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Category: Travel Photo Essays

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

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…

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…

Window Licking on Bricklane

When I tell people I’m going to London, they inevitably rattle off a list of the top 10 tourist attractions – the Tower, Big Ben, London Eye – and ask which ones I’ll be seeing there. I always laugh and tell them I haven’t a clue. What people don’t realize is that for me, London means visiting my step-daughter. She’s the main dish, and everything else is gravy. (Actually, everything else is usually cheese or chocolate when we’re together!) The bottom line is that I fly to London to see Naomi. Like any parent, I want to make sure that…

Shark-gazing at the Dallas World Aquarium

Don’t let the name fool you, the Dallas World Aquarium is more than just a fun place to see exotic fish. Even the nondescript exterior of this former warehouse belies the lush interior inside. The show begins even before you have bought a ticket; as you wind your way along the side to enter, there is a “Wilds of Borneo” display featuring animals from Indonesia. You then enter at the canopy level of a humid rainforest environment called the “Orinoco – Secrets of the River” display. Walkways let you meander through the treetops, where several bird species fly through the…

Fear and Loathing in Granbury Square

When I was a kid up in eastern Washington, I often carried pebbles in my pocket to toss ahead of me before stepping into tall grass. Sometimes I’d hear a rattler slithering out of the way afterwards. My little dog was good, too. She’d run ahead and keep the trail cleared of any snakes. I didn’t realize people ever shot snakes; so when I saw this ad for a snake gun proudly displayed in a shop window, it caught my eye. The ad amuses me because the guy they drew looks a bit like Hunter S. Thompson. I can just…

Merry TeXmas

Texas-goose

I expected a lot of nationalism when I moved to Texas, y’know, plenty of flags a-waving, and those culturally myopic “God Bless America” bumper stickers, as though the supreme universal deity cares only for my country. (Hey, I love America, too, but if God plays favorites, I’m gonna tell his mom.) Anyway, patriotism, I understand.

What I did not expect was the Tex-centricness of this particular state. In retrospect, the amount of Texas-shaped things I saw within moments of getting off the plane should have clued me in. On the way to baggage claim, I saw everything from belt buckles, cookies, tattoos, gold pendants, even a dachsund – no, not a Texan-shaped dachsund – but one wearing a sweater with a Texan star proudly stitched on the side.

Yes, it’s pretty hard to forget you are in Texas when you are in Texas; even with a severe head injury, I’ll wager you could figure that one out.

So the other day at Sam’s Club, I came across these Tex-Centric books and laughed. Wait, no, I guffawed (it sounds more Texan to guffaw, doesn’t it?) At any rate, I knew that I must quickly snap some pix to share with those of you who – gasp – live elsewhere.

Turkey Trousers and Kleptomaniac Foxes

turkey-pants-02

Voila! I have, at long last, visual proof that turkey pants, err, trousers, I mean, were actually worn by our London bird. In England, you see, ‘pants’ means ‘underpants.’ I discovered my faux pas after cheerily announcing that I had brought a pair of turkey pants, only to have a dinner guest reply, “I beg your pardon?” in that quintessentially British way, the very tone of which informed me I had – yet again – put my Yankee foot in my Yankee mouth.

The Long Way Home

I failed to mention that Tex and I would be taking the long way home from London. In fact, we took a 14 day cruise across the Atlantic Ocean! I took a gazillion photos, including this one. The ocean seems to impress people in one of two ways, a person either finds it monotonous, or – like me – endlessly fascinating and dynamic. I loved watching flying fish soar over the swells, while the sea and sky made more costume changes than you might see at a Lady Gaga show. By night, the stars were stunning and crisp. We saw…

For when your breath stinks to high heaven

OK, so tonight’s photo was not taken from the passenger seat of any vehicle. I was simply standing in line at Hobby Lobby as you can see by the price tag, when I happened to notice these Testamints for sale. I wonder if they’d pay to use the slogan I came up with? At any rate, I think it’s a sign, a sign that I am really, truly dwelling in the mythical Bible Belt. Tweet This Post

Reconnecting with my Shadow

A plane touches down, reconnecting with its shadow. The only way you can ever truly be rid of your shadow is to fly. Maybe that’s why we envy birds so much. Nah, I think it’s just ‘cuz flying is so dang fun. Whatever the case, Jung could surely have a field day with today’s photo. Since my plane landed in Texas, I’ve been slowly reconnecting, resructuring, and starting over – yet again. I’ve even started remembering my dreams more vividly. I’m sure Jung would approve. Tweet This Post

Helen, the face that launched a thousand pop-up ads

This morning, I had an urge to hear the theme song from the old TV show ‘The Odd Couple.’ Simple enough, right? It would have been, except that Youtube was down for maintenance. So I tried to find the song elsewhere. Easy enough, right? Easy, yes, but I wound up on a malicious site, a site that launched a gazillion pop-ups, and would not take cancel or let me x out of them. I wound up rebooting and running my virus scanner, which snatched a couple viruses. What a mess! Anyway, what originally made me think of ‘The Odd Couple’…

Riding Shotgun through Sant’Agata de’ Goti

Tonight I grabbed the first “taken from the passenger seat photo” I ran into on my computer, and it’s this – a shot taken whilst crossing the bridge into Sant’Agata de’ Goti in Italy. As you can see from the following pics, we literally drove through town! I don’t imagine that too many Hummers or limos ever snake their way through these labyrinthian alleyways. You’ve got to wonder what happened in the past to require street signs telling folks to keep left instead of driving through that wooden doorway. I thought that was a given. I did, however, get my…

Bubbly Clouds

I’ve decided to see how far my ‘shots from the passenger seat’ obsession will take me this month. Before I explain today’s pic, however, let’s take a moment to grieve together over the ones that got away. I was not quick enough, for example, to get a photo of the billboard showing a 6 pack of Miller beer which read, ‘Show the recession who is boss.’ (I can’t help but wonder if the the ad team come up with that one after sampling large quantities of the product.) I tried to get a photo of the furniture store marquis offering…