Jan 31, 2010

Street Scenes: Marrakesh Souk at Night

Photographing the night personalities of the world’s great cities is always a pleasure. Night photography doesn’t have to be about major landmarks and icons.

This stall just of off Marrakesh’s famed Djemma el Fna is not your average lighting shop. I was tempted as always to bring a lantern home from Morocco. The trick of course is how to get it back in one piece. What is the most difficult to transport item you’ve brought home from your travels?

Jan 26, 2010

Taxis From Around The World

Taxis in some of the world’s cities can be as iconic as famous landmarks.

London’s cab drivers are perhaps the best in the world. They undertake a rigorous test and must know the massive city’s roads and ancient alleys well. But this comes at a price. A ride in a London taxis is among the most expensive in the world.

More eco friendly vehicles are slowly replacing Mexico City’s green Volkswagen Beatle taxis.

New York City’s yellow cabs are always in abundance except when it rains, during rush hour and on New Year’s Eve.

I love the red color of Hong Kong’s taxis and how the driver presses a lever to automatically open the doors before you step in.

Where have you taken a ride in a taxi that could be considered iconic?

Jan 20, 2010

Street Scenes: Sukiyabashi Crossing

Tokyo is a city where pedestrian crosswalks are landmarks. It boasts the world’s busiest crosswalk in Shibuya.

Sukiyabashi crossing in upscale Ginza is its cousin. Lit up at night by the neon of the Fujiya building the well designed broad grid-like painted paths make crossing the street in one of the world’s most populated cities a breeze.

Jan 14, 2010

Tsukiji Market Tokyo

Jet lagged in Tokyo? Take advantage of your sleepless state and head to Tsukiji Fish Market. While the market is open all day most of the action takes place before sunrise. Get there early too see the tuna auction, where the massive fish are lined up row after row. It usually wraps up by 6 a.m.

It’s easy to spend a few hours at Tsukiji one of the world’s largest fish markets. It has approximately 1,500+ stalls. Countless seas creatures are on display. Keep your wits about you and wear non-slip shoes to avoid face planting on the wet floor. While Tsukiji is a major tourist attraction it is first and foremost a bustling busy market. Keep an eye out for motorized carts barreling around at high speed.

If you are hungry after wandering tuck in at one of the sushi restaurants located adjacent to the Central Market in the External Market. It will be the freshest sushi you will ever eat. The External Market occupies a few short alleys where handicrafts, souvenirs and more practical items such as fisherman’s boots are sold.

To get to Tsukiji take the Toei Oedo line to Tsukiji-Shijo. The market is closed on Sundays and the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

Jan 8, 2010

Where U.S. School Buses Never Retire

I bet most parents in the United States don’t know that the iconic yellow school buses they send their children to school on could one day end up as public transportation in Central America.

The buses to and from Granada, Nicaragua and neighboring villages and towns didn’t speed recklessly like those in Panama City, which are known as Red Devils. But, like Panama, most were ornately repainted and often named after a Catholic saint. Some still had former school districts printed on the side like an out of date tattoo. Tweety Bird stickers are also a popular form of adornment in both countries.

Crammed into seats that once seemed large, we waited for the bus to fill up before it departed. Throughout the ride the assistant to the driver held expertly folded money between his fingers in a fan like formation to separate the different denominations while he collected fares.

Granada’s public buses are located close the central market in unpaved lots that would be easy to miss when no buses are waiting. The transportation is a cost effective and relatively easy way to travel to neighboring villages and towns. A ride about an hour out of town cost 11 cordobas, about 50 U.S. cents.