Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Since yesterday was the last day of the month, I decided to max out the remaining bandwidth in my two-gigs-a-month allotment from Flickr by uploading some photos from my previous travels. Before switching to a digital camera, I used to have my 35mm photos burned to a CD when I got them developed, leaving me with a batch of CDs just asking to be uploaded. So I’ve uploaded three new sets to Flickr:
|alt="Indian kids, Jaipur">||href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andycarvin/sets/72157594217410869/">Rajasthan 2001: Our second trip to India, including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, the Pushkar Camel Fair, Udaipur and Chittorgarh.|
|Albania, Greece and Istanbul: Includes photos from Athens, Meteora, Metsovo, Thessaloniki, Gjirokastra and Istanbul.|
|alt="Onion Domes, St Basil's Cathedral">||href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andycarvin/sets/72157594217978009/">Russia & Estonia: My February 2002 trip to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tallinn.|
This brings my Flickr collection to 10,364 photos. Wonder how long it’ll take me to reach 20,000. -andy
Video montage of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, one of the holiest sites in Islam. Music by Solace, courtesy of
Carmel street scene
I woke up expecting rain, but instead found a thin layer of clouds this morning. Today would be the last of my free time in the Monterey area before getting down to business at the CISOA conference tomorrow.
After breakfast I called for a taxi to take me to Carmel, just a few miles west of the hotel. The taxi driver was listening to the Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor was singing a song about a teacher and something about “laptop blogging” – or at least that’s what it sounded like he said.
The taxi dropped me of in the heart of Carmel, along Ocean Avenue, about a half mile from the Pacific. A classic art colony town, Carmel was lined with galleries and antique shops, most of which were open – a surprise for a Sunday morning. One gallery had a great collection of paintings and sculptures by Dr. Seuss, including a set of mounted “hunting trophies” featuring the smiling heads of whimsical Seuss creatures.
I strolled west, heading downhill to the Pacific. Ocean Ave was lined with numerous pine trees, their scent wafting through the morning air. In some ways I felt like I was exploring a row of shops at a Renaissance Fair, minus the knaves and wenches. Getting further away from the shops, the street sloped downhill more sharply, making me thankful that the sidewalk wasn’t slick yet from the approaching rain. A middle-aged man in a jogging suit passed me with a playful yellow lab, which paused for a minute to greet me a good morning.
Carmel’s beach, at the far end of Ocean Ave
By 10:30 or so, I reached the beach. The setting was most impressive, with dueling peninsulas framing the shoreline. Picture perfect. It didn’t seem to matter that it was only in the mid fifties outside; scores of people were enjoying themselves at the water’s edge. At least 10 or 15 dogs darted up and down the beach; an equal number of surfers treaded water patiently offshore, awaiting the perfect wave.
Once I realized that the sand was scuffing the hell out of my shoes, I began making my way back uphill, meandering block by block to explore the various shops tucked away just off the main drag. There seemed to be no shortage of Asian-themed galleries. One sported a fine collection of Indonesian and Papuan art, as well as countless Lao Buddha statues. Another shop featured enormous wooden doors that had been imported from Rajasthan, with a smattering of Dogon ladders from Mali, perhaps for a bit of geographic diversity. Several stores offered headless statues instantly recognizable as Khmer, reminding me of the National Geographic Explorer film about Cambodia’s losing battle against antiquities smugglers. I wondered if these pieces had been imported on the up-and-up.
The Tuck Box, Carmel
A couple blocks south of Ocean Ave, I discovered the delightfully charming Tuck Box teahouse. A gingerbread-like house straight out of Hansel and Gretel (or maybe Tolkein’s Shire would be more accurate), the intimate teahouse couldn’t have featured any more than a dozen tables, as far as I could tell looking through the window. I felt a few drops of rain smack my forehead, so I took them as nature’s cue to get some brunch.
The Tuck Box menu offered a light lunch selection, including omelettes, salads and a few sandwiches. I ordered an omelette and iced tea, passing the time by reading my latest Patrick O’Brian book and listening to the Dresden Dolls on my iPod. The omelette was excellent, but the accompanying scones were a joy to behold. Unlike any scones I’d previously tasted, they were baked in a cast iron skillet, giving them a texture not unlike New England corn bread.
Finishing brunch, I decided to call for another taxi and return to the hotel. The light drizzle outside had matured into a steady rain. While I waited for the taxi, I wandered into a home decorating shop a couple doors beyond the Tuck Box. A man working behind the counter smiled politely.
“Hello there,” he said, struggling to break a smile.
“Hi, how are you?” I replied casually.
“We just lost our son,” the man answered.
“My God, I’m so sorry,” I said, otherwise at a loss for words.
“It’s okay… I’m sure it’ll be back in a few days.”
At this point I can only imagine the expression on my face, as I was thoroughly confused. It took me a moment to realize that the son he had lost was actually the sun – as in, “We had just lost our sun.”
I felt like an idiot. That taxi couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
It’s that time of year again; Video Blogging Week 2006 runs all this week, April 3-9. The goal of this online festival is to get video bloggers from all over the world to post videos for seven days in a row. For me, I’ve decided to do a travel theme, since I never seem to run out of footage from all of my trips over the last few years. (I may throw in a couple of extra vlogs, far removed from the wanderlust theme, just for fun as well.) I also plan to experiment with soundtracks supplied by the amazing music label Magnatune.com, which generously makes their entire catalogue available to content producers on a noncommercial-attribute-sharealike Creative Commons license.
To kick off the week, I’m posting a video I shot at a fish market in Muscat, Oman. I visited Oman in October 2003 and did some of my earliest multimedia blogging there. I was also invited to go to Oman for a conference that started yesterday, but wasn’t able to make it, so the video helps me live vicariously through the experience.
Stranded at Boston’s Logan airport. Can’t catch connection to Philly because of Hurricane Ophelia. Trying to get a flight change, maybe to Toronto or Dublin or London. Ugh. -andy