Feb 28, 2009

Street Scenes: Shibuya Tokyo

When facing the oncoming crowd while waiting to cross the world’s busiest crosswalk in Shibuya, Tokyo you can’t help but think you will have to fight as if you are swimming upstream.

But not once in the many times I walked across was I body checked or shoved in any way. This is what I love about one of the most populous cities in the world.

Feb 24, 2009

Homestay Gets New Meaning In USA

The economic crisis in the USA has spawned a new type of bargain hunting tourist: tour groups traveling to the USA to seek out deals in a free falling real estate market. The first group landed in the states this week. Organized by a real estate company in China the group of about 40 will visit New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco seeking foreclosure properties to purchase while taking in the sights, according to NPR.

I don’t resent this type of tourism. The food chain of material consumption is realigning. Perhaps like nature it will evolve to be a more balanced and realistic ecosystem when all is said and done. But I do wonder how much feng shui would be needed to make a home purchased under these conditions auspicious. You can listen to NPR’s report here.

Photo: Boarded up brownstones New York City

Feb 19, 2009

Published Photographs: Hollywood Edition

In honor of Sunday night's Academy Awards ceremony I'd like to thank Hollywood for what it has done for me.

These photographs have appeared in a variety of travel guidebooks, magazines and newspapers.

Feb 16, 2009

Portraits: Water Seller Marrakesh

This man is part of a large ensemble of characters that spend their days in Marrakesh’s Djemma el-Fna. The water sellers in the famed square no longer dispense refreshment for a living. Instead they pose for those willing to shell out a few dirhams to photograph them.

I couldn’t resist but smiled and quickly retreated when two of his buddies came running up.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Healer Marrakesh
Young Boy Varanasi
Maya Woman

Feb 11, 2009

City Icons: Panama City

Perhaps what is most iconic about Panama City is that no matter how many times it has been conquered or invaded it always reinvents itself. Independence Square (Plaza de la Independencia) in Casco Antiguo is a perfect example.

Now also called the Old Part, Casco Antiguo was built after the original city was destroyed by a pirate. The square, located in its center, is where Panama declared its independence from Colombia in 1903. It is dominated by the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion. Construction on the cathedral started in 1688 and took more than 100 years to finish. It is still active.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Antigua, Guatemala

Feb 9, 2009

Street Scenes: Thamel Kathmandu

At some point most who travel to Kathmandu find themselves in Thamel, a proper tourist ghetto.

Its narrow streets are filled to the brim with travel agents, guesthouses, watering holes and shops selling climbing gear and souvenirs. Yak wool pashminas were everywhere. How many internet cafes can you spot in this photo?

Feb 4, 2009

The UAE’s Oldest House of Worship

The United Arab Emirates’ oldest house of worship may also be its smallest.

The Bidiya Mosque is believed to have been built in AD 640, but may have been built as far back as 1449 BC. Also known as the Ottoman Mosque the adobe-like structure is still active. Visitors often climb the hill under which the mosque sits to get a good view of the surrounding countryside from the remains of watchtowers.

Located near an ancient fishing village of the same name, a visit to the Bidiya Mosque is easily incorporated into a day trip to Fujairah. Bidiya is about a 90 minute drive from Dubai. Only worshippers are permitted to enter the mosque.

Feb 2, 2009

Alleys From Around The World

When wandering the cities of the world the best voluntary detours are often alleys that beckon. You’ll regret walking by instead of wandering down one of them.

The medina of Essaouira will spoil you for choice with its Moroccan blue and whitewashed architecture, just as colorful people and treasure for sale.

In the Old City of Shanghai life spills onto the streets in its Longtang neighborhoods.

It is easy to get lost in the Old City of Varanasi. But eventually if you head downhill you’ll end up on one of the ghats along the holy Ganges River.

In Mexico, Guanajuato’s hilly cobblestone alleys are lined by colorful colonial architecture. It even has the Alley of the Kiss.

Previous Posts in this Series: