an easterly wind.  Redmond is in the foreground.