Jerusalem

It took me a while to make up my mind on whether I should post this photo or not. Maybe because the past few days have been an especially trying time for this region and I don’t know exactly what to say but an exasperated “Can’t you all just get along?”  To hear about all the aggression going on in the news after having been there only a few weeks earlier is partly sad but mostly maddening.

Like most people in the world, what I know of the Israel-Palestine region is whatever the news feeds me. I had a lot of naysayers telling me not to go through with my trip but heck, where would the world be if we all listened to the naysayers.  And so I went… and fell in love with everything.

Above is Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities on earth and home to three major religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. You don’t have to be deeply religious to grasp the cultural and historical richness of this region. You don’t even have to be an anthropology, art or architecture nut.

What’s needed is the basic understanding that none of these really matter if we don’t bother to preserve it and pass it on to the next generation. Preservation does not merely refer to the buildings nor artefacts but more importantly the people.  They are after all the heart of culture and no amount of reconstruction and restoration can make up for the loss of human lives.

Bedouin Boy

We met while walking around Petra. Although I suspect deep down that he has swindled a couple of dinars from me for a few postcards, I can’t help but think it was a bargain. I’m blaming that smirk and shirt.

The Bedul tribe are a Bedouin group that inhabit Petra, Jordan. While they still maintain their traditional method of farming and agriculture, most nowadays are involved in the Petra tourism business– selling souvenirs, organizing guided tours and taking care of camels and horses used by the heftier tourists for transport.

While tourism is no doubt a good source of income, conservation should still be the utmost priority. This does not merely refer to ancient structures nor natural resources but also to the indigenous people of the region.

Bikes of China

People who know me might tell you that I have an unhealthy obsession with bicycles.  Well this is a blatant lie. Bicycles are extremely beneficial to your health! It’s good exercise and a great way to discover the city on the cheap. With a bike, you can go places that would otherwise be difficult to access by car or foot. And they just look unbelievably cool really.

To further prove my point, check out these Chinese folks on bikes!

Biking doesn’t have to be a solo venture.

Nor does it have an age limit

Electric bikes– if you can’t decide whether you want to pedal or a motor.

If you’re too lazy to pedal then just hire someone to do it then. 

This might not exactly be a bike but it still looks cool.

More rickshaws!

This kid approves!

Note: Hopefully, this would encourage you to start riding your bikes more often. 🙂

Pomegranates in Istanbul

I have a confession. When I was a child, I’ve read the Myth of Persephone where she was tricked by Hades into eating a pomegranate so she would stay in the underworld forever. So… I’ve always had the impression that the pomegranate was a mythical food item much like Manna or Ambrosia. Haaah! Hilarious I know!

Istanbul in winter time is pomegranate season. You can order a glass of freshly squeezed juice almost anywhere for only a few liras. It is sweet and rich in anti-oxidants however, I cannot assure you that this would keep you away from the clutches of Hades!

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!

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.

Kawaii Kids of Japan (Part 3)

Kawaii in Japanese basically means the level of cuteness and you gotta trust these people to create a whole industry out of it (Hello Kitty and TarePanda anyone?) You can’t really fault them I guess when you have such adorable kids as inspiration!

Let me out!

This is how to properly fold table napkins. 

I’m walking out!

This is the final post of the Kawaii Kids series. Previous posts can be found here and here.

 

By the Bagmati River

He was looking at an on-going cremation ceremony across the river in Pashupatinath Temple.

Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple, the rest can simply look from the opposite side of the river. This ceremony can last for hours, after which the ashes are thrown into the water.

 

Kawaii Kids of Japan (Part 2)

I’ve never been good at taking photos of people because for one thing, most adults get conscious when they know that they’re on camera. Kids on the other hand are just superbly camera ready all the time!

As a continuation to my previous post, below are more photos of Japanese kids taken from around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

Strike a pose!

Stop! I’ve just seen the love of my life in photo no. 1!

Agh! That makes me gag!