Sep 29, 2008

The Ancient Cedar Trees Of Lebanon

The cedar trees in Bcharre, Lebanon include the country’s oldest. Some date back about 1,500 years give or take a few centuries.

The national emblem of Lebanon is the cedar tree which graces its flag. The country was once covered with vast forests.

Today Lebanon’s national treasures include its cedar reserves. The majestic trees in Bcharre are known as the Cedars of God.

The drive to reach the cedars of Bcharre on a twisting mountain road with majestic views of the valley below is among the most scenic in Lebanon. Nearby is the birthplace of Khalil Gibran and a ski resort.

Just imagine what these ancient trees have witnessed throughout the centuries.

Sep 26, 2008

Published Photographs: Santa Monica Edition

The light in Southern California is good for photography almost 10 months of the year leaving the window wide open in terms of the best time to go. Below are a sample of some of the photographs I have sold of Santa Monica.

They have appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers and guide books in the U.K. and U.S. and tourist promotions in Japan.

From top to bottom: Condos and Beach Houses; Third Street Promenade; The Pier; Palisades Park.

Sep 24, 2008

Street Scenes: Day Of The Dead Oaxaca Mexico

These two look as though they had a tiff. I don’t know who started it but it’s probably safe to assume the guy on the left had the last word.

This photograph was taken during the Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico. At the end of next month I’ll be heading to a different part of Mexico for this year’s Day of the Dead.

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Day of the Dead

Sep 22, 2008

The Demise Of Camden Stables Market

At the far end of Camden Market near the Chalk Farm Tube Station in London you could once find an Aladdin’s cave of treasure. The majority of it has been demolished in the last year to make way for new development.

Camden Stables Market housed hundreds of dealers. Back in the day the area was a major railway depot the arches of which you can see in the photograph above. It was inside those arches that vendors set up their stalls. It was a treasure trove where you could find giant skeleton keys from manor houses, vintage Vivienne Westwood, antique furniture and home decor items from all over the world. While wandering through a cavernous tunnel connecting some of the stalls it wasn’t unusual to hear the beat of an African drumming class echoing in the distance.

Some of the Stables Market still survives although the Horse Hospital building has been refashioned into a bar and gallery. It was here I used to return and visit one particular vendor. Over the years he helped me put together a set of unused Walker and Hall cutlery from the 1930s. He would often scold me, in a kind way, for admiring something in his stall that didn’t fit with the program. I’d walk away empty handed only to come back weeks later to find he’d set aside a pristine set of knives for me. Even long after I moved away from London and sometimes didn’t make it back for a year at a time he’d always greet me warmly as if no time had passed.

I also used to haunt the place in search of vintage (Mid Century) tableware designed by Terence Conran. If you are a fan of Mid Century Modern and can’t afford the original furniture this is a great way to bring the design of the era into your home without breaking the bank.

Selling at the Horse Stables Market was a labor of love for the vendors. They were knowledgeable about their merchandise and happy to chat and share. I learned a lot from them.

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London You’ve Changed

Sep 19, 2008

Bling Bling Dubai Style

Dubai’s Bling Bling reputation isn’t all about its uber modern architecture. Even if you have no intention of buying anything its Gold Souk is a window-shopping and people watching paradise.

Hundreds of vendors line the covered market. Shop windows are packed with a wide variety of gold jewelery ranging from simple bangles to elaborate, Bedouin-style necklaces. Contemporary designs are also available. If time allows you can have pieces custom made.

Prices are based on weight and the rate of gold, which fluctuates daily, but there is still a little room to haggle. Jewellery can be bought in 18, 22 and 24 carats. Keep in mind that the higher the carat the deeper the yellow of the gold.

The Gold Souk is located on Sikkat al-Khail Street in Deira. Open between 10 am and 10 pm some shops may close for a few hours during the afternoon. The best time to visit is in the evening when the market is most active.

Sep 16, 2008

Guanajuato And The Four Hooks

The heads of four rebellion leaders were hung from hooks on a former granary now a museum in Guanajuato, Mexico. But not before they led the first major successful rebellion in 1810 during the War of Independence.

To discourage other rebels the heads of Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and José Mariano Jiménez hung from the four corners of the building for 10 years.

Now a museum Alhondiga de Granaditas houses regional art, archaeology and historical relics.

Today is Independence Day in Mexico. It won independence from Spain in 1821.

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Sep 12, 2008

New York City Water Falls

The New York City Water Falls art installation has not been without controversy. The Brooklyn Heights Association asked that they be turned off a month early claiming salt water spray was causing damage to nearby foliage. Instead operating hours were cut in half.

Created by artist Olafur Eliasson they will by on display until October 13th. There are four in total. The largest, at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, is 120 feet. They flow Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Monday-Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Sep 10, 2008

Jumeirah Beach Park Dubai

One of Dubai’s main attractions is its gorgeous beaches and the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf. If you aren’t staying at one the many upscale beachfront resorts Jumeirah Beach Park is an excellent choice to soak in the rays and dip your toes in the sea.

It’s popular with locals, ex-pats and tourists for good reason. A perfectly manicured park lines the long white sandy beach. Beach loungers and umbrellas are available for hire or you can park with a towel under the shade of a palm tree. Lifeguards man the beach year round.

Jumeirah Beach Park is open seven days a week between 7 am and 10:30 pm. It can get crowded on the weekend. Monday is Ladies Day, which means women and children only.

A municipal park, the entry fee is 5 dirhams (about $1.36) per person or 20 dirhams per car. Amenities include food kiosks, showers, volleyball courts, children’s play areas, picnic tables and barbeque grills.

Sep 8, 2008

Hats From Around The World

They are worn to make a fashion statement, to protect the head from the elements, to honor one’s faith or to hide bed head. Just about everyone owns a hat.

Calling the above hats is an understatement. These magnificent turbans were on display in the Pink City of Jaipur, India.

These woven caps were abundant and so were the colors that made them stand out in Marrakesh, Morocco’s souk.

Cowboy hats are worn throughout Mexico. They were on sale at an artisans market in Mexico City. Check out the scorpion logo.

Previous Posts In This Series:

Sep 5, 2008

Street Scenes: Saucy Laundromat Manhattan New York City

It isn’t too often you see innovative marketing. I don’t know how successful this laundromat’s sidewalk campaign has been.

But when I walk by it several times a week it always elicits smiles from passers by.

Sep 3, 2008

Lotus Temple New Delhi India

Modern architecture fans might agree that the Baha’i Temple is one of New Delhi’s most impressive buildings. Commonly referred to as the Lotus Temple the shape of the massive building is based on the flower. It is one of the most visited sites in New Delhi.

Completed in 1986 the temple, which is surrounded by nine reflecting pools, sits on more than 25 acres of peaceful, impeccably landscaped lawns. The interior features clean open space, high ceilings and curved rows of seats. As with all temples be prepared to remove your shoes before entering. The cool marble floors are soothing underneath tired feet.

The Lotus Temple is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9 a.m. and closes around sunset. There is no admission charge.

If you look closely at the photograph you can see two men scaling the temple to clean the exterior.

Sep 1, 2008

Organic Mural Tepoztlan Mexico

Rice and beans are not just staples of cuisine in Tepoztlan, Mexico. In the center of town is a 16th century Dominican monastery and church, the Ex-Convento Dominico de la Natividad.

The gated entrance to the courtyard is adorned with a large organic mosaic made with an assortment of rice, beans and seeds.It depicts a variety of religious figures and historical scenes.

I can’t imagine how many hours it took to create the artwork. It is updated annually.

Tepoztlan is about an hour’s drive from Mexico City and a popular weekend getaway for the city’s residents.

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Herbal Remedies Tepoztlan Mexico