Shibuya Crossing

Traversing the Shibuya Crossing is hands down the MOST FUN I’ve had in Tokyo. I kid you not. It was so enjoyable that I kept waiting for the traffic lights to turn red just so I could be one with this sea of humanity five times (or more) in the dead of winter. I hate winter!

Shibuya is a scramble crossing in a sense that traffic in all directions are stopped simultaneously and then the above happens. The combination of bright lights, fashionable people and shiny cars just make this the ultimate Tokyo experience. The best part is it’s absolutely free!

Ramayana in Java

The Ramayana is one of the oldest surviving epics on earth.  It’s way up there with the Iliad and Beowulf. Originally written in Sanskrit, it was later translated to different Indian languages and subsequently into several more languages as Hinduism spread.

The scene above was shot in Java, Indonesia. It shows Sita, the female protagonist and love interest of Rama, as the symbol of beauty, purity and obedience. It’s a very old school view of women, yes, but then again this is a very old story.

Sleepy City of Kuching

It’s great when new buildings successfully integrate local traditional architecture with modern construction.  Doing it can be tricky and potentially tacky but the Sarawak Legislature Complex in Kuching, Malaysia shows that it can be done.

The golden roof along the Sarawak River can be spotted almost anywhere in the city and can be a very convenient navigational point.

Shopping in Dashilar

When east meets west in a truly literal sense:

In Beijing’s Dashilar Street, this Swatch store is one of the many western brands (I remember seeing H&M and Zara among others) who share the street with traditional tea houses, silk shops and herbal stores– some of which are centuries old.

Despite having been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, this pedestrian-only street manages to maintain its distinctive Chinese old world flavor.

Fun Fact: There are no public toilets along Dashilar. Trust me, I know.

Across the River Yamuna

These kids were looking over the Yamuna River at the supposed location of the Black Taj Mahal. Rumour has it that Shah Jahan, obsessed with symmetry, intended to build a duplicate of the Taj Mahal for himself but in black marble.  Both structures would be connected across the river by a bridge. Unfortunately, the Mughal emperor was overthrown by his son and the project was never completed.

Boy: Everything that your eyes can see could be yours if you become my girl.

Girl: As if. *yawns*

I assume this is how their conversation went. There’s a mild chance I could be wrong.

Taj Mahal on the Horizon

Here’s a view of the Taj Mahal you don’t see quite often.

This white marble structure was built in memory of Shah Jahan’s third wife Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their fourteenth child.

One of the greatest monuments built for love is sardonically also one of the largest mausoleums in the world.

Bali High

I’d like to say that this photo sums up everything that Bali has to offer: sun, sea and surf.  Although Bali is famous for all these and rightly so, what truly makes this island special are the Balinese people.

Some of the nicest people I’ve met are Balinese and they’ve probably thought nothing of it but my short encounters with them will always be remembered.

Colonial Architecture in Dumaguete

If walls could talk oh the stories they could tell! Constructed in 1903, Silliman Hall in Dumaguete is the first American structure in the Philippines.

Over the years, this has become a library, classroom and the Japanese army’s sleeping quarters during World War II. Currently, it houses Silliman University’s Anthropology Museum. Oh if walls could talk…