Sunday, July 28, 2013

My travel companions this trip

 One of the boys, the one wearing the glasses.
And her...... this trip is a graduation present for these two college graduates.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Leaving for China tomorrow

Leaving for China.... to Chengdu, to see pandas.... to Lithang, for the annual Tibetan horse festival.

Friday, July 26, 2013

House of worship

In every church I go to I say a prayer that my life will be filled with visits to houses of prayer, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu. My prayer are answered all the time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tried to apply for retirement

I tried to reduce my work load at work but the boss waved a big money stick in front of me and I changed my mind. So scenes like this have to wait a little longer. I'm still going to steal a week off here and there and squeeze in whatever I can while traveling.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One day I'll return to Villa Palagonia

Villa Palagonia, is a Baroque palazzo situated in the town of Bagheria, a 20 minute train ride from Palermo. A Sicilian prince built it and after being jilted by his wife adorned the walls with weird stone figures in various positions of copulation. He spent all his money on this palazzo. He is said to be raising money for various charities by demanding donations from the villagers. Today the villa is owned by a Sicilian family who has allowed it to be opened to the public.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One day I'll return to Sicily

One day I'll return to see Villa Palagonia again. In the mean time, the rest of the world beckons.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to China

 Beautiful Tibetan children.
Lovely and friendly Tibetan people. I don't know what you know about China, is it full of Han people.? While 95 % of the people are Han Chinese, there is a 5% of various minorities. They live in the fringes of China. So to get to know them, one has to travel further inland. Many Tibetans live in China, outside TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region). While one needs another permit to enter TAR, one can visit China with just a Chinese visa and one can travel to many areas where the majority of the population are Tibetans. I speak only survival Chinese. I don't read Chinese. I've never had any problem with language in China.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Summer is in full swing here. Its been so pleasant, living near the ocean. No one seems to be moving, everyone is staying put. The inventory for houses near the ocean is small and whatever is listed gets sold almost immediately. It's crazy. The realtor's ad says, 'ask for whatever you want for your house, its ok to be unreasonable'.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back to China

Where's the pasta machine? No need for it, as young kid pull some dough to make pulled noodles. For US$5, I had a delicios meal and a show, what a wonderful treat. I'm going back for more, leaving for China next weekend.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 7

The grand bazaar in Istanbul.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 6

Puddings and pudding shops, be sure not to miss this experience.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 5

Lokum, or Turkish delight, all kinds of delightful treats.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 4

Incredibly beautiful Iznik blue tiles decorate many mosques in Istanbul.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 3

Not really a restaurant but a floating kitchen where the fresh mackerel are grilled and then made into sandwiches which all the patrons devour sitting on low stools. Only in Istanbul.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 2

Fishing off the Galata bridge.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Istanbul miscellany 1

Candy making outside the Blue mosque in Istanbul.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kariye muzesi 3

 The  beautiful.marbled panels on the wall, absolutely gorgeous.
 Christ and the bible.
 Mary and baby Jesus.
 The marbled floor.

It is a truly magnificent church, a Byzantine legacy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kariye muzesi 2

Fascinating Byzantine mosaics.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kariye muzesi

 Next to the Haghia Sophia, is my other favorite church in Istanbul. A former Byzantine church but is now a museum. It still holds some of the most dazzling frescoes and mosaics.

Its kind of out of the way but well worth the effort to get out there, near the old walls. Just take a taxi there and try to find another taxi back. Coming back to the Sultanahmet area is tricky because of the traffic around the Eminonu area. What I do is as we approach the Eminonu area, to tell the driver 'taman' or OK to let you out. Then get out and walk through the Grand Bazaar to find you way back to Sultanahmet. This way you avoid the horrible traffic. I've become so familar with Istanbul, its almost scary!