Shiva Lingam

A Shiva lingam, on a yoni, at the Keesara Gutta temple in Andhra Pradesh.  It's variously a penis and vagina, plus a host of more ambiguous concepts like "proof" and "source."  Shiva Purana is a text that describes the worship of lingam like this as "originating in the loss and recovery of Shiva's phallus."

Tikka / Tilaka Powder

Red tikka (or tilaka) powder is available for sale in quantity to pilgrims visiting the Keesara Gutta temple, northeast of Hyderabad.  Marking the forehead in this way is most widespread among devotees of Lord Vishnu.

Golconda Fort

The moon rises over Golconda Fort, home of the Qutb Shahi dynasty from 1507 through their conquest in 1687.

Back Lot Cricket

A clutch of boys notices me picturing them playing cricket in a back lot of the Government City College, in the old city of Hyderabad.  They quickly invited me to play.

I declined as it was at least 40°C and I had lunch plans.  Additionally, I don't have any skill at cricket, so it was probably a good decision.


This is the view looking south from Charminar.  It's a strange structure: an elevated mosque, on arches that could be city gates, sited at the very heart of the old city of Hyderabad.  It was built by the Qutb Shahi dynasty, predating the Nizams.

In each of the cardinal directions, busy arterials lined with all kinds of markets extend to the horizon.

Chowmahalla's Fading Glory

Chowmahalla Palace was the seat of the Nizams of Hyderabad, prior to India's independence from Britian.  It was completed in the 1880s.

A visitor sees hints of a history of significant wealth, but sadly the structures and artifacts are crumbling through minimal maintenance.  There's a century-old Rolls-Royce, some fancy chandeliers, and a rusty collection of armor and weapons inside.

George Massey Tunnel

The George Massey Tunnel connects Richmond with Delta, and is the lowest public roadway in Canada.  It was built by sinking precast tunnel sections into the riverbed, the south arm of the Fraser.

Traffic during peak periods is quite directional, and so the lanes are reconfigured to be three inbound and one outbound in the mornings, and the opposite in the afternoons.

Razor Clams

This is one of a bucket full of razor clams harvested during the recent open season in Ocean Shores.

One might think that a bivalve would have limited ability to escape a shovel, but they showed remarkable skill at digging down into the wet sand away from our grasp.

They're delicious!

UW Quad Cherries

Although the University of Washington quad is renowned for its flowering cherry trees, framing a pleasing picture is a challenge.  The first problem the courtyard and the buildings within are oriented such that sunset light falls only on a few trees at a time.

If you can get past that, the blossoms are beautiful, and the venue is enhanced by the campus ambiance of students, visitors, and photographers.

Last Snow of the Season

Deep late-season powder was waiting for me on the Pratt Lake Trail in late March.  Unusually, the snow extended all the way down to the parking lot.

Here, up at 3800ft, the snow conditions were so perfect that it was difficult to ration both time and energy spent enjoying it.  Directions were imprecise, as I was the only one who made it up this far on this day, and there were no tracks to follow.  Fortunately, the familiarity of the terrain allowed for a good route and a spectacular trip.

Dramatic Sunset

Sun sets over the Andaman Sea.  A late afternoon thundershower is approaching.

The ocean looks calm tonight, but over 5000 people died here in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

Lily Pad Reflection

Purple lily pads (Nymphaea) flower against the reflection of a thatched roof.

Getting this composition was challenging, and even so it is imperfect.

3km of Pool

The JW Marriott Khao Lak is on the Andaman Sea north of Phuket.  The central feature of the property is a huge network of pool channels, accessible via the front porch of each ground floor unit.  There is so much pool that it took a couple of days (and plenty of exercise) to explore all 3km of it.

Driving in Thailand

Driving a rental car in Thailand was good fun.  It involved a lot more concentration and alertness as compared to driving in North America.  Speed limits were uniformly ignored, at least among vehicles capable of exceeding them.  And it seemed reasonably safe -- the only accident we saw involved a tourist on a scooter.

Delicious Baby Banana

This is a delicious baby banana, properly the cultivar Musa acuminata (AA Group) 'Lady Finger'.  The skin is delicate and thin, and the flesh is quite sweet compared to the bland flavor of the common Cavendish banana.

As banana plants are propagated by tissue (and so are genetically identical), they do not evolve disease resistance.  This variety is quite vulnerable to Panama disease, a fungus that has decimated past commercial banana crops.