Trapped in Walls

As promised, here are some close-up shots of a few relief sculptures around Prambanan temple.Image

Relief is actually a sculptural term for chiselling away the background material to give the piece a raised effect.

You could just see the effort that went into this especially since the entire Prambanan complex was just covered with these. Whoa!

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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. 🙂

Sydney / Saigon Mindboggle

It can’t just be me right? I mean, the similarity is uncanny.

Notre Dame de Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Perhaps one of the few advantages of old world colonialism is the fusion of architecture styles. The Notre Dame de Saigon was built by French colonists to establish Roman Catholic Church in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). During its construction, red bricks were imported from Marseille and the glass windows from Chartes Province in France.

Luna Park in Sydney, Australia

This is an amusement park on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour. Luna Park was originally opened in 1935. Since then it has been closed, reopened, demolished and opened once more following a series of urgent repairs and general lack of profits. Nowadays though, it has been refurbished and is a fun sun-shiny way to spend a day in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House

A building that needs no further introduction, the Sydney Opera House is a quintessential Aussie icon as much as the kangaroo.

Its construction is surrounded by controversies and budget constraints leading to the unjust resignation of Danish architect Jorn Utzon. Formally opened in 1973, Utzon was not even invited nor mentioned in the ceremonies.

A reconciliation didn’t happen until the late 1990s when the Sydney Opera Trust appointed him as a design consultant for future works. Utzon was awarded a long overdue Pritzker Prize (highest honour in architecture) in 2003. A true visionary and modern artist, he died in November 2008.

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.

Banyan Tree in Angkor

Unlike other temples in the Angkor complex, Ta Prohm has pretty much been left to the elements instead of being restored.  The overgrown banyan trees add an eerie and otherworldly character to the ruins.Whatever the design intent was, the Khmer empire sure had an incompetent gardener. I mean seriously!

Fun Fact: This was where they shot some scenes in the Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie.