Aug 31, 2009

Street Scenes: Tancoyol Mexico

The village of Tancoyol, Mexico would be considered off the beaten track by most travelers despite being home to a UNESCO World Heritage site. At one end of the village square lies the Tancoyol Mission one of five Sierra Gorda missions designed by Franciscan Fray Junipero Serra.

This photo was the last one I shot of this mission as we were leaving. I was trying to get a different angle when the woman walked into the frame, a welcome addition to the composition.

Aug 28, 2009

Strange Souvenirs: Mosque Alarm Clock

Waking up to the Call to Prayer echoing throughout a metropolis is peaceful, powerful and beautiful. But there are some experiences you can’t transport home.

Enter the mosque alarm clock. You’ll find them in Dubai, other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Made of plastic it comes in a variety of sizes and colors and lights up when the alarm goes off. The voice of the tone-deaf muezzin makes him sound as though he is falling off a building. Perhaps one day the recording will be updated with one more appealing to the ear. Inshallah. In the meantime for your listening pleasure here is a link to a video of said alarm clock on youtube. It’s the extended remix version. No snoozing allowed.

The clock does have an upside. If you live in an apartment building with thin walls and noisy neighbors it’s a perfect way to get even. Do try this at home.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Earthquake Detectors

Aug 24, 2009

Santa Fe’s Oldest

Santa Fe, New Mexico the USA’s oldest state capital also boasts the oldest church, house and continuously occupied building. All were built in the 1600s.

Located on the Old Santa Fe Trail the San Miguel Mission or Chapel still holds mass every Sunday. Indians from Mexico built the original structure, which has been modified over the centuries.

Across the road at 215 East De Vargas Street the oldest house is a classic adobe and brick structure. It is said to have paranormal activity.

The oldest continuously occupied public building, the Palace of the Governors is located on Santa Fe’s main Plaza. It dates from the early 1600s and was originally the seat of government for the Spanish colony Nuevo Mexico. Today it serves as a history museum. On most days Native American’s from nearby pueblos sell handicrafts and jewelery under its awning.

All are located in the historic center within easy walking distance of each other. Those used to living at sea level note that Santa Fe rises to 7,000 feet so it may take a day or two to adjust. Drink plenty of water. The altitude and relatively sparse population (approximately 60,000+ residents) keep the skies a brilliant pollution free blue.

Aug 15, 2009

Signs of New Mexico

New Mexico is road trip country. Its two lane rural roads cut through ranch land and mountains. And you’ll often be alone save a pick up truck or two. The naming of the routes can be quite literal and representative of the American Southwest.

An accurate description this was indeed a back road.

I don’t think Tumbleweed Road has changed much since its inception. Surrounded by open plains it must be the perfect breeding ground for this American icon.

Western Road is lined with horse and cattle ranches.

Peaceful Way is located in Madrid a former mining town now inhabited by artists, hippies and bikers.

Aug 11, 2009

Forts From Around The World

Strategically perched on hillsides or along oceans and rivers the ancient forts of the world provide excellent vistas.

Jaigarh or Victory Fort in Jaipur, India presents many excellent views especially from the walkway of its Mughal Gardens.

Fort Skala de la Ville in Essaouira, Morocco sits besides the Atlantic Ocean of this coastal city.

The watchtowers of El Morro Fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico offered protection from would be enemies and the strong sun.

Now a museum, Castel Sant Angelo in Rome was once a fort and castle. To reach it you must cross the bridge of the same name, which is lined with statues of angels, and vendors selling knock off designer bags.

Aug 7, 2009

New Mexico Bound

I thought I could survive the summer without getting on a plane. But the hotter it gets the louder the city gets so a flight was booked to New Mexico just over a week ago.

Looking forward to spending time with good friends who gave up city life years ago to set up an art studio on a former ranch. Quite a lifestyle change. Imagine almost stepping on a rattlesnake on your way to put out the trash in the morning? Photography will of course be a top priority and plenty is planned in that department. Can’t wait to drive a car on empty two-laned highways. What is summer without a good road trip? I’ll have plenty to post when I return and have posts lined up in my absence. In the meantime have a great weekend.

Aug 4, 2009

Ambassador Cars India

Among the many four and three-wheeled transportation options in India’s cities the Ambassador car is the flagship choice for style and an Indian icon. Manufactured by Hindustan Motors of India the cars were first rolled out in the late 1950s. While the design has evolved over the years the automobiles still keep their elegant vintage look.

Affectionately referred to locally as Amby’s the cars are used in a number of contexts. They are driven by Government officials (or their drivers) throughout India. Pictured above are Amby’s parked outside the Secretariat North Block, offices for government ministers in New Delhi. They also serve as taxis and can be hired with a driver to tour India. In Delhi Ambassador taxis are painted yellow on top and black on the bottom.

Hiring an Ambassador car for the day or longer is a comfortable and easy way to take in the sites of India’s cities. In Delhi charges are typically based on an eight-hour day or 80 kilometers within the city limits, whichever comes first. This will set you back approximately $23 with air conditioning and $21 without not including a tip for the driver.