30 June 2009

passionately purple

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
As anyone who has visited the tropical climates knows, the colorful floral vegetation is always an eye catcher. Living in Manhattan, even on the edge of Central Park, one doesn't see much in the way of colorful natural vegetation - other than green. Perhaps that's why all of the corner bodegas throughout the city seem to have flower stalls; allowing us to bring some natural color into our spaces.

29 June 2009

the clan

The Leonard Farm / Canfield, Ohio
Just returned from a weekend of great fun where the Buchanan and Veach clans united for yet another raucously fun time - lots of drinking, music, celebrations, catching up with old familiar faces and meeting new younger faces for the first time. As I work on wiping away the haze and face a Monday morning: family - you gotta love it!

28 June 2009

urban waterfalls

Brooklyn Bridge / New York, New York
Last summer, parts of New York City were bathed in giant waterfalls when the grandest public art project since Cristo's Gates in Central Park, hit the "water" (no pun intended). New York City Waterfalls, a $15 million art project paid for with private donations, ran from mid-June through mid-October. Four mechanical fountains were installed on the shores of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Governors Island standing from 90' to 120' tall. This one was running under the Brooklyn Bridge.

27 June 2009

perfect fit

Old Town / Bucharest, Romania
While walking through Old Town Bucharest, I happen to notice the reflection of this older structure against its newer counterpart across the street. And what a perfect connection it made to the roof line of the building next door.

26 June 2009

of things to come

George Street (Jewellery Quarter) / Birmingham, England
The Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham City Centre that is synonymous with the manufacture of jewelery and coins in Birmingham and has been the birthplace of many pioneering advancements in industrial technology. By the mid-1800s, the jewelery trade was considered the most lucrative in the city with jewelers being some of the best paid workers. There were more people employed in the trade than any other in Birmingham. The majority of the British Empire's finest jewelery was produced in the Quarter. The Jewellery Quarter's importance in the international jewellery industry has declined much throughout the 20th century and is now being transformed into a vibrant urban village and hub for creative businesses, eateries, and other support services. Numerous mixed-use developments are underway with most involving the refurbishment of existing manufacturing buildings no longer in use.

25 June 2009

beached whales

La Playa / Santa Marta, Colombia
Like beached whales, these well-worn fishing boats lie in the sand on the beachfront waiting to be rescued and put back into the water. On the northern coast, Santa Marta is an important maritime center for Colombia and at one time commercial fishing was its mainstay. It is now primarily known for its beaches including Tayrona National Marine Park, an ecotourism destination.

24 June 2009

head west, young man

Birmingham Canal Main Line / Birmingham, England
I've posted several times about the extensive canal system in Birmingham - said to have more miles of canal than Venice. Here I was standing on a footbridge at the convergence of three major canals - the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, and the Birmingham Canal Main Line. The Main Line, pictured here looking west, was constructed in the 19th century and was a major connector of commerce between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The canals now are used extensively for recreational purposes.

23 June 2009

pump it up

Tabacón / Arenal, Costa Rica
While walking through some dense rain forest in the Hanging Bridges area of the Arenal volcano, I came across two male Anole lizards - both simultaneously inflating their dewflaps. The males pump up these these brightly colored dewflaps to attract females for mating - strutting their stuff, you might say.

22 June 2009

my, what big ears you have

Quebrada Azul, Costa Rica
After stopping at a macadamia farm advertising fresh macadamia nuts - but then finding out they weren't harvesting until the following week - we continued on our way back to Liberia via a short cut that the macadamia owner suggested. It was all pretty rugged dirt road over a ridge top crested with fascinating wind turbines - and cows. Lots of big eared cows. They seemed much more bored with me than I was with them.

21 June 2009

ye old contemptible

Edmunds Street / Birmingham, England
For a certain someone, today puts them one step closer to being an old contemptible - happy birthday birdshoes! And a thank you to the same for serving as guest poster for the past two weeks while I had no access to internet (initially) and then just became lazy - great job on the food porn. This is another in my occasional posting of interesting pub names in the UK and elsewhere. Based on what I was able to find out, the brave Tommies in the British Expeditionary Force proudly took on the nickname "The Old Contemptibles" with this Birmingham pub being a favorite watering hole of the veterans. Apparently, it has recently undergone a major restoration which has immediately made it attractive to the more well-heeled crowd. As one reviewer put it "Not a bad pub, though packed with suits weekday lunchtimes. Fortunately, they bugger off soon enough." Sounds to me like he's a bit of an old contemptible himself.

20 June 2009

que sera salad

McGraw-Hill Executive Dining / New York City
If a salad has glorious hunks of slab bacon, fine slices of a hard-boiled egg, chopped ham, crumbled Roquefort cheese and it's dripping with dressing, can it still be considered a salad? According to Robert H. Cobb - when he scavenged the fridge late at night in 1937 - that is exactly what it is. The tasty creation happened to catch on with the Hollywood scene at the time, and I can see why - even if itn't all that good for you.

19 June 2009

food for thought

McGraw-Hill Executive Dining / New York City
It's time to start making some healthier food choices. This fruit would be a good start. Click on the pic for a juicy close-up. Although the cookie platter looked very enticing. Maybe just one dessert.

18 June 2009

coral floral

McGraw-Hill Executive Dining / New York City
It's hard to go wrong with flowers in late spring. This arrangement was particularly bright and lovely. They were for a GLBT luncheon - you can always expect a splash of color for their events. Looked like a wedding.

17 June 2009

drake's passage to shackelton's playground

Discovery Cruises / Antarctica
Antarctica is exactly what you would expect - penguins, icebergs and old people. A wonderland to explore for the retired cruising crowd. Crystal ice water, endless days, animal poop and on-board bingo. Antarctica has it all. Pack warm. Bring boots. See it while you can.

16 June 2009

hop in, hop out - shake it all about

Señor Frog's / Bahamas
Señor Frog's Caribbean chain bar/restaurant is the kind of place you need to visit at least once - though you may not remember the night so it's possible to end up there again by accident - as we more recently did in Aruba. It's loud and deceptively expensive. A party scene of binge drinking followed by the inebriated removal of clothing in public, typically by those who are better off keeping it on. The drinks are tall, frozen, colorful and gimmicky - and stronger than you realize. The food is so-so. Service can be pushy and spotty. This señor wants you drunk on his lily pad so he can take best advantage of you. Be warned of the sexy frog.

15 June 2009

apocalypse now

Edmund Street / Birmingham, England
Yesterday morning I walked out of my flat in city centre Birmingham into - wtf? There was trash strewn everywhere - cars were tipped up on the sidewalks - spray paint graffiti - broken windows. My first thought was - how did I sleep through this - and what the hell happened. As I find out, I walked out of my door and on to the set of a shoot for the new yet-to-be-released BBC series "Survivor" - billed as "One virus. Millions dead. A few Survivors." For a brief moment, I did feel like a survivor.

14 June 2009

knot so fast

Royal Clipper / Caribbean
When you take your sailing certification tests, they make you demonstrate your ability to tie a series of intricate knots. The important skills required to successfully tie those knots will immediately vaporize from your brain minutes after the exam. The rabbit comes out of the hole and which way around the tree? Which one is the tree and which one is the rabbit?
Thankfully my sailing days are behind me. I'll just stick with this little piggy one or the classic granny knot. But that's as complicated as I get.

13 June 2009

go green

New York Botanical Garden / Bronx, New York City
With summer just around the corner, a return visit to the two Botanical Gardens in NYC is in order. The Bronx one is sprawling and traditional while the Brooklyn version is more intimate. Both are worth a visit.

12 June 2009

jersey mall

Rutgers University / New Brunswick, New Jersey
Voorhees Mall is a grassy area (28 acres!) located on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University. Not the typical image that comes to mind when you think of a Jersey mall. Voorhees has an eclectic mix of architectural styles, offering many of the older and historic academic buildings on campus. Murray Hall looked particularly haunting that late fall day.

11 June 2009

unchecked luggage

Carnival Cruise / Bahamas
With today's heightened security measures, you really have to be keep a close eye on your belongings at all times. This isn't exactly a business class upgrade, but it does come with a free x-ray exam.

10 June 2009

are you feeling hungary?

Mücsarnok - Kunsthalle / Budapest, Hungary
If you subway or trolley just out of city center, you'll find Hero's Square and City park. A great place to stroll around, ice skate or get some culture at the Museum of Fine Arts - designed in the eclectic-neoclassical style in 1906.

09 June 2009

13,803' from surf level

Mauna Kea Observatory / Hawaii
Should you find yourself on Saddle Road crossing the Big Island in Hawaii, be sure to drive up to the peak of Mauna Kea. Spectacular moonscape views above the clouds. Besides the giant golfball space observatories, there's a rare permafrost lake to explore (assuming that you aren't too winded from the altitude.) You can just coast all the way back down to the ocean - which comes in handy if you forget to fully gas up before the journey.

08 June 2009

lights, camera...

McGraw-Hill / New York City
When you are out of the country in the middle of the London docklands at a crap hotel without internet access, sometimes you have to get a little creative to get your daily postings done. Perhaps call in a favor or two. Perhaps hand over the blogging reins to someone else for a few days. Who's ready for their close up?

07 June 2009

light wars

London Victoria Rail Station / London, England
Walking through London Victoria this evening, it seemed a bombardment of light - colors, angles, reflections.

06 June 2009

eye of the storm

Westminster Bridge / London, England
Off to London and Birmingham for a couple of weeks. With any luck, the weather will be abit more settled than this.

05 June 2009

fences make good neighbors

Ashford-in-the-Water, England
During a recent drive through the Peaks District of North Central UK, I came across an abundance of stone fences - dividing up acres upon acres of pristine pastureland. I saw very few people so it must be to keep the sheep and cows good neighbors.

04 June 2009

arctic iciness

Paksuniemi, Sweden
Some 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, we found ourselves racing reindeer through the tundra forest on wooden sleds. Was it cold - yes. How cold? My beard looked just like this reindeer's.

03 June 2009

angels & demons

Ponte Santa'Angelo / Rome , Italy
For those who have seen Angels and Demons (which I highly recommend), you will recognize the Castel Sant'Angelo in the background. In the movie, Castel Sant'Angelo is seen as the last existing church of the Illuminati. The book also emphasized the Passetto di Borgo, an 800m long secret passage from the Vatican to the castle which was commissioned by Pope Nicholas III in the 13th century.

02 June 2009


Via Bonanno Pisano / Pisa, Italy
Two doctors, deep into consultation, at the Medica Dell'Azienda Ospedaliero - Univeristaria di Pisa (Medical Hospital of the Medical University of Pisa). Wondering if they made the right decision..

01 June 2009

the maritime

West 16th St / New York, New York
Up until the mid-1960's, this building served as the headquarters for the National Maritime Union. Its signature portal windows look out over the Hudson River, carrying through the nauticalness of it all. It has been converted into a "hot spot" boutique hotel, fitting right in with the quirkiness of the meatpacking district - an area which diligently serves the nightly party needs of the B&T crowd.