Posts Tagged With: postaday

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign, Easter Island

Ahu Tongariki, the largest collection of standing moai on Easter Island.

Ever since Dutch explorer Admiral Jacob Roggeveen landed at a small island in the South Pacific on Easter Sunday 1722 and encountered a landscape filled with giant stone statues, the world has wondered about Easter Island: Where did the statues come from? How and why were they made? And, most puzzling, how were these behemoths—some weighing as much as 75 tons—moved.

In 2004, I flew to Easter Island and spent ten days there with University of Hawaii Professor Terry Hunt and his archaeology students, who were digging at Anakena Beach—site of the first Polynesian settlement on the island. Since then and as a result of his findings, Hunt has taken academic dynamite to the old myths and blown them apart.

The original theories went like this: The first settlement was in 700 AD, after which the population mushroomed to 10,000 or more, and the islanders destroyed their environment, cutting down all the trees to roll the massive statues—called moai—into place. Famine, warfare and even cannibalism followed. It was a classic example of wasted resources leading to societal collapse, one that the world should take note of.

According to Hunt’s research, that’s all wrong.

Carbon dating of bones and other items from his dig now puts the first settlement closer to 1200 AD, and new evidence shows the population reached a maximum of 3,000, which was all the 64-square-mile island could handle because its ecosystem was depleted even before the first settlers arrived.

So did the islanders—now known as Rapanui—cut down their trees? The island was originally covered with thick forests of Jubea palm trees, and the Rapanui did cut down some of them to build shelter, says Hunt, but not to move moai. The real culprits were Polynesian rats that had arrived with the settlers, possibly as stowaways on the canoes. They multiplied rapidly, and their favorite food? The seeds of the Jubea palms. Without seeds, no new trees could grow.

Also, says Hunt, there is no evidence of warfare: no remains of fortress-like buildings or weapons of war. And all anecdotal evidence points to a peaceful people who understood that in order to co-exist in an inhospitable environment—with no lakes or streams, poor soil conditions and inconsistent rainfall—they would have to get along or perish.

Next time: the moai—why they were carved. And did they, as the local folklore says, really walk from the quarry to their current locations?

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Categories: culture, Easter Island, History, Photography, Stock Photography, Sunsets, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

The Trojan Horse. Existing only in the pages of Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, it has been recreated on the outskirts of Troy—an ancient, excavated city in northwestern Turkey.

the Trojan Horse

The Trojan Horse and me

In the poem, Paris, Prince of Troy and thought to be the handsomest man alive, traveled to Sparta in Greece to win the affections of the beautiful Helen, wife of Menelaus.

When Menelaus found out that Paris had stolen his wife and carried her (and much of Menelaus’ treasure) off to Troy, he sent a fleet of ships to destroy Paris and Troy. But Troy wasn’t that easy to destroy. So a large wooden horse was built. It was hollow so that soldiers could hide inside. When the Greek fleet sailed away, the Trojans thought they had won and brought the giant horse—which they were told would bring them luck—inside the walls. That night, of course, the soldiers in the horse emerged and slaughtered the Trojans as they slept off their victorious drunken stupor.

There’s much more to the story, just as there is more to the finding and excavating of Troy, but that’s for another post.

To show how BIG the horse is, note the relatively tiny figure (all 5’9” of me) leaning against the horse’s leg.

The term, Trojan Horse, is used today to represent a deception—something that looks good on the outside but really isn’t. I’ve had a few encounters with that: an ex boyfriend or two, even a job that looked like my dream job but soured after a couple of months. Anybody else had any Trojan Horse experiences?

Categories: Animals, History, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel, Travel: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

This week’s theme—solitary—really resonates with me. Although I love being around people and I’m usually the last one to leave a good party, I find myself needing a lot of alone time. Time to think. Perhaps that’s because I’m half photographer and half writer, and what’s a writer to do without time to think and record those thoughts? So I spend half my life being solitary, knowing that whenever I’m ready, the photographer half can come out to play.

What do you think of when you see this image? Has the boat left him adrift in the vast ocean?

man swimming in Mediterranean

Solitary Man

Categories: environment, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel, Travel: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life—Hawaii

Hawaii is like no other place in the world. Spending time at the beach is commonplace for most residents. Both children and adults dance hula at every opportunity—at birthday parties, weddings, other special occasions or just while enjoying the aforementioned beach time. At any given moment, there are more unique, fun and (mostly) free activities and events than can fit into anyone’s busy schedule. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Hawaii consider all this part of our everyday life.

Hawaii Theater, downtown Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu’s renovated Hawaii Theater is a great place to catch a play, dance performance or music recital. And there are plenty of restaurants nearby.

surfers carrying boards in Waikiki

Surfers carry their boards across Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki during a break in one of Hawaii’s many parades.

rodeo in Waimanalo, Oahu

Hawaii could once claim the largest cattle ranch in the U.S. (yes, bigger than those in Texas). Parcels of it have since been sold, but there are still plenty of ranches and cowboys in the Islands, and they love their rodeos.

street musicians, downtown Honolulu

Impromptu street musicians in downtown Honolulu

children looking in a cockpit

Checking out the cockpit of a flight simulator at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

costumed gecko at Missouri memorial

The gecko is Hawaii’s unofficial state lizard. Here’s one, doing his job by posing with a local visitor to the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor.

tattooed man with fluffy dog

It seems that everyone these days sports an elaborate tattoo. Some are just for decoration, but others follow Polynesian tradition and are rich with symbolic meaning.

hula Lei Day

May 1 in Hawaii is not May Day—it’s Lei Day. Another excuse to wear colorful flower lei and dance hula.

keiki hula, Lei Day

When it comes to hula, everybody gets into the act, including these cute keiki (children)

Paniolo on a Maui ranch

Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) on the job at a Maui ranch.

water rocket launchers

Playtime with water-filled soda bottles and rocket launchers (air pumps).

juggler Waikiki

At any given time in Kapiolani Park under the shadow of Waikiki’s Diamond Head, you can see jugglers, slackliners and other performers practicing just for fun.

Chinatown restaurant

Island folks love to get together and eat out, and with so many enticing Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, French, German, Hawaiian and other ethnic restaurants to choose from, who can blame them.

Hawaiian checkers

In Hawaii, we don’t just play checkers. We play checkers with shells.

canoe festival red sail

When you live on a small island, the ocean is part of your home and your lifestyle. Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands settled Hawaii by traveling here in outrigger canoes.

Categories: culture, Hawaii, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

Helsingborg, Sweden from the castle keep

The town of Helsingborg, Sweden through an archway in the castle keep.

While in Europe this summer, our cruise ship stopped at Helsingborg, Sweden, and we spent several hours exploring the town. One must-see on our agenda was The Keep. Once a castle stood on the hill overlooking Helsingborg’s streets, but now the only thing left is The Keep—a walled entrance behind which stands a lone remaining tower. We climbed the steps up to The Keep, and I looked back to capture this image of the town (far) framed by one of the arches (near).

Helsingborg, Sweden is across the narrow Oresund strait from Helsingor, Denmark—a town famed for its Kronborg Castle, which is said to have been the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Helsingborg, Sweden, castle keep framed by flowers

Looking up from the streets of Helsingborg towards the castle keep

castle keep, Helsingborg, Sweden

Another near-and-far view of the castle keep

Categories: Architecture, flowers, Photography, Stock Photography, Sweden, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

open-air restaurants and cafes in Istanbul

Young Istanbul-ites gather at outdoor restaurants and bars on a sultry summer evening.

The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul itself, Cappadocia….all these iconic sites come to mind when travelers think of Turkey. But for this week’s photo challenge, I wanted to show a different side of the country that straddles two continents, and, indeed, two worlds. Turkey is at the same time part Asia and part Europe, Islamic yet democratic, both modern and ancient, and in the immortal words of Donnie and Marie Osmond, it’s a little bit country and a little bit Rock ‘n’ Roll.

By Rock ‘n’ Roll, of course, I mean Urban. In the Turkish countryside you’ll see vast acreages dedicated to growing fruits and vegetables. But you’ll also see a plethora of urban centers. Istanbul, certainly, but also Izmir, Ankara, Antalya and many others.

I’ve selected just a few of the many images that to me represent Turkey in its most unique urban sense.

giant ant art display

A giant-ant art installation occupied this Istanbul square across which pedestrians hustled from buses on one side to trains and ferries on the other.

election billboard

Election machinery was revving up while I was there, and political billboards popped up like fields of poppies.

Istiklal street and pedestrians

Crowds of pedestrians on Istiklal Street offer a snapshot of urban life for the 13.5-million inhabitants of Istanbul.

blue tram in Sultanahmet

A modern tram picks up passengers in Istanbul’s Old Town—Sultanahmet—near the Grand Bazaar.

Turkish flag and soldier statue

Turkish Pride—The country’s flag and statues representing soldiers who fought for Turkey’s independence are a common sight in every city.

Hierapolis ruins

The Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was a bustling urban center and healing spa from the first century BC.

Categories: Architecture, culture, History, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel, Travel: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

plastic-looking buildings swallow a once-pristine landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image depicts the merging of old and new, past and present, and the rise of plastic urbanization in the form of cars, roads and buildings. In the words of singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, “they paved Paradise, put up a parking lot.”

Categories: Architecture, Conceptual, culture, environment, Hawaii, History, Photography, Stock Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

Attack of the Seagull

I was at least twenty feet away from a fluffy seagull chick, but this mother seagull obviously thought I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. If looks could kill. She dive-bombed me multiple times before finally realizing that I wasn’t posing a threat.

I would have liked to ask her why she chose this spot for a baby outing. The chick was on a small church lawn in the middle of a busy Norwegian town.

fluffy seagull chick

Categories: environment, nature, Norway, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

The pretty Old Town of Stavanger, Norway.

Looking like a collection of doll houses, this perfectly manicured community is the residential part of Gamle (old town) Stavanger, on the southwestern coast of Norway. Lovingly restored and maintained, 173 wooden houses from the 1700s wind along narrow walkways paved with cobblestones. It’s the largest collection of such houses in Western Europe.

Stavanger was originally nothing more than a pretty village with a well-sheltered harbor. It’s growth spurt started in 1125 when an English bishop came to build a cathedral. Like in so many other places during the early Middle Ages, the cathedral made the town, almost overnight. More people meant more commerce, and Stavanger grew into a fishing capital. Once herring stocks became scarce in the 1800s, the town turned to sardines, and a canning factory was built. By 1900, there were more than 50 sardine canneries here. Shipbuilding also filled the town’s coffers, and then, in the 1960s, Stavanger became Norway’s oil capital after oil was discovered in the North Sea.

For this shot, I had a perfect vantage point from an upper deck of our cruise ship.

Categories: Architecture, cruises, culture, History, Norway, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Aloha Festivals rider representing Kauai

Purple has long been the color of royalty. But in the Aloha Festivals Parade, purple is the color representing the island of Kauai. I used Photoshop to transport this lovely Kauai princess and her horse from the patchy sunlight at Ala Moana Park on Oahu, where they waited their turn to enter the parade, to a waterfall-fed grotto on the North Shore.

The pa’u outfit was originally developed as a cover so that Hawaiian women could keep their clothes clean while riding to their destinations.

Before

Categories: culture, Hawaii, History, nature, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Inside a Turkish carpet factory sales room

They’re beautiful. They’re beguiling. They have cachet. They’re well made. They’re easy to clean. They’re hard to resist. You want one, but they’re not cheap. The sales staff brings you tea and goodies to eat as the head salesman extolls the virtues of his carpets, and his assistants roll them out one by one.

Categories: culture, Photography, Shopping, Stock Photography, Travel, Travel: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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