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Category: Travel Photo Essays

Travel tips, photos & travelogues from all over the world.

What exactly is your culture?

New kids on the blog: A fun part of NaBloPoMo is making a daily cruise of the NaBloPoMo November blog roll to find new web sites to read.  One interesting blog I found this year is called In An Opal-Hearted Country and is written by an American expat living in Australia who signs her posts, “C. in Oz.” In her recent entry, Mr. Ed and Other Things I Learned From the Melbourne Cup, C. discusses how living in another country has made her think about the concept of culture. After hearing Christian Lander from Stuff White People Like speak, C.…

Bleeding Espresso’s Gita Italiana 2010

One of my favorite bloggers is Michelle Fabio of Bleeding Espresso. After getting her law degree in the USA, Michelle journeyed to the little Italian village where her relatives originally came from. Before long, she fell in love with the village, the Italian language, and a lovely Italian man, as well. Needless to say, she still lives there. Romantic enough for you? I believe the movie rights are still available, so move over “Eat, Pray, Love”! Seriously, though, check out her blog if you haven’t already. From August 16th – 31st, Bleeding Espresso is hosting a series of guest bloggers…

Consider the source

As you may have noticed, I haven’t updated Mental Mosaic for a while. Long story short, I’ve had some health problems, with fatigue being a major component. This frustrating weariness made it all I could do to keep up with paying gigs, such as writing for PlanetEye Traveler. As a result, I let this site falter. Tired of being tired, I finally sought medical help in May. Turns out that I was super anemic, so I’ve been eating spinach and rusty nails all summer long. By the way, if you ever find out you’re really low on iron, don’t expect…

Wippity, Pickity, Snickity

I’m starting to suspect that my new bird book was ghost-written by Monty Python. I simply can’t read the author’s description of the Painted Bunting’s various calls without hearing the droll delivery of John Cleese in my mind: tida day-da tida day teetayta tita witee wi witato wee sittee, wippity, pickity, snickity See what I mean? I’ve got a good imagination, but come on!I’m not going to argue with classics such as chick-a-dee-dee-dee, bob white, and caw, but wippity, pickity, snickity? Maybe there is fine print somewhere explaining that this is how a Painted Bunting sounds . . . after…

Eggs from Easter Hens

Happy Easter to you! I hope you are having a fun weekend wherever you may be. I’m sure that I am having fun, although I have no idea exactly what I’ll be doing when you read this. I am not here, you see. Well, I am here now, but I won’t be here when this is published. I set the blog to automatically publish on Easter. So by the time you read this, I will be visiting my family – or at least a big chunk of my family. (We couldn’t all make it, alas.) The above eggs are some…

Still Life with Toy Soldiers

There are battles being fought in my sister’s kitchen. There’s constant combat,  and heavy weaponry. Military strategy abounds. I never know what to expect when I visit – except some interesting new tableau on her counter. My sister loves to decorate for holidays. To the insurgents, of course, this merely creates advantageous cover.  Meanwhile, I have become a domestic wartime journalist documenting guerilla attacks in the midst of all this cheery decor. War is never simple, but there is a mastermind behind all this – my youngest nephew. The photo above is a counter tableau created by me explaining how…

The Church by The Diner next to The Porch

Not surprisingly, I see a lot of churches here in Texas, but I found this one quite intriguing. Did you notice the barely legible ‘no trespassing’ sign on it? Inside there were folding chairs in rows, a lot of cardboard boxes, and a chainsaw sitting on a crate. It smelled like a garage. Across from the church was a little place called The Diner where we grabbed some fried chicken. We got it to go because the tiny place was packed. There were 7 men in total, and 5 of them were wearing cowboy hats as they ate. Guess it’s…

The Lord of Possum Kingdom

Tomorrow I’m heading to Possum Kingdom as Tex’s official helper. I’m not sure what this will entail. Maybe some painting, or just general gophering. In any case, it’s a road trip – yeah! No one seems to know how the place got its name. To me, Possum Kingdom conjures up a Beatrix Potter scenario with a regal possum wearing a crown and robe whilst sitting upon a throne made out of an old cedar stump. So that’s exactly what I’m expecting, talking possums who live like medieval kings and queens in quaint, yet lavish, oak forest castles. Tomorrow will also…

Tweets from the beyond?

Isn’t it nice to know that you’ll be able to send tweets from the next service you attend? Or perhaps the caskets are equipped with high speed internet in an updated take on Edgar Allen Poe’s, ‘The Premature Burial.’ I really don’t know what to think, but I was glad to finally grab a shot of this billboard with its odd implications. On a different note, the weather report calls for thunder storms tonight. I know from experience that these Texan electrical storms can be real window rattlers at 3 a.m.  They also goof up my cell phone service. Then,…

Frosty the Cowboy

A few days ago, 12 inches of snow fell here in north Texas. Dormant spores in our next door neighbor’s soil hatched a fleeting snow cowboy, a rare phenomenon, indeed. The chilly fellow was eager to party, however, and invited us all to a barbecue. His tiki torches, alas, failed to properly light. Looking down the street, it was sheets of snow and pick-up trucks for as far as the eye could see. Except, of course, in our driveway, where our little hybrid huddled beneath a heap of snow. Brr! Tweet This Post

Litigious clones make me wanna chunder

The band Men at Work recently lost a plagiarism suit involving the flute riff in their 80’s hit, ‘Land Down Under.’ Unfortunately, the flute part sounds like, ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,’ a ditty we used to sing at my Girl Scout camp. In fact, the song was written by an Aussie girl guide back in 1934. Although she died in 1988, Larrikin Music (who apparently made a recording of the song) successfully sued the group. You can listen to clips of both songs and hear the similarities if you read this article – which also explains what…

Who needs knockout rats when I’ve got Science Snooze?

Need a gift for the chronically daydreaming research scientist in your life? Me neither, but apparently knockout rats are ideal. Up until yesterday, I had never heard of a knockout rat, although the name is reminiscent of both fainting goats and a litter of narcoleptic puppies I once saw in a documentary. There is an ad for knockout rats on the back of Science magazine, you see, and that was the last thing I saw before falling asleep last night, so all day today I’ve had the phrase ‘knockout rats’ kicking around my brain pan. Knockout rats, knockout rats… It…

Newsletter option: Writing Tips from Tui

Thank you! :) Thank you! You are now subscribed to the “Writing Tips from Tui” section of my newsletter. This list is for my fellow authors. It’s where I share tips and tricks for writing and marketing books. Thanks so much for helping me out! :)   Tui Snider –  Author/Speaker TuiSnider.com Offbeat Travel:                 Cemetery Symbols:           Tweet This Post

Newsletter option: Historic Cemeteries and Graveyards

Thank you! :) Thank you! You are now subscribed to the “Historic Cemeteries & Graveyards” section of my newsletter. This list keeps you updated about news, events and appearances related to historic cemeteries and graveyards.Thanks so much for helping me out! :) Tui Snider –  Author/Speaker TuiSnider.com Offbeat Travel:                 Cemetery Symbols:           Tweet This Post

Newsletter option: Ghosts & the Paranormal

Thank you! :) Thank you! You are now subscribed to the “Ghosts & the Paranormal” section of my newsletter. This list keeps you updated about haunted hot spots, paranormal podcasts, and ghost hunting investigations. Thanks so much for helping me out! :) Tui Snider –  Author/Speaker TuiSnider.com Offbeat Travel:                 Cemetery Symbols:           Tweet This Post

Newsletter option: New Book Release & Sales Only

Thank you! :) Thank you! You are now subscribed to the “New Book Release & Sales Only” section of my newsletter. I won’t pop into your Inbox until I’ve got a new book coming out or a big sale going on! Thanks so much for your feedback. Tui Snider –  Author/Speaker TuiSnider.com Offbeat Travel:                 Cemetery Symbols:           Tweet This Post

Newsletter option: Everything Tui  – well *nearly* everything!

Thank you! :) Thank you! You are now subscribed to the  “Everything Tui” section of my newsletter. This list lets you keep  up with all my creative projects and shenanigans –  from Texas to Timbuktu! By choosing this option, you’re automatically added to ALL the other sections of my newsletter except for Writing Tips from Tui. (If you want to be part of that group, you’ll have to click on it, too.) Tui Snider –  Author/Speaker TuiSnider.com Offbeat Travel:                 Cemetery Symbols:           Tweet This Post

A lot on my plate

If we write to taste life twice, as Anais Nin once suggested, then why do we blog? Perhaps it’s to give others a little taste of our own lives. I wonder how many bloggers were active diarists before going online. I wonder, also, how many of those who made the transition from pen to pixel have quit keeping an offline diary. I love blogging, but I also enjoy keeping an offline journal. I certainly write differently here than there. My offline diary serves many purposes; besides recording memories, it is a place for me to dissect and digest experiences. I…

We’ve got you covered, sort of . . .

There’s not much to say about the charmingly named ‘Butt Face Towel,’ since the product literally spells it out for you. I won’t even bother making a cheeky crack about it, although its clearly begging for one. I can think of a slogan for them, though: ‘Butt Face Towels. We’ve got you covered – sort of.’ If you are going for a certain decorating motif, however, these boldly labeled towels could be helpful. Perhaps you only stock your pantry with generic household items. Why, these towels would fit right in! That’s a rather narrow marketing niche, though. I’ll bet these…