01 July 2014

Book list - Apr-Jun 14

The Mysterious Island - adventure, by Jules Verne *
The Grand Tour - historical fantasy, by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Mammoth - time travel, by John Varley
Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-1945 - naval history, by Christopher McKee


Only four books this time round, one of them a reread. And I'm still at 58 of 74 on the Carnegie Medal winners.

Travelin' Tuesday: Guam


The Talofofo Falls are on the Talofofo River (which flows into Talofofo Bay - I detect a pattern here), in the southeastern part of Guam.  I'd heard of them long before I ever went to Guam (probably from George Tweed's Robinson Crusoe, USN), and they were one of the first places I wanted to visit there.  A bit of a drive, as I recall, but it was well worth it.

Photo taken November or December 1988.

24 June 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Massachusetts


On 5 Oct 1818 the Essex Agricultural Society held a cattle show in Topsfield, Massachusetts. What grew into the Topsfield Fair has been held every year since then, except for three years during the Civil War and three years during World War II.


It's similar to most agricultural fairs in the US - county, state and otherwise - with exhibitions and competitions for animals, produce and farm crafts (such as canning, baking and quilting), and of course a midway. The All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off has been held at the fair since 1984, when the winning entry weighed 433 pounds; the current record was set in 2012 by a 2009-lb monster.


Pictures taken 8 Oct 05 (middle) and 7 Oct 06 (top and bottom).

17 June 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Thailand


Pattaya, on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, is a popular tourist city. One thing that struck me was the number of German restaurants there.  (They even had a newspaper printed in German.) The blue pickups with benches in the back are songthaews; commonly known as "baht buses," they're the Thai equivalent of Filipino jeepneys.

Picture taken 24 Jul 88.

10 June 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Slovenia


Slovenia is the northwesternmost piece of what used to be Yugoslavia. Piran is a lovely little town (pop 4092 in 2012) at the western tip of the Slovenian coast; that's the Gulf of Trieste in the background, and Venice, on the other side of the Adriatic Sea, is somewhere over the horizon near the left edge of the picture.  Most of the wall built across the base of the peninsula in the late 15th and early 16th centuries is still there; this is the view from the top of it. Visible near the centre of the photo is Tartini Square, with its statue of violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770), who was born in Piran. The large building on the right side of the town is the Church of St George, completed in 1637.

Picture taken 2 Jun 03.

03 June 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Portugal



The Royal Monastery of Saint Mary of Bethlehem (commonly known as the Jerónimos Monastery), in Lisbon, was built in the 16th century. Originally a home for the Order of Saint Jerome, it is also the site of the tombs of various members of the Portuguese royal family, the explorer Vasco da Gama, and others. The Naval Museum is also located on its grounds.

Picture taken 12 Jun 91.

27 May 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Italy


Before World War I, Trieste was the fourth-largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the war it, like the South Tyrol and other pieces of the former empire, was taken over by Italy in accordance with the Treaty of London. The city was part of the Free Territory of Trieste, under direct control of the United Nations, from 1947 until it was returned to Italy in 1954. Long before these events, the city - then called Tergeste - was part of the Roman Empire. The forensic basilica was built in the 2nd century CE; its ruins are located on San Giusto Hill next to the 14th-century Cathedral of San Giusto (St Justus) and San Giusto Castle.

Picture taken 19 Jun 03.

23 May 2014

Medal of Honor to be awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article from the New York Post:
His name is William “Kyle” Carpenter. He’s a corporal who was medically retired for wounds suffered when he used his body to shield a fellow Marine from a Taliban grenade.

Some 30 surgeries after he was written off for dead, he will next month become the 15th member of an elite company of men: those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

20 May 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Shenandoah


The Shenandoah Valley, part of the Great Appalachian Valley, runs between the Blue Ridge Mountains to its east and the Ridge-and-Valley Mountains to the west.  Stonewall Jackson, the only Confederate general to have a submarine named after him, led the Yankees a merry chase up and down the valley a couple of times in 1862; Jubal Early was much less successful two years later.  Shenandoah National Park, established in 1935 as the 18th US national park (and only the second one east of the Mississippi), is in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Here you see the view looking west across the valley from a spot near the northern end of the Park.

Picture taken 17 Aug 08.

13 May 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Gibraltar


The so-called Barbary ape (Macaca sylvanus) is actually a monkey - a tailless macaque.  They're the only macaque that occurs outside Asia; most live in North Africa, from Morocco to Libya, but a couple hundred live in Gibraltar - the only primates other than humans native to Europe.  Legend has it that if they disappear from Gibraltar, the British will lose control of the colony.  They therefore receive good care; the British Army's Royal Gibraltar Regiment was responsible for them until 1991, when they turned the apes over to the government of Gibraltar.

Picture taken 25 Jul 03.

06 May 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: France


This mural is on the outside of a building on the Rue Chevalier-Paul, in Toulon; the building's front faces straight down Place Gambetta.  The current picture in Google Maps street view, dated July 2012, shows that what was the Bar Le San Francisco is now La Balagne, but the mural is still there.  (It's continued down on the ground floor, by the way, beneath the - um - lady in the blue dress.)

Picture taken 4 Aug 98.

29 April 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Bahrain


I found these boats moored near the Bahrain National Museum, in Manama, the capital of Bahrain - I can't identify the exact spot on the map, but there's been plenty of time for new construction in the area.

Picture taken April 1998.

22 April 2014

Travelin' Tuesday: Dubai


The Ruler's Court is located on the left bank of Dubai Creek, in the Al Bastakiya historic area in Bur Dubai.  The Grand Mosque and Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai, are also located in Al Bastakiya, which is one of the oldest residential areas in Dubai.

Picture taken July 1998.